Here at Electrek, I’ve had the rough job of testing literally hundreds of electric bicycles over the past few years (ok fine, it’s super fun). I’ve seen everything from bargain basement models to several ultra high-end electric bikes with cutting-edge materials and advanced production processes.
Sometimes the cheapest electric bikes leave me wanting more, while the super expensive e-bikes offer more than an average rider can afford. As usual, the sweet spot is usually somewhere in the middle. Here’s a list of what I consider to be the best quality electric bikes I’ve tested on the market today that still slip in under the coveted $1,000 mark.
Rad Power Bikes RadMission
The Rad Power Bikes RadMission is the epitome of a no-frills urban electric bike. It offers (almost) everything you need and nothing you don’t.
From the 500W motor to the 500Wh battery, the performance specs are plenty for average riders looking for a 20 mph (32 km/h) electric bike.
The city-oriented e-bike may lack a few fancier options like suspension or an LCD screen, but it’s well made and gets you in the door with the support and peace of mind of the largest electric bike company in the US.
It even comes in two frame styles, mid-step and high-step. I’m a fan of the mid-step, partly because it’s more comfortable to mount and partly because I think that the orange color (which only comes on the mid-step) is the best one of the bunch.
While the RadMission is often priced at around $1,200, it’s currently on sale for an impressive $899. At that price, it’s a steal of a deal.
Check out my full review if you want to get all the nerdy details on this awesome model.
Or take a gander at my short review video below for a quick dive into this popular model.
Lectric XP Lite
If the RadMission above is a bigger bike than you’re after, then the small and folding Lectric XP Lite might be a better fit. This bike can origami itself into a much tighter package, fitting in the trunk of your car or the back of your closet.
It still offers quite useful commuter specs though, such as a peak power output of 720W and a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
It even comes with built-in LED lights, though it lacks features like fenders or a rear rack, which must be added as optional accessories. You do get free Slime anti-flat compound pre-installed in the tires though, which means you won’t even realize that you didn’t get that flat tire one day that you would have suffered from without the pre-installed Slime.
Even without the included accessories that I would have liked to see on a commuter bike, the $799 price makes this a great deal for a solid folding electric bike that combines good power output with modest range.
Definitely take a look at my first ride experience on this e-bike to see what makes it such a potent yet affordable commuter e-bike.
Lectric XP 2.0
For those that still want a folding electric bike but need more power and speed, upgrading from the Lectric XP Lite to the Lectric XP 2.0 is the way to go.
This fat tire folding e-bike offers a 750W motor that peaks even higher, has a larger battery, and perhaps most critically, hits class 3 speeds of up to 28 mph (45 km/h).
You’ll pay for that higher performance in extra weight (and in extra dollars, since the price is $999), but you get a lot more too. You even receive an included rear rack and full metal fenders, which are often up-charge accessories on most e-bikes.
Lectric eBikes recently launched a new larger battery pack that bumps the capacity from 460Wh to 672Wh, but that also bumps the price up by a couple of hundred bucks. It’s worth it, in my humble opinion. But if you stick with the stock battery, you can keep the price under $1,000.
See my review of the Lectric XP 2.0 to get a sense of what this e-bike can do.
This one is a bit out there but stick with me, you’re going to find this cool. The JackRabbit is something of a hybrid between an e-bike and an e-scooter.
It has 20″ bicycle wheels and stubby bicycle handlebars that help it ride like a bike. But the shorter wheelbase makes it feel a bit more scooter-ish.
And of course, the lack of pedals is another notch in the scooter column.
It may not have a very big battery, boasting just 10-12 miles of range (16-20 km). But it can still get up to a sprightly 20 mph (32 km/h), which makes it great for city commuting. It also weighs a mere 25 pounds (11 kg) and is easy to pick up and toss in the back of a car or carry onto a subway train.
It’s an ideal solution if you’re on the hunt for something small and convenient for a short city commute and need an e-bike that takes up a very small portion of your apartment or garage.
Yes, I know it seems strange. But it works so well that you get past the odd look quite quickly.
At $999, it’s pricier per watt or per mile, but it’s also the lightest and most convenient model on this list.
See my in-depth review to learn more about the JackRabbit, or watch my video below to get a sense of this odd-yet-awesome model’s proportions.
Propella’s smallest electric bike, which features 20″ wheels and a minimalist frame, weighs in at a svelte 33 pounds (15 kg).
It features a single-speed drivetrain, so don’t expect to turn this into a San Francisco hill climber, but the smaller wheels actually offer better torque and help it handle climbs better than you’d think.
The 400W peak-rated Bafang motor gives it some real giddy-up to its top speed of 18 mph (30 km/h), and the 250Wh battery offers a range of 15-25 miles (25-56 km).
That’s some great performance for an e-bike that is currently on sale for $849!
There’s no throttle, making this a pedal-friendly electric bike. If you’re not in the market for a Class 1 e-bike that requires pedaling, you should look elsewhere. But if you’re into doing a bit of the work yourself, the Propella Mini is an awesome option for a lightweight and effective urban commuter e-bike.
For more info, check out my full review of the Propella Mini.
