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I'm toying with buying an Electric Bike for zipping around the Valley in a slightly more eco-friendly way than my SUV.

The model I am favoring at the moment is a Jetson

I also looked at the XB-700 from Extreme Scooters

They both come in around $1800.  I like the design on the XB better, but a few bad reviews on customer service, a flimsy plastic windshield, charger that doesn't work etc put me off it.

They have a range of about 30 miles and do up to 20mph, with a max load of about 275 lbs.  This is plenty for my daily trips around the valley.  You can actually get them to go faster by unplugging the speed limiter, up to around 26 mph.

By having pedals, these bikes fly under the radar of the DMV, so you don't need a license, registration or insurance for them.  However, the pedals are close to useless and just there for show and legal reasons.

A few things are holding me back from making the purchase.

1- Lack of Cargo Capacity

They don't have a rack installed, and I'm not sure I could find a rack that would mount on them.  If I can't carry my Camera Bag and have a place to put beer when I stop at the store, it is close to useless.  I have a bike trailer, but I don't think it will mount to the rear hub like on a typical bike.  So I would need to have something custom built.

2- Cold Weather

Will it operate at temps below freezing, and with how much range and speed?

3- Security

The Motor key switch is easily jimmied, and besides that anyone with a van or trailer could just pick it up and throw it in the trailer.  I could use a heavy duty bike lock with it, but you have to find things to attach to.

On the plus side, I probably would be the only person in the Valley who has one, so it could be identified by the Gestapo if somebody is riding it around.

4-Battery Life/Replacement

Claims are for 7 years, but this appears to be bullshit.  Based on reviews, I think 2 years is more likely, possibly 3.  Will I be able to get replacement batteries in 3 years?  I could buy an extra battery or two now, but not sure on the shelf life of these things when not being used.  If left on a trickle charger the whole time they are stored I suspect they would still be pretty good, but not sure there either.

5- Safety

They aren't designed to ride off road, so you need to be on pavement, which most of the time doesn't have a bike lane around here.  At 20mph, you are way slower than the cars are zipping by, so you need to stay to the right and let them pass you.  Many drivers are not too considerate here and will get way too close making these passes.

A real Electric Motorcycle would resolve most of these problems, but I don't like the models available and besides they are more money than I care to spend on such a prep.

All that considered, I may still buy one just as a Prep, and not use it much until Gas is being rationed and the roads are a little safer to be travelling on with one of these things.

Thoughts welcome.


After reading more, I am now looking at scaling down here to a Razor Ecosmart Scooter for the electric 2-wheeler Emergency Vehicle.

It comes in at a much cheaper price of around $375, and is probably good enough for what I would use it for.  Much shorter range of only around 7-8 miles, but don;t think I would use it for much more than that anyhow.

It has a rack and basket, so you can carry some stuff on it.  Security is still an issue of course, as well as Safety.  However, it is also small enough to carry easily in the SUV.

The cooler look and the greater range and speed of the Jetson and XB-700 still appeal to me though.  The number of negative reviews for all these devices bothers me though.  Seems like you can be lucky and get a good one, or you get a real Lemon.  At least with the Razor, I would not be dropping so much money if I end up with a Lemon.

This is a tough decision.


Just checked the cost for the Battery for the XB-700, it is $700.  I can't see buying this toy without a spare battery, so jack up the cost to around $2500.  This is getting into car cost territory.  In fact a good deal higher, since my 1983 Mazda MPV I picked up used for $900.

What is the lifespan on this scooter in a SHTF scenario?  Max with luck I could keep it on the road is 5 years I think from today.  Any number of things can fail, from the Batteries to Tires to the Motor, and if I actually NEED to use it, the chances I can find replacement parts for it are slim and none.

I have to compare this against the costs for Gas.  I average about $30/wk in gas at current prices, call it $1500/year.  So even if I used it all the time it would take 2 years to pay off.  I also won't use it all the time, certainly not in mid-winter, when it probably would not run at all.

All it really does is buy a bit of time and security in the case of temporary Gas shortages/rationing.  In no way can it really substitute for the Car.

