Bosch eBike batteries. Lifepo4 e bike

Everything you need to know about types of e-bike batteries, battery life and how to take care of your battery

When purchasing an electric bicycle, the battery is one of the most important components. The battery determines how long the bicycle can be used without recharging, the distance it can travel, and how heavy and/or light it weighs.

It’s also one of the most expensive parts, so be sure to pay attention to the battery when you’re making an e-bike purchase.

A Guide to Electric Bike Batteries

Finding a good battery determines how far you can travel on a single ride, and varying sizes and weights have different degrees of speed and efficiency.

Without a battery, an electric bicycle is just a regular bicycle.

Let’s take a look at at the various options:

Lead (gel) batteries

Used less and less frequently over the years, lead batteries have a lower capacity (or amount of energy that can be stored in the battery), and take between 8-10 hours to fully charge.

For perspective, newer batteries can charge from empty to full in under three hours. Lead batteries also tend to weigh heavier than newer predecessors, meaning that bicycles powered by lead batteries are heavier in general.

Lead batteries are also cheaper to manufacture due to the quality of materials, and lower use capacity which is why they’re gradually being replaced in the marketplace.

Lithium-ion battery (Li-ion)

Newer or recent e-bikes will have some kind of lithium-ion battery as they are the most popular battery currently on the market.

Lithium-ion batteries optimize for both total weight and energy, giving you the best range and longevity to any other battery.

Li-ion battery types can also be molded into different shapes or unique spaces, making them ideal for high capacity and low power applications.

Lithium-ion batteries are made of various formulas — including cobalt, manganese or others — but there is no expert opinion to prove that one mix is significantly better than the other.

What’s most important is to buy a bike with a high-quality electric drive system and well-made parts to ensure against overheating and battery life over time.

What makes RIDEL special is its consideration of battery weight and size, while also optimizing for sleek design.

  • The SNUGGER features a lightweight, long-lasting 48V 13Ah lithium battery containing an integrated backlight, so you can instantly check how much charge is left, day or night.
  • The EKO features an integrated 36V 250W battery built into the frame’s down tube – a Smart solution that gives you a more balanced center of gravity.

LiFePo4

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) operates across a wide temperature range, making it a viable option for various applications or weather conditions. Its advantages include a longer life span, charge efficiency, no maintenance, extreme temperature operation and an ability to charge quickly.

As these batteries are relatively new in the market, they’re not the cheapest, but due to its long life span they are a Smart investment over time.

Bosch e Bike batteries

Bosch batteries are an efficient, long-life energy source. Thanks to their enormous mileage, long service life and intelligent battery management system, Bosch lithium-ion batteries are among the most modern on the market. Bosch eBike batteries combine low weight with ergonomic design and simple handling. The battery management system of the high-quality lithium-ion batteries detects potential sources of error and protects cells from overloading. There’s a suitable rechargeable battery for every requirement and every type of eBike; whether it’s the rack variant, frame battery or the integrated solution. The DualBattery is perfect for touring bikers, long-distance commuters or cargo bikers. The combination of two Bosch batteries delivers up to 1,250 Watt hours.

Four battery positions

Frame battery

Sporty dynamic: As a frame battery, the PowerPack sits close to the centre of gravity to ensure optimum weight distribution.

Frame battery

Sporty dynamic: As a frame battery, the PowerPack sits close to the centre of gravity to ensure optimum weight distribution.

Rack battery

Comfortably convenient: On step-through models, the rack battery frees up space and allows the rider to safely mount and dismount.

Rack battery

Comfortably convenient: On step-through models, the rack battery frees up space and allows the rider to safely mount and dismount.

Integrated battery

bosch, ebike, batteries, lifepo4

Stylishly elegant: The PowerTube can be integrated perfectly in the frame, creating a clean eBike look.

Integrated battery

Stylishly elegant: The PowerTube can be integrated perfectly in the frame, creating a clean eBike look.

Double the power: Linking two Bosch batteries can deliver even greater range. Ideal for tour bikers, long-distance commuters and cargo bikers.

DualBattery

Double the power: Linking two Bosch batteries can deliver even greater range. Ideal for tour bikers, long-distance commuters and cargo bikers.

