Electric Bikes

Electric Bike Cost Per Mile (Calculator)

Man on e-bike with text on image: "E-bike cost calculator"

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Using an e-bike as a mode of transport is a fantastic idea, but do you know how much it will cost to buy, ride, and maintain?

This is where Discerning Cyclist’s electric bike cost-per-mile calculator comes in. It’s a quick and simple way to determine how much your e-bike, or prospective e-bike, will cost to run per mile.

For exact costs, don’t forget to enter the exact specification of your electric bike, plus your current electricity rate.

How Much Does an Electric Bike Cost per Mile?

An electric bike could cost as little as $0.0023 per mile. This calculation is based on an average electricity cost of $0.23 per kWh, and an electric bike with a 250Wh and 25-mile range.

Do bear in mind that this cost is based on the charging cost alone. It doesn’t include other upfront costs like the bike itself, nor additional maintenance costs. Don’t worry, we consider those factors in our discussion of the calculator below.

Electric Bike Costs

Clearly running costs are part and parcel of owning an electric bike, but what other costs should you consider?

Purchase and Depreciation

Although some electric bikes are priced below $1000, most easily exceed this. As such it’s wise to consider the total purchase cost of the e-bike and its depreciation over its expected lifetime of use.

Due to their popularity, electric bikes are said to have better depreciation than regular bikes. It’s safe to assume most electric bikes would see a decline of 20% per year from their purchase value.

This figure will vary depending on the brand of the bike, its mileage over time (electric bike batteries are one of the most expensive parts of e-bikes) and its condition.

For argument’s sake let’s take a $2000 electric bike and estimate you use it for around 1000 charging cycles – the most common estimate given by battery manufacturers. Whilst performance is most definitely going to decline over time let’s say you get an average range of 25 miles per charge – that’s 25,000 miles in a lifetime. Take the cost and divide it by the mileage and you’ll get a £0.08 per mile depreciation cost.

Energy Costs

Obviously, another big factor, and one which is at the behest of various influences around the world, is the cost of energy. Large price rises, like that of 2022, can – almost overnight – increase the cost of charging an electric bike.

Whilst you can’t control the global energy market, knowing your exact electricity rate and ways you can reduce your consumption in other areas are two surefire ways to keep a lid on the cost of charging an e-bike.

Maintenance and Other Costs

Electric bikes, like regular bikes, do require some form of maintenance to keep them running. How much and how regularly will depend on a variety of factors, but mostly it’s down to how frequently and how far the bike is ridden.

Over the lifetime of an e-bike, some major components may never need replacing – things like handlebars and saddles, but other parts, battery, gearing and brake parts most notably, may need to be replaced multiple times.

For the average rider, an annual service and the odd one-the-spot repair should cover the bases. Expect to pay anywhere between $75 and $250 for this per year – the cost goes way down if you do the work yourself!

If you pay to insure your e-bike or have a need for other specific items which enable you to ride your e-bike (lock, lights etc.) it’s worth factoring these other costs into the equation.

E-Bike Cost Per Mile

In summary then, beyond the cost of charging the onboard battery, there are additional costs to consider when calculating the cost to travel a mile on an electric bike. The purchase price, deprecation, fluctuating energy costs and the price of maintenance are all additional factors that should be considered.

With a huge variety of electric bikes available, varying charge and other costs it’d be safe to assume that an e-bike could cost up to $0.05 per mile.

That said, there’s no way the cost of running an e-bike per mile, exceeds the cost of a petrol or electric car. Toss in, electric bikes’ environmental credentials and it’s hard to see beyond electric pedal power.

Petrol Car Costs

For decades, the petrol-powered (or diesel) car has been the go-to transport option for many. But how much do they cost to buy, run and service?

Purchase and Depreciation

Cars are expensive! However you buy, or lease, one you’ll likely be facing a large upfront fee and then several months, if not years of monthly repayments. Whether you buying a new or used car, there’s also depreciation to factor in too.

As is the case with electric bikes, petrol cars are going to reduce in value over time. The rate will depend on a number of factors, but most brand-new cars will see a steep decline in the first year of their life, a slower decline in years 2 and 3, before the depreciation rate levels out in years 4 and 5.

Overall, most new cars will lose up to 50% of their value in the first five years of their life.

Fuel Costs

Visiting the gas station is the most noticeable way of spending money on a car. More miles obviously means greater costs, but the exact cost per mile of a petrol car will mainly depend on the efficiency of its engine. A good estimate for fuel costs only is between $0.10 and $0.50 per mile – with somewhere in the middle probably being the average fuel cost.

Maintenance and Other Costs

It’s best not to ignore the other costs that are incurred when running a petrol car either. Oil and tyre changes are going to come around less frequently than visits to the gas station but they’re still going to hurt your pocket. Add in pricier trips to the garage for larger repairs and you can easily add $0.05 to the car’s running costs.

Yearly, one-off fees like insurance can add another $0.15 to the cost. We’ve calculated that by dividing the average US insurance premium by the number of miles driven by a US driver in a year.

Petrol Car Cost Per Mile

A petrol car will cost around $0.60 per mile. That includes fuel, deprecation, maintenance and other costs.

Electric Car Costs

Electric cars can be marketed as the silver bullet for today’s woes of environmental change, air quality, noise pollution and congestion. But what about their running costs?

Purchase and Depreciation

Like both electric bikes and petrol cars, electric cars will depreciate over time. Estimates vary in the rate, but with changing technologies and the worry of battery longevity, most electric cars can lose up to 60% of their value in the first three years of their life.

Subsidies and buying support for electric cars also keep the market for second-hand electric cars lower, as buying newer ones becomes more attractive.

Energy Costs

Whilst charging an electric car is cheaper than filling a petrol tank, it’ll cost between $10 and $30 to fully charge an electric car. Depending on the exact efficiency of the EV, the cost per mile, solely for the electric energy, usually works out at around $0.05 per mile. We divided a $15 cost for the charge by 300 miles of driving to get to that figure.

Maintenance and Other Costs

Like petrol cars, electric cars will still need insurance and maintenance. The general consensus is that electric cars usually cost 50% more than petrol cars to maintain. This is due to their intricacies over petrol cars.

Electric Bike vs Petrol Car vs Electric Car Costs

Let’s pit electric bikes, petrol cars and electric cars head to head.

Electric bike cost per mile

Purchase and Depreciation Costs per Mile

With their large outlay and use, all three modes of transport have depreciation to consider. Electric bikes come out on top, with electric cars having a higher depreciation cost per mile than petrol cars thanks to their higher purchase price.


Energy/Fuel Costs per Mile

Petrol cars come out bottom of our comparison when weighing up plain and simple energy or fuel costs. Electric bikes cost a pittance per mile and with features like pedal assist, that figure can be substantially lower.


Maintenance and Other Costs per Mile

All forms of transport in our comparison have other associated running costs. EVs come out top in the cost-per-mile battle, with electric bikes sitting pretty at the bottom.


Transport Costs and Other Factors

Day-to-day running costs aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to weighing up electric bikes, petrol cars and electric cars – there are other factors at play too.

Other factors such as environmental impact, health benefits, and lifestyle compatibility all enter the decision-making process.

Whether you choose an electric bike, petrol car or electric car for your next purchase, in our book, an urban e-bike always takes the win, especially for shorter journeys in built-up areas.

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