HARGING YOUR E-BIKE BATTERY WITH A CAMPER VANHERE’S HOW
E-bikes are very much in vogue – something that has long been true of camping holidays, where e-bikes are becoming an increasingly popular piece of equipment. But how do things work out if an e-bike battery has to be charged on the camper van tour? In this blog post, we will show you how to charge your pedelec en route, what you have to bear in mind and what other equipment you will need.
OUT AND ABOUT IN A CAMPER VAN AND ON AN E-BIKE
and more people are taking their e-bikes on holiday so that they can discover their holiday destination on two wheels. It is no coincidence that numerous tourist destinations now specialize in e-bikers as a potential target group, offering specially marked routes and tour suggestions, for example.
Which is why more and more camping enthusiasts are taking their own electric bikes with them. And no wonder: your own pedelec offers a safer ride than renting a local bike. It can be easily transported in either the camper van or on its own bicycle rack. Once you have reached your destination, it noticeably broadens the range of action at your holiday spot.
HOW DO I CHARGE MY E-BIKE EN ROUTE?
But what happens when you run out of juice and need to charge the battery? In principle, there are several options with a camper van. The most obvious is certainly the pitch on the respective campsite: the local infrastructure is easy to use and – just like in a garage at home – you hardly have to worry about the charging infrastructure.
Things become a little more complicated if you want to charge your e-bike through your camper van. Since e-bike battery chargers almost always require a voltage of 230 V, the standard 12 V connection for charging a mobile phone or laptop in a camper van, for example, is no longer sufficient. The camper has to be prepared for charging e-bikes. The magic word here is “inverter” or voltage transformer.
CHARGING AN E-BIKE WITH AN INVERTER
In principle, an inverter is a device that can convert the DC voltage from car batteries into the AC voltage that comes out of domestic power sockets. In a camper van, it transforms the 12 V battery voltage into 230 V AC voltage. Since larger electrical appliances can also be operated or charged in this way, inverters are now part of the standard equipment in many campers. Anyone planning to purchase such a device will find a number of different current transformers in a various price ranges and output levels on the market.
Charging an e-bike with an inverter requires a high-quality, pure sine wave inverter and not a device that only works with a modified sine wave. This is because the domestic mains voltage usually has a sinusoidal voltage curve and chargers – in this case for the e-bike – are prepared appropriately. Cheaper AC inverters, however, work with so-called modified sine waves, that only simulate the classical sine wave to a greater or lesser extent. Chargers may develop a lot of heat here. In the worst case, the battery may even be damaged.
In addition to the sine curve, the output of an AC inverter also plays a role: An inverter that can always provide the charger’s nominal power without reaching its power limit is recommended for e-bikes. If you want to charge two e-bikes, for example, the device should be able to deliver 500 watts with allowed reserves.
EXAMPLE CHARGING FIT E-BIKE BATTERIES WITH YOUR CAMPER CAMPER VAN
The FIT e-bike battery is an example of how you can charge an e-bike with an inverter in a camper van. The FIT BASIC CHARGER charges the FIT battery in the shortest possible time with its 4 A charging current, so that you can continue to enjoy the ride on your e-bike. If you have the appropriate infrastructure, the FIT FAST CHARGER even offers a 6 A fast charge option, which makes charging even quicker. The average charging time for a 500 Wh battery is about 3 hours, for a 630 Wh battery 3.8 hours and for a 750 Wh battery 4.5 hours.
Two formulas can be used to calculate the required capacity of the on-board battery and the required inverter power. If you want to charge two e-bike batteries with 500 Wh, for example, you should divide this by the 12 V battery voltage, include a loss of 15 % in your calculation, and thus arrive at 96 Ah. But watch out: since the battery should never be fully discharged, a reserve of around 50 % must also be factored in.
The inverter power required for our example is calculated in turn by multiplying the 4 A of the charging current by the 36 V voltage of the e-bike battery. Once again, you should allow for a loss of 15 %, resulting in a minimum output of 166 W in this case. If we assume two batteries, the inverter should be able to consistently deliver 332 watts. With calculated reserves, a 500 watt voltage transformer would be a good choice.
Required battery capacity: 1000 Wh / 12 V 15 % loss = 96 Ah
Required inverter output:4 A x 36 V 15 % loss = 166 W
TIPS FOR CHARGING E-BIKE BATTERIES EN ROUTE
Lithium-ion batteries should not be constantly discharged and fully recharged. In principle, a charging status of between 20 and 80 % is recommended if you want to preserve the battery. 2. If you want to charge the e-bike battery with the camper van’s own 12 V DC current, you will need an inverter to operate the e-bike battery charger at 230 V. 3. The inverter should be of high quality and be able to provide a true sine wave. It should also meet the minimum battery charging capacity. 4. You can charge more while driving because the alternator, ideally in combination with a charge booster, provides extra power. In this way, even large amounts of electricity can be generated from the car battery. 4. Solar power helps give you more energy reserves. You can also compensate losses from the on-board battery in this way. An output of at least 200 Wp is recommended.