Ride1Up Roadster V2
I know that this list is supposed to be only sub-$1,000 electric bikes, but I hope you’ll forgive me for including the Ride1Up Roadster V2. It starts at just $1,045 (though goes up to $1,095 for most color options and frame sizes). At that price though, it is a highly effective commuter e-bike with some serious bang for your buck.
I had to include this one on the list because I just love this bike so much!
Not only is this the only belt-drive e-bike on the list, but it’s also the only one that can hit 25 mph (40 km/h) without surpassing 33 pounds (15 kg).
The rim brakes might seem old school, but having tested the bike myself, I can confirm that they’re high quality and bring the bike to a quick stop. And you can always upgrade to the Gravel version of the bike if you want true disc brakes.
With 500W of peak-rated power in a lightweight urban e-bike setup, the Ride1Up Roadster is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a Class 3 e-bike without a throttle.
You can read my review of the Ride1Up Roadster here, or check out the video below.
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Teledriving mobility service Vay to remotely deliver EVs in Vegas as it expands to US
Europe’s first teledriving (remotely driving) service is entering the US market and intends to setup shop in Sin City to begin. Vay is establishing its new US headquarters in downtown Las Vegas, where it will begin testing its teledriving service by dropping off and picking up rental EVs to customers around the city.
Vay is a German teledriving specialist based in Berlin that has taken a remote-first approach to driverless vehicles in which an operator drives a given EV from a dedicated hub. Vay is aiming to gradually introduce more autonomous driving functions in its system as they become more safe and are permitted to do so.
For now, however, the service relies on teledrivers, whose immediate focus is on the driverless transportation of rental EVs to customers. Those customers can then hop in the EV, drive off and then park whenever they are done, enabling Vay to step back in and remotely drive the vehicle back to base.
After operating a vehicle in Hamburg this past February, Vay declared itself the first and only company to drive a car on European public roads with no one inside. We’ve personally experienced this same approach to rideshare mobility in Las Vegas when we went for a ride with Halo.Car.
With its sights now set on the US, Vay will have to compete with Halo.Car in Vegas – the home of its new headquarters.
Vay to compete in growing driverless EV market in Vegas
Following its plans for expanded certification to operate driverless vehicles in Europe, Vay shared details of its expansion to the US, beginning in Las Vegas. The US entity will be lead by general manager Caleb Varner, who joined Vay in late 2022 after leaving Uber where he was director, global general manager, and co-founder of Uber Rent & Valet. Varner spoke:
I am excited to be a part of Vay and launch our service in the US. Vay’s teledriving technology and innovative approach has the potential to reshape the way people move – not only is that a huge business opportunity, but also a service that we see missing from today’s transportation ecosystem. The broader team at Vay is excited about taking this german-born technology and using it to change the way Americans move and building a future with reduced personal car ownership.
To begin, Varner will work closely with Vay cofounder and CEO Thomas von der Ohe to implement Vay’s teledriving technology in the US market that supports the launch of its own remotely driven mobility service. Von der Ohe also spoke to Vay’s new home in Vegas as a kickoff in the US:
We are excited to enter the US mobility market. Our team is talking to stakeholders in various states and has started to work on launching an initial service. The market is ready and the responses we have received so far from regulators, city governments, and potential customers in the US show that it’s a very dynamic market that we will be exploring in the near future!
Like Europe, the approach will begin with remote deliveries of rental EVs around Vegas, but certain permits and certifications are required. Luckily, Vay has the support of Las Vegas’ International Innovation Center, located in the downtown Arts District. Vay’s new headquarters sits within this office which remains part of an investment in economic development in the city.
I guess I will have to go to Vegas and take a test ride in one of Vay’s driverless cars. Twist my arm!
Here’s where Toyota’s first US-made EV, an electric 3-row SUV, will be built
Toyota’s largest plant globally is going electric. The company revealed Wednesday it would assemble its new three-row electric SUV at its Georgetown, Kentucky, facility starting in 2025. The new SUV will be Toyota’s first US-assembled EV as the market continues to surpass expectations.
Toyota’s first US-assembled EV will be in Kentucky
“Toyota Kentucky set the standard for Toyota vehicle manufacturing in the US and now we’re leading the charge with BEVs,” Susan Elkington, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, explained.
The Toyota Kentucky plant is the company’s largest manufacturing facility globally, with the capability to produce 550,000 vehicles annually, and will now lead Toyota’s vehicle carbon reduction efforts in the US.
Toyota says the batteries for its three-row electric SUV will come from the company’s new battery factory in North Carolina. The plant was initially revealed in late 2021. Today’s announcement from Toyota reveals the plant will receive an additional $2.1 billion investment, bringing the total to nearly $6 billion.
Sean Suggs, president of Toyota Battery Manufacturing at the North Carolina facility, commented on the new funding, saying:
With this proactive infrastructure investment, we will be able to quickly support future expansion opportunities to meet growing customer need.
The NC plant will produce lithium-ion batteries with six production lines (four for hybrids and only two for EVs).
The Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, said through a $591 million investment for future projects in Scott County, Toyota is committed to retaining 700 full-time jobs.
