You may be wondering why you should build your own bike when you can go buy an off the shelf electric bike or scooter at your local Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire for a reasonable price. The main reason is these bikes just plain suck. They are underpowered with small motors, low amperage controllers, and weak batteries. This is fine if you just want to cruise slowly at 30kph (18 mph) on a flat road down to the local corner store and back and don’t mind pedaling to make it up any hill, but I don’t see them as a replacement for a car. You see them pedaling like mad to make it up a small hill or sometimes pushing them because their battery died. Traffic gets backed up behind them on narrow roads because they are moving so slowly and cars cannot pass them.
There are a few companies that do make very nice high quality electric bikes but only if you are willing to spend up to $10000 and most of them are still not as fast as a bike you can build yourself for a fraction of the cost. If you are serious about replacing your car and cutting the umbilical cord to the oil companies you need to build the bike yourself, hand pick good quality components and modify some parts to increase performance and reliability. This way you can build a bike that perfectly matches your specific needs and will last for many years.
You may be thinking why not just build an electric motorcycle instead of using a bicycle as a platform. Well the bicycle has several advantages. In most places you do not have to license or insure an electric bicycle, which can save you thousands of dollars a year alone. You can also ride an electric bicycle on designated bike routes and paths. On a motorcycle you are obligated to obey the same rules as a car so you are stuck waiting in traffic with every other vehicle. A bicycle weighs much less than a motorcycle chassis, which means it will require less power to move it. This translates to a more efficient vehicle that can use a smaller (therefore cheaper) battery pack to travel the same distance. One final advantage of a bicycle is it can be locked up to a bike rack instead of parking in a stall saving you even more money by not purchasing a parking pass.