You are often on the road with the e-bike? In the following blog post you will get tips on how to increase the battery range: 10 Tips for longer tours
Can I Charge My E-Bikes in a Motorhome When Camping?
It seems no matter where you camp these days, you’ll see an e-bike whizzing by your campsite. Riding the bike is the easy part, but dealing with charging an e-bike in a motorhome can be difficult. It brings on a whole new element when it comes to your electrical system.
Let’s look at whether or not you can charge e-bikes in a motorhome or when camping.
Can You Charge an E-Bike in Your Motorhome or RV?
Yes, if you’re at a campsite with electric hookups, it likely won’t be a problem. It’s easy to charge e-bikes in motorhomes or RVs after a long day of using them. By the next day, your e-bike will be ready to go.
If you’re not camping with hookups, you can still charge your e-bike with your motorhome or RV. Most e-bikes are pretty efficient, just sipping power instead of gulping it. Many e-bikes also have an automatic shut-off installed, so they don’t continue charging after full. That way, you can set it and forget it.
If you want to charge from solar power you might need to make some adaptations, such as using an inverter to convert DC voltage to AC, so keep that in mind before heading out.
How Much Power Do You Need to Charge Your E-Bike?
The amount of power you’ll need to charge your e-bike is primarily determined by how powerful of an e-bike you have. Larger e-bikes that can go longer distances, faster speeds, and carry more weight require more power to charge them.
Typically an e-bike battery will require 500-800 watt-hours for a full charge. Many e-bikes use lithium-ion batteries, which can charge incredibly fast. A fully depleted lithium-ion battery can take anywhere from 3.5 to 6 hours to recharge.
But if the bike uses lithium-ion batteries, you don’t always need to recharge to 100%. The battery charges to 90 percent capacity very quickly, and the last 10% takes much longer because it charges at a lower wattage. So, depending on the lithium battery size, your e-bike could be at 90% after approximately 2.5 hours and is ready to use!
How Can You Charge Your E-Bike When Camping
Camping with an e-bike can be both practical and incredibly fun. However, not all campsites will gift you access to unlimited power. If you prefer off-grid camping, you’ll have to find your own means of charging the battery. Let’s look at a few popular ways to charge your e-bike when camping.
Use a Power Outlet (Shore Power)
This is one of the most common ways RVers charge their e-bikes while camping. If you’re plugging your RV into a power pedestal, you likely won’t have to worry about a power source. There are rare circumstances where the power is out to the campground, but for the most part, you’ll practically have an unlimited supply of power to charge your e-bike and other electronics.
Charging things with solar power is super cool. Solar panels can create significant power that RVers often use to charge their RV’s battery bank on a clear day. However, you could use this same technology to charge your e-bike.
You’ll need a solar panel, a charge controller, RV battery bank, inverter, and, of course, an e-bike battery. This charging method is excellent if you’re at your campsite, but it won’t do much good if you’re out and about. You likely won’t want to carry a solar panel and charge controller around with you, and it will take several hours to get a sufficient charge from it.
→ Read RV Solar Panels: A Guide For Beginners to get started with solar power!
RV Battery Bank (Off-Grid)
You can use your motorhome battery bank to charge your e-bikes when off the grid. You will need an RV battery inverter to be able to do this and convert your battery’s 12V power to 110V AC that your e-bike battery charger needs. However, not all RV battery banks will be able to fully charge a 500-800 watt-hour e-bike battery without fully draining themselves or even causing damage.
For instance, two 12V lead-acid batteries have about 1200 watt-hours of usable energy at a low draw (less for high-powered appliances). They should not be drained below 50% capacity. This means that charging an e-bike battery in an off-grid motorhome would mostly drain those batteries if they were fully charged. Depending on how fast the e-bike charger draws, you could experience even less lead-acid battery capacity due to the Puekert effect.
Conversely, two 12V Battle Born lithium-ion batteries have about 2600 watt-hours of usable energy and can be drained 100% without damage. They also can handle heavier power draws without the Puekert effect.
Using batteries to charge batteries enables using “buckets” of power that can pass energy from one to another. Usually an RV battery bank has alternative energy sources like solar and generator to provide energy. Many times you want to charge an E-bike overnight and use it during the day. Using an RV battery bank can store solar energy from the day to charge the bike at night.
Car Battery Inverter
If you don’t have access to power but have a 12V system in your vehicle with an inverter, it could be an excellent option for charging your e-bike. Many newer vehicles include a 110V electrical plug for users, which can charge laptops, phones. Keep in mind that many of these inverters are too small for an E-bike. You might need to
It’s important to note; these systems can quickly drain a vehicle’s battery. You must keep the vehicle running while using this charging method. If not, there’s a good chance you’ll have a somewhat charged e-bike and a completely drained vehicle battery.