PowerPacks

The versatile power source: PowerPacks from Bosch come in a variety of types. Frame batteries are close to the bike’s centre of gravity. This has a positive effect on riding behaviour. The rack variant is ideal for step-through models (only available in Bosch eBike system 2), offering greater freedom when mounting or dismounting. Charging is very simple in both variants: For charging with a Bosch charger, the PowerPacks can be easily removed with just one hand movement or conveniently charged on the bike itself. The high-quality, long-lasting eBike batteries from Bosch have high energy density with a compact size and light weight.

Battery – variants for the Smart system

New PowerPack 545

Go that extra distance: The PowerPack 545 is your ideal companion for excursions and city trips. You’ll never be caught short – even on last-minute diversions or unplanned uphill climbs.

New PowerPack 545

Go that extra distance: The PowerPack 545 is your ideal companion for excursions and city trips. You’ll never be caught short – even on last-minute diversions or unplanned uphill climbs.

New PowerPack 725

power and stamina: The PowerPack 725 is the perfect choice for longer tours or more demanding rides. It is ideally suited to eCargo Bikes or speed pedelecs with higher energy requirements.

New PowerPack 725

power and stamina: The PowerPack 725 is the perfect choice for longer tours or more demanding rides. It is ideally suited to eCargo Bikes or speed pedelecs with higher energy requirements.

Battery – variants for Bosch eBike system 2

PowerPack 300

The ideal companion on short, high-speed tours: The PowerPack 300 rack and frame battery variants for Bosch eBike system 2 are suitable for everyday use and short distances.

PowerPack 300

The ideal companion on short, high-speed tours: The PowerPack 300 rack and frame battery variants for Bosch eBike system 2 are suitable for everyday use and short distances.

PowerPack 400

Go further: The power of the PowerPack 400 (as a frame or rack battery version) means you can spontaneously explore new routes, visit friends or run errands.

PowerPack 400

Go further: The power of the PowerPack 400 (as a frame or rack battery version) means you can spontaneously explore new routes, visit friends or run errands.

bosch, ebike, batteries, lifepo4

PowerPack 500

Perfect for long journeys: A PowerPack 500 is the same size as and only slightly heavier than a PowerPack 400 but extends the range for longer trips. Available as either frame or rack batteries.

PowerPack 500

Perfect for long journeys: A PowerPack 500 is the same size as and only slightly heavier than a PowerPack 400 but extends the range for longer trips. Available as either frame or rack batteries.

Filter options

  • PowerPack 300
  • PowerPack 400
  • PowerPack 500
  • PowerPack 545 Frame
  • PowerPack 725 Frame
  • System
  • Mounting type
  • Voltage
  • Capacity
  • Energy content
  • Weight, Frame battery/ Rack battery
  • Dimensions, Frame battery/ Rack battery
  • Compatible with DualBattery
  • Compact Charger
  • Standard Charger
  • Fast Charger
  • 4A Charger

Unfortunately the selected combination is not available.

PowerPack 300

PowerPack 400

PowerPack 500

PowerPack 545 Frame

PowerPack 725 Frame

approx. 2.5 kg/ approx. 2.6 kg

Dimensions, Frame battery/ Rack battery

50% charge: Approx. 2 hours 100% charge: Approx. 5 hours

PowerPack 300

PowerPack 400

PowerPack 500

PowerPack 545 Frame

PowerPack 725 Frame

approx. 2.5 kg/ approx. 2.6 kg

Dimensions, Frame battery/ Rack battery

50% charge: Approx. 2 hours 100% charge: Approx. 5 hours

PowerTubes

For the highest demands in terms of performance and aesthetics: Bosch PowerTubes have the power to drive any ride and, thanks to their compact size and minimalist design, can be integrated within the eBike to ideal effect. There are two versions which are installed directly by the manufacturer, depending on the eBike model; horizontal or vertical. The sophisticated technology ensures carefree riding enjoyment: A safety catch prevents the batteries from falling out, while still allowing them to be removed with ease. Bosch offers three integrable lithium-ion batteries variants in the Smart system and in the Bosch eBike system 2, which cover all areas of application with different energy contents.

Battery – variants for the Smart system

New PowerTube 500

Elegantly integrated within the frame and the smallest PowerTube in the battery portfolio for the Smart system: The PowerTube 500 is the perfect match for minimalist lightweight eBikes.

New PowerTube 500

Elegantly integrated within the frame and the smallest PowerTube in the battery portfolio for the Smart system: The PowerTube 500 is the perfect match for minimalist lightweight eBikes.

