This is one of the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ in the current ebike market. A nice eMTB costs upwards of $6k and most now can do 32km/h which is a perfectly respectable commuting speed. They generally have big comfortable tyres, around 500Wh of battery and enough grunt to get up any hill. So comfortable, fast enough, powerful. And anyway, you want one for Grade 1-2 trails or you genuinely like ‘real’ mountain biking.
Sounds encouraging so far.
Let’s dig in a little further. What don’t you get? Lights, racks, mudguards. If you aren’t a daily commuter, these are all things you can get past with a bit of ingenuity or compromise. Then tyres: MTB tyres are not puncture proof and wear out much faster than commuter tyres. You could put some commuter tyres on the rims but then you’d likely want to put the knobbly tyres back when you go trail riding. It is a mission that you’ll do once or twice and get tired of it. You could buy some cheap wheels/disc/cassette and have a dedicated set of wheels for each usage.
Or… you decide what you want an ebike for most of the time and buy the best bike for that purpose. It might be a commuter. For the rest of the time, ride a regular bike or put up with an ebike that isn’t quite fit-for-purpose. I spoke to an elderly lady who took her stepthrough urban Smartmotion e-City on the Timber Trail. It wasn’t ideal but she did it anyway. And if you aren’t a ‘hard-core’ mountain biker, then consider something like the Smartmotion X-City or Moustache XRoad. Equally, most ‘sporty’ commuters will do double duty offroad.