The loudest (and often most annoying) option is a generator to charge your e-bike. This is a popular method because generators are relatively inexpensive and can produce significant power. Many generators rely on gasoline to keep their engine running, but there are also diesel and propane generators.
Many inverter generators will include electrical outlets on them so that you can plug your e-bike battery directly into the generator. This will quickly charge your battery, and you’ll be back on your e-bike in no time.
How Often Should You Charge Your E-Bike?
Get in the habit of regularly charging your e-bike battery. If you charge it after every ride, you should be set. While you could fully discharge your e-bike’s lithium battery without causing permanent damage, try not to let it sit below 30% capacity. You don’t want to find yourself stranded because your e-bike’s battery couldn’t make the distance. Many e-bikes encourage users to rotate between charging at 30% and 60% to help increase an e-bike’s battery life and keep you safe on the road.
The most important feature of an e-bike is that it’s ready to go when you are. You don’t want to be waiting around for your e-bike to charge, so having a plan for keeping it charged will set you up for success.
Will Leaving Your E-Bike Charging Overnight Damage the Battery?
Most electronics these days can shut down charging once a battery is full. If your e-bike has a lithium-ion battery, you should verify that you can leave your charger plugged in overnight. Overcharging any type of battery can cause serious damage to the battery, so make sure yours will automatically stop charging at full if you’re going to leave it plugged in overnight.
If you have any questions regarding your specific e-bike battery, consult your e-bike’s documentation or call customer service.
Is Bringing Your E-Bike Camping Worth It?
Yes, bringing an e-bike camping is definitely worth it. Whether you want to go for a relaxing ride around the campground or to scout out a potential boondocking spot, it’s a great tool to have on hand. Even if you see your e-bike as more of a toy than a tool, it can be a great way to enhance your camping experience.
You should check any local campground regulations regarding e-bikes before bringing one with you. You don’t want to discover that your campground prohibits riding e-bikes on the premises. As speeds increase with e-bikes, some campgrounds will have e-bike rules or even bans, so check the campground rules before you ride.
Overall, an e-bike can be a great way to get around a campground, travel into town, or go for a relaxing bike ride. E-bikes are flying off the shelves, and more and more RVers have found room for them in their storage bays. Having a solid plan for efficient power usage will take all the stress out of using your e-bike.
eBike E-Bike Boreem 12V 14Ah Electric Bicycle Replacement Battery
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Sealed Lead Acid Battery Care
- Recharge batteries after each use to prevent performance decline.
- Avoid complete discharges.
- Periodically check terminals for signs of corrosion or other wear which might cause failure.
- Always store battery fully charged.
- Store battery in cool, dry place (~68°F).
- Recycle batteries, do not dispose.
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Electric Bicycle Batteries: Lithium Vs. Lead Acid Batteries
When it comes to electric bicycle batteries, you’ve got two main options: lithium batteries and lead acid batteries. Sure, there are a few other types of ebike batteries out there, but the main two types you’ll see all over the place remain lithium and lead acid. Of course lithium batteries and lead acid batteries each come with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and knowing the difference will help you decide which is best for your ebike.
Lithium ebike batteries
There are many different types of lithium ebike batteries to choose from. I’ll give a short summary of the different types of electric bicycle specific lithium batteries here, but you can get a more detailed description as well as the pros and cons of each type of lithium battery in my article Not All Lithium Batteries Were Created Equal.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)
LiFePO4 batteries are some of the heaviest and most expensive lithium batteries, but are also the safest and longest lasting.
Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) and Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2)
LiMn2O4 and LiNiMnCoO2 batteries fall into the mid range of lithium batteries in terms of size, weight, safety, lifespan and cost. They are a good middle ground in nearly all regards.
RC Lithium Polymer batteries (RC LiPo)
LiPo’s are the smallest, cheapest, lightest and most powerful lithium batteries. Their disadvantages include short lifespan and propensity to combust into giant fireballs if not cared for correctly (I’m not kidding, check out the short video clip below).
Benefits of lithium batteries
Now that we’ve got the summary of different types of lithium batteries out of the way, lets look at how these lithium batteries stack up as a whole.
One of the first advantages of lithium batteries is their small size. You can fit a lot of lithium on a bicycle frame. This alone can give your ebike some seriously impressive range. Two or three mid to large capacity lithium batteries could easily fit on one ebike, giving potential ranges of 100 miles (160 km) or more. I guess this would be great for people that don’t mind sitting on their bike for three to five hours at a time, or that for some reason don’t want to charge up for weeks (hey, when riding your ebike through a zombie apocalypse, the last thing you want to be doing is searching for an outlet).
