5 Reasons to Ditch Your Car for an E-Bike
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Depending on where you're from, the idea of going car-free might seem radical. After all, many of us are immersed in an incredibly car-centric culture every day.
But the idea of ditching the family car—or cutting way back on usage—is starting to catch on. Between 2010-2015, the number of American families living car-free increased in 24 out of 50 states.
And many European cities are making great strides toward becoming car-free, thanks in no small part to a boom in e-bikes and scooters.
It turns out that for many people, going car-free or car-lite is actually pretty achievable—especially if you replace driving with riding an e-bike.
Why Use an E-Bike to Go Car-Free?
E-bikes are great tools for car-free living, because they offer all the advantages of conventional bikes, but are easier to pedal.
They're a really practical way of going car-free (or car-lite) because e-biking is something that people of average fitness can keep up with daily. This is an especially big deal in hilly areas, or for people who need to travel long distances every day.
E-bikes also make it possible to carry kids and cargo on your daily errands without getting fatigued. If you choose a high-quality e-bike with adequate cargo capacity, e-bikes can be a solution for the whole family.
And replacing your car with an e-bike comes with some huge advantages.
1. Save Money
Replacing your car with an e-bike is a surefire way to save on transportation costs. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.
According to one source, the average annual cost of owning a 10-year-old car in the US is $5,914 (newer cars cost even more to own, mostly because of depreciation). That includes fuel, finance charges, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, license and registration, and taxes.
And that figure is probably a major underestimate since it doesn't take into account parking fees, parking tickets, time spent searching for parking... Yeah, parking is just a giant pain.
Right away, it's obvious that selling your car would be a huge net positive to your bottom line. But even if you need to hold onto your car for those occasions when you truly have no other options, you'll still save money by e-biking instead of driving.
In fact, according to our calculations, every 10-mile trip taken by e-bike instead of car saves about $2.30. Even if you only e-bike to and from work, you could save over $500 a year.
To be honest, you may save even more than that (wait until you see what happens to your car insurance bill when your mileage plummets). But it's still a pretty good start.
2. Improve Your Physical Health
E-biking instead of driving can help you fit more exercise into your day—gym optional. Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash.
This one's pretty straightforward: e-biking is exercise, and exercise is good for you.
E-biking burns about the same number of calories per hour as brisk walking—more if you're hauling around kids and cargo. And since e-bikes let you climb hills and ride long distances without burning out, e-bike riders tend to ride further and more often than conventional cyclists.
The health benefits of e-biking get supercharged when e-biking is your primary mode of transportation. All of the tasks you would typically do by car instantly become health-boosting bursts of exercise when you e-bike instead.
Plus, if you have kids, they'll grow up seeing the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle, which is something we'd all love to pass down to future generations.
3. Improve Your Mental Health
E-biking instead of driving can improve your mood and mental clarity much like meditation does. Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash.
The physical health benefits of e-biking instead of driving are nothing to scoff at. Still, the mental health benefits might be even more remarkable.
E-biking helps your brain produce endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that boost your mood and reduce stress levels. By contrast, driving tends to be a stressful experience. Just thinking about bumper-to-bumper traffic is enough to raise most people's blood pressure. Never mind hunting for parking downtown on a weekend!
Like other forms of exercise, e-biking also improves your cognition (i.e., it helps you think more clearly). Scientists have actually specifically looked at the cognitive benefits of e-biking and found that they're comparable to those of conventional cycling. This is especially important for older adults, who may experience cognitive decline as they age (and may not be able to use a regular bike as easily).
It might seem far-fetched to claim that going car-free or car-lite could help you feel more alert, perform better at work, and might even make you smarter—but it's true!
4. Protect the Environment
Driving a car is the single most polluting thing most of us do on a daily basis. Car pollution contributes to climate change and acid rain and causes health problems like asthma. In fact, one study calculated the health and climate costs of car pollution at $18.42 per gallon in the US.
If your goal is to live a greener lifestyle, going car-free or car-lite is the most impactful thing you can do. E-bikes are a zero-emissions alternative to driving.
5. More Quality Time with Family
E-biking with your family turns everyday commutes into more meaningful family time.
While this benefit might not be as obvious, we hear it over and over again from car-free and car-lite families who own e-bikes.
When you're rushing your kids around in a car, the kids are further away from you, the outside world is passing by at high speed, and the whole experience is somehow a little isolating.
An e-bike completely changes the equation. You're still doing the same commute with your kids, but now that time is spent engaging with each other and the world around you. Your child can see the rabbits in the neighbor's yard, wave to their friends on the sidewalk, and enjoy the ride while feeling close to you.
Replacing your car with an e-bike turns every trip into quality family time.
Ready to Ditch Your Car?
Hopefully, we've provided plenty of motivation for your car-free or car-lite journey.
Looking for an e-bike that's versatile enough to replace a car? Check out the Tern HSD, Quick Haul, or NBD (for families with one kid), or the Tern GSD (for families with two kids). Check also our Tern Passenger Guide to help you carry your kid safely.
Ready for a test ride? Find your nearest Tern dealer here.