E-bikes are arguably worse than electric cars

taiwwa

10 mW
Joined
Jul 30, 2023
Messages
33
Location
Pittsburgh
The main reason is because the complete lack of thermal management of e-bike battery packs means that they destroy cells at a far greater rate than a typical liquid-cooled car. In addition, ebike motors generally have far less durability than electric vehicle motors. Hub motors tend to last about 20,000 miles.

So a typical Tesla has 70kwh of battery. A typical ebike uses 500wh of battery capacity. So you could get 140 e-bikes for one Tesla battery.

However, because of the lack of thermal management, and additionally because ebike batteries often are charged to 100% and sit there for days or weeks at a time, the battery cells last roughly 1/8 to 1/10 as long as the Tesla, which has a very advanced battery management system. So rather than 140 e-bikes, for the lifespan of use it’s more like 14 e-bikes equivalent. Add in the ability of the Tesla to carry 5 to 7 people at a time, let’s say on average there are three people in the Tesla. That means that the ratio is more like 4:1. And again there is the general higher utilization of an electric car versus an electric bike. Lot of recreational riders buy electric bikes and ride them infrequently and that is a pretty negative impact. The reason is that while electric cars generally displace gas car usage, electric bikes often displace regular bicycle usage. Generally, electric vehicles are highly utilized. Add in the various factors like highway speed, ability to haul, shielding from elements, airbags, etc, and an electric car imo is a better use of lithium cells than electric bicycles.
 

Chalo

100 TW
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
11,935
Location
Austin, Texas
A car is a horrible, inexcusable waste of all the resources in it and those used to fuel, maintain, store, and protect it. It not only squanders those resources, it maims and kills people, sickens people and biological systems, ruins the urban environment, deranges land use patterns, and promotes alienation and antisocial behavior habits. There is no single ingredient in a car that wouldn't be better used elsewhere.
 

lnanek

1 kW
Joined
Sep 26, 2022
Messages
356
Does a typical ebike battery overheat? I've never seen that in an off the shelf ebike. Yes, we custom DIY'ers can make bikes that overheat. We're not limited to laws that limit the speed and motor wattage, though.
 

Hillhater

100 TW
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
12,907
Location
Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !
There is no single ingredient in a car that wouldn't be better used elsewhere.
…unless you consider its ability to enable rapid,independent, flexible, transport useful ?…
.. which is one of the primary factors in the development of modern civilisations and societies. !
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2021
Messages
177
Location
Perth
and an electric car imo is a better use of lithium cells than electric bicycles
Before 'car' use was widespread, people lived where they slept. We spoke with our neighbors, we shopped locally as it was more cost-efficient. We had contact with where we slept, and so we notice it and we cared.

When I migrated to New Zealand, it was still common to find small 'Dairy' shops in easy walking distance. I paid for the convenience as it saved me the cost of having a car.

With the 'car', particularly after WWII in the US, we changed how we lived and started 'sliding off' where we lived - we didn't need to improve the neighborhood, we could travel to amenities we liked in human timescale. We ceased having so much opportunity and reason to engage with the people that lived nearby.

And we REALLY RAMPED UP OUR CONSUMPTION. Creating a larger economy offers business and government the opportunity to 'do more', and many people are unlikely to choose to do less unless forced by circumstance. But the ecological effects are becoming difficult to lie about, even for the people that have 'more'.

Lie is the correct word.

We can find our way back to local living, local consumption, and a much smaller ecological footprint sensibly, or on a path through strife, but we will find our way back to local living - I passed my thermodynamics classes. Losing the 'car' will be a part of that - we don't need it, certainly not as the bloated ego-vibrator it has become.

Objects at rest tend to remain at rest - this includes many people if they don't need to think. If they can get away without thinking.

Don't help them. Discourage lazy thoughtlessness with your actions and vote.

The 'Elf' and the 'Pebl' and similar make sense for local scale. We don't need to discard the technology we have devised, and we don't need to stop learning more and using it. But we can't afford to give people excuses to ignore reality - like a 'car' in it's current form. Spending resources to massage some idiot's ego is obviously a criminal waste, and difficult to justify with any compassion for others.

Consumption, fueled by other than need (egos anyone?) is our greatest threat. Another way to say this is unconsciousness is our greatest scourge.

One reason I chose my trike is that it is large enough to put an 'Elf' or 'Pebl' like weather shield on. Now I have most of the running gear working I'm beginning to consider how to handle that. I'm acting now while I have the opportunity - apart from violence, this solution is likely to work for the term of my life.

