How much does it cost to charge an electric bike once, and for a full year? Find out below, and get 8 ways to reduce your ebike charging costs.
While I was expecting the average cost to charge an electric bike to be quite low, I was shocked (electrical pun!) to find out how cheap it is to charge an ebike for a full year.
The average cost, across 24 countries, to charge an electric bike is 7 cents. To charge an ebike for a full year, to the point where it can replace your car, you can expect to pay $29.38 on average.
As can be seen in the table below, the average costs vary significantly by country.
The US is at the lower end of the cost scale at 5 cents per charge and $21.17 per year in electricity costs. This is not as low as China or India where it costs just 3 cents per charge, which works out at just $13.03 per year to keep an electric bike charged.
The UK, on the other hand, is at the higher end of the scale at 8 cents (6p) per charge and $35.83 (£27.69) per year, but Germany tops the table at 12 cents (€0.10) per charge with a yearly cost of $53.75 (€45.60).
Continue reading to get a cost breakdown by country, along with electricity cost saving tips for electric bikes. But first let’s look at how to work out exactly how much it costs you to charge your own ebike.
How to calculate the cost of charging an electric bike
To calculate the total cost of charging your electric bike, you need to find the capacity of your battery in Watt hours (Wh), convert Wh into kilowatt-hours (kWhs) and then multiply this by the unit price charged by your electricity provider.
To simplify, follow these 3 steps to calculate the cost of charging your electric bike (or just use the Electric Bike Electricity Cost Calculator).
For the examples I’ve used the most popular electric bike on amazon.com, which has a 36V 10.4Ah battery.
- Get the capacity of your battery
The capacity of batteries is measured in Wh. If you don’t know the Wh of your battery (and if it’s not written anywhere), simply multiply its Voltage (V) by the Amp hours (Ah). Here’s the formula:
V x Ah = Wh
For example, a 36V 10.4Ah battery has a 374.4Wh capacity:
36V x 10.4Ah = 374.4Wh
- Convert the capacity into kWhs
Electricity providers typically use kWhs when billing customers – they refer to 1 kWh as 1 unit of electricity. Therefore, we need to convert your battery’s Wh (i.e. the capacity of your battery that you calculated in Step 1 above) into kWh.
To do this, simply divide your Wh by 1,000. Here’s the formula:
Wh / 1000 = kWh
For example, our 374.4Wh battery converts to 0.3744kWh:
374.4Wh / 1000 = 0.3744kWh
- Finally, multiply your battery’s kWh by your electricity provider’s kWh rate
So the final calculation that we need to do is multiply how much your electricity provider charges per kWh (i.e. per unit of electricity) by your battery’s kWh. Here’s the formula:
Your battery’s kWh x your cost per kWh = the cost to charge your ebike battery
Electricity providers in the US charge around 13 cents per kWh (i.e. 13 cents per unit of electricity), according to Statista (2018). This obviously varies by State and will also vary by country, for instance, the average price in the UK is just over 17p (or 8 cents) per kWh.
So taking this 13 cent average, our 0.3744kWh battery (or 374.4Wh battery) would cost us 4.9 cents to fully charge:
0.3744kWh x 13 cents = 4.9 cents to fully charge
I don’t know about you but I think this cost is surprisingly low. The electric bike used in this example claims a 22-40 mile range. You could travel up to 40 miles for under 5 cents!
So now that we know how to work out how much it will cost you to charge your electric bike once, let’s work out the cost for a full year.
Cost to charge an electric bike in 24 countries
Taking the most popular electric bike sold on Amazon, the average cost per kWh by country, and the average annual miles travelled by US drivers, let’s take a look at how much it could cost you to charge an electric bike per year, in 24 different countries, if it was to replace your car.
|Country||Cost per charge (USD)||Cost per charge in local currency||Cost per year (USD)||Cost per year in local currency|
|Poland||$0.06||0.23 zł||$26.06||99.35 zł|
|Sweden||$0.08||0.70 kr||$34.20||302.93 kr|
– Statista (2018) is the source of the average electricity prices used.
– For convenience, I converted the average electricity prices into the relevant country’s currency – the conversion was made in Sept 2020. So the cost will likely fluctuate, but I think this will still be useful information for people to, at least, get a rough estimate on potential cost.
– To calculate the yearly cost of charging the battery, I used the average annual miles (rounded up to 13,500) driven in the US. I worked from the assumption that an electric bike would replace a person’s car. This would likely mean that the cost would be on the higher end of the scale, but I think it’s as good a metric as any to get an idea of overall potential charging costs per year.
– Another assumption is that the electric bike rider will get 31 miles per charge. This is in the middle of the claimed range of the bike used in the example above. 31 miles per charge would mean that the battery would have to be charged 435 times to travel 13,500 miles. That’s a lot of charges needed to replace a car! I don’t expect that many people would be looking to fully replace their car with an electric bike, but let’s look at the cost out of curiosity.
