Electric Bike Battery Range: How Far Can I Go?
One of the most common questions for ebike buyers is about range, or how far you can go on a single battery charge.
The answer to this question usually is “well, it depends.”
It Depends on What?
The range the battery will give you depends on the capacity of the battery, and on the nature of the ride or trip.
That is, it depends on the nature of the battery in terms of its power and capacity to store energy, and how much energy you are using during the ride.
Essentials of Electric Bike Batteries
Let’s start with some basic understanding of what ebike batteries are and why different batteries get different ranges.
Today’s ebike batteries are made of lithium-ion cells. It’s the same technology you have in your cellphone, many consumer electronics and electric cars.
Inside the electric bike battery, there are multiple battery cells. Individually, these cells look much like the AA batteries you might put in a flashlight.
The cells get wired together to create one battery.
The quality of the electric bike’s battery cells do matter. Look for ebikes with batteries made of cells from top known brands like Panasonic or Samsung. they’ve been at this for a while, and make lithium-ion batteries for a range of applications.
The power (speed) and capacity, or amount of energy available in your battery, is determined by the size and number of cells, and how they are linked together.
How do you know what speeds and distances your ebike’s battery is capable of? Understanding the battery’s specifications will help.
Electric Bike Battery Specifications
Ebike battery specifications will be presented to you by three primary factors:
- Volts (power, speed)
- Amp hours (how much energy can be delivered)
- Watt hours (maximum capacity)
What are Volts?
Volts refers to the amount of power, or speed at which electrons can move through the system. The higher the volts, the faster the battery can spin your motor and wheels.
Volts matter because it they you a little more about the speed abilities of the battery and motor.
36-volt and 48-volt batteries are most common on ebikes. While 36-volt batteries are common on smaller, lighter and low-budget ebikes, the 48 volt batteries best suited for fat tire electric bikes and for getting to speeds of 25 miles per hour.
Larger voltage batteries, like 52 volts are generally overkill for most ebike uses, and are more suited to ‘scooter’ or ‘motorcycle’ power and speed requirements.
48-Volts is perfect for most ebikes, especially fat tire electric bikes!
What are Amp-Hours?
You will also see batteries specified for Amp-Hours. Amp-hours tell you how much energy can be delivered, over time. An amp is how much energy flows per second, an amp-hour is how much energy flows per hour.
In short, Amp-hours are how much energy can be moved from the battery to your electric bike motor over time. This is a strong indicator of the potential range of your ebike.
Together, voltage and amp-hours tell you about the potential speed you can ride at, and how much energy the battery can provide over time.
Ebike batteries generally range in amp-hours from 10 AH to 21 AH.
Remember: amp-hours are a strong indicator of the amount of energy the battery can provide on a single charge.
So How Far Can I Go On My Ebike Battery?
This is where the volts and amp-hours help, because we can multiply them together and get Watt-Hours, which is a good indicator of the overall Capacity of the battery, and can be compared across batteries with various volts and various amp-hours. The higher the Watt-Hours, the higher the capacity.
Volts x Amp Hours = Watt Hours
And capacity is what really tells us more about how far you can go.
Watt Hours = Capacity
Here’s a rider who benefits from more watt-hours on his long electric bike rides up in hilly Summit County, Colorado:
For example, let’s say we have a 48 volt battery with 14.5 amp-hours. The capacity of this battery is 696 Watt-hours.
48 Volts x 14.5 Amp Hours = 696 Watt Hours
Or, let’s say we have a 48 volt battery with 19.2 amp hours. This battery has a capacity of 922 watt hours.
48 Volts x 19.2 Amp Hours = 922 Watt Hours
Same voltage, but 32% more capacity. That means, all other things equal, you could go 32% further with this battery.
32% more range? Nice!
So What Does Watt-hours and Capacity Indicate The Range of My Ebike?
The battery capacity has a direct influence on the potential Range of the electric bike.
If we know the battery Capacity, and we can start to estimate the range, depending on how many watt-hours you are using per mile of riding.
Actual use of your battery’s capacity. and your resulting range. depends on a lot of factors, including how hilly your route is, how much you pedal, reliance on higher pedal assist modes, use the throttle, your weight, the amount of wind, and more.
How much energy are you using from the battery? On the low end, your fat tire ebike is going to use anywhere from 10 or 15 watt hours per mile. that’s with steady pedaling and some moderate pedal assist.
