Best electric bikes | 15 top-rated ebikes for every type of rider
The best electric bike for you will depend on the type of riding you want to do, so in this guide we’ll cover the whole range of different electric bike types and recommend some of the best we’ve tested.
Electric bikes – or ebikes as they’re commonly known – are bicycles with an electric motor and battery that provides assistance as you pedal. There are many benefits to riding an electric bike. Electric bikes make riding up hills easier and will enable most riders to travel at a higher speed over longer distances without arriving at their destination covered in sweat.
Despite common misconceptions, you can still ride an electric bike for fitness. Electric bike laws limit the power of an ebike’s motor, so you still need to pedal – there’s no twist-and-go throttle here. There is an electric bike for every type of riding. Electric folding bikes and electric hybrid bikes are great choices for cycling to work, the best electric mountain bikes will help you get to the top of the next trail so you can enjoy more descending and the best electric road bikes and electric gravel bikes will enable you to take on longer adventures. Making sense of how an electric bike works and how to choose the right one for you is a daunting task. Luckily for you, BikeRadar’s team of expert testers have put in hundreds of hours riding more than 175 electric bikes across all categories. Our testing is 100 per cent editorially independent, so you can always trust our recommendations. In this in-depth buyer’s guide to choosing the best electric bike for any rider, we’ll talk you through the things you need to consider for each category of ebike. We also highlight the best bikes we have reviewed, as selected by BikeRadar’s expert team of tech editors, for each type of ebike, with links to our detailed buyer’s guide for each category. We also have a general buyer’s guide to electric bike tech at the bottom of this article that answers common questions. For even more information, take a look at our ebike FAQs. There’s a lot to cover here, so use the links below to skip to the section you need, or read on for every detail.
Best electric hybrid bikes
Like a non-assisted hybrid bike, electric hybrid bikes feature an upright riding position, flat bars and stable handling. They’re often the least expensive entry point into ebikes.
With lots of mounting points for accessories such as pannier bags and mudguards, electric hybrids are great if you’re planning to commute to work by bike, ride around town or want to go for leisurely rides on bike trails or through parks.
Electric hybrid bikes can be quite heavy because they tend to use less sophisticated motor systems and the bikes are built for robustness. This is worth bearing in mind if you need to carry them up stairs.
Below is a selection of four of the very best electric hybrid bikes as tested by our senior road technical editor, Warren Rossiter. For more recommendations, check out our full round-up of the best electric hybrid bikes.
Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0
- £2,600 / €2,999 / 3,500 as tested
- Pros: Well-tuned power delivery; low weight
- Cons: Lower-torque motor means you have to put in more work
Specialized makes two electric hybrid bike ranges. Whereas the standard Turbo Vado is a heavy-duty ebike, the Vado SL uses a less powerful motor with 35Nm of torque. This reduces the weight to under 15kg, but the flip side is that you have less assistance than with the Turbo Vado, which could be a problem on hills.
The other advantage of the lower output is clean looks, with the concealed battery giving a sporty appearance. Specialized fits lights to all models and includes mudguards and a luggage rack on pricier models.
Canyon Pathlite:ON 5
- £2,499 / €2,699, as tested
- Pros: Great handling and confident off-road
- Cons: Heavy versus its rivals
The Canyon Pathlite:ON 5 is a powerful electric hybrid bike that handles and rides commendably. Our testing found the Canyon’s 100km claimed range to be true, but there’s no denying the bike is heavy at 23.5kg.
Where the Pathlite:ON 5 truly stands out is off the tarmac, where it rivals electric mountain bikes with confidence-inspiring chunky tyres and a shock-absorbing suspension fork.
Tern Quick Haul P9
- £3,100 / 3,299 / AU4995 as tested
- Pros: Great fun to ride and versatile
- Cons: Official add-ons are fairly pricey
The Tern Quick Haul P9 looks like a cargo bike at first glance, but its compact design means it isn’t much longer than a typical electric hybrid.
With the option to fit a huge array of useful add-on accessories both front and back, our tester described the Quick Haul P9 as a “genuinely viable car replacement”.
Best electric folding bikes
Commuters who travel by public transport or are short on space are catered for too. Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
If you want to cycle to work or are just pressed for space to store your ride, a compact electric folding bike could be the answer.
Folding ebikes often have the battery hidden in their frames, or they may come with a removable battery to make carrying them on and off public transport a bit easier.
A removable battery also means you can take it somewhere where it’s easier to charge (at your desk, for example, if you use the bike to ride to work).
