An obvious benefit of electric motorcycles over their gas-powered brethren is that you don't have to pay for gas. (In other late-breaking news, water is wet, and the sky is blue.) "Aha," detractors of electric bikes say, "but you still have to pay the extra cost of charging them, which is really the same thing." They're not wrong, so the question is, is it cheaper to charge an electric bike than to gas up a gasser? YouTuber usmcsaxoki presents a compelling argument that the answer is yes, by a rather significant amount.

In this video, he breaks down the approximate cost of charging his Zero SR at home for the past year. He rode exactly 5,901 miles during the year. His Zero has an average range of 120 miles, and it takes 12.6 kilowatt-hours to charge, a "fuel economy" of 9.5238 miles per kilowatt-hour. At his home in Jacksonville, North Carolina, he pays an average of $0.106 per kilowatt-hour for electricity. Do the math, and his electricity cost for the year was $65.68 to run his Zero.

That's all well and good, but what does this number mean? He ran a similar annual fuel cost for a 2018 Honda CB650F, a motorcycle that gets 50 miles per gallon of gasoline. That's a pretty common fuel economy figure for many bikes, including my own Honda PC800 and Kawasaki KLR 650. Based on the same figure of 5,901 miles, the bike consumes 118.02 gallons of gas. The price of gas varies wildly, of course, but his average for a gallon of regular is $2.443. This means an annual fuel cost of $288.32, more than $200 more than the cost of electricity. If the motorcycle in question requires premium gas, which costs him an average of $3.0666, that annual cost jumps to $361.92, nearly $300 more than the electricity.

By these numbers, it's a no brainer to buy an electric bike. The world we live in is far more complicated than numbers, however. It takes a fair investment of time to recharge batteries, while you can fill your tank and go in minutes. Gas is also widely available, unlike publicly accessible recharging stations. You can gas and go all day, but as Sabrina painfully discovered, traveling any great distance on an electric bike is a major ordeal. That situation may change in the future, as charging times drop and the availability of chargers increases.

Electric bikes are also more expensive to buy than gas bikes, at least for now. You'd have to downgrade to the smaller battery on the Zero S to bring the price down to $10,995. Many gas motorcycles cost more than this, but many also cost less, and electric bikes aren't old enough for cheap Craigslist territory yet. On the flip side, electric bikes don't require oil changes, valve adjustments, or most of the other work that gas bikes need. Their simplicity may also make them more reliable than gas bikes as they age.

The case for the electric motorcycle is getting stronger and stronger, but I don't think they're quite ready to replace gasoline bikes. While I appreciate electric bikes, their lack of everyday usability in today's world means that I'm not ready to add one to my fleet—yet. I am certainly open to the possibility of owning one in the future.

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