On the higher end, if you are using a lot of throttle and higher pedal assist modes, you’ll be using 20 to 25 watt hours per mile, maybe even more.
So let’s say you like to pedal and use a moderate pedal assist mode of 3 or 4 most of the time and are traveling over moderate terrain. You are likely using about 15 watt hours per mile.
That means your 48 volt, 14.5 amp-hour battery. with a total of 696 watt hours. will give you a range of 46 miles at that usage level.
696 watt hours / 15 watt hours per mile = 46 miles range
Or, let’s say you really like to accelerate fast with the throttle, and go fast with a steady pedal assist level of 5. You are likely using at least 20 watt hours per mile. That gives you a range estimate. on the same battery. of 35 miles.
696 watt hours / 20 watt hours per mile = 35 miles range
That’s over ten miles of range difference, so you can see that your riding style really does matter.
Now, think about those bigger amp-hour batteries. A 48 volt battery with 16 amp hours has 768 watt-hours. This will boost your range estimates up to 51 miles at that lower pedal assist usage, and 38-40 miles for faster acceleration and speedy trips.
Want even more capacity and range? A 48 volt 21 amp-hour battery has over 1000 watt-hours. The range on this battery is another 31% bigger than the 48 volt 16 amp-hour battery,
With this battery, you’ve easily got a range of 67 or more miles at moderate pedal assist modes, and an ample 40-50 miles if you are using the throttle and pedal assist more aggressively.
Here’s a summary of common ebike battery sizes and range estimates:
So What Capacity Battery Do I Need For My Ebike?
Well, that depends. Sorry, just kidding!
Jokes aside, it really does depend on the type of riding you plan to do.
If you are doing mostly short, local trips, a smaller capacity battery should be just fine, though you may have to recharge more frequently and sacrifice some speed and power.
If you are planning to commute, or do longer rides for fun, a larger battery capacity will ease any ‘range anxiety’ and reduce the frequency that you need to recharge your battery. Need to recharge a lot? Get a high speed electric bike battery charger to reduce charging time.
All that said, it’s often better to go with a larger battery than you think you will need, so you have maximum power more of the time. You can also buy a spare or replacement electric bike battery.
Some words of caution: A lot of ebike brands will cut corners to keep their a little lower and profits a little higher. Often, that’s in the battery quality and size. Small cuts in battery size and quality might save you a few hundred dollars, but you sacrifice the long term fun and performance of your ebike.
Here’s another part of the FattE-Bike difference: We provide top quality ebike batteries with appropriate capacities, so you get where you want to go on your ebike. and back.
Ready to get an ebike with excellent speed and range? Shop Now.
Electric bike FAQs: your top ebike questions answered
If you’re wanting to ride further, take more exercise or avoid using public transport, but want more control over the effort involved in cycling, an electric bike could be the perfect solution.
An ebike provides electric assistance as you pedal, via a small motor and battery. You can also tailor the amount of assistance you receive, depending on your desired speed, your fitness or the length of your ride and the terrain. There’s an increasing range of ebike models out there that will cater to everyone from the casual rider to the more serious mountain biker, road rider or tourer.
As with any emerging technology, buying an electric bike can be a confusing process. How can you make sure you’re getting the right bike for you and what are the key things to look out for? We’ve answered 14 of the most important ebike questions in this electric bike guide. Use one of the links below to skip to your question or read on for the full FAQs. Otherwise, check out our buyer’s guide to the best electric bikes.
How fast can an electric bike go?
In the UK, the EU and Australia, the motor on an ebike has to stop providing assistance at 25kph (15mph). Above that speed you’re required to pedal by your own steam. But if you live in the US, the motor can legally keep going up to 32kph (20mph).
If you’re fit enough to keep up a pace beyond that speed under your own pedal power, or you’re maybe going downhill, there’s nothing to stop you going faster, although you’ll want to make sure that you’re fully in control because an ebike’s extra weight can increase stopping distances compared to a regular pedal-powered bike.
Some ebikes are designed with this in mind. Canyon’s Endurace:ON AL has longer chainstays and disc brakes with 160mm rotors in an attempt to help keep it more planted when descending.
Some ebikes are designed to travel faster than 25kph (15mph) and have more powerful motors, while some designs have motor output controlled by a twist-grip ‘throttle’ on the bars, but these are legally considered to be mopeds.