But the extra weight of the motor and battery means carrying a folding ebike on and off public transport, and up and down stairs, will be harder. The available range can be quite limited in some models too.
For more product recommendations, check out our round-up of the best folding electric bikes.
The Brompton Electric adds a front-hub motor to the iconic folder. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
- £2,725 as tested
- Pros: Very compact fold; smooth power delivery
- Cons: Quite heavy; two pieces to carry
A front-hub motor adds electric power to the classic Brompton folding bike, giving you a range of around 40km. The battery sits in a separate pack, which can be removed from the bike for carrying.
Since we tested the Brompton Electric, the standard bike has been redesignated the C Line Explore. It’s been joined by the P Line, which uses lighter frame materials and components to chop almost 2kg off the C Line’s 17.4kg claimed weight.
- £3,999 as tested
- Pros: Larger wheels ride more smoothly; stylish design
- Cons: Expensive; doesn’t fold as small as some ebikes
While pricey, the GoCycle G4 is a folder, commuter and electric bike in one. The ride and handling are far more assured than most folding bikes on- and off-road, thanks to the meaty tyres and larger wheels.
The bike folds in half at its centre, making it easier to roll than to carry and the removable battery in the front of the frame is accessed via the fold. At over 17kg, it’s quite heavy though.
MiRider One GB3
The GB3 is an upgrade on the original MiRider One, with an accompanying price rise. David Caudery / Our Media
- £2,495 as tested
- Pros: Very compact
- Cons: Price has increased significantly from the original bike
The MiRider One GB3 is an upgrade from the original model we tested a few years ago. Unfortunately, that’s resulted in a significant price hike, but the ebike is still a compact, nippy city commuter.
The belt drive is cleaner and lower-maintenance than a chain, there’s good adjustability, and built-in rear suspension and wide tyres add comfort.
The GB3 design has three speeds, adding flexibility over the singlespeed predecessor, and you can change gear while stationary. We achieved a range of up to 50km.
Best electric mountain bikes
Electric mountain bikes can be great on the climbs, but handling on the descents can take a bit of getting used to. Ian Linton
An electric mountain bike will get you to the top quicker, particularly on technical, steeper climbs, and with more energy to enjoy the descents. Plus, getting up the ups more easily will give you extra range to explore further.
Recent improvements in eMTB performance mean handling is approaching that of the best mountain bikes without a motor, providing heaps of flat-out riding fun.
But, nevertheless, the extra weight can make handling more tricky on particularly technical sections, so it’s a good idea to ease off a bit until you’ve got the feel of the bike
This is a small selection of the best electric mountain bikes we have tested, as selected by our expert team of mountain bike tech editors, Alex Evans, Robin Weaver and Tom Marvin.
Vitus E-Sommet VRX
For the money, the E-Sommet has to be one of the best electric mountain bikes out there. Ian Linton / Our Media
- £5,499 as tested
- Pros: Quality spec; great geometry and suspension
- Cons: Awkward cable routing and bottle placement
The Vitus E-Sommet adds a powerful Shimano EP8 motor and large-capacity battery to Vitus’ enduro platform. It rolls on a 29in front and 27.5in rear wheel mullet build and is impressively specced for its price, with a 170mm RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork, a Super Deluxe Select RT shock and Shimano’s XT groupset.
The E-Sommet descends and climbs impressively, with both comfort and great grip, making it fun, engaging and highly capable.
Marin Rift Zone E2
- £5,895 / 6,299 / €6,899 as tested
- Pros: Lively; great spec
- Cons: Slightly over-geared; less powerful motor than its competitors
The Marin Rift Zone E2 is a classy, comfortable full-suspension electric mountain bike with 140mm travel. It can take you beyond its trail riding mandate, handling more technical descents well.
The Rift Zone ebike is well specced for its price, although the Shimano EP801 motor’s 85Nm torque is a little less than competitors. We’d have preferred a smaller chainring than the 38t fitted for easier climbing.
Whyte E-160 RSX
- £7,999 as tested
- Pros: Calm and composed handling; hides its weight well
- Cons: Some chain slap; seat tube too slack for optimal climbing
The Whyte E-160 RSX is a well-equipped enduro bike, with its battery mounted below the Bosch motor to lower its centre of gravity.
Whyte says the full down tube this allows improves torsional rigidity as well. Lower-spec E-160s are available in both 29in and ‘mullet’ form, so you can pick your preferred wheel configuration, although this top-spec model is 29in only.
