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Due to the increasing popularity of electronic bikes, many urban commuters and outdoor enthusiasts turn to e-bikes for a convenient and eco-friendly mode of transportation. However, as many people prefer e-bikes, a common question arises: Why do these e-bikes come with such a hefty price tag? Well, there are multiple reasons behind such high costs.
If you are planning to buy an e-bike, then you must know about its price tag to make an informed purchasing decision. In this article, I am going to delve into details regarding why e-bikes are so expensive and explore in-depth the factors that contribute to the high cost of e-bikes in the market. Therefore, keep reading to enlighten yourself.
Why are eBikes so Expensive?
When planning to purchase electronic bikes, the first question that comes to mind is: why are e-bikes so expensive? Well, there are multiple factors that contribute to the bike’s hefty price tag. The popularity of electric bikes has soared for multiple reasons.
They offer the same advantages as the traditional bikes, although with some significant enhancements. Electric bikes are bicycles featuring a battery-powered “assist” that is activated through either paddling or, in certain instances, a throttle. When you start paddling (or use the throttle, like on a motorbike), the motor helps you by giving an extra push.
In simple words, it’s like having a little helper that makes it easier to ride, especially uphill or when you are too tired to use any extra strength. So, e-bikes make cycling a bit easier and more enjoyable. Furthermore, it is a wonderful way to avoid overstraining your muscles, especially if you ride every day.
Electric bikes let you cover long distances without getting too tired, which makes them an excellent choice for getting around the town. Therefore, it is no wonder that e-bikes are gaining popularity. Although they offer convenience, their cost is pretty high.
Let me break down the answer to the question: why are eBikes so expensive? Electric bikes are special bikes because they belong to the category of both traditional bicycles and consumer electronic products. This means that they are created by using different materials, and creating them requires special knowledge in designing, building, assembling parts, and delivering them.
It’s like a high-tech bike, which makes them different from other ordinary bikes. Therefore, their prices are also significantly higher than those of regular bikes. Now, let me discuss the elements that make the e-bikes so expensive:
The most expensive element of e-bikes is definitely their battery, which is also one of the main reasons behind such high cost. The battery prices range from a couple of hundred dollars for very-low-cost units to well over $1000 for the fancier ones. When it comes to battery, it’s not something you need to compromise on because the battery decides how far you can ride.
Bigger and fancier batteries will cost you more, so if you are aiming for a longer distance on one charge, you must invest more. Moreover, the battery also plays a significant role in determining the longevity of the e-bike. High-quality lithium-ion batteries, which are the most common type in electric bikes, can last around 2-4 years, depending on how well you take care of them.
Lithium-ion batteries are well-renowned for their efficiency and can also be pretty expensive. Pricier batteries tend to last much longer, which is achieved through a specifically engineered battery management system. On the other hand, the cheaper batteries do not receive the same level of attention and meticulousness.
Another expensive component of e-bikes is motors, and even the least expensive ones are sold for several hundred dollars. Just like with the battery, the price of the motor widely rests on its quality and the type of motor you are purchasing. There are two types of motors: mid-drive and hub motors.
Hub motors are typically positioned in the hub of either the rear or front wheel. This motor pushes the bike forward and is known for its ease of installation, simplicity, and quiet operation. There are some advantages of hub motors., such as they last for longer periods and require low maintenance.
On the other hand, mid-drive motors are generally expensive, and their cost can exceed $1,000. They are typically located in the bottom bracket area of the bike, and they transfer power through the chain, much like you pedal naturally.
If we compare both of the motors, both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, mid-drive motors are considered the more favorable option due to their higher efficiency, excellent ride feel, and other benefits. If you put all of the components together (battery, motor, etc), along with the expenses for testing and programming, plus the cost of warranty and even customer service, you will see why e-bikes end up costing much more than traditional bicycles.
Other factors that contribute to the cost of e-bikes are the raw materials. The base price of raw materials has been steadily increasing since before the beginning of COVID-19. Take rubber for tires, for example, it doubled from $1.05 to $2.00 per kilogram between 2020 and 2021.
This makes everything cost more, not just the bike tires. Moreover, during the same timeframe, the cost of steel went up from $451 per ton to $811.
In addition, things like drivetrains, wheels, frame materials, and brakes can all contribute to making e-bikes much more expensive. Typically, when it comes to e-bike prices, they can start from the lower end at about $1000 and can significantly rise to $15,000 at the very heavy end.
Location & Transport
The place where the establishment is located and the transportation of the finished products to the store significantly influence the price of the e-bike. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the shipping situation was a bit tricky. When there were fewer ships and full containers, it became quite expensive to transfer products and materials from Malaysia (where Shimano is located) to Europe.
In addition, the cost jumped from $1,500 to over $20,000 in certain cases. Moreover, the availability and quality of transportation infrastructure can influence the cost of the product. Additionally, any changes in the currency exchange rates can also impact the price of the imported components and raw materials, which in turn influence the overall price of the e-bike.
Only recently has the craze for e-bikes surged. Before that, electronic bikes were not that much in demand, due to which there were fewer companies producing them. Due to the lower demand for e-bikes and the small number of manufacturers, e-bike prices have remained high.
Since there is little to no competition to push down prices, manufacturers are free to set higher prices. Furthermore, despite the growing demand for e-bikes, they are still categorized as a niche market. This implies that the manufacturers are unable to produce components in large quantities, which results in a significant increase in the overall cost.
Manufacturers of traditional bikes can expect to sell a higher quantity of bikes so they can produce a bunch at once. However, e-bike manufacturers, since e-bikes are not that popular, have to order and make fewer at a time.
Therefore, they are unable to lower each bike’s price. Until and unless there is a huge demand for e-bikes and manufacturers are able to produce in larger quantities, the price of the e-bike will likely remain the same.
In addition to the cost of buying the e-bike, there are also additional expenses that you must keep in mind to make an informed decision. These additional expenses can vary from occasional small payments to other larger costs that you should include in your budget. Keeping these factors in mind will help you make an informed purchasing decision.
- The first factor is charging your bike. While charging your bike does not cost that much, it’s something you will be doing regularly, so it’s good to keep in mind.
- Replacing a battery will cost you a lot. E-bike batteries are made to last somewhere between 500 to 1000 charges, depending on the type. If, due to certain circumstances, you were to replace batteries, it can cost you anywhere from $500 to $1000 (particularly for specialized batteries).
- Another thing that will cost you additional expenses is the maintenance of your bike. You need to maintain your e-bike consistently to avoid any future trouble.
The answer to the question of why e-bikes are so expensive lies in the combination of different factors that contribute to the overall high price of the bike. The factors include the increasing price of the raw materials, the cost of high-quality batteries, motors, location, and transportation. Moreover, the smaller scale of e-bike production compared to traditional bikes also contributes to the overall expense.
With the passage of time, when technology significantly advances, the overall price of these machines will go down. If you wish to purchase an effective e-bike that offers excellent performance, you need to be prepared to invest a lot of money, as they often come with a hefty price tag. Cheap e-bikes will only bring you more trouble, and they do not last for an extended period.
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