In the UK and EU, you need to have a licence and insurance to ride them, and you must wear a helmet and have paid relevant vehicle taxes.
Do I have to pedal to get assistance on my electric bike?
We’re sorry to have to break it to you, but yes you do. An ebike assists your pedalling rather than taking over completely. If you don’t need to pedal, it’s classified as a moped – see the next question below.
An ebike will have a torque sensor built into its drivetrain, to measure how much effort the rider is applying to the pedals. Then the motor’s output will be regulated to match this, so it doesn’t take over and provides power in a measured way to reflect how you are riding.
You have control over how much extra push the motor is providing. On Canyon’s Spectral:ON e-mountain bike you use a controller on the left side of the handlebar to select from three different levels of assistance. So you might select a higher level of support to get you to the top of a trail, then drop it back to conserve your battery and enjoy the ride down the other side.
The motor means there’s a substantial reduction in the effort you need to put in. Select the highest assistance level and you should be able to keep up a reasonable pace without working up a sweat, meaning that you won’t arrive at the office a damp mess if you’re commuting.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more of a workout or want to extend the range of your ride, selecting a lower assistance level will mean that you’re putting in more effort. And you can always use the controller on the bars or frame to switch between levels mid-ride to match your mood, the terrain or how fit you’re feeling that day.
Do I need a driving licence to ride an ebike on the roads?
If you’re over 14 in England, Scotland and Wales, you can ride an electric bike on the road without tax, insurance or a licence, although it’s always a good idea to have insurance against personal accident and third-party damages. You don’t need to wear a helmet by law.
All that applies to a ‘standard’ electric bike or EAPC (electrically assisted pedal cycle), where you need to pedal, which has a motor that provides up to 250 watts of assistance and where motor assistance is speed limited to 25kph (15mph).
An electric bike doesn’t have a throttle. Instead, the amount of power that the motor delivers is determined by how hard you are pedalling and the assistance level chosen.
Any ebike that doesn’t meet EAPC criteria is classified as a moped or motorcycle. You need to tax it and have a licence and insurance to ride it, and you also need to wear a crash helmet.
If you live in Northern Ireland, ebikes were previously treated like mopeds and required a licence. You also needed to register, tax and insure them, and display the registration mark before you can ride them on public roads.
However, as of 13 May 2020, those regulations have been changed to bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK – tax, insurance or a licence is no longer required.
There’s a range of different rules in other countries too, so it’s best to check local regulations.
How long will a charged ebike battery typically last?
All bike brands will offer an estimate of how long a particular model’s battery will last. Real-world battery life depends on a range of factors, however. Canyon
That depends on the type of bike, the battery capacity, the ambient temperature and how you use it: a fit rider on flattish roads or trails may be riding without assistance a lot of the time, whereas a less fit rider on hilly terrain is likely to be calling on the motor to help a lot more.
With a legal cut-off of assistance at 25kph (around 15mph) in many countries, road riders could easily exceed this without using the motor, whereas mountain bikers on technical trails will be calling on their motors more.
In short, it depends on your fitness, riding style and the terrain. However, as an example, Canyon claims its new Endurace:ON AL road bike and Grand Canyon:ON cross-country mountain bike will both cover up to 100km on a single charge.
The Roadlite:ON hybrid commuter bike’s battery will last for up to eight hours, according to Canyon, while the Pathlite:ON e-trekking bike with the optional second battery will carry you up to 150km, it says.
How do I charge my ebike?
Your ebike will be sold with a power adaptor and power cable to plug into the mains. There’s a socket on the battery that you attach it to. With some electric bikes you need to remove or partially remove the battery to plug it in, but on others there’s a socket built into the frame too.
If you don’t have a power outlet where you park your ebike, many systems let you quickly and easily remove the battery and take it indoors or somewhere closer to a mains socket.
How long your ebike takes to charge up will depend on the battery capacity and the charger used. Canyon says you can fully charge the battery on its new Endurace:ON AL electric road bike in 3.5 hours.
The Neuron:ON alloy eMTB charges up in 7.5 hours, with an 80 per cent charge taking 4 hours. You can halve those numbers by using a fast charger, often sold separately.
Are electric bikes heavier than normal bikes?
An electric bike needs to have a motor and a battery. These will always make it heavier than a standard bike. In addition, it’s likely to be built more substantially, with more robust components than a standard bike, to handle the extra power from the motor.