New PowerTube 625

With the PowerTube 625 you have found the perfect fit for your eMTB adventures and longer trekking tours.

New PowerTube 625

With the PowerTube 625 you have found the perfect fit for your eMTB adventures and longer trekking tours.

PowerTube 750

The strongest and most robust PowerTube is made for long and demanding trail adventures. With this battery on board no mountain is too steep and no path too long.

PowerTube 750

The strongest and most robust PowerTube is made for long and demanding trail adventures. With this battery on board no mountain is too steep and no path too long.

Battery – variants for Bosch eBike system 2

PowerTube 400

The PowerTube 400 for Bosch eBike system 2 brings your stylish lightweight city bike up to speed and ensures carefree riding fun.

PowerTube 400

The PowerTube 400 for Bosch eBike system 2 brings your stylish lightweight city bike up to speed and ensures carefree riding fun.

PowerTube 500

The PowerTube 500 makes it easy for trekking and eMountain bikes to tackle long distances and the battery integrated in the frame provides a clean eBike look.

PowerTube 500

The PowerTube 500 makes it easy for trekking and eMountain bikes to tackle long distances and the battery integrated in the frame provides a clean eBike look.

PowerTube 625

Ready for any adventure: The PowerTube 625 for Bosch eBike system 2 lets you take on long and mountainous tours and offers plenty of power for maximum range and elevation.

PowerTube 625

Ready for any adventure: The PowerTube 625 for Bosch eBike system 2 lets you take on long and mountainous tours and offers plenty of power for maximum range and elevation.

Filter options

  • System
  • Mounting type
  • Voltage
  • Capacity
  • Energy content
  • Weight
  • Dimensions, horizontal battery/ vertical battery
  • Compatible with DualBattery
  • Compact Charger
  • Standard Charger
  • Fast Charger
  • 4A Charger

Unfortunately the selected combination is not available.

PowerTube 400

PowerTube 500

PowerTube 500

PowerTube 625

PowerTube 625

PowerTube 750

Dimensions, horizontal battery/ vertical battery

50% charge: Approx. 2.5 hours 100% charge: Approx. 6.5 hours

PowerTube 400

PowerTube 500

PowerTube 500

PowerTube 625

PowerTube 625

PowerTube 750

Dimensions, horizontal battery/ vertical battery

50% charge: Approx. 2.5 hours 100% charge: Approx. 6.5 hours

DualBattery

No journey is too long: DualBattery is the perfect solution for tourers, long-distance commuters, cargo bikers and eMountain bikers. The combination of two Bosch batteries delivers up to 1,250 Wh and can be installed in almost any battery combination from the manufacturer. The system switches intelligently between the two batteries both during charging and discharging. This ensures that both batteries are charged and discharged evenly, significantly increasing their service life. Depending on what is planned, a single battery can also be used.

DualBattery is only available for Bosch eBike system 2.

PowerPack 300 and PowerTube 400 don’t work in any combination with DualBattery.

Awards and test wins

For more than 10 years, Bosch eBike Systems has been delivering innovative eBike drive systems that offer the best performance and quality. Numerous awards and test wins confirm this and allow us to pursue our daily work with pride.

Introduction: EBike LiFePO4 Battery Troubleshooting

This instructable is to help troubleshoot a malfunctioning LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) eBike battery. These batteries are commonly sold online through various sellers. Though they often differ in size, voltage, capacity and cell type, they are electrically similar and the troubleshooting techniques below should hold fast for any multi-cell LiFePO4 battery pack with internal BMS(Battery Management System).

Step 1: LiFePO4 Battery Basics

Lithium Iron Phosphate (AKA. LiFePO4) is increasingly being used for electric vehicles (and as a replacement for Lead-Acid batteries in general) due to it’s long lifespan ( 1000 charge cycles), light weight, flat discharge curve and awesome chemical stability. LiFePO4 batteries are far less prone to the fire/shorting issues that Lithium Ion batteries are now famous for. LiFePO4 cells also hold their charge indefinitely. They don’t leak off their charge or go dead over time.