Despite its 26kg-plus weight, we found the low centre of gravity made for impressive downhill performance, although we’d have liked to see a slightly steeper seat tube for better climbing.
Best electric road bikes
It’s often hard to tell many electric road bikes from their unassisted counterparts. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
If you enjoy road cycling, but want a bit of help to keep your speed up or to get you up hills, an electric road bike could be the right choice for you.
Most e-road bikes use lightweight motor systems that provide less power than the motors used on electric hybrid or mountain bikes. This means they’re typically a bit lighter too, with the very lightest models tipping the scales at around 11kg.
However, with many road riders achieving speeds on the flat of 15mph or above, you may feel you’re carrying dead weight around, with the motor cutting out at that top-assisted speed, although assistance can continue to 20mph, or even in some cases 28mph in much of the USA.
Below are three of the very best electric road bikes senior road technical editor Warren Rossiter has tested to date.
BMC Roadmachine AMP One
- £7,600 / €7,999 as tested
- Pros: Smooth ride; compact motor; impressive range
- Cons: Tyres may need a swap-out for colder, wetter conditions
The BMC Roadmachine AMP One doesn’t look much different from its non-assisted sibling; it’s only the slightly expanded down tube, hiding a 350Wh battery, that shows there’s extra assistance. The Mahle X20 motor is so compact it hides between the largest cassette sprocket and the disc rotor.
The ride feels like the non-assisted Roadmachine as well, despite the 12kg weight. Range is impressive, heading up to 160km, depending on the conditions. We’d swap out the tyres for winter use though.
Scott Addict eRide Premium
The Scott Addict eRide Premium looks and rides like a racy road bike. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
- £8,349 / 9,299 as tested
- Pros: Great looks; top-spec build; lovely handling
- Cons: Non-removable battery
The Scott Addict eRide Premium has similar geometry to the Scott Addict RC Disc and the same carbon frame. The result is a possible sub-11kg build powered by the consistent ebikemotion rear-hub motor.
Neatly concealed in the down tube, the battery managed 100km and 2,000m elevation in testing. The 2022 version of the bike has been renamed as the Scott Addict eRide Ultimate.
E-Bike Batteries: Volts, Amps, Watt Hours Explained
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What Are These Volts, Amps, and Watt-Hours? How Battery Specifications and Capacity Equate to Capability and Cost
Understanding e-bike batteries can be challenging, even for those of us in the know; the nitty-gritty details are figured out by electrical engineers with years of education and experience under their collective belts – and for good reason, it’s all chemistry and math over there!
You’ll encounter a host of terms when reading about e-bikes or looking at electric bike battery specifications: things like battery size, capacity, voltage, amp hours and watt hours. Some of these words are more-or-less interchangeable, others are related but distinct. All of them can be confusing, but they are also hugely important in understanding electric bikes and their capabilities – most notably when trying to interpret how far they can take you before needing to be recharged.
In this guide to e-bike batteries, the helpful writers at Electric Bike Report will help you to understand the meaning of common battery terms and their relation to the performance of the electric bikes they power.
E-Bike Batteries Explained
Batteries are one of the core elements of electric bikes. They are needed to supply power to the motor, which in turn provides assistance to the rider, and reduces the amount of human effort needed to move the bike.
E-bike batteries come in various sizes, and can be mounted to the frame in different ways. Some are fully internal, and are sealed inside the bike’s frame. As such, they are not removable, except by using special methods and tools available to professional technicians. Others are removable for easier charging and replacement, whether mounted completely externally (outside the frame), partially recessed (sunken into the frame to some degree), or completely recessed (sunken entirely and nearly invisible on the bike).
Regardless of their type, all e-bike batteries are actually battery packs, and are made up of groups of cells, similar to the standard AA or AAA batteries used in everyday applications. The number of cells and the method used to cluster them together determines how quickly they can provide power and how long they can continue to supply it.
In contrast to standard AA or AAA batteries, however, those used in e-bikes are most commonly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries similar to those used inside smartphones and in conjunction with cordless power tools. Lithium-ion batteries are efficient and can be recharged hundreds or even thousands of times if cared for properly. The Light Electric Vehicle Association, or LEVA, has a great article that they allowed us to re-publish regarding proper battery care and safety to ensure maximum life span.
Fully integrated batteries such as the one on the Velotric Nomad 1 can match the bike’s color and disappear into the frame.