While ebike technology is developing quickly, and the bikes are becoming lighter all the time, an electric bike will typically be at least several kilos heavier than a standard bike. Canyon’s new Spectral:ON full-suspension carbon mountain bike in its top spec weighs 21.4kg, compared to the flagship (non-electric) Spectral at 12.70kg. Remember, however, that you have the motor and battery, and the assistance they provide.
The Canyon Pathlite:ON trekking ebike weighs between 21kg and 27kg, depending on the spec, whereas the standard Pathlite without a motor weighs 11kg upwards.
Some ebikes are not much heavier than a standard road bike, though: top-end carbon ebikes such as the Ribble Endurance SLe and the Wilier Cento1Hy weigh around 11kg, while the £2,999 alloy Canyon Endurace:ON AL weighs 15kg.
Why are ebikes so expensive?
Most ebikes will have high-end hydraulic disc brakes to provide the necessary stopping power. Canyon
If you’ve looked at the of electric cars against fossil fuel-powered models, you’ll know that they’re significantly more expensive. A lot of that cost can be attributed to the batteries and technology used.
The same is true of ebikes which, like electric cars, are powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries. The minerals used to make batteries, particularly lithium and cobalt, are expensive and supply is limited.
It’s not just the batteries. You’re also paying for the motor and its controller, display hardware and the greater complexity of the machine.
Plus, with the extra power from the motor, bike brands often use more robust, pricier components such as heavier duty drivetrains and stronger wheels. And you need to be able to stop effectively given the bike’s extra weight, so most ebikes will have high-end hydraulic disc brakes.
Why are some electric bikes so much cheaper than others?
The clue is in the question above. A larger battery will be pricier than one with more limited range.
For example, Canyon’s Pathlite:ON is available with either one or two batteries as standard. The step up from the Pathlite:ON 7.0 to 8.0 doubles your range but also increases the price from £2,800 to £4,100.
Some inexpensive models will also have much smaller batteries, limiting their range.
There are also likely to be differences in components between ebikes, with pricier models having higher quality parts from name-brand makes such as Shimano, Fazua and Bosch (the three big players when it comes to ebike systems).
It’s worth buying an ebike from a reputable manufacturer too, because they’ll have thoroughly tested their designs and worked with manufacturers of the electric components to iron out any problems before bringing them to market. You’ll also get the support and warranty cover expected from a big-name brand.
Can I travel with my ebike?
As usual, that depends: there’s a patchwork of regulations, depending on how you’re planning to transport your electric bike.
Train operating companies will mostly treat an ebike like a standard bicycle. In some cases, you might need to book a slot for your bike; other train companies have restrictions on carrying non-folding bikes at peak times.
Also bear in mind an electric bike weighing around 20kg or more will be hard to lift on and off trains, and some trains have hanging racks for bikes, which will be difficult to use.
Buses can be tricky too. Some buses have external bike racks on the rear, but most don’t and you probably won’t be able to take an ebike onto a bus, unless it folds.
Air flight is also likely to be banned because there are international regulations on the size of batteries that can be carried. The general regulation is up to 100Wh, although batteries up to 160Wh may be allowed with pre-authorisation.
Electric bike batteries usually have a greater capacity than this. Even if you think you might be okay, it’s vital to check with your airline before flying.
An increasing number of cycling hotspots are offering battery rental, meaning you can fly with your ebike and leave your own battery at home, picking up a loaner on arrival.
If you’re planning to drive somewhere with your electric bike, be careful not to leave it in a hot car because heat can degrade battery performance.
Should ebikes be considered ‘cheating’ or motorcycles?
Electric bikes are designed to make riding a bike more enjoyable, allowing riders to venture further and providing a helping hand when required. Canyon
For most ebike riders, the extra assistance provided by the motor isn’t going to turn them into pro-level performers. Instead, it will make riding a bike more enjoyable, letting them ride further and helping out on hills when needed.
Many riders will want to use their electric bikes for shopping or commuting, where lowering the effort level needed to carry loads or for starts from traffic lights will make for a more comfortable (and less sweaty) experience. Others may want to ride with friends who are fitter than them, and an ebike will help them keep up better.
With assistance limited to 250 watts of extra power and 25kph (15mph) maximum speed, an ebike doesn’t have the performance of a moped or motorcycle, so it’s right that they’re treated differently.
Can an electric bike be ridden with a flat battery?