Although Toyota didn’t reveal any new details of its first US-assembled EV coming in 2025, we know it will be a three-row electric SUV as part of ten new electric cars planned to launch globally.
Toyota aims to sell 1.5 million EVs globally with the new models by 2026 as it looks to keep pace in the rapidly expanding electric car market.
Apart from the company’s first global EV, the bZ4X, Toyota has released an electric sedan, the bZ3, in China and teased upcoming models, including a sport crossover and family SUV.
Since passing last August, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has attracted well over $100 billion in private-sector investment in EVs, batteries, and manufacturing. Toyota is one of many automakers and suppliers that have revealed plans to build on US soil.
That being said, with its first US-assembled EV arriving in 2025, will it still be too little too late for the automaker?
Either way, Toyota is doing what it should have done years ago. It’s building its EV supply chain capabilities with battery factories while retooling manufacturing facilities. In addition, Toyota is developing a dedicated EV platform that will help streamline production and double the range of future electric models with more efficient batteries, according to the company.
With the latest slew of announcements from Toyota, the company is noticeably accelerating the pace of EV development. Perhaps, after watching EV makers like Tesla and BYD steal market share, Toyota is looking toward the future rather than the past.
Former footballer Drogba is E1’s newest team owner ahead of first electric boat racing season
The UIM E1 World Championship electric boat racing league has found its latest team as it prepares to launch its inaugural season later this year. Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast footballer Didier Drogba and his partner Gabrielle LeMaire have signed on as owners of the fourth E1 racing team to join the growing league.
The UIM E1 World Championship is a nascent electric boat racing league created by Formula E and Extreme E founder, Alejandro Agag, and Rodi Basso – a former director of Motorsport at McLaren with a background in Formula 1 engineering.
We’ve been following the new sport’s progress for over a year as it has evolved from testing its all-electric RaceBird boats, to a growing league of teams led by some familiar names. Venice emerged as the inaugural E1 race team in April of 2022, and was soon followed by team Mexico owned by Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez.
Early this year, we shared news that tennis great Rafael Nadal had signed on as E1’s next team owner, bringing his native Spain into the fold to compete on the water. As the young championship series continues to develop (and tries) to fill all ten of its initial team slots this year, it has found its latest team owner in soccer (or football) legend Didier Drogba.
Team Drogba joins E1 donning the Ivory Coast flag
E1 announced the addition of Team Drogba to the UIM Championship this morning, which will be co-owned and managed with the footballer’s partner, Gabrielle LeMaire – a successful businesswoman and marketing expert. E1 cofounder and CEO Rodi Basso spoke about what the new Team Drogba owners bring to the league:
This team is so exciting for the E1 Series, blending diversity, inclusion and sustainability with a fire to compete and win. They are a dynamic duo that show how important it is to have equal representation and opportunities for men and women in motorsport, from the boardroom to the cockpit. And their commitment to ocean health and technological change will help take E1’s message further and wider. It’s exciting to see the fleet take shape and there’s more big announcements in the pipeline.
Similar to his new rival “Rafa” Nadal, Drogba’s foundation supports sustainable developments outside of the competitive arenas to make a positive impact on the planet. The former footballer and his partner also help provide a positive impact on the lives of African children living in poverty.
Together, the new E1 owners hope Team Drogba can help the new E1 series reach a global audience and inspire it to join the race to create a more sustainable world. Drogba spoke to the ownership opportunity and the people that have inspired him:
Sport and sustainability together, it’s a winning combination. Gabrielle and I are both fierce competitors so we’re going to build a strong team. We’re inspired by legends such as Senna and Schumacher, but most especially by Lewis Hamilton, winning F1 championships, breaking barriers and acting as a leader for a new generation of pilots.
Pollution has caused the destruction and loss of coastal habitats around the world. The degradation of our underwater eco-systems poses a series threat to marine life and livelihoods of coastal communities. So we want to have a positive impact through the accelerated development of clean technologies and inspiring change. But we’re also going to have fun for a great cause. Rafa and Checo, get ready! We are coming for you. And we’re here to win!
The inaugural UIM E1 World Championship is scheduled to begin later this year as race
organizers state they will continue to accelerate preparations, promising more teams and confirmed race venues soon. Better hurry.
This is another big get by E1 as it looks to bring as much hype to season 1 as possible… whenever that may be. The original schedule was originally anticipated to begin this past spring, but we still seem to be a ways away as E1 is now saying “late 2023” for a championship series kickoff.
The nascent series now has four teams, but has always hoped to begin racing with at least ten, so it’s going to have to hustle to find more owners quickly to get a viable competition together.
Although I do want to see E1 racing begin sooner rather than later, I don’t mind waiting because I’m genuinely unsure what I’m waiting for, meaning I’m not even sure what to expect in electric boat racing. The prospect of it looks promising, and the adjacent focus on foundations and the environment is a big plus – similar to Formula E. People love a brand with a positive cause.
I’m looking forward to seeing what countries/teams/owners join in next and how well season one goes. I’d very much like to see a competition in person, but E1 has to get there first. I’ll be watching!
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