You’ll need to know how long you plan to ride before choosing an e-bike. Will you be biking a short commute, or do you often like to bike miles upon miles of trails? Knowing what range you need will help you select the right battery. You’ll also know what to expect so you can plan your bike trips accordingly.
In this chapter, we’ll cover everything you need to know about e-bike batteries so you can hit the road worry-free and well prepared for the ultimate ride.
Electric Bike Battery Types
The battery is an important part of what makes an e-bike so enjoyable.
With a fully charged battery, you can cruise with the wind care-free. When the battery loses its charge, you can still pedal, but you’ll miss out on the e-bike fun.
Here are the different types of e-bike batteries:
- Lead-acid batteries: Lead-acid batteries are low-cost and easy to recycle, but are heavy and do not last very long. They are similar to the batteries used in cars.
- Nickel-cadmium batteries: Nickel-cadmium batteries last longer than lead-acid batteries but are difficult to recycle.
- Nickel-metal hydride batteries: Nickel-metal hydride batteries last longer than nickel-cadmium batteries and are easier to recycle, but generally offer the same performance.
- Lithium-ion batteries: Lithium-ion batteries last longer than the other batteries and generate more power. These types of batteries use the same technology as cell phone batteries.
Which Battery Is Best for an Electric Bike?
In general, the best type of battery is a form of a lithium-ion battery. They are smaller and last longer than lead-acid batteries.
When considering batteries as you shop for an e-bike, consider watt-hours (Wh) which measure battery output and life. The higher Wh, the bigger the range. Aim to choose a bike that offers a range long enough to suit the length of your ride with the power level you need. Lastly, consider how long it takes to recharge the battery and how that fits into your e-bike goals.
How Long Does the Battery Charge Last?
How long a battery lasts depends on several different factors, including the battery power and the level of assist you use. Any pedaling decreases battery use and extends your range. Generally speaking, you can expect anywhere from a 25- to 70-mile ride on a single charge.
For example, through our range test, we found that bike with level 3 pedal assist, the range increased to 77 miles at 10 mph.
The overall life span of a battery depends on the type of battery. Lead-acid batteries typically last 200 to 300 charge cycles, while lithium batteries last from 500 to 1,000 charge cycles.