Yes, you can ride your ebike home if the battery runs out during a ride. Systems such as Fazua’s have software that limits output to preserve battery life if they’re running low on juice, which should help keep assistance going at a diminished level to help you get home.
Even if your battery still has plenty of charge, the controller on the bar or frame will usually have a setting allowing you to turn the motor off as you ride. So, if you’re willing to ride without help, that’s another way to preserve battery level.
Bear in mind that an ebike will be substantially heavier than a normal bike, though, so it will be harder to keep going using pedal power alone, both on the flat and particularly if you hit an upward grade.
With that in mind, it’s always wise to make sure your electric bike has sufficient charge for the ride you’ve got planned. Many systems will also provide a range estimate figure based on the bike’s battery status, which can then be used to plan your journeys appropriately.
What is the lifespan of an electric bike battery and can ebike batteries be recycled?
Lithium ion batteries can be charged and discharged hundreds of times. Shimano says that its Steps system, as used on the Canyon Spectral:ON, can be charged and discharged more than 1,000 times with no degradation in its performance.
Over longer periods, an ebike battery may lose a bit of capacity, which could reduce your bike’s range somewhat, but for most users that’s not likely to make a significant difference.
The amount of push the battery and motor can give shouldn’t change though, so the battery should last longer than many mechanical components of the bike.
Since the metals in the battery – particularly the cobalt – are valuable and there are increasing numbers of larger lithium batteries being used, especially for transport, there’s an emerging recycling industry. With their larger capacity, electric bike batteries are a more attractive proposition for recyclers than batteries in, for example, mobile phones.
What are watt hours (Wh) and what do they mean in real life?
Watt hours (or Wh) refers to the energy capacity of your bike’s battery and provides an indication as to its likely range.
A battery’s Wh will also show how many watts it is able to continuously provide for an hour: for example, a 250Wh battery can provide 250 watts of assistance for one hour, 125 watts for two hours, and so on. Of course, real-world riding means you are very unlikely to place such a consistent demand on your ebike’s battery.
Ultimately, how far an electric bike will go on a single charge depends on where you’re riding, the weather, how much of your own effort you are putting in and the assistance level you’ve selected.
A fit rider who selects a low assistance level on flat roads will get a lot more range than a less fit rider on a hilly route carrying luggage and selecting the maximum motor assistance. All of this has an impact on how much load you are putting on the battery.
Canyon estimates that the Pathlite:ON’s range with one 500Wh battery is around 75km, for a rider weighing around 75kg pedalling at 45rpm and travelling at a speed of 22kph.
How can I secure my ebike?
Many electric bikes feature removable batteries with a lock to secure the battery to the frame. Canyon
You need to take all the precautions you would to keep a standard bike safe. That includes a sturdy, ideally Sold Secure gold rated, lock through your wheels and frame and attached to an immovable object. Given the value of most ebikes, you should store your ebike somewhere secure.
Some ebike systems come with a companion mobile phone app that often lets you track where your bike is and may detect unauthorised movement too.
Your ebike’s battery is also an attractive item for thieves. Most models with a removable battery, like those from Canyon, will include a lock and key to secure it to the frame.
With their high value, unfortunately ebikes are often targeted by thieves, so it’s worthwhile paying for a good lock, being careful where you lock the bike, and buying insurance.
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The Complete Guide to E-Bike Batteries: Care, Maintenance, and Storage
At the risk of being obvious: an e-bike without a battery is just a bike. But that said, not just any battery will do.
An e-bike battery is responsible for how much power can be delivered to your motor, translating into how much assistance your e-bike gives you on rides. It’s also among the most expensive single components of a bike, with high-quality replacements typically costing several hundred dollars. Because of this, learning about e-bike batteries is critical to getting the most out of your e-bike experience — and the most bang for your buck.
Here’s what we’re about to go over:
How Does An Electric Bicycle Battery Work?
The battery stores all the electrical energy that will eventually be sent to your motor. E-Bike motors don’t have any energy of their own, so the battery is what makes the whole electrical system possible.
E-bike batteries have to be powerful enough to support the motor throughout a typical ride. While you do need to charge your battery regularly, a quality e-bike battery shouldn’t interrupt your commute or sightseeing tour by powering down before your ride is over.
Magnum E-Bike batteries are made of a series of advanced lithium-ion cells. Each cell is like a mini battery; they join together with the other cells to create a battery powerful and long-lasting enough to take you where you need to go.
