Should you ditch your car for an e-bike?
The e-bike industry has seen a massive rise in e-bike sales, partly thanks to the current pandemic state of the world and partly due to the natural progression of the business model. Between e-bike conversion kits and purpose built e-bikes, there is plenty on the market to choose from. But choosing to ditch your car in lieu of an e-bike? That’s a completely different discussion.
The decision to ditch your car for an e-bike is both financial and circumstantial. It’s also not like switching brands of toilet paper. A car is not something that can just be left on the side of the road somewhere (though, the sides of many motorways would suggest otherwise). Let’s just consider for the moment that perhaps it is easy to sell a car quickly, or at least reach the end of a lease term. The point is, there are still certain scenarios in which switching fully to an e-bike would work and those in which it wouldn’t.
You live in the country
If you don’t live in an urban centre then you probably don’t want to ditch your car for an e-bike. This is a perfect situation for an e-bike conversion kit. You’ll spend less and be able to go on further bike rides, but you won’t have to think about commuting long distances on an e-bike through questionable terrain, far from home and subject to the elements.
However, living in a rural area doesn’t mean you have a long commute. If you live and work locally and only need a car for travel, then there is no reason to not consider an e-bike for local commuting or leisure runs. The benefit is less time in traffic (assuming your small town has traffic) and less money spent on fuel and other engine-related issues. But you probably don’t want to ditch your car for an e-bike if you have a 100 mile round trip commute on the motorway like I used to.
You live in the city
The inverse to living in a rural area is naturally, living in an urban one. In that case, swapping out your car for a much more sensible, fuel-efficient (read: none) and cheaper compact vehicle such as an e-bike is a consideration of the current decade. With more cities making more space for biking and e-bikes, with inefficient and unreliable public transportation and the constant struggles of city traffic, getting rid of your car (and the parking fees associated with it) and getting an e-bike instead is not a terrible idea.
There isn’t anyone who is going to argue against not having to sit in traffic. Well, there might be someone who loves to sit in traffic, and there is a psychologist somewhere writing a peer-reviewed paper on it. That’s the biggest city benefit of switching to an e-bike, the traffic. With more bike lanes popping up and cities reconsidering their urban designs, now is the time to consider taking your commute to a much more relaxed level with an e-bike.
Should I really ditch my car for an e-bike?
It’s not a wholly reasonable idea to get rid of your car and buy an e-bike, but it’s not a terrible one either. Cars are expensive and traffic just plain sucks. An e-bike is a fun, inexpensive way to commute and an enjoyable automation for leisure travel. While weather and distance are considerations, an e-bike could very well be an easy excuse to at least use your car less to extend its lifespan.
I live in a small town and would absolutely ditch my car for an e-bike, if not for being a taxi for children. But if you have no kids, a short commute and a massive car payment dragging you down, then perhaps the e-bike life is the one you would consider living.