Lithium batteries made specially for ebikes often come with specific bicycle mounting points making them easy to bolt to the bike frame, seat post or rear rack. If you go with a different type of lithium battery without ebike specific mounts, you’ll likely have to put it in a bag on the bike, which is still a good option, and one that I even prefer sometimes. (Link to blog post of mine about center frame triangle batteries).
Lithium batteries are also small enough to allow you to place your batteries pretty much anywhere on your bike. This is especially true for people who want to assemble their own pack or use heat shrink wrapped lithium batteries instead of hard case lithium batteries with prefabricated bicycle frame mounts. This can help spread the weight around or hide the batteries to make a stealthier bike.
Lithium batteries (with the exception of RC LiPos) last much longer than lead acid batteries. LiPo batteries are usually only rated for a few hundred charge cycles but LiFePO4 batteries keep going after thousands of charge cycles. Every manufacturer rates their batteries differently, but most LiFePO4 ebike batteries will be rated for between 1,500 to 2,200 charge cycles.
Disadvantages of lithium electric bicycle batteries
A big downside of lithium batteries is that they are much more expensive than lead acid batteries. vary depending on the voltage and capacity of the lithium battery, but standard ebikes usually have lithium batteries starting in the 300 range and rising quickly from there. Most bikes I build have lithium batteries in the 400-500 range.
However, when you factor in the shorter life cycle of lead acid batteries, they become comparable to lithium batteries over the entire life of the electric bicycle. For example, a lithium battery may cost five times the price of a lead acid battery, but it could easily last five times as long as well, making the price about the same over the life of the lithium battery. You’d have to buy at least four replacement lead acid batteries (maybe even more) by the time your lithium battery finally kicks the can.
One other disadvantage of lithium batteries that isn’t talked about often, but should be, is their potential for theft. Lithium ebike batteries have become huge targets by bike thieves as a result of their combination of small size and high price tags (the same factors that keep shaving razor cartridges behind lock and key at the drug store). Thieves see an easy target and ample resale market, meaning you have to be extra careful about locking your ebike up and leaving it alone in public.
Lithium ebike battery partially removed from rack
Most lithium batteries that are designed to mount to ebikes also come with some form of locking system. These have varying degrees of effectiveness. The type with a little pin that slides into a thin sheet of steel are the easiest to steal by mangling the thin steel locking plate. Just take a look at your battery and ask yourself “how easily could I steal this battery if I had some basic hand tools and a 60 second window of opportunity?”
For this reason I like to either add a second lock specifically through the handle of my lithium battery (if it’s a removable style battery) or permanently secure it to the bike so it isn’t removable at all. The second option is less convenient because it means you have to bring the charger to the ebike, but it’s a much more secure option if you find yourself locking your ebike in public often.
Lead acid ebike batteries
When it comes to lead acid batteries for ebike use, you’ll generally be looking for what’s called a “sealed lead acid” or SLA battery. SLAs come sealed in a hard plastic case and can be turned in any orientation safely without leaking acid. This makes them appropriate for ebike use. Wet cell lead acid batteries, like many car batteries, would leak dangerous acid if turned on their side or upside down, making them a bad idea for use on an electric bicycle, which is a lot more likely to get knocked over than a car. Remember to stick with SLAs – not wet cell lead acid batteries – for electric bicycle use.
Lead acid batteries are much larger and heavier than lithium batteries, limiting their placement on ebikes. They almost never come packaged with ebike specific mounting hardware which means that they generally have to go in a bag on the rear rack or in panniers on either side if the rear wheel. Mounting them up high on the rack isn’t a good idea either because it will negatively affect handling. Generally speaking, you want to mount your batteries as low as possible to keep the center of gravity of the ebike lower towards the ground. This will significantly improve your ebike’s handling.
Advantages of lead acid batteries for ebikes
The biggest advantage of lead acid batteries is their price: dirt cheap. Lead acid batteries can be purchased from many different online retailers and local stores. Purchasing SLAs locally helps save on shipping and makes them even cheaper. Many hardware and electronic stores carry them. Even Radioshack has them, though you’ll pay more there.
Another advantage of lead acid batteries is their high power output potential. Lithium batteries generally don’t like to handle too much current. SLAs, on the other hand, can provide huge amounts of current. If you are planning a very high power electric bicycles, SLAs might be a good option for you.
Disadvantages of lead acid batteries for ebikes
One of the main disadvantages of lead acid batteries is their weight. There’s no beating around the bush here, SLAs are HEAVY, as you might guess by the inclusion of “lead” in the name. You’ll need a strong mounting solution on your ebike to handle the extra weight of SLAs. You should also be aware that lugging that extra weight around is going to negatively impact your range. The best way to improve the range of any electric vehicle is to reduce weight, and SLAs are kind of going the opposite way in that regard.
