How Much Does it Cost to Charge Your Electric Bike?

Norm's Ohm XU 700 electric bike.

So you have heard about how cost effective electric bikes are for getting around, but do you know how much it actually costs to charge your e-bike?

Well in this post I will crunch the numbers to show just how cost effective they are.

Norm, an Electric Bike Report reader, recently asked: “My charger used 0.14 kWh (kilowatt hours) for 12 miles of riding the new Ohm XU 700 today.  Any idea of how much that cost?”

Yes, I do!  And I think you will be surprised by the results of the following calculations!

First of all, you will need to find the local electricity rates from your electricity provider.  You can check your recent bill or they may turn up in a Google search.

My provider is APS in Arizona and here is their rate chart.

We are on the Time Advantage (Noon to 7pm) plan and I will use the summer rates because they are the most expensive.

You can see that there are 2 different prices for “On-Peak” and “Off-Peak”.  The idea is that an electricity company encourages customers to use less electricity during the heavy usage times, in this case Noon to 7pm.

Tip: By remembering the Off-Peak hours, my wife and I have been able to save quite a bit of money by using our AC mainly after 7pm to cool the house down.

Example of my electricity rate chart for calculating electric bike charging cost.

Alright, so now we have our On-Peak cost of electricity = $0.21/kWh and Off-Peak cost of electricity = $0.054/kWh.

By the way, Norm used an electricity usage monitor like this to determine that he used 0.14 kWh for 12 miles.

Now let’s multiply the kWh’s used (0.14 kwh) for Norm’s 12 mile trip.  12 miles is a pretty good number to use because that could be a typical commute to work.

Cost for the 12 mile trip (drum roll):

On-Peak use:  0.14 kwh * $0.21/kWh = $0.0294 or 2.94 cents

or

Off-Peak use: 0.14 kwh * $0.054/kWh = $0.0075 or 0.75 cents

Dang, that is cheap!

Okay, time for some disclaimers.  Your electricity rates will probably be different and you may not get the same miles per kWh as Norm, but even then, you can see that the cost to charge an electric bike is relatively low.  Basically, your mileage may vary.

More disclaimers.  There are more fees from your electricity bill that will probably factor into the overall costs of the electricity to charge your e-bike but you are probably already paying those fees to keep the lights on in your house :).

If you charge your electric bike at work this could be helpful info if your boss is concerned about how much your e-bike will add to their electricity bill.

Tip: If you have a long commute to work, having an extra charger at work can solve range concerns.

Speaking of how little it costs to charge an electric bike, what about charging it via solar power?  E-bikes use so little energy compared to electric cars that it really is possible to get around via a solar powered vehicle, today.

You could have a solar panel kit like this at your home or you get really extreme and travel with solar panels on a bike trailer like my friends Susi and Ondra who did a solar powered electric bike tour in Mongolia!  Here is a guide to electric bike charging stations and a lot of them are solar powered.

That about wraps it up.  Do you have any questions?  Have you calculated how much money you are saving per month commuting by e-bike?  Please leave your comments and questions below.

Thanks!

-Pete

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips.


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6 Comments

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  1. Peter August 21, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    The cost of electricity to charge an ebike is in the noise. It probably takes 0.5 kwh to recharge my 0.360 kwh battery – there are losses both in the charger and the battery when recharging. Even if you do 30 miles a day ( which uses up most of the charge on my Bionx 350 PL, similar to the Ohm) we are only talking about five to six cents for electricity here on the more expensive East Coast.

    The real cost is battery life. My Bionx Li-Mn battery is good for about 500 to 700 cycles and costs over $500 to have rebuilt. So that’s a dollar to go 30 miles. That is the dominant cost, not the electricity.

    • Pete August 24, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      Great point Peter! I will be addressing that in a separate article.

  2. damien October 15, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I used to have this catchphrase : fillup with 5 euros a year!

    daily commuters might have to raise up to 10€.

    +1 with Pete

    Damien
    Paris, France

    • Pete October 15, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      So true Damien! Riding an e-bike is a good way to save money and get some exercise on the daily commute to work.

  3. Louis August 13, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    An e-bike beats my car any day.

  4. David June 1, 2014 at 3:15 am #

    See the cost calculations for the battery usage on the ebike I built at http://davidtangye.info/electricpedro.info/?view=article&id=10 = 864 mpge vs Nissan Leaf 99 mpge.

    My 15ah LiFePO4 battery cost $700, and is now 4 yrs old. Its been used about 1000 times, probably getting about 90% performance of new. I ignore battery and bike cost completely, since a car registration and insurance for just one year is about that much.

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