How much does it cost to charge an electric bike?

John Clark, Velospeed
John Clark 30.07.20

One of the biggest benefits to owning an electric bike is that they are a fantastic alternative to owning a car or using public transport for your daily commute to work, or just to get around town.

There’s the benefit of avoiding the traffic without arriving in a sweaty mess like you could on a conventional bike whilst still getting some exercise. All the while, contributing to a greener environment and being out in the open air on a lovely day instead of cooped up in a hot box on a blistering day.

If you haven’t owned an electric bike before you may wonder how much does it cost to charge, and whether or not you are going to have to start your own power plant just to charge the batteries.

This is a common question we get at our bike shop and one I hope we can help you answer.

The basic answer can be pretty simple: not a lot per mile vs any other mode of powered transport!

Do not fear though below we will get a little more specific and use actual numbers vs broad “it’s cheap” statements.

Firstly we will look at the CPC (cost per charge). Modern electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries which are very efficient and much lighter when compared to older battery technology. To charge an electric bike you typically unplug the battery from the bike (or manoeuvre the bike close to your charging cable if it is a fixed battery) and use a regular household plug with the supplied mains charging unit.

From empty, a typical 360W capacity electric bike battery will take around 6 hours to charge to full. Now the price of electricity can vary from household to household depending on your supplier but you are typically looking at a rate of 10-15p/kWh. That means a battery with this capacity will set you back between 20-30p (£0.20-£0.30).

Depending on the type of bike riding you do and where (aggressive fast uphill vs calm flat road riding) you could expect to get around 40-80 miles of assisted bike riding from a single charge. This equates to well under half a penny a mile. You certainly won’t be getting that on the bus, in your car or on the train.

Of course, there are other associated costs with running an electric bike which we break down in a recent article here, but compared to other forms of automated transport where your legs are not the only thing getting you from A to B it’s not only the greenest, but also the cheapest way of getting you around town.

Other costs you say? Well yes, as detailed in the article mentioned above if you are putting in some serious daily miles then you are going to have to change the tyres once in a while. On top of that after a few years usage you may have to think about replacing the battery. Those costs could be factored into a cost per mile equation but are a lot less frequent (think every few years). So it’s not something you would typically equate into a cost per mile scenario. Another way to think about this is when calculating a car’s miles per gallon and how much per mile in fuel it costs to go from A to B – you don’t factor in the cam belt change the car needs at 70,000 miles.

From a day to day running costs perspective, you may want to think about the cost of insurance (electric bike insurance typically works out at around £15-20 a month) and a 6 monthly service. Outside of these costs a 20p charge every few days is all you are really looking at when working out how much it will cost to get to work this week.

So in summary, how much does it cost to charge an electric bike?

About 20-30 pence depending on your energy supplier. Is that the only cost? No… but compared to the running costs of alternative methods of transport, however you look at it, owning an electric bike is not only an environmentally friendly mode of transport but an extremely cheap one too!