Why Are E-Bikes Expensive?
Because they’re awesome!!
… Not a good enough answer?
Yeah, there’s no getting around the fact that e-bikes come with a somewhat hefty price tag. And for many people, seeing the number on the sticker understandably comes with a bit of a shock. There are a few specific reasons for why e-bikes are so expensive, which we’ll cover in this article.
But we will also make the argument that, in actual fact, e-bikes are not very expensive at all - especially compared to other electric vehicles. More on that later.
Reasons for E-Bikes Being Expensive
Battery and Onboard Operating System (OS)
The main cause for electric bikes being more expensive than regular bikes is the battery. Almost all performance e-bikes nowadays use lithium-ion batteries, which are far more efficient than the lead-acid alternatives.
Generally speaking, lithium-ion batteries cost hundreds of pounds, with the best ones costing closer to £1,000. The cell density together with the custom-made power management chips of these batteries are constantly improving, and the skyrocketing demand has made it extremely hard to get hold of enough of the raw materials needed to manufacture the required power packs. Currently, therefore, the prices of batteries stay quite strong.
Giving your e-bike that oh-so-satisfying ‘umph!’ The performance motor communicates with the onboard computer and then takes the power from your battery and converts it to kinetic energy on demand to help get the wheels spinning. In other words, it’s bloomin’ complicated.
Electric motors require the skills of a specialist to test, install and check them properly synergising with the entire bike. The labour costs of a great motor, together with the attention to detail in the complexity of their design, deems it an expensive part, which of course increases the investment needed to build a great electric bike.
Requires High Grade Components
Premium electric bikes tend to roll around at much greater speeds and power than regular bikes, and thus they require high quality components to help handle the exciting on-board power. You need good tires and a good, lightweight frame, and you especially need a good set of performance brakes. It would be pretty disastrous to be zipping around quickly only to find that you’ve got shoddy brakes.
Yup, electric bikes are still, all in all, pretty niche and exclusive. They’re not produced at nearly the same scale as regular, classic bicycles. Since e-bike manufacturers aren’t necessarily able to buy raw materials in immense bulk and focus on hand built experience, it’s not easy for them to benefit from the economies of mass, automated scale, meaning the prices of the e-bikes stays up.
However, with all that said…
The Cost Effectiveness of E-Bikes
To state the obvious, an e-bike is more than just a bike. So much so that e-bikes can even be a replacement for a car.
Everyday, in cities throughout the world, e-bikes are extremely rapidly replacing cars and public transport as a faster, more environmentally friendly, and a much more cost effective means of transport - specifically commuting to work and touring.
With a car, you have to pay for fuel, parking, countless taxes, ongoing repairs, and insurance. Not to mention the health implications of constantly being stuck/living in traffic. With a smart electric bike, you don’t have to pay any of that and get to keep all the savings to yourself.
While an e-bike may be just as expensive as a second-hand car, you can end up saving thousands of pounds on running costs. E is for economical.
Going Direct to Riders
By avoiding the high-street mark-up and going direct to the riders via online platforms, it helps to save on average anywhere between 40-50% off the final price tag. This approach allows, for example, WAU electric bikes to reach the riders at a much more affordable price range and quickly supply the skyrocketing demand in smart electric bikes nationwide.
Will E-Bikes Get Cheaper?
Eventually yes! The popularity of e-bikes has continuously increased non stop, as you can see in this Google Trends graph:
This ever-increasing public demand will result in there being more volume of electric bikes on the road. More bikes means more mass production, which will naturally encourage prices to be reduced. The less expensive it is to build the bike, the lower the price tag will be on the final product.
So yes, to conclude, e-bikes aren’t what you would call a small investment. But the price tag isn’t arbitrarily expensive: it’s to cover the cost of the battery, high end components, on-board software and motor technology needed to withstand the high performance power of an electric bike. Plus, it is still a pretty exclusive and exciting market. It is in the very early days of its existence.
But the skyrocketing popularity of e-bikes speaks for itself. Many people, especially city-commuters, are realising that e-bikes are by far one of the most cost-effective ways of getting around. And in the years to come, with demand continuing to soar and the technology being refined, the electric bikes will become even more affordable.