Why Should I Buy an eBike: Comparing the Financial Costs of a Roadster eBike versus a Car

By integrating all the needed features that others call accessories, the Tiller Rides Roadster is a convenient car replacement for many everyday trips.  This is especially true for trips within 5 kilometres of home and/or work.

When considering whether to buy an eBike, it is worth considering the costs: how does an eBike stack up against a car in terms of financial cost, environmental footprint, and convenience? 

In this blog post, we are looking at the financial cost of using an electric bike vs a car for everyday urban transport. We also have other posts that compare environmental footprint and convenience.


Running Cost Comparison: eBike vs a Car

To help their one million+ members understand the true cost of motoring in Western Australia, the RAC (WA) calculated the cost per week of owning a range of cars – from small hatchbacks to large SUVs. 

Their calculations is based on a few assumptions:

  • The car is bought new and sold in a 5 year period (depreciation value),
  • Purchased with a car loan,
  • Has comprehensive insurance,
  • Is serviced regularly, and
  • Driven 15,000 kilometres per year for private use

For the purpose of this article, we are going to look at how the Roadster stacks up against the cheapest medium car, the Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid.


The Running Financial Costs of a Roadster eBike

To work out the approximate annual running costs for the Roadster we used the same assumptions as the RAC – it is insured, bought with a loan, does 15,000 kilometres a year (which is a lot of riding), depreciates 50% in value.  We also included a battery replacement at 36,000 kilometres (600 charges at an average of 60 kilometre per charge).

Using these assumptions, the total running costs per month of the Roadster is $125.45.

It is important to note that many of these assumptions don’t actually apply to the Roadster. Most Riders will not travel 15,000km a year, do not purchase with a loan, or insure it – so the actual cost of owning a Roadster would be less.


The Running Financial Costs of the  Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid

The estimated on-road price to buy a Camry is $37,517, and five year depreciation will drop its value down $14,700. 

The monthly running costs of a Camry are:

Standing costs (registration, insurance and CTP) $118.73
Fuel $89.48
Servicing $22.75
Tyres $11.93
Principal & interest loan repayments $731.61

Other Costs of Owning a Car (that are free with an eBike!)

Beyond monthly running costs, there are other, tangential costs associated with owning a car that factor into its true cost of ownership. 


Parking Costs

One of the most appealing things about using an electric bike in a city is that you don’t have to pay for parking! In comparison, a car needs to be parked in some form of car park which either costs the driver or the company who owns the parking space.

For example, if you work in the Perth CBD and drive to work, it will cost around $10 - $17 per day.  Over time, this adds up to around $50 - $85 a week, or $2300 - $3910 per year!


Wellbeing Costs

Another great benefit of using an electric bike is that you can integrate mild exercise into everyday activities. The intensity level of the ride is controlled by the power assist settings on the ebike, allowing you to do as little or as much of a workout as you want.  [Read More: Is riding an eBike still a workout?]

Personally, I find that while it is physically less effort to ride a Roadster than a regular push bike, I used the Roadster more frequently than I ever used my pushbike.  The combination of a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the week means that I can maintain a good fitness level.

For some Riders, using an ebike daily can replace the gym membership, or shift the requirements for a gym membership.  We are by no means advocating for cancelling the gym, but according to research by Canstar, the average Australian does not get the most out of their gym membership because of a lack of free time.  At the same time, the average Australian also spends around $780 per year on the gym.  So if you are under-utilising your gym, an eBike may be the winning solution: transport + exercise + cost savings! 


Medical & Health Costs

It is impossible to put an accurate price on the cost of poor health, but we all know that staying fit and healthy is much cheaper than not. A quick Google search will reveal a host of articles about the cost of poor health due to increased spending on medical costs and losses in income earning potential. While these articles all make a range of cost predictions, all estimates are in the thousands of dollars per year.

In 2017, the World Health Organisation attempted to quantify the true cost of poor health on a country’s medical system. The report on the costs of unhealthy diets and low physical activity found that poor health costs Australia around $100 per person per year – or $2.4 billion annually!


Final Thoughts

Let’s assume for a moment that you are fit and healthy, don’t spend over $700 a year on a gym, don’t spend over $2,000 on CBD parking and only have a small car (no electric bike). Let’s also assume that you earn the average Australian income of $80,000 with a take home income of around $63,000.

If you choose to use an electric bike instead of a car for most of your everyday transport, you're looking at saving a whopping $30,000! 

That equates to having a six month long holiday every five years. . .  and definitely an interesting thing to ponder next time you're sitting in traffic watching the ever increasing number of electric bikes ride past.


By Julian Ilich - Co-Founder of Tiller Rides