Maintenance Costs for an Electric Bike

Back in 2013 one of our dev teams was working on developing the software and testing one of the first Bosch e-bikes on the market. There were a lot of discussions in the office about whether the e-bikes will become a thing or not as we took turns riding the working prototype we had in the office. Now almost 10 years later, we see e-bikes all around the world.

Ok, but how much does the maintenance costs?

The average maintenance costs for an eBike are anywhere between $250 and $550 per year. Presuming you don’t get a faulty e-bike, maintenance costs are made up mostly by the bike insurance, if you choose to get one, and the cost of replacing the battery every 3 to 5 years.

E-Bike Maintenance Costs

An e-bike is just a bike with some added muscles in a form of an electric motor, a Lithium-Ion battery, and a controller.

  1. Charging the battery on a daily basis will cost you on average between 5-15 cents per day ($36 / year) depending on your power provider.
  2. Mechanical maintenance is $50 – $150 per year in a dedicated shop, or much cheaper if you’re a DIY person.
  3. Consumables are $50 per year, and this is just regular stuff a normal bike would need too.
  4. Optional E-Bike Insurance starts from $100 per year. And I definitely encourage you to have one, especially if you live in a big city.
  5. Battery replacement $700 (every 4 years)

Summing up all the above results your average maintenance cost per year is about $450 per year.

Lifespan and replacement parts

The Lithium-Ion Battery

The lifespan of a Lithium-Ion battery depends on its quality, the number of charge cycles, and charging habits.
This being said, a good quality Lithium-Ion battery charged on a daily basis but not completely depleted will last for a good 4 years. Usually, this type of battery will last for 1000 to 1500 charge cycles, and it will be usable even after that, but it will provide a lot less range.

Few tips for keeping the battery in good shape:

  • Try not to completely deplete the battery on a regular basis.
  • If you’re not using the bike for a longer time, store it with the battery charged at 70%-80% full.
  • Never store your bike with the battery completely depleted. 
  • Try not to store your battery in a too cold or too hot environment.

When it comes to understanding the characteristics of the battery you have, there are a lot of numbers that are intimidating for a non-technical person. Voltage (V), Amperage-hours (Ah), Watt-hours (Wh), etc.

There is a simple way to understand this and how those numbers affect you.

  1. The voltage (V) is directly responsible for how powerful the electrical motor can be. In other words how strong and fast your e-Bike is going to be.
  2. The Amp-hours (Ah) alone can help you to calculate the Watt-hours by simply multiplying it with the voltage E.g.: Ah x V = Wh
  3. The Amperage hours (Ah) and Watt-hours (Wh) are mainly telling you how much electrical power you can store in the battery and release in one hour. This directly affects the distance you can ride. More Watt-hours means more miles to enjoy the ride.

The Electric Motor or Drive Unit

The electric motor is also called the Drive Unit by some and it is the core of your e-bike.

E-bike motor exposed

Usually, the electric motor does require little to no maintenance at all, just make sure you follow the instructions that come with the e-Bike and that’s it.
The viability on the other side is a hot topic as the electric motor is packed with electronics and gears, sometimes made of plastic.
Those electronics and gears are required to mix your pedaling power with electrical power. This is the reason why I would always go with known brands to get higher-quality components. 

If your riding conditions are involving a lot of rain and mud, you should take into consideration checking and replacing bearings and seals, as there are kits of various types already available.

Few cost examples

An example of battery cost is this Bosch PowerTube 500 that is currently available for $797 at REI and according to the producer, you can ride an average of 51 miles with this battery.

A Yamaha ION motor unit at 36V and 250Wh is priced at $677 here

Overall buying a good e-Bike is not cheap, but if you can afford to buy one, the maintenance will definitely not be a problem and the benefits are great. On my side, I am more concerned about not having my e-Bike stolen as in my area I have no insurance company covering such goods.

Happy (less) pedaling 🙂

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