What to look for when comparing e-bikes in terms of battery range.
It’s your first time buying an e-bike and you’re overwhelmed with all the information out there which makes your decision harder. Maybe you’re confused to the point of giving up. You needn’t worry. We’ve been there and we know how discouraging it can be. However, the electric components of pedal-assisted bicycles are made to make you feel better when riding, which translates into less effort and muscle pain, less sweat (if any) andwaymore fun.
Understanding е-bike batteries and battery range are truly important when it comes to finding the perfect e-bike for you and we’ll try to outline the basics without troubling you with too many details.
In fact, a big chunk of your knowledge about batteries will come from comparing bike models and playing with the various electric components of the bike, so you get an idea of how they balance each other out.
So, batteries and range are a big topic when it comes to finding the perfect e-bike. Here are the things you should consider when choosing your perfect ride:
- What is an electric bike battery?
- Types of e-bike batteries
- What’s battery capacity?
- What’s battery range
What is an electric bike battery?
Naturally, the battery of an electric bike is one of the top three components (like motor and display) which differentiates an e-bike from a traditional, non-assisted bike. It’s your power hub and can let you enjoy long leisurely rides or shorter, more dynamic ones, depending on your preferences. The battery also determines a few major variables:
- How long you can ride your bike without charging it
- How heavy your bike is
- How serviceable your bike will turn out to be
- How much your bike will cost
Essentially, the e-bike battery, or the battery pack, is made of cells of a certain voltage which are wired in a series to make the correct total voltage. You’ve probably noticed that 36 V e-bikes are very common, but what exactly does this mean?
- Battery voltage (V) is the amount of electrical potential the battery has, it’s what activates the energy juice so it becomes speed. The higher the voltage, the higher the speed.
- Amps (A) refers to the number of amps delivered from the battery for an hour. This is directly reflected in your runtime.
- Amp hours (Ah) is the amount of charge you get for an hour and means that the higher the Ah, the longer you’ll be able to ride your e-bike before you need to recharge.
- Watts (W) is the combination of volts and amps.
- Watt hours (Wh) is probably the most important term you need to know. It includes both the voltage and the amp hours and shows how far you can go for an hour.
Let’s compare the Econic One Comfort and Adventure in terms of battery capacity.
12, 7 Ah
- The city model, Comfort, can go for approximately 10 hours on a single charge and in case of average speed and no big challenges.
- The electric mountain bike, Adventure, boasts a better Wh number which means it can sustain you for up to 100 km without having to recharge the battery.
- In normal riding conditions a higher Wh number means greater range.
Types of batteries
According to the technology
The two most used battery types nowadays are lead acid and lithium batteries.
Lead acid batteries are significantly cheaper, but a lot heavier than li-ion batteries, so they’re not the best choice if you’re going to ride your bike on a daily basis and/ or explore challenging terrains.
Lithium-ion batteries use latest-trend technology and are considered better for e-bikes. They are lighter, more durable and more efficient which means that you are going to save money in the long run. In most cases you can charge a li-ion battery up to 1000 times before its capacity goes down and it needs to be replaced.
The Econic One bikes are equipped with a lithium-ion battery, hand-assembled in our European factory.
According to the mounting
There are external and internal batteries. Modern e-bikes have internal batteries that can be fully integrated into the frame or removable. The latter gives you the opportunity to charge the battery wherever you like regardless of the bike and get a spare battery to double your range.
And after you consider the type of battery, the best way to make your final choice is to go for a test ride.
The range indicates the distance you can travel on a single charge. The range of low- budget models start from 20-30 km while the upper limit is 150-200 km. So, you might be able to commute a whole week on a single charge!
The range depends on factors such as the level of assistance, the terrain - flat, hilly or uphill, surface - asphalt or gravel, the weight of the rider, etc. Make sure you take those into account when shopping for an e-bike.
Here’s the list of most essential variables that can affect your range:
- The weight of the rider
The weight of the rider makes a big difference. If the official range is calculated based on a rider much heavier than yourself, you can expect a bigger range, provided all other variables stay the same. Don’t forget to include your backpack and any extra gear.
- The level of pedal assistance
A higher level of assistance will require more power, thus draining the battery faster.
- Type of terrain
Flat and easy terrains such as hard packed and dry gravel roads will give you longer mileage, especially if you move with a relatively constant speed. Hilly terrains as well as muddy or bumpy roads will shorten your range.
Batteries are temperature sensitive. As the temperature lowers, so does your range. If you are riding and it is below zero, the capacity of the battery may drop by 50%!
- Tire pressure
If the tire pressure is lower, the motor will meet more resistance, thus requiring more power from the battery. However, always comply with the terrain. Some terrains, such as mud and snow paths, require lower tire pressure to secure stability and safety.
- Starting and stopping
Just as with cars, frequent starting and stopping will require more power from the battery.
- Mechanical gearing
Choosing the right gear in addition to the level of assistance used can affect your overall battery range. For instance, it will be better to start on a lower hill climbing gear when you take off from a full stop.
All batteries decrease their capacity with time. Proper charging and discharging will prolong the battery life and it will sustain capacity. We recommend keeping it between 20% and 80% capacity.
Also, make sure it gets a full discharge/charge cycle at least once every two months.
Avoid leaving your battery fully discharged for prolonged periods. This will negatively and permanently affect the battery’s capacity.
Battery life is measured in cycles. It varies according to the battery type and lithium batteries have the longest lifespan. The best ways to prolong the life of the battery are to charge it more often, not to let it drop to critical levels, and not to leave it unused for long periods of time.
At Econic One we offer the world standard lithium-ion battery with Panasonic cells. It is internal but removable for your easy charging wherever you are.
Charging time from 0 to 100%: Up to 5 hours
Battery life: 800 cycles
Range: Up to 100 km
You can check the full specs of our Econic bike and see them in acton HERE.