Modern eBike batteries use Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry with multiple cells arranged together in a grid to provide the correct voltage, current and capacity. Batteries packs are described by the number of cells they have in series (S) and in parallel (P). So a 16S4P battery will have 64 cells total (16×4). Battery pack voltage is the sum of single cell battery voltage (about 3.33V-3.35V charged) times the number of cells in series. So our 16S example battery would have a voltage of about 53.5VDC charged. Battery pack amperage is the sum of the individual cell amperage times the number of cells in parallel. So if our example cells were 2000mAh, then out 16S4P pack would have a capacity of 8000mAh.

In addition to the cells there will also be a BMS (Battery Management System) board inside the battery. This board monitors the cell voltages inside the battery and ensures that no individual cell voltage charges to above 3.65V or discharges below 2.0V where they would be damaged. It also balances the cells during charging (ensures each cell receives the same charge) and disconnects the battery from it’s load if short-circuit or over-current conditions are detected.

Step 2: Battery Problems

Battery Problems are generally of 2 types-

This is when the battery either won’t charge or won’t hold a charge. (i.e. after charging all night it’s still dead/empty)

With discharge problems, the main symptom is the bike completely dying under load and not starting again until the battery is disconnected then reconnected to the motor.

The other common discharging issue you may see is that the battery works, but does not last very long. This is indicative of an imbalanced or damaged battery and can be caused by damaged cells or by a broken balance circuit on the BMS not charging all of the series cells equally.

Step 3: Digging In

The video above gives a look inside an ebike battery and describes the basic procedure used to troubleshoot a battery that is cutting out or failing to charge. Also included is a schematic of the BMS circuit. It’s not required to troubleshoot, but is there for anyone who is curious.

And the basic troubleshooting steps are-

  • disconnect battery from eBike.
  • Open the battery and expose the BMS board
  • Test DC voltage at the 3 negative cables on the BMS (the cables are the negative terminals for charging discharging and the battery) The difference between each should be 0 VDC (see video)
  • If charging problems exist repeat 3 with charger attached to battery
  • Test battery voltage at main discharge connector (should be full battery voltage)
  • Test battery voltage at main charging connector (should be full battery voltage AND match 5)
  • Test individual cell voltages at balance connector.(should be between 2.5-3.4 VDC per cell depending on charge. All cells should also have close to the same voltage. Anything under 2.0 or over 3.65 VDC per cell indicates permanent damage to the cell.)
  • (if still faulting) Bypass Discharge protection and test under load (see video)

These steps will help you determine if you problem lies in your BMS, your cells or your eBike motor and will hopefully help someone rescue their broken battery without having to spend an arm and a leg.

Step 4: Longevity Tips

For your LiFePO4 battery to have a long and happy life-

Charge Slowly

The more wear and tear the internal electrodes of the batter see, the faster the battery will fail. Charging slowly places less stress on the battery. Using that ‘Quick Charger’ when the bike is going to sit overnight anyway will over time reduce cell lifespan. Charging LiFePO4 batteries quickly also places more wear on the BMS. (My own eBike BMS runs 20 deg. C hotter on a 5A ‘quick’ charger than it does on a 2.5A ‘standard’ charger.) Batteries charged slowly balance better too.

Do Not Store Fully Charged

If you are storing your bike for an extended period, run the battery down some first. Storing a dead battery can hose it. But Storing a 100% full battery causes internal battery wear also. (The internal electrodes of the battery wear more quickly when more chemically active. And they are at their most active when fully charged.) So before you put your bike away for winter, run it down to around 2/3 of full.

Check PeriodicallyWhen storing you should check the battery every couple months. While LiFePO4 cells do not leak or lose charge, the BMS usually steals some. The Signalab V1 BMS steals juice from only the first 4 cells for it’s logc/MOSFET buffering. So theoretically over long term storage those cells can imbalance. (You can see this in the included schematic. The line coming from charging circuit #5 to R36 powers the quad NAND gate IC on the back of the BMS.) Newer versions steal equally from all cells. Either way, checking every once in a while to make sure that the BMS has not run the battery down is prudent.

Do NOT Leave On the Charger

This is probably the most important longevity tip and is for the same reason we don’t store it fully charged. Keeping a LiFePO4 cell at ~3.5VDC per cell ‘top-off’ voltage keeps the internal electrodes at their most active and causes unnecessary battery wear. Once the battery is done charging, unplug the charger.

This is a work in progress and I’m going to keep adding info so feel free to post any questions and I’ll answer them if I can.