Then there are the issues with it being stolen or wrecked in an accident.  It has a very limited lifespan overall.

On the one hand I really want one of these devices, on the other from a pragmatic view of the economics, it is a waste of money.


My recent exploration into buying an Electric Bicycle/Scooter has led me to think more closely about the overall economics of this, and whther we might have substantially increased the timespan of running an Industrial Economy had we wholesale shifted to using this type of transportation instead of Carz.

Clearly, these devices use a lot less energy to get you from Point A to Point B, in the 20-30 mile range that is typical for the daily commutes most people have to work.  However, if everyone had one and was using it every day for this, we would have needed to build many more electical generation facilities to charge all of them up every day, and a more robust grid as well to handle the larger load.  On balance, you probably save some energy here, but the infrastructure would eat up a good portion of the savings.

The next issue is batteries.  Li-I batteries were not available back in the 70s, so the new fleet of Commuter Electric Bikes would have needed many more Lead-Acid batteries, which would wear out more often since they were being charged/discharged so often.  More mining necessary to keep up the supply of batteries here and replace them.

Then of course is the issue of Bulk Transport, and unless the paradigm was also changed where most products were produced locally, you would still need some kind of fleet of Trains, Trucks and Container ships to drag everything around all the time.  Electric Bikes do not substitute for Trains or Container ships.  So these still are burning Oil.

Would we have put less CO2 up into the atmosphere if we had done this instead?  Perhaps slightly less, but as long as we burned Fossil Fuels to generate the needed electricity, we still would have been adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

Overall, had we made a transition this way back in the 70s, my WAG is that maybe we would have extended the lifespan of Industrial Civilization by a Century or so, but no more than that.  Besides that, the slowing economics which would have resulted would have caused the credit system to implode that much faster.  We would have faced the collapse of the economic ponzi much sooner, probably in the 80s if not 70s.

So, overall it seems unlikely that "Green" devices like E-bikes would hve made much difference over the time period, even had they been wholesale produced and adopted.  The very fact such devices are dependent on a very large scale Industrial economy functioning means they go when the JIT shipping paradigm goes, and when you can't access the materials needed to create them at a price people can afford, which they never can because you always need debt to finance all of it.

For now, if you have the surplus FRNs and can afford one, an E-Bike provides a temporary measure of additional transportation security.  It probably does not save you much money, by the time you factor in the cost of the bike, its lifespan and repairs compared to an automobile.  It defintely won't "Save the Planet" if you buy one and drive it regularly instead of your SUV.  It is a very marginal improvement overall.


EV is great with enough battery to handle all commuting. Expensive, and not as effective in cold.

For the commuting you are describing, gasoline based, (excluding walking, bicycling and mass transit, all of which are available in any decent suburbia) these work year round except when there is really snow on the road surface or the temps are <20F.

I paid $1200 for a new one (albeit a few model years old), they travel 120 miles on a single tank (1.3 gallons) and I fuel them from the lawnmower can. 5 gallons is good for all summer, so if you wanted to use it as bug out transport you put the 5 gallon jerry can at your feet and could escape all the way to the Yukon if you wanted to. Storage under the seat, reliable as a hammer, hits the speed limiter regularly at 42mph on the flats with a tailwind or going downhill, is able to carry an extra person in a pinch (at least a 5'8" weighing 110#), insurance cost is $10/year, registration $10/5 years, and you are allowed to park wherever the bicycles do.Sidewalks are perfectly legal.

The Volt is 3X more efficient in terms of liquid fuel efficiency (300 mpg vs 100mpg) but cost 30X as much and its operating costs alone are more in 18 months than the purchase price of the scooter. The scooter was purchased on the basis of using rather than my old SUV, and at 6000 miles will have paid for itself based on fuel savings alone. But it can't beat the Volt economics the same way it does the SUV because the Volt is more efficient than the scooter, not less.

Of course, if fleeing in a non-cage is really a priority, I recommend something less limited to road travel and with enough carrying capacity for a summers worth of gear. More expensive than a scooter, but much more capable, and can still be used to bomb around town fairly efficiently.


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