An electric bicycle is simply a bike with an electric motor attached to it, making it easier to propel. Some electric bicycles are manufactured that way, while others are normal bicycles with an electric motor retrofitted onto them. An electric bicycle can be propelled either by the motor or with the pedals.
The benefits of an electric bicycle vary, depending on whether you are comparing it to a traditional bicycle or a car. An electric bicycle lets the rider pedal when he wants and rest when needed. If you are using an electric bicycle rather than a car, the advantages are numerous. It's cheaper and uses no gasoline. Plus, you can ride it where a car won't fit or isn't allowed. You won't get stuck in traffic and it's much easier to park.
The disadvantages of an electric bicycle in relation to a traditional bicycle is that an electric bike is more expensive. It's also heavier to pedal if the battery runs out and requires plugging in to charge the battery. The motor also could malfunction. In relation to a car, you can't carry much on an electric bicycle. You also will be exposed to the weather and more vulnerable to injury in the event of an accident. Consumers also have fewer choices when shopping for an electric bicycle because fewer manufacturers make them.
Whether an electric bicycle makes sense for you depends on your personal situation and priorities. If you use a bicycle primarily for exercise and recreation, an electric bicycle likely is not a good choice for you. If you use a bicycle to get to work or run errands, an electric bicycle may be ideal. You won't have to expend as much energy. Your time at work also is an opportunity to recharge the bicycle for the return journey. If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive and ecologically sound alternative to a car, consider an electric bicycle.