E-bikes and Batteries – how to buy.

The Ridekick power trailer offers a wide range of batteries. Upgrading or adding an after-market battery is as simple as matching the connector and voltage.

Distance: the places you’ll see

Battery size is like the gas tank. Watt-hours (Wh) is the key to how far you ride on a charge.

You’ve likely heard of volts and watts, but the Watt-hour is key. The secret decoder ring: you will see Volts (V) and Amp-hours (Ah). Multiply these to get Wh. Energy Watt-hours (Wh) = V x Ah (volts times Amp-hours)

A familiar example: A cell phone battery is 6 Wh (3.2V 1.8Ah) A wheelchair battery is 144Wh (12V 12Ah) It takes a lot more energy to move someone than to call someone!

A typical electricity bill is 400 kWh or 400,000Wh It takes a lot more energy to run a home than a wheelchair!

How far will it go?

E-bikes range 2-6 miles/100Whrs. Most of the variation depends on how much the rider assists, the wind speed, hills, and tire pressure.

It is deceiving to say a 48V will go father. When a battery is advertised as “48Volts” or “24Volts”, you need Ah (amp-hours) to figure the distance.

Many advertise “50 mile range”. This can be a true number or based on a “gentle” assist on a smooth surface with no wind. Be sure to compare “apples to apples” by finding the volts and amp-hours to see the real capacity.

With a 24V 20Ah battery (LR20), “par” for a Ridekick assist is about 22 miles. Plowing into a head wind or going uphill, it’s 16 miles with the LR20. On a perfect day moderate pedaling: 33 miles. When only boosting for starting from a start or picking up speed (generally more pedaling) it’ll go 55 miles!

Measurements show that riders with e-bikes go about 3 to 8 miles using 100 Watt-hours. These measurements are made with 24V, 36V, and 48V systems. The math-magic is that measured distances can be compared “apples to apples” with watt-hours, a common basis for all systems.

The 3 mile range is for high-performance acceleration and higher speed bikes. The 8 mile range is for cruising the city streets on well inflated tires. Data is from websites like: electricbike.com/forum/

Based on hundreds of rides, a Ridekick trailer goes about 6 to 8 miles using 100 Watt-hours. This includes rides “into a stiff wind”, up and down hills, hauling 50 pounds of groceries, as well as cruising downtown for dinner. Range will change depending on many factors noted on this website.

Safety don’t get burned!

Do all lithium batteries catch on fire? In a nutshell, no. Not only is LiFePO4 very safe, it has longer life and holds more energy per pound (capacity) than the SLA

Images of e-bikes on fire and garages with flaming batteries leave an impression! There are plenty of YouTube videos streaming these events, and safety events with flaming hoverboards reinforce the need for safety.

There are very good and safe alternatives!

There are many types of “Lithium ion” batteries, so be sure to look at the chemistry label. Some are safer, and also notice a distinct difference in battery life!

LiFePO4. There is a growing list of lithium battery chemistry with various “flammability”, density, and weight. It turns out that LiFePO4 is a great fit. As shown in the comparative table, LiFePO4 is very safe and well-suited for high power (500Watts) use. The comparatively “low capacity” means that the physical size of the battery is a bit larger than other lithium types, but still very good and much higher capacity than SLA, and they fit comfortably in a Ridekick trailer.

How long will it last?

1 year or over 4? Some Li-Ion batteries will last much longer! LiFePO4 is one of those.

Lithium batteries are rated by “Number of charge cycles” (Number of times the battery is fully used and recharged).

Do you want to ride your bike 4 times a week? 400 charging cycles will take you 2 years.

LiFePO4 and NMC are among the best. (See the chart above: LiFePO4 is 2000 cycles!)

SLA batteries are generally rated for 400 cycles.

Cell phones use a battery rated for 400-1000 cycles (see the chart above). While 400 sounds like a lot, there are 365 days in a year.

… that’s why many phone batteries lose some energy capacity after 1 year and the phone needs more frequent charging.

This chart shows that batteries will last for more charge cycles if they are not discharged to the lowest level. So if you use a 20Ah battery and use only 10 to 15Ah before charging, it should deliver more than 2000 charge cycles!

How intensely it is used: using a battery at max power for long distances also diminishes the life. Max power is generally on long hill climbs or continuous riding into the wind. A larger capacity battery will handle the higher power better. Therefore, if you plan to ride a lot of hills, then get the larger battery for longer life.

