Hi 42Blue15 - I have to wonder where you got your figures for electric vs gas. If you’re talking about a Bionx hub motor with Lithium, well that’s a pretty expensive way to go. On the other hand, a home-built non-hub setup (friction, chain or belt) using a Chinese electric motor can be very cost effective. My electric front wheel drive (described on page 2 of http://motorbicycling.com/f9/controller-relay-9929.html
as well as Endless-sphere.com • View topic - 3 speed front wheel drive e-bike
) cost me less than $175 for all new parts: motor (Unite 1016Z3 350 watt), batteries (2-12ah 12v SLAs), sprocket, chain, controller, throttle, wire and connectors. I fabricated the racks from scrap and built it from 2 give-away bikes. Add another $15-20 for a charger and it's still under 200 bucks for everything. I think it would be hard to do a 2-cycle China girl for that, never mind a 4-cycle. Plus it starts every time. I set it up so it has 3 speeds for more power on hills and speed on the flats. I've done 15 miles of hilly riding and had battery left. It freewheels so I can pedal easily to extend the range as much as I want. To tell you the truth, I don't have a tough enough butt to ride a bicycle more than an hour or 2 at a time anyway.
Maintenance and operating costs are next to nothing. Charging the batteries after a 10 mile jaunt uses less than $.10 of electricity. That’s 275 mpg at today’s gas prices. Yes I’ll have to replace the batteries someday but at under $40 for the pair that’s not going to break the bank. Of course they can and should be recycled. Also, I think “they” are moving forward on battery technology, so performance is going up as prices come down. I think the short-commute future is with plug-in electrics – car and bike. That might be a good point to make at a Science Fair - jd