Volts, Amp-Hours, and Watt-Hours: What Do They Mean?
Voltage refers to the potential power of a battery. For example, a 48V battery is more powerful than a 36V one. Technically speaking, voltage measures the pressure that allows electrons to flow. Similar to water pressure from a hose, the higher the pressure, the more powerful it is.
On an e-bike, the voltage of the battery and motor have to be compatible. Using a battery with a lower voltage than the motor can handle is a waste of potential motor power. Conversely, using a battery with more voltage than the motor can use may cause damage to the motor.
For similar reasons, your battery’s charger needs to be rated at the same voltage as the battery.
If voltage is like water pressure in a hose, amperage is the amount of water flowing. Amp-hours (Ah) refers to how much energy a battery can provide in one hour. So the more amp-hours there are, the longer a battery can keep the motor running. E-Bike batteries typically have between 8Ah and 15Ah.
To combine these two metrics into one simple number, batteries are often rated using a single metric called watt-hours (Wh). Watt-hours are calculated by multiplying voltage by amp hours. For example, a 48V 15Ah battery would have 720Wh (4815 = 720).
It follows that a 36V 20Ah battery would also have 720Wh — but the similarities between those two batteries could end there. To get all the details of what makes a battery the right choice for your e-bike, you need to look deeper.
Qualities Of The Best E-Bike Batteries
There are many e-bike battery makers out there! So what’s the difference between a high-quality battery that will help you ride farther and a cheap battery that just doesn’t perform?
Not long ago, most batteries were made from heavy, inefficient, and unsustainable materials like lead-acid or nickel-cadmium. At Magnum, we use the latest lithium nickel cobalt manganese (Li-ncm) battery technology.
Battery Management System (BMS)
The battery management system in each Magnum E-Bike battery controls the individual performance of each battery cell. BMS makes sure that each smaller cell drains, charges, and works the same as others. Without an effective BMS, e-bike batteries would be inconsistent, failing to deliver predictable power to the motor.
Like any hardware, batteries become worn over time. BMS helps extend battery lifespan by avoiding the main causes of battery deterioration: overcharging and excessive depletion. Cells that overcharge get fried and lose performance. Similarly, when batteries drain too much energy and can’t properly recover it, they start to fail. BMS regulates charging and energy deployment across every individual cell, helping the overall battery to perform better and for longer.
Battery Cycle Lives And Long-Range Performance
The number of times you can charge and deplete (discharge) the battery completely before it starts to lose capacity is called its cycle life. It’s normal for batteries to lose performance over time, but higher-quality and better-made batteries have larger capacity and longer range, resulting in increased cycle lives.
Higher-quality batteries typically have a larger capacity and longer range compared to cheaper models. But it’s difficult to produce batteries with high amp-hours and watt-hours that still fit into the slim packaging necessary for a balanced, aerodynamic e-bike.
It’s important to note that batteries continue to function even after they start to lose some efficiency. When batteries have surpassed their cycle life, you may notice your ride range decreasing, needing a charge after fewer miles.
At Magnum Bikes, the cycle life of our advanced Lithium-NCM battery is 700 cycles. Once our batteries have powered riders through 700 charges and discharges, our battery still performs at around 80% of its original level. With proper care, you can typically get 800-1000 charge cycles out of your Magnum battery — roughly two to five years, depending on how frequently and how far you ride.
Best Tips To Maintain Your E-Bike Battery
As the most expensive part to replace on your e-bike, it’s worthwhile to take the extra time and effort to keep your battery in good health. For that reason, even seemingly obvious tips bear repeating.
Follow these recommendations to get the best performance and life out of your e-bike battery.
- Charge the battery before it gets to 30% life. Batteries are at their healthiest when they stay at or above a 30% charge level. When you’re out on a ride, watch your battery’s charge level. It’s shown on your e-bike’s display monitor. When you get down to 20% or even 10% battery, you’re at risk of losing power before you get back to your charging station. Not only does that put you at risk of unassisted pedaling for a long or hilly journey back home, but it also puts unnecessary strain on the battery. Over time, this speeds up the natural process of deterioration. If you go for extended rides, it may just be a fact of life that you’ll drop into the low battery levels. Don’t sweat it — just know that your battery will last a bit longer if it stays topped off.