Long term storage is an important factor. When not riding for 2-3 months, keep the battery in a place that is between 30F and 90F temperature. Also, keep it charged between L4-L8 for best results. Check it every 2 months, and don’t recharge if it’s above L7.

Which battery should I choose?

(A) If you are on a budget, and ride less than 8 miles per trip, the SLA will work quite well! than half of Ridekick riders use the SLA with great satisfaction.

  • If you grow just beyond the range, get a second SLA to get you home.
  • Need to extend the ride a bit more? Use the lower power setting and avoid the hills for the longer trips.
  • You find yourself wanting to extend your distance because if boost makes it so fun. It’s simple to upgrade to LiFePO4 with the Ridekick trailer. Just plug it in and go farther

(B) Love riding farther? Got a few hills to ride over? The 20Ah LiFePO4 is a very rewarding upgrade. 480 Wh propels you 20-30 miles depending on your power, and it works better than SLA in colder weather.

(C) Long distance with hills? The 30Ah LiFePO4 is awesome. A couple 89 year-young riders ride with their group on long tours with confidence. If that’s not enough, some riders get two LR30s and ride all day long.

Not All Lithium Batteries Are Created Equal

Lithium batteries have become the golden standard for electric bicycles. Their light weight and long cycle life have made them a great fit for any small electric vehicles where weight and efficiency often take a premium over cost. But when it comes to choosing between all the different types of lithium batteries, most people’s heads start to spin.

Lithium batteries: you’ve got options

There are actually many different types of lithium battery chemistries that are used in electric bicycle. Some are optimized for long life, others for small size, and still others for low cost. As you might imagine, each choice has its own associated advantages and disadvantages. Let’s dive into the many options and make some sense out of it all.

First of all, let’s get some nomenclature out of the way. Lithium ion (li-ion) batteries, which some people assume are a specific type of lithium battery, actually represent a whole class of what we today just call “lithium batteries”. All the different lithium batteries used in electric bicycles today fall under the umbrella term li-ion. Within the class of li-ion batteries, we have a number of options: LiFeP O 4, LiMn 2 O 4, LiNiMnCoO 2 (also abbreviated NMC) and RC LiPos, to name the most common lithium chemistries.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFeP O 4 )

LiFeP O 4 batteries were one of the first widely used lithium batteries in ebikes. Their chemistry makes this an inherently safe, nearly fireproof lithium battery (a great feature for something that rides between your knees). LiFeP O 4 batteries also provide the longest cycle life of any common lithium ebike battery. Most LiFeP O 4 ebike batteries are rated at 2,000 charge cycles or more.

With the exception of expensive A123 battery cells, most LiFeP O 4 batteries are limited to fairly low discharge rates, so you can’t use them for super high powered ebike applications. They are still great for standard, everyday ebikes – just don’t try to go drag racing with them.

LiFeP O 4 batteries are some of the largest and heaviest of the lithium batteries. These cells also need a Battery Management System (BMS) to keep the cells from becoming unbalanced during successive charge and discharge cycles.

Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn 2 O 4 )

LiMn 2 O 4 batteries have some advantages over LiFeP O 4 batteries. LiMn 2 O 4 is a slightly smaller, lighter and cheaper lithium battery chemistry. It also handles charging and discharging better without becoming unbalanced, though most packs are still sold with BMS units. The downside of LiMn 2 O 4 batteries is that they doesn’t last as long as LiFeP O 4 batteries, generally only 600-800 charge cycles. This means that after a couple years it will likely be time to replace your battery.

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide ( LiNiMnCoO 2 or NMC)

NMC batteries are a nice compromise between LiMn 2 O 4 and LiFeP O 4 batteries. NMC is a safe chemistry that can deliver higher power in a lighter, smaller package than the previous two chemistries. This is one of the newer ebike battery chemistries that started coming into popular use around 2013-2014 and is still continuing to gain market share. The next few years could see NMC lithium batteries become the dominant lithium chemistry in the electric bicycle industry.

RC LiPos (LiCo)

Lithium Cobalt, often referred to as RC LiPo batteries due to their prevalent use in the remote controlled (RC) airplane industry, have gotten a bad rep for their ability to violently explode into a flame-spewing nightmare when over-charged/over-discharged/over-heated/punctured/dropped or basically fooled around with in any non-approved manner.

