For anyone interested in saving the planet who also happens to have a chunk of cash lying around, the Gocycle GS is a fantastic electric bike for commuting to work.
At $2,799 it is not exactly low-priced, although I've tested more expensive electric bikes and used them to pedal my way to work. I tend to camp out at coffee shops and I have a remote office about 30 miles from my house. All summer long, I bike like crazy, usually with a durable commuter bag strapped to my back. If the bike is an epic fail it ruins my day.
Here's what I like so much about the Gocycle GS. The most important spec by far is that it weighs just 36.3 pounds. The battery lasts about 40 miles, which is not great, but after the battery dies the GS becomes a normal commuter bike that is not as heavy as most electrics. It's also amazingly cool as a daily commuter when you can pedal faster than 20 miles per hour (the restriction in the U.S. for 500-watt electric bikes when the motor has to stop assisting you; it's 15.5 MPH in Europe).
For me, that meant I could get to work much faster. I'd shift up to the third gear and, with the boost, hit 20 MPH easily enough, then pedal harder to get a good workout. The motor turns off but you are already sailing along. (It literally feels like sailing, by the way.)
Each day, I'd accelerate and then pedal faster and bypass every car in traffic. It felt like I was cheating the system. I'm sure other light electrics do this, but I've never tested one. Most of them are heavy and bulky since they use a bigger, longer-lasting battery. Last summer I tested an electric bike that lasted for 100 miles easily. On a long bike trip, the battery finally died and I had to pedal for 20 miles with no assist. It was not fun.
The GS also folds up into the size of a large suitcase. That's impressive as well, although folding up the bike takes some practice and time. You have to remove the wheels, too. I liked knowing I could bring this bike in any car or on a train (when I travel in Europe). I plan to look into this model in January, for example, when I travel to Austria.
The GS is simple to operate. It only has three gears, and it feels like an urban commuting bike--not something you'd only use on weekends. However, the manufacturer might be selling it short--I used the GS on a long bike trip as well and it lasted all day. It was smooth on the paved trail and my back didn't hurt at all after about 35 miles of biking.
The app is incredibly useful. It shows a greater level of detail than the gauges on most electrics (if they exist at all). You can see your current speed, miles traveled, average watts (your power output), calories burned, and even the equivalent miles per gallon for a car. I really liked being able to tweak the pedal assist, adding more boost for easier rides or reducing the assist so I had to pedal harder and save more power on a commute.
So, about the price. Once you realize the bike is super portable, lasts 40 miles, has a great app, and most importantly glides along at high speeds well beyond 20 MPH, it starts to earn more credibility compared to other electrics. The downside for me is that a colleague said the bike made me look like I'm a teenager wanna-be. You sit upright with tall handlebars, so I can see why he said that. I didn't care since the GS is such a joy to ride.
However, electric bikes have really come down in price. I've seen them for around $1,200 or less. The Gocycle GS actually cost $10,000 at one time, per a company rep. The current $2,799 price tag is not a bargain, and you have to make sure you store it properly during the day. I liked the accessories they offer, including a commuter bag and a lock.
For me, it's all about how often you use the bike. If you're like me and you start skipping a car, it's the perfect commuter bike.