Another disadvantage of lead acid batteries is the shorter lifespan. Most claim to be rated for over 200 cycles, but in practice I usually find many SLAs start showing their age at around 100 cycles. They’ll still work as they get up in years (or charge cycles), but you’ll begin seeing your range quickly decreasing. If you were traveling 15 miles per charge when the SLAs were new, a year later you could find yourself barely getting past 10 miles.
SLAs come in 6V or 12V increments, meaning you have to build your battery pack by combining these smaller SLAs in series and/or parallel to get the specific voltage and capacity you’re aiming for. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage; it gives you more room for customization but requires some work to combine the individual SLA batteries together into a larger pack.
Who wins? That’s up to you
(…but it’s actually lithium)
When I’m experimenting with some new ebike parts and want to test different battery voltages for different speeds, I often use lead acid batteries because I can try many different voltages using very cheap batteries. Then when the results of my lead acid battery tests show me whether I want to go with 36V or 48V or 60V, for example, I then commit to buying the appropriate lithium battery.
There are only three instances where I recommend to use lead acid batteries instead of lithium
- You are absolutely trying to build an ebike on a very tight budget
- You are building an electric tricycle, which can easily carry SLAs without balance or stability issues
- You want to test out different battery voltages on your system (make sure your controller can handle the voltage range)
For any other case, lithium batteries’ advantages greatly outweigh SLAs. Of course, for your specific ebike you might have other reasons that could sway you either way. At the end of the day, your ebike is all about you. I hope this information helps you make the right choice for your own battery needs.
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.
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I have a GIO PB710/350w/500w bike. Is it possible to upgrade with a lithium battery? I mean Lithium battery will work with this or now?
Yes, you can upgrade a GIO PB710 with a lithium battery. You just want to make sure your battery is the same voltage as the original lead acid battery and that it can handle the current demanded by the bike’s controller.
Hi Micah, Do you have any charts showing the different weights by voltage for lead acid vs lithium? It would be good info to be able to see the penalty paid for cheap lead acid in a mid level build when compared to the equivalent lithium setup. I would prefer to go with lithium, but I have a couple of 75 volt (i think) cells from a UPS that are brand new. They are built from regular 12v (sixteen total) sealed lead units and would make the initial investment in an ebike that much more reasonable. One huge downside is that I hope to use the folding ebike in my homebuilt aircraft. As with ebikes, excess weight is to be avoided! As you sugested in one of your articles, using lead acid is a great way to prototype the build, so if I am happy with the performance if not the weight of the lead-acid, I can convert to lithium in the future and save some big weight. Thoughts? Jon
Yea lead acid is a great way to cheaply get into ebikes and test new motor/controller combinations. Keep in mind though that your performance will increase when you switch to lithium. It’s easy to do though, as the bike doesn’t care what chemistry it receives, it just sees volts and amps. Good luck!
Micah, I am new to the ofrum and to the ebike world so I would like to seek some advice please. I have recently bought a sondors fat bike to the UK and want to make some tweaks, I would like to upgrade the battery on a budget, I was thinking of 4 x 12v 5ah lead acid batteries in series, would this give me 48v 20ah or have I got this totally wrong? I want to replace the stock contoller for a 48v 25amp one, would this suffice? lastly it comes with a stock 350w bafang motor, if I make the battery and controller upgrades will the motor handle the increase in wattage? could I drill venting holes in the case cover to expell some heat? Your thoughts and advice would be most welcome, Regards, Wayne.
When you wire in series you only increase voltage, not amp hours. So you’d have a 48V 5AH pack in that setup. Not enough range, in my opinion. If you want my advice, the single best upgrade you can do to that bike is to replace the battery and controller for 48V units. It will give you about 30% more speed and power. You won’t need to drill vent holes or anything, that motor can handle 48V as long as you aren’t riding up any 5 mile long uphills with a 250 lb rider. Shorter uphills and flat land will be fine all day long.
Hello My friend I am having 36v lithium battery with 4.4 Ah(segway.balancing wheel battery pack ) but i want to convert this battery in to 36v with 9 ah is it possible to add one more 36v lithium 4.4 ah battery with this and i can use as 36v 8.8 ah battery. please help me iam not getting lithium battery in india for my e bike if am using SLA battery the distance coverage is very very less iam having 24v 250 watts brushless hub motor and 36v 500 watts hub motor please suggest me how and what battery i shoud use to cover atleast 25km thanks
You can certainly use a second 4.4AH battery in parallel to double your range, but you’ll want to make sure the batteries are at the same state of charge when you connect them in parallel, or use a diode in between them, to keep one battery from discharging the other if the charge states are unequal. The exact amount of range you’ll get per battery and motor varies greatly and depends on factors like terrain, speed, weight, etc. Suffice it to say though that if you double your current battery capacity, you’ll see an approximate doubling of your range as well.
