My current commute is a soul-crushing 32 miles one way in DC. (Husband refuses to move and give up his 1.5 mile biked commute, and I can't quit or change jobs since I'm in the military.) The drive takes about 55 min in the mornings, and 75 min in the evenings. I've biked it a few times but even hauling-butt I can't get there faster than 2hr 15 min. I'm in great physical shape. But I don't have 4.5-5 hours a day to bike.
Oof. Wow. I'm sorry. :( That sounds like a good working definition of hell.
So I'm wondering if an e-bike would be a solution for me. I'd be satisfied if I could get the ride down to 1.5 hours each way.
What does your ride look like? Is it a lot of steady speed running on roads, a lot of bike trails, or heavy start/stop on surface streets? What does the elevation profile look like? Lots of hills, or mostly flat?
In any case, you should be able to cut a lot of time out with an ebike. Getting down to 1.5 hours is probably doable, though it will probably involve speeds under motor power that, strictly speaking, may not be legal (20mph is technically the fastest you're supposed to have a motor assist, though... just don't draw attention to yourself and you should be fine a bit faster). You'd need to average 21mph, which is entirely doable, especially if you're on some sort of road bike that you've modified.
If your run is on stretches where you can cruise at 30mph for long distances, you could probably even get it below 1.5h. If you're in shape, with the right paths, you might be able to run close to your evening commute times.
So my questions: Is this possible? Is range going to be an issue? Will charging during the work day be adequate?
Possible? Yes. Cheap? Less so. Range isn't a problem, it's just a matter of "how much battery do you want to pay for?" You could easily do a round trip without recharging, if you want to carry enough battery, but if you've got somewhere to plug in at work, plan for about a 40-45 mile range (battery packs degrade with time) and you should be fine.
If I can make it work, I'm thinking I'd replace my Tues afternoon and Weds morning commute - or something like that, leaving my car at work.
Lame. :p Bike every day! It beats the hell out of sitting in traffic. Seriously.
Depending on the conditions of your commute, your needs might be well suited to a road bike with a motor in the back (probably a direct drive motor for higher speed running). A mid-drive motor would give you better speed through the gearing, but you'll be replacing a chain about every month if you do that, so I'd suggest going with a rear motor. What are you riding now?
A speed-unlocked BionX kit (you'll have to find an older one) would work well, though it's a bit pricey, and you *might* not have the range you desire with the stock pack on those.