Electric Bike Battery Terms and Definitions
Before we dive deeper into the details, let’s consider a couple of examples of e-bike battery specifications in relation to how they usually appear:
V = Volts and Ah = Amp-hours
V = Volts and Wh = Watt-hours
Both examples convey two basic measurements, albeit a little differently. In both examples, we see volts first; this measurement relates to the availability of the electrical energy the battery can deliver. Next, either amp-hours or watt-hours are shown; these represent a battery’s capacity, or the amount of power it can store.
Let’s define these words (and a few helpful additional terms) a bit more clearly:
Current: the flow of electricity, or transfer of electrons, through a circuit.
Circuit: a closed system of wires and electrical components through which current can travel.
Volts (V): the amount of electrical force or pressure the battery can produce; the speed of the battery’s output of current. This is also sometimes referred to as the electromotive force, and is more specifically the speed at which electrons move through the system.
Note that this is a nominal rating that is used for classification purposes. In reality, a battery’s voltage varies based on the amount of power being drawn from it at a given moment, as well as the battery’s present level of charge. As current is drawn from the battery, its voltage decreases. This can be seen in an e-bike battery voltage chart.
Voltage is determined by the number of battery cells arranged “in series”.
Amps or amperes (A): a measurement of the strength of the battery’s output, or current. specifically, the volume of electrons passing through the system. This is limited by the size of the wires making up the system. Larger wires allow more current, smaller wires allow less. Generally, systems with higher voltage should use smaller wires (that limit amperage) to prevent overheating.
Amps can also be thought of as the amount of energy being drawn from the battery by what it is powering, and can fluctuate from moment to moment. In the case of e-bike batteries and their motors, a greater number of amps are drawn as the motor works harder (i.e. going uphill or using only the throttle).
Amp-hours (Ah): a measurement of charge; the amount of energy that can be delivered through an electrical system over the course of an hour.
In the case of a 10 Ah battery, it can deliver 10 amps of power in one hour, or 1 amp of power for 10 hours, etc, depending on the needs of the component that is delivering power to.
Amp-hours are determined by the number of clusters of battery cells arranged “in parallel”.
Watts (W): a unit of power, determined by volts and amps; the amount of work that can be done by one amp of current delivered at 1 volt. The amount of work is determined by the rate at which the energy is used.
This measurement is generally applied only to an e-bike’s motor, but its battery must support the motor’s needs.
Watt-hours (Wh): another measurement of capacity. In this case, the amount of work that can be done, or the amount of power that is spent, over the course of an hour. This is a direct result of a battery’s voltage multiplied by its amp-hours.
As such, a 24V, 20 Ah battery and a 48V, 10 Ah battery might look different on paper, but they have about the same amount of energy. This makes watt-hours a more reliable indicator of capacity when comparing different batteries.
Controller: A device that limits the flow of electricity through a circuit, and prevents a battery from discharging its energy all at once. In terms of an electric bike, this is the “brain” that adjusts the pedal assist system, the amount of input the motor contributes, and the e-bike’s speed.
E-Bike Battery Pack Market Size Share Analysis. Growth Trends Forecasts (2023. 2028)
The E-Bike Battery Pack Market is Segmented by Battery Type (Lithium-ion Battery, Lead Acid Battery, and Other Battery Types), Battery Pack Position Type (Rear Carrier, Down Tube, and In-tube Battery Pack), and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and South America). The report offers market size and forecast in value (USD million) for all the above segments.
E-Bike Battery Pack Market Size
Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order
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E-Bike Battery Pack Market Analysis
The e-bike battery pack market is valued at USD 8.74 billion, and it is expected to record a CAGR of 13.33% over the next five years.
In 2020, the e-bike battery pack market witnessed a steady downfall in global demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Governments across the nations issued strict policies and regulatory frameworks to lower infection rates. However, on a microscale, the pandemic had a positive impact on electric bike sales. The growing health concerns resulted in more sales of e-bikes. For instance,
The motor and battery are the two key components of an e-bike. Choosing the right battery pack plays a crucial role in purchasing an e-bike. The battery is also the costliest component of an e-bike. Currently, there are 24V, 36V, 48V, 52V, and 72V batteries available for e-bike applications.
Most legal electric bike kits use a 36V battery, and the more powerful motors may use a 48V or even a 52V battery. For very high-performance e-bikes, voltages can go up to 72V and beyond.