Replacement Electric Bike Batteries Guide
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A good e-bike battery should last for hundreds of cycles. With average use, this means several years. Eventually, electric bike batteries need to be replaced as their life cycle comes to an end.
You can tell when a battery is nearing the end of its life when it does not provide you with much range. Some high-quality batteries that come on the top e-bikes such as a Bosch battery have a battery management system (BMS) integrated into the battery that actually tells you the current capacity and also how many charge cycles it has gone through.
But no matter what type of battery you have you’ll sooner or later be asking yourself the all-important question: how can I replace my e-bike battery?
Down below Electric Bike Report dives into this question and more in greater detail.
Are E-bike Batteries Interchangeable?
In general, the answer is no – you should only replace a battery with one that comes from the same manufacturer and is of exactly the same spec.
The reason is that the original e-bike or kit manufacturer has the responsibility to ensure that the battery pack, charger, and e-bike all work safely together, and using a ‘non-original’ replacement pack potentially introduces all sorts of uncontrolled risks.
It’s a little more complicated than this in some situations. For example, some Bosch batteries of different capacities are explicitly made to be interchangeable and there will be many instances where an original supplier and/or manufacturer of the e-bike cannot be traced or has gone out of business – in such cases we look at your options below.
As an important side note: you should always, if possible, use a charger that comes from the original manufacturer too. The one that comes with your battery should sync up well and not overload the battery. Pairing your battery with a different charger adds in risk of malfunction during charging.
Let’s first look at the basics of getting a replacement battery for your e-bike, then we will look at some of the major manufacturers of e-bike batteries and some of the main e-bike manufacturers to see which common battery types are still replaceable. Let’s consider the options for replacement in terms of desirability.
Where Should I Go to Get a Replacement E-Bike Battery?
On this last point it may help to note that there are a couple of manufacturing standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in e-bikes. Although it’s not a legal requirement, it may be that one of the standards is actually marked on the battery itself.
The standards are BS EN 50604‑1 and UN38.3, the latter required for lithium-ion battery transport by air, sea or land. Just because these standards are not marked on a battery doesn’t mean it does not comply with them – but it is a reassuring sign if a battery does bear one or both of these marks.
Note that using a replacement battery that does not come from the original manufacturer (whether a dealer is involved or not) may void the warranty of your electric bike or kit. Check with the e-bike or kit company to understand what their policy is regarding the use of aftermarket replacement batteries.
Replacement Batteries from Original Manufacturers
Bosch E-Bike Batteries
Only Bosch manufactured batteries will be used on any new Bosch e-bike – this has always been the case and so it makes advice on interchangeability a little more straightforward than with the likes of Shimano and Brose who have both allowed the use of third party batteries with their mid-drive motor systems.
There have been four basic designs made by Bosch over the years (good online overview here):
- Rack mounted batteries: PowerPack in 300, 400, and 500 Wh versions which are all interchangeable with each other.
- Down tube mounted batteries: PowerPack in 300, 400, and 500 Wh versions, current versions of which are all interchangeable with each other.
- Frame integrated batteries: PowerTubes in 400, 500, and 625Wh versions, with the 400 and 500 units being interchangeable with each other. The 625Wh may be retrofittable but it needs a compatible frame with a big enough space to house it (400 and 500 units are the same physical dimensions but 625 is bigger). 500 and 625 Wh units are used on the Dual Battery system to give a capacity up to 1250Wh.
- Frame Integrated ‘Smart’ Option batteries: This is a new 750Wh option for 2022 and will be only compatible with 2022 e-bikes that feature the Bosch ‘Smart’ system and will not be compatible with other Bosch e-bikes that are ‘non-Smart’. Similarly, other types of PowerTube batteries (400, 500, and 625Wh versions) will not be compatible with e-bikes featuring Bosch’s ‘Smart’ system.
Some third-party batteries compatible with Bosch systems are available as detailed in the section below.
There are some suppliers of batteries that will fit older models, in some cases dating back to 2011 when the Bosch e-bikes first entered the market, for example, The Holland Bike Shop in Europe sells some batteries compatible with much older Bosch-powered models.
Shimano E-Bike Batteries
Shimano produces its own brand batteries for use on their systems, but you may also find new e-bikes powered by Shimano motor systems with batteries manufactured by their licensed partners Darfon and SMP. These third party batteries are not interchangeable with any Shimano batteries.
Shimano’s current range includes rack-mounted, downtube-mounted and frame-integrated batteries from 418Wh to 630Wh. You can see a brief overview with detailed links to each battery on offer here.
It’s important to note that each battery model has a limited number of specific battery mounts it will work with, so it is important to replace an old battery with one that is compatible with the mount on your e-bike. You can check out detailed compatibility info here and here.
