Your bit about cost is totally incorrect. Non eBike mountain bikes are extremely expensive, and there are many models that are MORE expensive than eBikes. Rocky Mountain full suspension PowerPlays start out around $5500 USD and for Carbon Fibre around $7200 USD. These are expensive but there are many manual bikes that cost more, even north of $10,000.ebikes have a motor. period. older access rules were extremely clear on this. and since an ebike is driven at least partially by a motor, it was prohibited from nonmotorized trails. some places have been quicker than others to change access rules to group ebikes with nonmotorized bicycles. I think some places will continue to prohibit ebikes. And the biggest reason for that is the faster climbing speed of ebikes. Faster speeds bring about increases in user conflicts. Speed differentials are a real thing. I've encountered more than one ebiker who fails to dial it back when encountering other trail users. That's the real problem.
In places that are more specifically oriented towards bikes (rather than multi-use traffic) or places that see very little traffic at all, it's not such a big deal. But places that are really busy with a wide variety of trail users, it's a big problem.
Personally, I don't think ebikes should be fully lumped with motos, but I also don't think they should be fully lumped with nonmotorized traffic. I think land managers should consider ebikes as their own thing and permit them access specifically in cases where they make sense given the differences in management that they present compared to other sorts of bicycles and motos. This would absolutely result in different access in different places. Maybe some places would permit them on all trails nonmotorized bicycles may access. Maybe some places wouldn't permit them at all. That's okay, just so long as land managers are making reasoned decisions on it.
Nah. Pie-in-the-sky privileged dreaming. Cost is what will place constraints on ebike adoption. City/town bikes will always be the least expensive ebikes and that's where they will sell the most numbers. Probably still not the highest proportion of ebikes, since even box store bikes for less than $100 can be perfectly passable town bikes. Cost will still place constraints on the proportion of all bicycles sold that will be ebikes. The only people who will buy them will be those who can afford them. Especially for mtbs, which are really just expensive toys. The cost differential between e-motors and ICE vehicles is much smaller, because you're just swapping one method of self-propulsion for another. With bicycles, you're adding an entirely new propulsion system onto the vehicle that didn't exist before. That will never be less expensive, or even all that cost competitive. The technology will advance (esp battery tech), which will keep the cost differential the same. Possibly make it even larger.
Spec for spec manual bikes will generally be cheaper today, but in 10 years with a lot more sales prices will improve.