• Howdy! we're looking for donations to finish custom knowledgebase software for this forum. Please see our Funding drive thread

E-bikes are arguably worse than electric cars

In other news, there are actually both apples and oranges in the world. And they also aren't really much alike.
You could put a regular bicycle in storage for thirty years and assuming that it doesn’t rust, it will still operate just fine thirty years later.

You put an ebike into storage for thirty years and it will be pretty close to useless when you take it out.
 
I had read an article, which I felt to be an authoritative one (ATM, unable to find the link) which says, electric bikes causes less carbon emission than normal bicycles (remember human power also needs fuel) for the same distance.

But I think, perhaps, the effect might be negated due to human behavior - as e-bike makes commute easier, usage might increase.

This is true; a human is a ~20% efficient food to mechanical energy engine; modern food can be more carbon-intensive from field to plate per unit successfully metabolized than say, fueling a bike from natural gas -> electricity

Of course if all the food you eat is fully organic, you make your own fertilizer, and it comes from from your backyard, then we flip the argument and consider human power to be very carbon efficient, but this is an outlier case, i think we can count the number of bicyclists on this forum living that lifestyle on a single hand.
 
I was curious and looked it up; one of the tesla models was rocking a 74p cell structure and could push a maximum of 750A. That puts it at about 10a per cell, roughly, which is very common in the "high wh, low discharge" camp of 2170's.

I wouldn't call it a bandaid, per se, it's just not something ebikes need because of the massive weight difference and differences in market competitiveness + costs. (Being "longest range" in electric cars creates a marketing advantage and it's far easier to pass off the extra cost for both R&D and maintenance of the cooling system on to the consumer. Neither of these things would bear out in the ebike market.)

I would consider it a bandaid for producing high power AND having high energy; it's a lot of extra mass to carry and a possible maintenance burden in exchange for that ability.

( in leiu of having better cell technology of course )

Watercooling will be a long lost artifact of early EVs some day
 
So for instance, I had a Bionx battery pack go bad on me recently.

In sum total, I might have put 500 miles on those cells, and that is optimistically speaking. It likely was less.

Those cells almost certainly delivered fewer miles per watt-hour than the cells in my electrical vehicle are delivering.

After experiencing the death of that battery pack, I am extremely hesitant to have more than one battery-powered bike system at a time. I already bicycle infrequently because I have an electric car.

Stuff happens. I have put over 30k miles on each of two different DIY e-bikes. Both batteries have lost some capacity, but no more than typical for electric cars. Neither of these bikes has had a cell failure yet.

Our 2017 Chevy Bolt had a cell failure at 47,821 miles. Maybe my bikes will have a cell failure then too.
 
LOL, if I did either it wouldn't matter... because I'd be dead.

You could put a regular bicycle in storage for thirty years and assuming that it doesn’t rust, it will still operate just fine thirty years later.

You put an ebike into storage for thirty years and it will be pretty close to useless when you take it out.
 
When I ride an ebike in the rain, I get wet. When I drive an electric car in the rain, I stay dry. Therefore, ebikes are definitely worse than electric cars. Pretty obvious once you break it down to a single nuance.
 
Or if you need to transport a kitchen sink you just bought :)
But for hauling my ass around i dont feel i need a giant, heavy, expensive electric car. Most of them are just wasteful in every possible aspect. And they get bigger and bigger every year, wasting more and more energy just to be able to move their own mass.
The trend should be reversed - get them as lightweight as possible, reduce energy consumption and resources required to produce, make sure they last long and are serviceable. And still provide some roof over your head. Then there's some reason for their existence.
I think something between an ebike and a small electric car would be the best of both worlds. Renault Twizy?
 
My e-bike takes me places I couldn't go in the car, and would be an undue burden on an "acoustic" bike, with my ageing knees.
My car can haul 2 weeks of firewood 25 miles from the inlaws suburban lot.
P1010404.jpg
I don't think of one being better than the other. I need them both.
 
People tend to forget this. I wonder how many years got added to folks lives because of info posted on ES about ebikes?