Shimano says that ‘the oldest current battery we have is the BT-E6000 and the corresponding battery mount BM-E6000. These are compatible with all five of our current drive units (DU-EP8/E8000/E7000/E6100/E5000), but not earlier systems. For reference, DU-E8000 is the oldest in that list – it was introduced in 2016.’
Brose E-Bike Batteries
The only battery listed on Brose’s own website is a 630Wh frame-integrated option.
However, Brose systems are widely used by other manufacturers who also spec own-brand or third-party batteries. These include the likes of the widely respected battery manufacturer BMZ and well-known brands like Scott and BULLS.
For example, Specialized’s ‘full power’ range use Brose-based mid drives and a range of their own brand frame-integrated batteries. Although information on interchangeability is scarce, a Specialized FAQ page, in response to the question ‘Can I increase range by using the 604Wh aftermarket battery in any Turbo Vado/Como?’ says yes, all Vado batteries are cross-compatible as long as you are running the latest firmware (by implication so are Como and Turbo full power batteries are cross-compatible too).
The above appears only to address compatibility on current Specialized models and battery availability for older models appears a bit more complex with lots of debate online over the matter.
The fact that the latest Specialized e-bike batteries contain a Bluetooth chip to communicate with the latest Mission Control App certainly suggest both backward compatibility and availability of third party batteries will be very limited. Current e-bike batteries available from Specialized can be found here.
Yamaha E-Bike Batteries
Yamaha has integrated, rack-mounted and frame-mounted options ranging between 400Wh and 600Wh but information on backward compatibility is rather hard to find. Their systems appear on Haibike models and in the US on their own brand models too.
Giant use Yamaha motor systems but apparently have their own brand of battery – the EnergyPak range. The standard EnergyPak comes in rack-mounted and frame-integrated options whilst the Smart Compact variant allows for faster charging.
Finally, there is the Giant EnergyPak Plus, for use with the Smart Compact – a range extender style battery that fits onto the frame and effectively increases the capacity of the main Plus battery.
Giant’s Service web page states that there are EnergyPaks with 300, 360, 400, 500 and 625Wh capacities and also states ‘Giant EnergyPaks are interchangeable’.
Fazua E-Bike Batteries
This lightweight German-made system uses a frame-integrated 250Wh design and there have been two types of battery, Battery 250 and Battery 250X, the latter having the ability to be switched on and off remotely.
The latest Fazua Evation 250X battery is compatible with all Fazua electric bikes from 2019-22.
GRIN and Cytronex E-bike Kit Batteries
Canada’s GRIN is a true expert in producing a wide variety of e-bike kits. Whilst they do several designs of batteries, one of their best options from a replaceability point of view is their own brand LiGo batteries.
LiGo batteries are very unusual in being modular so that you can easily connect together as many as you like to increase or decrease battery capacity at will. They are particularly suitable for lightweight and folding bikes (I use them on a GRIN Brompton kit) and also for those who want to air travel with e-bikes as the individual battery units are only 98Wh and so are generally allowed on passenger aircraft (disconnect them from each other for travel and reconnect them on landing to make a useful e-bike battery).
The design has been around for several years and is backward compatible.
The UK’s Cytronex produces both European and US spec lightweight kits which use a unique own-design of ‘bottle battery’.
Cytronex says all their lithium bottles are compatible forwards and backward from the first version in 2017. They have different firmware for the new Bluetooth variant but both this and the non-Bluetooth version allow you to use the new 2-way – 5 level Boost Button or the previous one-way 3 level button.
In fact, if you have old and new kits on two bikes you can switch the bottle between both and it will recognize the two different button types automatically.
E-bike Manufacturers Own Brand Batteries
There are hundreds of e-bike manufacturers in the more budget space so it’s way beyond the scope of this guide to cover the options for each one; rather we’ll take a look at a couple of the market leaders.
Rad Power Bikes E-Bike Batteries
Rad Power Bikes first started producing e-bikes for the North American market in 2015 and now claims to be the US market leader. Their website lists several replacement batteries and their current lineup of bikes uses one of two battery designs.
There is the External Battery Pack (with the option for the smaller pack specific to the RadMission) which is compatible with all 2018 and newer model ebikes except the RadRover 6 Plus and RadCity 5 Plus, which use the Semi-Integrated Battery Pack.
Rad Power Bikes does offer legacy options for bikes older than that 2018 ‘cutoff’ and although some of these legacy batteries are currently out of stock Rad says they have plans to restock them.
The battery packs are consistent across their main sales areas of Canada, US and Europe.
The Rad Power website has a great filter system so you can track down the compatibility of what batteries are in stock against all current and previous models, right back to the original 2015 RadRover. All e-bike manufacturers’ websites should provide this service!