Over the long term, growing e-bike sales, a rise in e-bike sharing services, government initiatives to promote electromobility, and new launches of battery packs are expected to result in healthy sales of e-bike battery packs.
Key players are launching new products to address the growing market for e-bike battery packs and gain more market share. For instance,
- In July 2022, Appear Inc. launched new graphene battery packs in 36V, 48V, 60V, 64V, and 72V ratings for E-Bikes, E-Scooters, and Pedelecs.
- In July 2022, UK-based e-bike conversion company Swytch launched its new e-bike conversion kit.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific was predicted to be the largest market for e-bike battery packs due to the widespread adoption of e-bikes, many major cities offering e-bike sharing services, Rapid urbanization, growing traffic congestion and vehicular pollution, the large presence of battery OEMs, and growing usage of e-bikes by E-commerce and food delivery companies for last-mile delivery applications.
Europe is predicted to be the next biggest market for e-bike battery packs due to the rising sales of e-bikes, growing health consciousness amongst the general population, and the growing tendency to use e-bikes for adventure activities like mountaineering.
Thus, the confluence of the aforementioned factors is expected to produce significant growth in the e-bike battery pack market.
E-Bike Battery Pack Industry Segmentation
An E-bike battery pack is a rechargeable battery pack used to power e-bikes. Batteries vary according to the voltage, total charge capacity (amp hours), weight, the number of charging cycles before performance degrades, and ability to handle over-voltage charging conditions.
The E-Bike Battery Pack Market is Segmented by Battery Type (Lithium-ion Battery, Lead Acid Battery, and Other Battery Types), Battery Pack Position Type (Rear Carrier, Down Tube, and In-tube Battery Pack), and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and South America). The report offers market size and forecast in value (USD million) for all the above segments. The report also offers the market dynamics, latest trends, size, share, and industry overview.
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E-Bike Battery Pack Market Trends
This section covers the major market trends shaping the E-Bike Battery Pack Market according to our research experts:
Growing Demand for Lithium-ion Batteries
It is anticipated that, between 2021 and 2023, more than 130 million e-bikes (using all battery technologies) will be sold. In 2023, e-bike sales are expected to top 40 million units worldwide. The majority of the e-bikes sold each year used heavy lead-acid batteries. Over the forecast period, about two-fifths of all e-bikes sold globally are anticipated to feature lithium-ion batteries, with the proportion of lithium-ion batteries-powered e-bikes starting at about 25% in 2021 and rising to more than 60% during the forecast period.
E-bikes have efficient motors and the largest integrated batteries. Even then, for longer rides, the demand is unmet. To address this challenge, an additional e-bike range extender is being launched in the market so that the biker does not have to worry about the battery status. For instance,
- In February 2022, Priority Bicycles launched a range extender for its Current range of e-bikes. The range extender is a 500 kWh battery and will double the bike’s standard range to 64 kilometers and 80 kilometers if used on lower power.
Although e-bikes batteries were produced mainly by established players in the past, many small and medium companies have also started using innovative methods to create more durable batteries to compete in the highly competitive market.
Key players are working to enhance the overall range and performance of the battery by launching new batteries. For instance,
- In September 2022, Bosch released its new race-oriented drive system, the Bosch Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition. In Race mode, the new system will have up to 400% support of the rider’s power, meaning riders can get up to speed faster.
- In September 2022, Yamaha Bicycles launched the updated Yamaha PW series S2 drive unit with 75 Nm torque. The new motor offers 7% more torque, 16% weight reduction, and 20% less volume than the previous generation PW-ST motor.
Thus, the aforementioned factors are projected to propel the market for e-bike battery packs market over the next five years.
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Asia-Pacific to Hold Major Market Share
In 2021, Asia-Pacific was the largest market for e-bike battery packs. China has contributed to more than 50% of the Asia-Pacific e-bike battery pack market during 2018-2020, owing to its high consumption of electric bikes, to tackle heavy traffic conditions and growing vehicle pollution in the country.
China is the global market leader for e-bikes and e-bike components, especially the battery. The players in the market are constantly investing in RD capabilities and production capacities to stay ahead of the competition. For instance, Contemporary Amperex Technology, Tianneng Battery, and Shenzhen Topband are adding extra production lines for LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries, majorly for e-bicycle applications.
The COVID-19 outbreak led to a sharp rise in the demand for electric bikes in China. The MaaS or mobility-as-a-service concept is gaining traction in China, and bike-sharing players such as Meituan’s Mobike put several electric bikes on roads to cater to the rising demand in 2021. Bike-sharing companies are collaborating with battery makers to swap discharged and faulty batteries at dedicated kiosks. Investments are being made to strengthen charging infrastructure, and the use of technology such as artificial intelligence is helping predict demand more precisely.
