Why are e Bikes so Expensive?

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a sustainable and convenient way to travel. 

It’s no wonder people want to ditch their cars and switch to an e-bike. They want to do their bit for the environment, and they want to save money on fuel.

However, one of the main criticisms of e-bikes is their high cost. The price tag puts off many people from wanting to buy an e-bike. 

So, you might be wondering, why are e-bikes so expensive?

In this article, we’ll explore why e-bikes are expensive and whether or not this price tag is justified.

Why Are E-Bikes So Expensive?

The cost of an e-bike can vary depending on the features and quality.

Although the prices of electric bikes have come down in recent years, they are still significantly more expensive than traditional bicycles. 

There are several reasons for this. E-bikes are expensive because they use cutting-edge technology. The battery, motor, and controller all add to the cost of an e-bike. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key factors:

Related post: How much do eBikes cost?

Frame

The frame is the most essential component of any bicycle as it provides the structure and support for the rest of the bike. 

Electric bikes often have frames made from aluminum or carbon fiber, both strong and lightweight. 

Other materials used for electric bike frames include steel and titanium. 

bicycle frame

These materials are more expensive than the materials used for traditional bikes, which explains why e-bikes are more expensive.

These materials help to keep the weight down, which is essential since electric bikes can be heavy.

These materials also come with a high price tag. 

In addition, electric bike frames often need to be larger and more robust than traditional bike frames to accommodate the extra weight of the motor and battery. 

This means they require more material, which adds to the cost.

Motor

The motor is the key component of an electric bike as it provides the power that propels you forwards. Electric bikes usually have either a hub motor or a mid-drive motor. 

Hub motors are located in the front or rear wheel and provide power to that particular wheel. Mid-drive motors are located in the middle of the bike and power both wheels.

Hub motors are cheaper and more common, while mid-drive motors tend to be found on higher-end models. This is because mid-drive motors offer several advantages over hub motors.

mid drive electric bike motor
Mid drive ebike motor

Both motors have pros and cons, but hub motors are less expensive because they’re simpler to manufacture. 

Mid-drive motors, on the other hand, are more expensive because they’re more complex to build.

Mid-drive motors offer some advantages in terms of performance. 

They’re often smaller and lighter than hub motors, making them feel less obtrusive. They also provide more torque, which can help when climbing hills.

Also, mid-drive motors allow you to use your bike’s gears, improving efficiency and range. 

Finally, mid-drive motors usually offer a wider range of gears than hub motors, giving you more options for different terrain and riding styles.

Battery

The battery is another crucial component of an electric bike that contributes to the overall cost. 

Electric bike batteries are usually lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, the same type of battery used in electric cars. 

These batteries are expensive to manufacture and require a lot of energy.

woman removing battery pack from ebike

Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive because they’re lighter, last longer, and offer a higher power-to-weight ratio than lead-acid batteries. 

If you’re looking for an electric bike with a long-range, you’ll need a battery with a high capacity. 

The capacity of electric bike batteries is usually measured in watt-hours (Wh), and the price of batteries tends to increase with capacity.

Related post: Can you ride an eBike without the battery?

Charger Or Charging Kit

You’ll need something to charge your e-bike battery. Many electric bikes come with a standard charger, while others require you to purchase a separate charging kit. 

Chargers can vary but usually range from $30 to $60.

Electronic Controller

The electronic controller is the “brain” of the electric bike.

It regulates the power from the battery to the motor and often includes features like a throttle, brake levers, and display panel. 

A good quality controller will make your ride more enjoyable and efficient. It will also add to the overall cost of the bike.

Electric bike handlebar digital display

Controllers can be very simple, with just a few buttons to control the motor, or they can be more complex, with a color display that shows your speed, range, and other data. 

The more feature-rich the controller, the more expensive it will be.

You must compromise on the controller if you’re looking for a low-cost electric bike. 

A good quality controller can add several hundred dollars to the price of an e-bike, but that added cost will be a worthwhile investment.

Electrical Components and Circuitry

In addition to the motor, battery, and controller, there are a few other electrical components that add to the cost of an electric bike. 

These include the wiring, switches, and connectors that connect all components.

While some electric bikes have exposed wires and connectors, others have them hidden away in a waterproof casing. The more complex the wiring, the higher the cost.

electronic chipset with wiring

While these parts might not be as expensive as the motor or battery, they still add to the bike’s overall cost.

The quality of the electrical components also affects the price. 

Higher quality components will last longer and be more durable than lower quality components. 

A traditional bike only has a few electrical components, like lights and a speedometer, whereas an electric bike has many more. This means that there are more opportunities for something to go wrong, and it can be expensive to fix electrical problems.

Demand & Supply (Economies of Scale)

One of the main reasons why electric bikes are so expensive is economies of scale.

The electric bike market is still in its infancy, so there aren’t enough e-bikes being produced to meet the demand. 

This lack of supply drives up the price of e-bikes.

supply and demand chalkboard graph

Electric bike manufacturers can’t produce them in the same quantities as regular bikes, and this lack of scale means they have to charge more for each bike.

As the electric bike market grows and more companies enter the space, we can expect the prices of e-bikes to decrease. But for now, the high price tag is here to stay.

Weight Adds to Shipping Cost

E-bikes are also expensive to ship because they’re heavy. 

A typical e-bike weighs around 25 kg or around 55 lbs. That’s nearly double the weight of a regular bike, making shipping e-bikes much more expensive.

Another factor contributing to the high cost of e-bikes is customs and tariffs. 

Tariffs
Custom duties and tariffs add to the cost of eBikes

When e-bikes are shipped from one country to another, they must go through customs. And depending on the country, there might be tariffs or other import fees that have to be paid. 

These fees can add several hundred dollars to the cost of an e-bike.

This is one of the reasons why electric bikes are so expensive in some countries and not others. In the United States, for example, e-bikes are subject to a 25% tariff. Other countries also have similar import fees.

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How Can You Save Money on an Electric Bike?

We all know that e-bikes are expensive, but there are a few ways to save money when you buy one.

Purchase A Used E-Bike

Buying a used e-bike is a great way to get a high-quality bike at a lower price.

While you might not get the same warranty or customer support as you would with a new bike, you can still find some fantastic deals on used electric bikes.

Check online classifieds/biking sites like bicycling.com or visit your local bike shop to see if they have any used e-bikes for sale.

Just be sure to do your research and buy from a reputable dealer.

Buy One on Sale

Another way to save money on an electric bike is to buy one on sale.

Red neon sales sign

Many bike shops and online retailers like Bike Exchange offer sales on electric bikes, so it’s worth checking their websites to see if you can find a good deal.

Of course, you might not always be able to find the exact model or size you want, but you can usually find a great deal on a closeout model or an older ebike version.

Look For a Bike with Lower Wattage Motor

One of the main factors determining the price of an electric bike is the wattage of the motor.

The higher the wattage, the more expensive the bike will be.

So, if you’re looking to save money, you can consider a bike with a lower-wattage motor.

Of course, this means that the bike will be less powerful, and it might not be able to go as fast or climb hills as easily as a more expensive bike.

But if you don’t need a lot of power, a lower-wattage motor can be a great way to save money on an electric bike.

Related post: How much does it cost to charge an eBike?

Final Thoughts

Electric bikes are more expensive than traditional bicycles, but the cost is justified by the many benefits they offer. 

Electric bikes are more comfortable, require less maintenance, and can help you go further and faster with less effort. 

An electric bike is a great option if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly, convenient, and fun way to get around. What’s not to love?