Pedego E-Bike Batteries
A longstanding US manufacturer with a clear set of battery specs for current models here. However, there doesn’t appear to be any info about legacy batteries or backward compatibility.
Interestingly, and it seems uniquely amongst the mainstream manufacturers, Pedego have recently introduced a serviceable battery (pictured above) – designed to be easily maintained at the local Pedego store. It features a rear light, brake light and indicators to boot.
Batteries for Out-Dated Motor Systems
There are a number of older motor and battery systems that are either not used or little used these days but there are still some suppliers out there who may be able to help out and if you are in this position a bit of internet research might just turn something up. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
BionX E-Bike Batteries
BionX operated between 1998 and 2018 and were once one of the leading e-bike system manufacturers in North America, with the likes of Trek and Kalkhoff using their systems.
There are still limited stocks of spare parts available here and there, including batteries, for example on this Ohm webpage.
Heinzmann E-Bike Batteries
German company Heinzmann had a great reputation for quality and produced the now obsolete Classic system and the newer Direct Power system. At various times both were available as kits or fitted to off-the-peg e-bikes.
In the UK Electric Vehicle Solutions are the main stockist of complete Direct Power kits and of spare parts for the Classic system.
What About Non-removable Frame Integrated Batteries?
A relatively small number of e-bike batteries are incorporated into the frame and not designed to be removed by the rider – they must be charged on the bike. Whilst perhaps inconvenient for some, the system has the benefit of a sleeker and simpler design and keeps the battery cells well-protected.
The Ebikemotion X35 system is one example of the most common lightweight systems out there to feature a frame-enclosed battery.
When it comes to replacing these batteries, to be clear, our official advice is that this is a job for the dealer, or expert shops to do only.
DIY in this area can get tricky in a hurry. Looking into service options to replace batteries in an integrated system is something to consider before purchasing the bike.
Third-Party Replacement E-Bike Batteries
For some older batteries – or even some current ones – there may be manufacturers other than the so-called OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) who made the original batteries. These third-party companies are not recognized by the original e-bike manufacturers so if possible it is always best to go back to your dealer or the manufacturer directly to source an original battery.
However, third-party batteries may be a solution where no original batteries appear to be available.
There are a growing number of companies that provide third-party batteries and here we take a look at a couple of the bigger operations.
Please note that on e-bikes that are still in their warranty period, replacing the battery with one from a third-party manufacturer will most likely void the warranty.
FTH Power has a good amount of experience in the electronics business and has diagnostics and assembly capabilities. They look to have good stocks of popular far eastern battery brands such as Reention (used by the likes of Juiced and Surface 604) and Hailong. They also have this handy battery/model finder to see if they have batteries for your particular model of e-bike.
Third-party battery provision (and recelling services) appear to be bigger business in mainland northern Europe than in the U.S. It makes sense, this is where e-bikes have been around much longer and where the average value of e-bikes is higher. The need to keep older bikes going longer is greater. For example, Heskon is a major supplier of replacement batteries to dealers and Fiets Accu Revisie is the part of Heskon that sells direct to customers.
The UK’s Electric Transport Shop network offers battery diagnosis (refundable against a replacement battery or recell if required). The ETS says they also have stocks of Battery Management System chips that can be used on certain packs, usually on older e-bikes.
The ETS also says ‘There are so many shapes of e-bike batteries now that we cannot guarantee that we have cell packs to fit them all and it is usually cheaper to buy a factory-built replacement than to hand-build a replacement pack in the UK so we usually recommend buying a battery from the original supplier if the diagnosis proves that’s what is needed. If their supplier is no longer available to supply a replacement pack in this instance we will help people find a suitable replacement or as a last resort we will offer to wire in an alternative pack which may be in a different position on the bike.’
What Should I Do With My Old E-bike Battery?
If at all possible the ideal solution is to take it back to the dealer you bought it from who will send it on for recycling.
In the US the industry is in the midst of setting up its own recycling scheme. It was organized by People for Bikes and will be directly coordinated under the auspices of Call2Recycle. There will be a network of battery drop-off locations from the nation’s roughly 3,000 independent bike shops. Manufacturers and retailers can sign up here.
The batteries will be sent on to ‘processing partners’, four of which are domestic and two of which are foreign—one in South Korea and one in Belgium.
The consortium brands are funding the recycling service, which will be free to riders; of course, consumers will still have to pay for replacement batteries. There are also plans for a consumer-direct mail-in recycling option in the summer – EBR will keep you posted on its development.
There are already such ready-made recycling networks in mainland Europe and the UK is just beginning to establish such a network.
This guide to replacement electric bike batteries hopefully covered the basics of what is out there for you. It’s certainly just the tip of the iceberg though. If there is anything else that wasn’t covered here, let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below and we’ll update this guide with the info our readers are looking for!