In addition, Japan remained the second most potential country for e-bike battery packs in the Asia-Pacific region. Major factors driving the growth of the market in the country are the expanding customer base across all age groups and the penetration of electric sports bicycles.
Thus, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to remain the largest market for e-bike battery packs in the world due to the above factors.
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E-Bike Battery Pack Industry Overview
The e-bike battery pack market is moderately consolidated, with major players holding most of the market share. Some of the major players include Bosch, Liv Cycling (EnergyPak), Panasonic, Samsung SDI, and Shinamo Inc. These companies are engaging in new product launches, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions to expand their business activities and cement their market position. For instance,
- In September 2022, the US-based e-bike company Optibike launched a 2,500W electric bicycle motor that claims to have the highest power-to-weight ratio in the world.
- In July 2022, ZappBatt and Toshiba signed a partnership agreement to develop long-lasting e-bike batteries using ZappBatt’s proprietary AI software and Toshiba’s lithium titanium oxide (LTO) battery cells, which will make lithium titanium oxide to be faster, smarter, and more cost-effective battery system.
E-Bike Battery Pack Market Leaders
Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order
E-Bike Battery Pack Market Report. Table of Contents
- 1.1 Study Assumptions
- 1.2 Scope of the Study
- 4.1 Market Drivers
- 4.2 Market Restraints
- 4.3 Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
- 4.3.1 Threat of New Entrants
- 4.3.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers
- 4.3.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
- 4.3.4 Threat of Substitute Products
- 4.3.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
- 5.1 Battery Type
- 5.1.1 Lithium-ion Battery
- 5.1.2 Lead Acid Battery
- 5.1.3 Other Battery Types
- 5.2.1 Rear Carrier
- 5.2.2 Down Tube
- 5.2.3 In Frame
- 5.3.1 North America
- 220.127.116.11 United States
- 18.104.22.168 Canada
- 22.214.171.124 Mexico
- 126.96.36.199 Rest of North America
- 188.8.131.52 United Kingdom
- 184.108.40.206 Germany
- 220.127.116.11 France
- 18.104.22.168 Italy
- 22.214.171.124 Rest of Europe
- 126.96.36.199 China
- 188.8.131.52 India
- 184.108.40.206 Japan
- 220.127.116.11 South Korea
- 18.104.22.168 Rest of Asia-Pacific
- 22.214.171.124 South Africa
- 126.96.36.199 United Arab Emirates
- 188.8.131.52 Saudi Arabia
- 184.108.40.206 Egypt
- 220.127.116.11 Rest of Middle East and Africa
- 18.104.22.168 Brazil
- 22.214.171.124 Argentina
- 126.96.36.199 Rest of South America
- 6.1 Vendor Market Share
- 6.2 Company Profiles
- 6.2.1 E-bike Battery Pack Manufacturers
- 188.8.131.52 Samsung SDI Co. Ltd
- 184.108.40.206 Yamaha Corporation
- 220.127.116.11 Yoku Energy (Zhangzhou) Co. Ltd
- 18.104.22.168 Kingbo Power Technology Co. Limited
- 22.214.171.124 Liv Cycling
- 126.96.36.199 Shimano Inc.
- 188.8.131.52 Panasonic Industry Europe GmbH
- 184.108.40.206 BMZ GmbH
- 220.127.116.11 Mahle GmbH
- 18.104.22.168 Varta AG
- 22.214.171.124 Johnson Matthey
- 126.96.36.199 Solaremobility (Fotona Mobility)
- 188.8.131.52 Enerpower
- 184.108.40.206 Giant Bicycles Co. Ltd
- 220.127.116.11 Merida Industry Co. Ltd
- 18.104.22.168 Riese Muller
- 22.214.171.124 Fritzmeier Systems GmbH Co. KG (M1 Sporttechnik)
- 126.96.36.199 Yamaha Bicycles
- 188.8.131.52 Trek Bikes
- 184.108.40.206 Cannondale Bicycle Corporation
- 220.127.116.11 PON Bicycle Holding BV
- 18.104.22.168 VanMoof BV
- 22.214.171.124 Coboc
- 126.96.36.199 Ampler Bikes
- 188.8.131.52 Cowboy
- 184.108.40.206 Desiknio
- 220.127.116.11 Accell Group NV
- 18.104.22.168 Cycle Europe AB
- 22.214.171.124 Decathlon SA
- 126.96.36.199 Cross Ltd
- 188.8.131.52 Multicycle (Kross SA)
- 184.108.40.206 ZEG
- 220.127.116.11 Prophete GmbH u. Co. KG
- 18.104.22.168 MarkenTechnikService GmbH (MTS) Group (Merger of Inter-Union Technohandel GmbH and SPA SystemPartner GmbH Co. KG)
- 22.214.171.124 Specialized Bicycle Components Inc.