Now imagine this happening on the bike between your legs

In recent years some improvements have been made, but this is still a lithium chemistry that should only be handled by those with proper understanding of the correct operating procedures for LiPo batteries. The batteries have become popular due to their small size, incredibly low weight, super high power output and low cost. Basically, if they weren’t known to turn into expensive little bombs, they’d be the perfect chemistry.

Oh, that and they only last a couple hundred charge cycles. But hey, you can’t have everything in one lithium chemistry!

The future has a lot in store for ebike batteries

New types of lithium batteries are being introduced all the time, with some finding success only in the lab while others make it into real world products and eventually onto electric bicycles. In the next few years we’ll likely see further improvements that will end up leaving us talking about the above four chemistries with nostalgic charm as we remember the way ebikes used to be. Until then, these are the main types of lithium batteries you’ll see in ebikes today.

Who knows what tomorrow has in store for the battery universe.

About Micah

Micah is a mechanical engineer, tinkerer and husband. He’s spent the better part of a decade working in the electric bicycle industry, and is the author of The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide. Micah can usually be found riding his electric bicycles around Florida, Tel Aviv, and anywhere else his ebikes wind up.

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

It’s usually in the name, like NCR18650, IMR18650 or other. All good reputable cells will have spec sheets from the company like this: http://industrial.panasonic.com/cdbs/www-data/pdf2/ACI4000/ACI4000CE17.pdf

Hi, Ok, just had a bad experience and I need some serious help so I don’t end up writing another piece from the burn unit of a hospital. I purchased a battery pack with Panasonic 18650 cells. On a test ride, (I was not riding it) the installer of the motor was on a mountain trail going fast and hit a bump, the battery launched from the bike (not held down) tumbled down the hill and caught on fire. Spontaneous combustion of cell by cell ensued, and the fire department had to come and put it out. This make me worry about replacing the battery with another with the same cells. I have a Catrike Recumbent and the only place I could fit the battery pack was right under my left thigh about 3 inches away. I did this for purposes of keeping the weight balanced on the bike and I welded a really heavy duty battery holder with sides and straps to hold it down, but now I am having some worries about what would happen if this happened right under my leg while I’m sitting an a nylon mesh seat. I am wondering, and of course you can’t offer me anything more than advice and not be responsible for anything that might happen even if you do, so, do you think there is anything I can use as fireproofing material to keep me safe to allow me to bail out if I had to in the event of a fire. I was thinking of Nomex but I hear there are other things that would work better, but I’m not sure. I really need some advice and at the least some avenues to pursue to look for materials. I’m also thinking of putting a heat sensor on the battery in the event it rises to a temperature that might be heading in the wrong direction. I and I’m sure many others would be greatly appreciative of any ideas you might have. Thank you very much. Victor

Hi Victor, That’s quite a story! Glad to hear that you and the rider are Ok though. First of all, don’t blame Panasonic too badly. They are one of the top cell makers in the world and have really top notch quality cells. But lithium-ion batteries are inherently very energy dense and if they are structurally compromised (such as being thrown down a rocky hill), the case can break and cause a thermal runaway condition, releasing all of that energy at once as heat and ultimately fire. This is not a normal occurrence, but it can happen when the cells are abused. Generally speaking though, li-ion cells (good quality ones) don’t just spontaneously combust during a normal ride. Now to your specific situation. I don’t think you need to worry about this scenario too much as long as you don’t get in any terrible wrecks (and I hope you don’t!) but just for the sake of being prepared, let’s look at a few options. Nomex, like you mentioned, would certainly be a good option. I’m not sure how expensive it is as I’ve never tried to fireproof by bike, so you’ll have to explore that. Muffler wrap could be a good alternative. I’m sure it’s cheaper than Nomex. You could easily add a BBQ thermometer that snakes into your battery case if you wanted to keep an eye on the temp. Many BMS units that come in the battery already have heat sensors that shut off the battery if it gets abnormally hot. They are a step in the right direction, but if you are in a collision that breaks your battery in half, it’s not going to do much in that case. The best method would probably be to just put a physical barrier out of a heatproof fabric like muffler wrap or Nomex in between your thigh and your battery. But again, this isn’t a problem that I think you’ll have to worry about too much as long as you ride safely and treat your battery carefully.

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