- Don’t charge or use the battery on the bike while it’s hot. Batteries can get hot for a number of reasons. On really warm days, the outside temperature can cause a battery to overheat. Climbing steep terrain can cause the motor to get hot — and potentially the battery, too. Another cause of a hot battery is using a charger with a higher voltage than the battery. But whatever the reason, your response to a hot battery should always be the same: let it cool down before continuing use or charging.
- Don’t charge immediately after use. Even if your battery doesn’t feel hot, let it rest when you get home after a ride. You won’t have to wait long — batteries recover from use very quickly. You can use the time to hang up your helmet, remove your shoes, and maybe even give the bike a quick clean or tune-up. In less than 5 minutes, you can charge your battery to get ready for your next ride.
- Don’t use it immediately after charging. Are you seeing a pattern? When it comes to e-bike battery care, patience is a virtue! If you’re leaving on a ride right away, unplug the charger for just a few minutes before you head out. This valuable reset gives your battery time to prepare to transfer energy to the motor on your ride.
- Unplug the battery when fully charged. When your battery has reached 80% to 100% charge, go ahead and unplug the charger. Don’t worry; your battery will hold the charge until your next ride! This is important because while you can’t actually overfill your battery with power, you can strain the battery by continuing to charge it after it’s full.
- Keep your battery at the right temperature. When you’re not riding, store the battery around room temperature: 68°F/20°C or slightly lower. Feel free to store your bike in a weatherproof garage or shed, protected from the elements — but if the temps dip much higher or lower than 68°F/20°C, take the battery indoors.
- Don’t get your battery wet. This is true of any battery, really! Your battery has a sealed, waterproof protective cover that keeps it protected from the rain while you ride. Where you need to be careful is in cleaning and storing your bike and its battery. You might look to a pressure washer to get dirt and grime off your bike quickly, but the intense jet of water can get past the seals, damaging the inside of the battery. And when you aren’t riding your e-bike, store it inside. Excessive and continuous exposure to rain and snow can compromise the waterproof housing over time.
- Travel safe. Whether you’re traveling with your e-bike on a car rack or in a bike box for shipment, be sure to remove the battery beforehand. This protects it from damage or accidental loss. Remember that you also need to protect that battery from rain and snow! So removing it before putting your bike on a car rack is the best way to keep your battery dry while you travel.
- Know what to expect for winter performance. In addition to protecting your battery from snow and excessive cold, be aware that e-bike batteries are less efficient in the cold. This means they may deliver a reduced mileage range in extremely cold temps. Try to shorten your rides, or at least ensure that you’re able to charge your battery frequently for extended rides. But don’t worry; the performance will bounce back when warmer temperatures return.
- Always use the right charger. Your e-bike comes with a charger made specifically for that model; use it! It’s critical for battery health that the charger and battery are compatible and work with the same voltages. Otherwise, at best you’ll see extended charge times — and at worst, you can fry the battery.
Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Battery
Even with impeccable care, your battery will need to be replaced eventually. Once it’s surpassed its cycle life, the battery will begin to lose capacity. When this happens, a “full charge” will really only get you to about 80% of the charge level that the same battery got when it was brand new.
Having read all about your battery by now, you’ll probably recognize the signs early: reduced range or inconsistent performance. This is a normal part of your battery’s life. However, if you notice these signs early (for example, only a year or couple hundred cycles into using your battery), take your bike to a shop or call the manufacturer for more specific information.
When the time comes, make sure to replace your e-bike battery with one crafted for your specific e-bike make and model. As we mentioned earlier, this part is a significant investment, so it’s critical to make the right purchase! Consult your manual or call your manufacturer with any questions.
Take Care Of Your Battery And It’ll Take Care Of You
There isn’t a whole lot to remember for a healthy e-bike battery! Just keep an eye on your battery life when you’re riding, charge it when needed (but don’t forget to unplug when it’s done!), store it properly, and transport it safely. By following these steps to support long-lasting battery health, you’ll get the most out of your e-bike’s battery for many rides to come.
Volt bike battery
The battery for your electric bike is typically worth about a third of the value of the entire bicycle, so it’s important to find a good quality one and take care of it.