- 126.96.36.199 Manufacture Française du Cycle (MFC)
- 188.8.131.52 Scott Sports
- 184.108.40.206 Cube GmbH Co. KG
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How to Charge an E-Bike for Maximum Battery Life
From safe charging to the longest possible lifespan, here’s everything you need to know about your electric bike’s power source.
If you bought a bike in the last couple years, chances are good it’s an e-bike. Electric bicycles are the fastest-growing type of bike in the U.S. today; in 2021 they surpassed road bikes as the third biggest category of bikes overall and in 2022 e-bike sales were over 800 million. E-bikes still outsell electric cars, and for good reason. The lightweight electric motor on an e-bike gives a powerful boost to all kinds of riding, especially utility cycling like commuting and errands. (Plus, there is a nice tax incentive for some e-bike riders.)
At the heart of that system is a powerful lithium-based battery. Taking proper care of that battery and knowing how to properly charge it is key to safely getting the best range and long-term battery life. Here’s what you need to know about charging your e-bike battery.
Safe charging basics
You should charge your battery inside, on the proper charger, and with the motor system powered off, says Kunal Kapoor, senior manager for quality and compliance at Bosch, a leading supplier of e-bike motor systems. While e-bike motors, batteries, and wiring are weather-resistant, “chargers aren’t intended for outdoor use,” he notes.
Using the proper charger is primarily a safety issue. With a modern lithium battery, Kapoor continues, when the battery signals it’s ready to accept a charge, “the battery monitoring system in the charger makes sure that the temperatures inside the battery are optimum to receive the charge,” and shuts off if needed. An off-brand charger—even rated to the same output—doesn’t have all the features of that battery management system, so current can flow to the battery even if temperatures rise, which is a fire risk.
The risk of battery fires is low, but Kapoor recommends people not leave batteries unattended while charging. You can leave the battery on the bike to charge or take it off, as long as it’s not sitting on or near flammable stuff (like the spare gas can in the garage, for example). If you’re looking at lower-priced e-bikes with house-brand or unbranded motor and battery systems, make sure the battery and charger carry a UL 2849 certification stamp from Underwriters Laboratories. This is the industry-wide standard for safe electric systems and battery charging for e-bikes. Some bike shops won’t work on e-bikes with motor and battery systems that lack this stamp, citing fire risk when left overnight in the store.
How to optimize battery range and lifespan
Let’s start with some definitions. Range is essentially runtime: how long a battery will last on a single charge, expressed in miles of riding. Range, even on the same bike, will vary; a flat commute to the office with just a light backpack will see better range than a fully loaded uphill ride home from Costco. Most e-bikes today get between 25-75 miles of range, depending on these factors.
Lifespan is how many times a battery can be discharged and recharged before it starts to lose significant capacity. When capacity starts to dip, you won’t notice less power while riding, but you will see range start to shrink. A common lifespan benchmark for e-bike batteries is 500 “full” discharge/re-charge cycles (if you use half the battery capacity and recharge, that’s half a cycle), which works out to about three to five years of normal use before capacity begins to drop noticeably.
Even though battery range and lifespan aren’t the same thing, they are linked, and actions that reduce range will also, over time, shorten lifespan. A big culprit, Kapoor says, is running the motor hard, like leaving it in Boost or Turbo mode all the time, which means a ride of a given distance relies progressively more on motor power than at lower assist levels. You’ll run the battery through charging cycles more quickly, which will shorten its life.
A less-obvious factor that strains motors and batteries is pedal cadence. Most e-bike motors are optimized for efficiency around a 70-90 rpm pedaling cadence. You can lower efficiency by pedaling too fast (Bosch motors, for instance, max out at 100-120 rpm depending on the system). common is sub-optimal efficiency from pedaling too slowly in a large gear. This is the same as “lugging the engine” in a car; whether gas or electric, the motor works harder. “Choose your gears wisely,” says Kapoor, to stay in that 70-90 rpm sweet spot.
