Range, ride time and longevity
Range, ride time and longevity
With eBike batteries being one of the most expensive parts of any eBike, it’s important to consider a variety of different factors when looking at electric bicycles.
Interestingly, eBike batteries also seem to be one of the most mysterious parts on the bike. Let’s take a look at the facts below to end some of the confusion.
eBike Battery Brands
Brand names are the first topic of discussion when it comes to batteries. While everyone is comfortable with household brand names like Samsung and Panasonic, these companies also make lower grade batteries. Li-Ion batteries are graded, generally A-C, which is a generalized guide referencing overall power, capacity, and lifespan. A grade A cell from a lesser known brand of Li-Ion battery will significantly outperform a Grade C cell from a more popular brand name. This is why you see low cost eBikes and significantly more expensive brands touting the same brand name batteries, but one bicycle is much more expensive. Overall, a reputable eBike brand, A or B rated li-ion cells, and a strong warranty are the safest bet to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. If the specifications seem outrageously better at a much lower price point, it may be too good to be true. There is no standardization for many of these rating systems across different eBike brands.
You’ll see a few terms when researching batteries, which will be Voltage, Amp Hours, and Watt Hours. These are the three main factors to consider when comparing different batteries.
This is the force at which electricity travels. To use a garden hose as an analogy, this is how far the stream of water sprays out of the hose. For eBikes, 36-48 Volts is the sweet spot for bikes ranging from 350-750 watts. 24 Volt systems are a bit antiquated, and 52V+ systems are generally reserved for higher power or performance applications. We don’t want a trickle, but we also don’t want a fire hose
This is a rating of how long a battery will last under a one Amp load, or a set amount of resistance. The higher the Amp Hour rating, the longer the battery will last.
This is voltage multiplied by Amp Hours, which is a representation of the overall capacity of a battery - and is the best way to compare different voltage cells. A 36V 13.4AH battery is 482 Watt Hours, and a 48V 10AH battery is 480 Watt Hours. The 36V battery will offer longer range but lower power and speed, while the 48V battery will have more power and speed, but offer less range, but they both have the same amount of potential energy inside.
Bigger is not always better! With larger batteries come extra weight from the battery itself, as well as the motor for higher power applications. We are also still limited by technology to a degree, as it’s simply not possible to manufacture a 30lb eBike with 100 Miles of range, and won’t be for many decades. Finding an eBike with a good mix of range, speed, and weight is the best choice for most riders.
Range specifications can also be a tricky subject, as you will see the same size battery rated for vastly different mileage from one company to the next. It may be physically possible to put 100 miles on a 10AH battery, but for most folks it’s just unrealistic. Keep an eye on these numbers as well, as some companies will stretch the truth in order to make their products seem more attractive at a lower price point.
Longevity & Care
A quality Li-Ion eBike battery should last 4+ years with regular use. Riding your bicycle often, or at least once in a while is your best bet to make sure your battery has a long and happy life. Take a look at the following most for more in-depth information regarding charging, storage, and use of eBike batteries.