In the case of Pedego Canada, we offer a 5 Year Prorated Battery Warranty with all our electric bikes, which is one of the best in the business. Why we’re so confident in our batteries is the quality of the cells within them. If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: do not buy an electric bike with anything less than a five year battery warranty and do your best to purchase a battery by one of the “big three” name-brand cells: Samsung, Panasonic or LG. Cheap electric bicycles like the kind you find at Costco do not have the quality of manufacturing or warranty that will ensure you can enjoy the bike for years. It’s our recommendation that you spend a bit more money up front to save you from headaches (or worse – the garbage dump or even a fire!) later.
No matter what electric bike you buy nowadays, chances are it runs on a lithium-based battery. Believe it or not lithium batteries have been around since 1912 but it’s only been in the last 15 years that they caught on and became economical in consumer applications. There are “lithium-ion” batteries and “lithium polymer” (aka “lithium-ion polymer”) batteries and the difference between them is the type of electrolyte used. Other than that, there isn’t a significant variance: Li-Polymer allows for a slight increase in energy density but is 10-30% more expensive and so manufacturers have yet to decide upon one over the other.
There is also a range of lithium chemistries available in different batteries and manufacturers might claim some are more robust than others but the single most important factor affecting the life of a battery is how well it is looked after. You should typically expect a battery to last between 3 and 5 years if it is well maintained. (A lithium-ion battery will slowly lose its capacity over time, even if it’s not used.) Below are three things you can do to ensure you get the longest usage out of your electric bike battery.
#1. Keep The Battery Cool
Environmental conditions are an important factor affecting lithium-ion batteries. For example, leaving one in your car in the hot sun will guarantee you lessen the life of your battery. In fact, that would be the worst situation: keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures. It’s a good rule of thumb to store your bike out of the direct sunlight for long periods and when not in use, keep your battery in a cool place, preferably below 20°C (68°F). The chart below, provided by Battery University, shows the impacts of temperature upon recoverable capacity of a battery.
#2. Store A Battery Partially Charged – But Not Too Low!
You’ll also notice in the above chart that storing a fully-charged battery has an impact on the recoverable capacity. Even more important, storing a fully depleted battery may be disastrous because, as we mentioned above, a lithium-ion battery will slowly discharge over time even when you’re not using it. If the voltage drops below a certain point this may cause irreparable cell damage, depending on the time it’s left sitting. Ideally, when storing the battery for a long period, ensure it has a charge between about 80% and 40% of a full charge. Some chargers have a lower ‘storage’ voltage setting, so just switch to this before charging it for storage. An easy alternative is to take the bike for a ride after you’ve charged it fully and before storing.
Also, don’t leave your battery on the charger for long periods of time, as storing it at or close to 100% will reduce the life of the battery. You can also check your battery every couple of months over winter. If you notice that the battery indicator has dropped too low, you can give it a quick charge to bring it back to the ideal storage voltage (this is unlikely to be needed if the battery was at 40% or above). If you don’t have a battery indicator, it’s probably a good idea to charge the battery for half an hour every few months. Again, try not to put the battery away fully charged (but it won’t be the end of the world if this happens.)
#3. Don’t Regularly Fully Discharge Your Battery
It’s amazing that we still see tech sites advising regular full discharge of your battery, even when this has been proven as detrimental. The chart below, again provided by Battery University, proves that regularly discharging lithium-ion batteries to 0% is harmful and partial discharges with regular top-ups are recommended to extend the recharge-cycle lifespan of the batteries. The occasional full discharge on that extra long ride is no problem! It’s ok to top up lithium-ion batteries regularly and, as the chart below shows, it’s best to operate them in the top half of their discharge cycle; lithium-ion batteries don’t have a ‘memory effect’ that some other battery chemistries have. If you are doing short rides on a regular basis, it is slightly better to charge it every few rides rather than every ride (to avoid long periods at or close to 100% charge, as discussed above).
As an extra note for the winter season, make sure your battery is above freezing before charging, otherwise you could harm the cells. It is no problem to ride the bike in below-freezing conditions (it doesn’t harm the battery), just make sure you let the battery warm up before charging. When you are riding in very cold weather, you will notice a drop in power and range; this is normal and expected. You can help avoid this by bringing the battery inside whenever you aren’t riding to keep the temperature of the battery up. That way you will get that extra bit of power!
Correct maintenance and storage of your battery as detailed above will significantly increase its lifespan. A well-maintained lithium-ion battery will last between three to five years, whereas a poorly maintained battery can be badly damaged over just one season or sooner. For more detailed, scientific information on batteries and how to care for them, check out the excellent online resource at Battery University, where the above charts came from.