Why E-Bikes Are the Greatest Form of Green Transportation
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Why E-Bikes Are the Greatest Form of Green Transportation

electric bike with rider on road lined with palm trees, green transportation
  • E-bikes are far less expensive than electric cars.
  • E-bikes are lighter and use far less electricity than cars to charge up.
  • You ride in fresh air and can still get as much of a workout as you want on an e-bike.

Green transportation is a huge topic now, and there’s no better way to get into the greenest EV of them all, the e-bike. EV cars are great for uses when you need a whole car, but they have a lot of mass that has to get moving. If you’re asking yourself, “Why buy an electric bike?”, I have several reasons for you.


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I Tested an E-Bike vs. a Car Myself

Image care of Aventon

E-bikes can get you through a congested city faster than a car in many cases. A couple of years ago, I actually raced against a car from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles. I used a class 3 (28 mph top speed) e-bike while a friend drove a small hatchback. He took the freeway; I took bike lanes, including the nice wide one on Venice Boulevard that goes almost all the way.

The 15-mile drive to downtown Los Angeles can take up to 1.5 hours to drive. That sounds insane to anyone not living in a large city, but it’s a way of life here. No one in Los Angeles knows how far anything is in distance, but rather in how long it will take to get there at a given time of the day.

For this challenge, it was during rush hour. It was the week before Christmas, so traffic was lighter than normal. He beat me downtown, but by the time he found parking and walked up to the building where we were to meet, I was there. Riding there, I turned up the pedal-assist power to 100% so I didn’t sweat much on the way there, even though it was a race. For the trip back, however, I turned the power down to Eco mode and got in a generous workout on the way home, taking advantage of the bike as both green transportation and a solid form of exercise. 

As a side note, the car burned one gallon of gas round-trip, which at the time was around $3.00. I did say it was a couple of years ago. My energy use? I recharged during peak L.A. charge time and it still only cost me $0.19 to fully charge the battery. Now that gas is more expensive, think of the savings there, let alone the difference in maintenance costs.


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There’s an E-Bike for Everyone

There’s a type of e-bike for every need. Cargo e-bikes are fantastic for getting groceries or running to the local farmers market. Even trips to the hardware store or putting the kids on the back to take a ride outside. Commuter e-bikes for getting to work or for touring. Folding e-bikes can be great for last-mile commuting or to throw in the trunk, RV, or boat when you’re traveling.


Want to check out a local coffee shop that’s too far to walk? Take your e-bike. Photo source: Tony Donaldson

When you’re weighing the benefits of e-bikes, especially when comparing an e-bike versus a car, you have to consider the full environmental impact. E-bikes take far fewer resources to produce, they emit no direct pollutants, and they require little power to recharge. Though I’m not taking away anything from electric cars — I like both types of EVs when it comes to green transportation options. And both of them can charge at home, overnight, without any specialized equipment, other than most e-bikes needing a charger that plugs into the wall.

Whereas a Tesla car may weigh 4,000 to 5,300 lbs (depending on the model and trim level), an e-bike usually weighs 50-60 lbs, and e-cargo bikes sometimes go up to 80+ lbs. Even the heaviest e-bike weighs orders of magnitude less than the lightest of electric cars or trucks. So even if you use the throttle on a Class 2 or Class 3 e-bike, it needs a lot less power to get you moving and keep you moving. Electric car power usage will always be higher.


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Also, when you’re adding in your own pedaling power, it drastically reduces how much energy the battery uses, offering you longer range per battery charge, longer battery life, and some exercise. You can actually turn off nearly any e-bike and ride it just like a regular bicycle, albeit a bit heavier. Most e-bike motor systems are designed to produce little to no drag if you ride with the motor system turned off.

There’s another advantage: If you go on a long ride and your battery runs out, you can still ride back. If your car’s battery dies, you can’t push it back. With an e-bike, even if it breaks down mechanically, you can still take it on a bus or train to get it back home.

I love and encourage electric cars. But even moreso, I recommend e-bikes as eco-friendly, cheap electric transportation. You can get a decent one for anywhere from $1,000 to as much as you want to spend, and some states have incentives worth hundreds of dollars off the purchase of an e-bike. The future of bikes is here, and as I’ve said before, right now is the best time ever to buy the best green transportation, an e-bike.

E-bikes are by far the least expensive way to get into EVs, and they are one of the best options for eco-friendly transportation. If you haven’t ridden one, stop by your local bike shop, or better yet, join us at one of the many locations for the Electrify Expo this year!


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FEATURE IMAGE: TONY DONALDSON

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AUTHOR: 

TONY DONALDSON

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