Given your criteria, your analysis may be correct. I suggest you step back and reconsider the value of your criteria. Anything that advantages thoughtfullness, and disadvantages idiocy, is probably the better investment criteria.

We will get smaller. We can do it the easy way or the hard way. As Fani Willis is quoted to say, "Deal with reality or it will deal with you".
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
390
Location
USA, CA, Bay Area
Very bad hot-take, my man (OP).

Cars have active thermal management for batteries because a car is massively heavy and they need to desperately eek every last possible electron out of those cells to win the "we go more miles per charge" trophy. (The battery packs are also significantly more dense, which makes passive cooling a nightmare; see early Leaf models...)

EBikes are a magnitude of order lighter do not have this problem in the slightest. Batteries used in bikes don't degrade anywhere near the rates your made up, unfounded nonsense statistics purport.
 

rafalg

1 W
Joined
Aug 3, 2023
Messages
58
Location
warsaw
Some of the batteries i built didnt age well, some problems developed after a year or two (unbalanced, faulty cell). I asked a friend who professionally builds ebikes and his batteries after 5 years still work OK, with no signs of giving up. And his bikes are heavy-duty all terrain machines.
The main difference is that he's done lot of work finding reliable and consistent li-ion cells, and i'm building from used cells (buy them in bulk from battery disassembly company). Plus he's doing a lot of testing of the whole electric setup to make sure the components work well together, dont overheat in heavy use etc. So batteries can last long but it requires some serious work.
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2010
Messages
322
Location
Seaford, Australia
I have to agree with the OP, ebikes are not as sophisticated as an EV costing hundreds of times more. They don't have to be.
Aside, I just can't get past Tesla's tacked on iPad for a dash or their front end styling that looks like a Donald Trump pout!

AussieRider
 

Chalo

100 TW
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
11,935
Location
Austin, Texas
EBikes are a magnitude of order lighter do not have this problem in the slightest. Batteries used in bikes don't degrade anywhere near the rates your made up, unfounded nonsense statistics purport.

This is well illustrated by the fact that many of us use retired automotive modules to propel our bikes for years after they are no longer suitable for cars. That describes all the batteries I've used in my own bike for a long time.

I still maintain that even a disposable, useless electric knickknack that goes directly from manufacturer to landfill is a less-bad use for lithium batteries than a car that does active harm to everybody and everything along the way.
 
Last edited:

Hillhater

100 TW
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
12,907
Location
Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !
An ebike can do the same.
No it cannot.!
The world had bicycles (and horses for longer journeys and heavy loads) before cars and vans etc became available……
….but the dramatic increase in living standards and social development didnt take off until fossil fueled transport was widely available.
EVs can take over much of that role, but the “ebike” will never get your sick/injured children to the Hospital 20 miles away quickly.
you may not appreciate it, but speed and load carrying ability is a useful atribute !
 

taiwwa

10 mW
Joined
Jul 30, 2023
Messages
33
Location
Pittsburgh
So for instance, I had a Bionx battery pack go bad on me recently.

In sum total, I might have put 500 miles on those cells, and that is optimistically speaking. It likely was less.

Those cells almost certainly delivered fewer miles per watt-hour than the cells in my electrical vehicle are delivering.

After experiencing the death of that battery pack, I am extremely hesitant to have more than one battery-powered bike system at a time. I already bicycle infrequently because I have an electric car.
 

Eastwood

100 kW
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
1,403
So for instance, I had a Bionx battery pack go bad on me recently.

In sum total, I might have put 500 miles on those cells, and that is optimistically speaking. It likely was less.

Those cells almost certainly delivered fewer miles per watt-hour than the cells in my electrical vehicle are delivering.

After experiencing the death of that battery pack, I am extremely hesitant to have more than one battery-powered bike system at a time. I already bicycle infrequently because I have an electric car.

So you start this topic based off your ONE isolated ebike battery experience? 😂
I would say educate yourself first before you blurt out something ridiculous.
 

Hillhater

100 TW
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
12,907
Location
Sydney ..(Hilly part !) .. Australia/ Down under !
ebikes are not as sophisticated as an EV costing hundreds of times more. They don't have to be.
If you look at some of the newer commercial ebikes ( Bosch, Specialised, Yamaha, etc) you might change that view !
Many now have rediculously complex systems and controls, and getting worse with each new model, together with ever increasing price tags ($10-$15k+ ?)
..and those unnecessarily complex systems, exotic features and displays , are not confined to Tesla’s or even just EVs,..most new model cars ..ICEs included…are littered with multiple unnecessary “look smart” gadgets etc……anything to justify price increases !
 