About a year ago, my ankles had become so painful and problematic that I decided the only way forward was to unload them by losing some significant weight. So at the same time my ability to ride pedal-only bikes was getting severely curtailed, I was also dieting for weight loss. I'm over 100 pounds down now, my ankles don't hurt all the time... and I barely ride acoustic bikes at all. I ride 30 miles a day on average, on an e-bike. I can't think of any other form of exercise I could practice so much of without feeling beleaguered.

I first started building e-bikes back in the late '90s. But I don't think I'd have dug into them with nearly as much intensity if I hadn't had this forum as a resource.
 
I first started building e-bikes back in the late '90s. But I don't think I'd have dug into them with nearly as much intensity if I hadn't had this forum as a resource.
And that is why I'm still here trying to promote them.

My first ebike was built on a walmart piece of shit. It was so bad I almost gave up on ebikes until I found this joint. People like Chalo made it, if not easy, at least doable.
 
That's true, but I'm wondering how it was even possible to get any car built under such leadership. The engineers at Tesla are not only technically good, they must possess exceptional psychological strength.
 
People tend to forget this. I wonder how many years got added to folks lives because of info posted on ES about ebikes?
I put together my first ebike back in 2010. It was a Walmart granite peak mountain bike with a front hub motor and 30 pounds of lead on the rear rack. It was an ungainly piece of crap but I immediately fell in love with the feeling of cruising silently and getting some exercise without giving myself a heart attack.
Since then, with The help of ES, I have put together at least a dozen bikes, each one better than the last and have continued to ride at least 10 miles every day. It hasn’t gotten old and I still enjoy the feeling. I can’t claim that I’ve added any years to my life but I’m in my 70’s and in better shape than I was before I found e-bikes. It’s silly to argue about what whether cars or bikes are better, there is a use for both.
 
It’s silly to argue about what whether cars or bikes are better, there is a use for both.
Yes agreed. It's almost as if the OP's purpose was to create controversy. ;)
 
The engineers at Tesla are not only technically good, they must possess exceptional psychological strength.
A classmate during my master's is manager in Tesla, he was exactly as you described, since not much contact now, don't know in what shape he is currently ;)
 
I had read an article, which I felt to be an authoritative one (ATM, unable to find the link) which says, electric bikes causes less carbon emission than normal bicycles (remember human power also needs fuel) for the same distance.

But I think, perhaps, the effect might be negated due to human behavior - as e-bike makes commute easier, usage might increase.

"Maximizing e-bike use could save a total of 24.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year with an average savings of 580 kilograms per person, the researchers report in the journal Transport Policy.

In contrast, maximizing conventional bicycle use would save just 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, they calculated. “Because bicycles do not have the power assistance of the e-bike motor, the distance a person can travel on a bicycle is less than the distance they can travel on an e-bike,” the researchers write. That is, e-bikes can take the place of more car trips than bicycles can."

Even without having to get into how efficient humans are at converting calories to watts, it is pretty much universally accepted that even fit cyclists travel much longer distances when you put them on an ebike, and they do it faster too.
 
My car can haul 2 weeks of firewood 25 miles from the inlaws suburban lot.
Do what works for you as the world changes around you, and if you want help with an EV, this is a good place.

I see your comment as a real issue to deal with as we continue on to our futures.

As to the larger picture, there aren't enough Earths to support that level of consumption, and deciding who gets to be the "haves" invites war with the "have nots". They are quite certain you are not justified consuming that much if they can't also... and we will not be getting cheap goods from them much longer - they want what we get.

The climate changes will prevent farming as the weather becomes unreliable - and the economic strains and Putin's desperate adventurism are also signs of other changes beginning to break through. "Things" won't go back to the way they were.

Life will not stop, and it's very unlikely humans will be wiped out, but a Civilization where you can rely on help against fires, against needing to fight for your life, where there are hospitals stocked with medicines and people trained to help you, where food is easy to acquire - those are very much in jeopardy as pretty much everything must be working to maintain that level of existence.