– Also, there are so many variables that impact the costs. “Self-discharging”, hills, weather, weight, temperature, amount of pedal support, amount actually travelled, electricity rate, standing charges on bills, time of day that the battery is charged, and many more factors would impact actual costs. So your electricity costs may be quite different. I’ve used averages from reliable data sources to make the costs relevant to a broad range of people.
While the typical cost to charge an electric bike is surprisingly low, I’ve been shocked to see how cheap it is to charge an electric bike for a full year.
In the US, to travel the same distance as the average driver for a full year, it costs just $21.17. That’s ½ to ⅓ of the cost of a tank of gas for a typical car.
So for the price of just 1 tank of gas, you could potentially charge your electric bike enough to travel the same distance as a car for 2 – 3 years!
Average cost to charge an electric bike for a year
As mentioned, the average cost to charge an electric bike is 7 cents, which works out at $29.38 per year.
In the US, the average cost to charge an ebike is 5 cents ($21.17 per year), this is quite a bit cheaper than the average of the 24 countries. The US is the 7th cheapest country to charge an electric bike in our table of 24 countries.
In the UK, it costs 8 cents (6p) per charge of an electric bike, which works out at $35.83 (£27.69) per year. This makes the UK the 8th most expensive in our table.
Germany is the most expensive country to charge an ebike, followed closely by Belgium and then Italy.
China and India are the cheapest counties for charging, slightly less expensive than South Africa and Indonesia.
Not interested in averages? Get your own specific costs with the Electric Bike Electricity Cost Calculator.
While the charging costs may not drive you into bankruptcy, it’s always good to consider ways to reduce the amount of electricity that you consume. This will reduce your electricity bills while reducing your carbon footprint.
So let’s take a look at how you can reduce costs and electricity consumption.
How to reduce the cost of charging electric bikes
While electric bike charging costs are already relatively minimal, it’s always good to reduce our energy consumption and electricity bills. So here are some possible money saving tips and considerations.
8 ways to reduce your ebike charging costs:
- Maintain your battery. Follow your manufacturer’s guidance or best practices for maintaining your battery. Obviously keeping your battery performance at its peak can help keep your charging costs down.
- Get a more efficient battery, if applicable. For example, consider upgrading from a lead acid to a lithium ion battery if this is relevant. But don’t buy a new battery, and throw out the old, just to get a couple more miles from 1 charge. Not only would this cost you more overall, it would have a considerable impact on the environment. If you’re an electric bike owner, you’re likely conscious of the environment, and hopefully appreciate the impact that discarded batteries can have.
- If you’re not particularly eco-focused and you’re reading this with the sole purpose of saving money at all costs, then why not use someone else’s electricity? Take your battery into work and charge it there. If your boss complains just let him/her know that it costs just 5 cents (in the US) to fully charge the battery.
- Can you implement regenerative breaking into your electric bike set up? The long term financial savings, from reduced electricity consumption, won’t put your kids through college or guarantee a return on investment. But it could reduce your overall charging costs slightly. Regenerative braking can, according to several sources, increase your ebike’s range by 5-10%. So there is an electricity cost saving opportunity here.
- Take less showers! It might seem like I’m clutching at straws a bit here, but hear me out. If you’re using an ebike you’re not exerting yourself as much compared to cycling, so you’re likely going to sweat less. Given that electric bikes are so inexpensive to charge and how showers are energy guzzlers, do give this tip some consideration. Showers typically consume 8-10kWh, which is 21-27 times more consumption compared to the battery capacity used in our example. So taking a 2-3 minute shower could cost more than a full electric bike battery charge.
- Shop around for better deals. One of the quickest ways to reduce your electricity costs is to switch providers. Getting a better rate per unit (kWh) will reduce the overall cost of charging your battery.
- Charge at off-peak hours, if you’re on the appropriate plan. To encourage people to use less electricity during peak times, electricity providers usually offer cheaper rates per kWh during off-peak hours (approx. 9pm to 7am). Charging your battery during this time can result in cost savings.
- Finally of course, it goes without saying, use renewable energy to charge your battery when possible. Renewable energy devices are getting cheaper and cheaper, so we’re seeing more and more homes taking advantage of the long term environmental and electricity cost savings. While cost savings on a single electric bike battery change may not be substantial, at least you’ll have peace of mind that you’re minimizing your carbon footprint.
I’m still shocked at how cheap it is to charge an electric bike for a full year.
Sidenote: it’s even cheaper to charge electric scooters, however, they’re not as efficient to run over longer distances.
Whether or not you’re in an expensive country to charge an electric bike, the cost is extremely low compared to alternative modes of powered travel. The cost of 1 tank of gas could keep your ebike charged and moving for years. Years!
The EPA notes that a standard passanger vehicle produces approx. 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. This is made even more substantial by the fact that, in the US alone, 273.6 million vehicles were registered in 2018.
If electric bikes replaced just 1% of these vehicles, over 10,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide would not enter our atmosphere each year.
I hope the cost breakdown helps you get a better idea of ongoing electric bike charging expenses, while also encouraging you to take the plunge into this more eco-friendly mode of transport. If not for the environment, then your pocket.
Easily work out your own specific charging costs – use the Electric Bike Electricity Cost Calculator, here.