Chalo

100 TW
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
11,935
Location
Austin, Texas
EVs can take over much of that role, but the “ebike” will never get your sick/injured children to the Hospital 20 miles away quickly.

So let me see if I'm getting this right. You're justifying doing something that's self-evidently wrong and disastrous (car driving) by claiming it helps with something else that's self-evidently wrong and disastrous (propagating more people into a world already ruined by human overpopulation). Is that what you're saying?

if you live 20 miles from the nearest hospital, you have failed, and the rest of us shouldn't suffer ill consequences from your bad choices.
 

rafalg

1 W
Joined
Aug 3, 2023
Messages
58
Location
warsaw
Great argumentation, Sir. But are we still talking about ebikes? Or you just prefer everyone to suffer just from reading such posts?
 

Chalo

100 TW
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
11,935
Location
Austin, Texas
Great argumentation, Sir. But are we still talking about ebikes? Or you just prefer everyone to suffer just from reading such posts?
Hey what do I know? I just do all my regular transportation on an e-bike in a world full of idiots who make terrible choices that hurt people, and who don't believe in leaving anything untainted for others.

Are you one of them?
 

afzal

100 W
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
137
Location
Kerala, India
Lot of recreational riders buy electric bikes and ride them infrequently and that is a pretty negative impact. The reason is that while electric cars generally displace gas car usage, electric bikes often displace regular bicycle usage.
I had read an article, which I felt to be an authoritative one (ATM, unable to find the link) which says, electric bikes causes less carbon emission than normal bicycles (remember human power also needs fuel) for the same distance.

But I think, perhaps, the effect might be negated due to human behavior - as e-bike makes commute easier, usage might increase.
 

neptronix

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
16,815
Location
Utah, USA
Nope, a correctly sized pack with adequate discharge needs no thermal management whatsoever.

An extreme example: i used to run 20C lipo at 2-4C; at worst i would see a few degrees of temperature rise. In freezing conditions, i'd only lose 5% of my capacity to voltage sag.

Whereas a Tesla requires thermal management because they are periodically overloading a high energy, lower power cell and this creates massive amounts of heat and need to buffer that.

Thermal management is an engineering bandaid.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
390
Location
USA, CA, Bay Area
Whereas a Tesla requires thermal management because they are periodically overloading a high energy, lower power cell and this creates massive amounts of heat and need to buffer that.

Thermal management is an engineering bandaid.

I was curious and looked it up; one of the tesla models was rocking a 74p cell structure and could push a maximum of 750A. That puts it at about 10a per cell, roughly, which is very common in the "high wh, low discharge" camp of 2170's.

I wouldn't call it a bandaid, per se, it's just not something ebikes need because of the massive weight difference and differences in market competitiveness + costs. (Being "longest range" in electric cars creates a marketing advantage and it's far easier to pass off the extra cost for both R&D and maintenance of the cooling system on to the consumer. Neither of these things would bear out in the ebike market.)
 

taiwwa

10 mW
Joined
Jul 30, 2023
Messages
33
Location
Pittsburgh
I had read an article, which I felt to be an authoritative one (ATM, unable to find the link) which says, electric bikes causes less carbon emission than normal bicycles (remember human power also needs fuel) for the same distance.

But I think, perhaps, the effect might be negated due to human behavior - as e-bike makes commute easier, usage might increase.

Yeah, those articles make really bad arguments to the point that the argue that walking is worse than driving if you take into account the carbon costs of meat. Because, as we know, all the guys in the big trucks are vegans while the pedestrians and cyclists are red meat eaters.
 

taiwwa

10 mW
Joined
Jul 30, 2023
Messages
33
Location
Pittsburgh
So you start this topic based off your ONE isolated ebike battery experience? 😂
I would say educate yourself first before you blurt out something ridiculous.
I know a guy who has a 2017 Chevy bolt, which is a year older than my Bionx battery pack. It is still going strong today, 150k miles later. Gets over 200 miles of range per charge. The large pack sizes of electric cars reduce the wear on the cells by making deep discharge unnecessary. Smaller packs cycle much more often.
 
Top