We will all be doing with less soon. The question is how much less, and how violent will it be getting there, and how miserable will the resulting society be?

There isn't someone else to save us. We're it. Help or you know why you lose.

Reality happens anyway. Wishful thinking ("ignore-ance") is deadly (as well as stupid). Thermodynamics is correct.
 
So let me see if I'm getting this right. You're justifying doing something that's self-evidently wrong and disastrous (car driving) by claiming it helps with something else that's self-evidently wrong and disastrous (propagating more people into a world already ruined by human overpopulation). Is that what you're saying?

if you live 20 miles from the nearest hospital, you have failed, and the rest of us shouldn't suffer ill consequences from your bad choices.
In your mind, you may think you have got it right …
….but in the real world that the rest of us live in,…happily ignoring the rediculous hype of planet killing CO2,.. and where the nearest hospital can be several hours DRIVE away,..and if you are suggesting that there should be no children in the future , ..then i would say you need to seriously rethink your ideas. !
 
In modern, current time; vast majority of human population reside in cities & metro areas that bicycles or ebikes can replace cars.
If you live in places where driving a car for hours to reach a hospital is necessary, likely, you're in the very minority.
 
The main reason is because the complete lack of thermal management of e-bike battery packs means that they destroy cells at a far greater rate than a typical liquid-cooled car. In addition, ebike motors generally have far less durability than electric vehicle motors. Hub motors tend to last about 20,000 miles.
That's equivalent to about 100,000 miles in a car, which isn't bad. And good hub motors (think Grin) last far longer.

However, because of the lack of thermal management, and additionally because ebike batteries often are charged to 100% and sit there for days or weeks at a time, the battery cells last roughly 1/8 to 1/10 as long as the Tesla, which has a very advanced battery management system.

You can charge a Tesla to 100% and leave it in Phoenix for a week. The thermal management system does not (usually) run when the car is off.

let’s say on average there are three people in the Tesla.

On average in the US there are about 1.2 people per Tesla.

Lot of recreational riders buy electric bikes and ride them infrequently and that is a pretty negative impact.

Others commute on them. I did for ten years.

Add in the various factors like highway speed, ability to haul, shielding from elements, airbags, etc, and an electric car imo is a better use of lithium cells than electric bicycles.

Ah, but add in the fact that I can usually get to work faster on an ebike than I can in a car, and they are arguably MORE useful than a car in that scenario.

Their relative utility is all in how you use them. If you own a car near the beach, park it outside and drive it on sand all the time, it won't last five years. Likewise, if you take care of an ebike, it will easily last you ten years - at which point you'll buy a new one not because the old one wore out, but because new ones are far better.
 
The real problem, the reason we’re going to see a plateau in ebike adoption, is that Americans are psychopaths. The fear used to be that cars won’t notice you. Now we are seeing an uptick in intentional maiming and killing of cyclists when drivers decide to ram or swipe bike riders to assert their dominance. Fatal bicycle collisions with cars are up almost 10% YOY, and some of the recent incidents of cyclists intentionally targeted are depressing and concerning.

Fatal car accidents in general are trailing bike deaths with a 9% leap. I have felt that traffic hasn’t been the same since COVID, and the data is backing that up. It is very, very unsafe to ride a bike in the USA. Crazy, aggro drivers, and no separated bike infrastructure.

We are on the Mad Max timeline. Most people just don’t realize it yet. Society cannot be saved. At least not here in the US. Americans are very stupid, and very violent.

Edit: the numbers are actually much worse in my area, LA: 24% rise in traffic deaths YOY. Yeah, not looking good.
 
Last edited:
Ah, but add in the fact that I can usually get to work faster on an ebike than I can in a car, and they are arguably MORE useful than a car in that scenario.
Same here. Only thing that gets me to work faster is my motorcycle, since I can lane split through all the traffic. I figure the bike lane on my ebike is safer, though. Cars...well, I roll by hundreds of them stuck in bumper to bumper traffic at the bridge I go over every weekday. 😁 Cars don't seem like an efficient use of resources to me.
 
Back
Top