Mistakes that kill your battery
When you buy a new e-bike, you should charge the battery to full before riding it because it’s likely been inactive for a while. But lithium batteries do not have “memory;” that is, they do not need to be fully discharged and fully recharged every time to hold their full capacity. In fact, it’s best if you don’t run a battery to zero, says Kapoor. “If you let the battery deplete completely, that may permanently damage it,” he says, and it will never recharge to its full original capacity.
If you’ll go a few weeks or more without riding the bike, store it (or at least the battery) in a dry, room-temperature space with the battery between 30-60 percent of full charge, says Kapoor. That’s the most stable level for long-term storage, and will lower the chance of a deep discharge that would damage your battery. Don’t leave your battery plugged in to the charger for long periods. It’s not necessary, and can create a short discharge/recharge cycle that will eventually reduce capacity. If you go long periods without riding the bike, check the battery charge monthly and partly recharge when it drops below 30 percent.
Lithium batteries are less affected by cold weather than other types of battery and you shouldn’t see reduced range while riding unless the temperatures are truly arctic. But researchers at the Department of Energy recently found storing lithium batteries below freezing for longer periods can damage part of the battery’s cathode, which will reduce its capacity. Lithium batteries also won’t charge effectively in cold temperatures. If you store your bike outside or in an unheated space and live in an area with sub-freezing temps, says Kapoor, bring the battery inside when not in use.
Also, keep your battery protected from extreme heat, like sitting next to a sunny window or a hot car. Excess heat can raise battery temperature enough to damage its components; in an extreme situation, it can contribute to what’s called thermal runaway, where a battery enters an unstable, uncontrollable self-heating state that can result in fire.
You don’t need to recharge after every ride. Topping off your battery sounds Smart, but over time it will reduce capacity more quickly. If you get 50 miles of range from a charge and ride 10 miles a day, you only need to recharge every three to four days.
When it’s time to replace
Even if you take great care of a battery, over time it will lose capacity. You’ll notice this on your bike’s range estimate on the controller unit. Capacity is a primary indicator of the health of a battery, so if you notice your range dropping to 70 percent or less of what it was when your bike was new, that’s a sign to start planning a replacement. If your battery is less than two years old and is well under original capacity, it might be a warranty claim (terms vary by manufacturer).
If it’s not a warranty issue, the decision on when to replace is personal preference, says Kapoor. “If you got 50 miles (of range) out of the battery originally and let’s say now you get 40, I wouldn’t classify it as ‘end of life’ if you can live with that 40-mile range,” he says. A battery with reduced capacity should still be safe, Kapoor adds.
Always purchase a name-brand replacement for your battery. Just as batteries and chargers should be paired, batteries and motors are designed to work together. And, says Kapoor, never try to repair a damaged battery or let someone else do it. Despite guides that claim you can, this is not just corporate greed or legal butt-covering by manufacturers. While e-bike batteries are almost always made from standard 18650 cells that are widely used in various products (even electric cars), those cells have a variety of different chemistries, capacities, and amperages, and that’s before we even get into connecting a string of them and repackaging the battery in the housing. The slightest mistake in any of that increases fire risk. If you need a new battery, just buy one.
Dealers that sell your brand of bike can order you a direct replacement for that bike or motor brand. Costs vary depending on battery size and brand, but plan on spending 400-800 for a new unit.
A dealer can also recycle your old one. A new program from Call 2 Recycle offers free e-bike battery recycling (paid for by bike and motor brands) through partner shops in almost every major city and many smaller ones. No participating dealers near you? Request an easy DIY shipping kit online.
Why recycle? Even a spent battery contains raw materials that can be re-made into fresh ones, at moderately less energy cost and less environmental damage than producing from virgin materials. Spent lithium batteries also have a fire risk in landfills and can leach toxic metals and other chemicals into the soil and air.
In case of fire
Though rare, battery fires do happen. If your battery gets hot to the touch while charging, unplug the charger from the wall immediately. If you can, put the battery in a metal container like a bucket (better yet, one filled with sand) away from anything flammable.
But if it’s not safe to handle, call 911 right away and tell the dispatcher that you have a lithium battery fire, which requires different firefighting methods than conventional fires. Don’t pour water on a battery fire; water and lithium react to produce hydrogen, which is highly flammable. A standard fire extinguisher may help, but in the event of a fire, special tools may be needed.