Electronic bikes are your best bet to get outdoor exercise and reduce your carbon footprint. But before you buy an e-bike, you may want to understand how its batteries function. Learning about the factors that impact ebike battery life and bike performance can help you make an informed purchasing decision.
Let us begin by learning about the different types of batteries.
What Are the Types of Ebike Batteries Available In the Market?
There are different types of batteries, but all of them are not suitable for e-bikes. Let’s see which ones you should opt for:
- Lead-Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are cheap and easily available. However, they are bulky and can weigh two-three times as much as other batteries of the same size. They also give less output and are not considered ideal for everyday use.
Lead-acid batteries get damaged easily and have a short shelf life. However, they are easy to use and dispose of. Regardless, they are generally not recommended for e-bikes.
- Nickel-Cadmium Batteries
Although nickel-cadmium batteries offer multiple benefits, their use in e-bikes is not recommended.
The main point of concern is that cadmium is a dangerous pollutant that poses environmental and recycling problems. Due to this reason, you may not want to buy them, despite their efficiency and resistance to throttle. Moreover, they have a high self-discharge rate.
- Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are better than the previous two but heat up rather quickly. This leads to rapid discharge and decreases the shelf life of the battery. Moreover, they are expensive and give limited output. Charging them is not simple either.
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are long-lasting, give more output, and are environmentally safe, making them the most widely used batteries for e-bikes. Additionally, they are small in size and perfect for sleek electric vehicles. Lithium batteries also take 50% lesser time than their counterparts to charge fully.
Within lithium batteries, you may find several options differing in size and power. For your e-bike, anything more than 36 volts will work. However, it is advisable to go for at least 48 volts to power your e-bicycle.
How Can You Make the Most of Your eBike Battery?
Picking a suitable battery for your e-bike is only half the battle – you also need to follow some best practices to extend its shelf life. Here are a few ways to make the most of your e-bike batteries:
- Balance the Weight
The simple math here is that the lower the weight, the higher the power given by the batteries. While there’s little you can do about your weight or that of your bike, you can always reduce the items in your backpack. You will observe a noticeable difference while going uphill.
- Use the Right Mode
Your e-bike offers different riding modes. Choosing the correct setting when you are out and about can help you make the best out of your batteries. For instance, if you select the turbo mode when you are out all day, your batteries will run out faster. Instead, it is better to use this mode when you are on rough terrain.
This way, understand the settings on your e-bike and switching between them will make your batteries last longer.
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- Use the Correct Tires
Rolling resistance is the energy that the batteries send to the tires to maintain a constant speed. When you charge your batteries, the rolling resistance improves. However, a lot also depends upon the tire tread, width, pattern, etc.
Check with the seller about the available tire options to get a better rolling resistance. You can also try to experiment with various tire pressures. However, you may want to do this carefully, as higher pressures may make you lose control of the bike.
- Choose Appropriate Gears
Try to get familiar with the gear system of your e-bike. Changing gears as per the terrain will ensure that your battery lasts longer on a single charge.
For instance, lower your gear when you are going uphill or against the wind to reduce the power your bike needs from you. If you are on a straight road or coasting down a mountain, it is advisable to use a higher gear.
- Glide When Riding
Every time you stop on the way and start again, you put more pressure on your batteries. Thus, you should try to ride smoothly without too many breaks. If you are on a turn, slow down instead of making a hard stop.
- Keep Track of the Temperature
The ideal temperature to maintain the charge in your batteries is between 0-20 degrees celsius. Anything lower or higher will drain the batteries faster, so try not to leave your bike out during the summers or winters.
Another charging tip if you plan to put your bike away for a long time is to keep your batteries charged between 30-60 percent. A full battery or a dead one may get damaged.
- Learn the Specs
It may help to learn more about the specifications associated with your batteries. For instance, learning the volts, amp-hours, and watt-hours will tell you the true riding range, power, and speed potential of your bike.
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Final Word on eBike Batteries
E-bikes are fun, efficient in hilly terrain, a good way to exercise, and environmentally friendly. Choosing the correct batteries can make using your e-bikes even more convenient, as can following the tips mentioned above to extend battery life.
About the Author: Graeme McLaughlin
Graeme is the Marketing Head at Evelo, a data nerd, and an E-bike enthusiast who is always excited about testing new bikes. After years of riding and coming from a career in cycle sales, he is still passionate about bicycles. Based in Vancouver, he enjoys riding everything from solo adventures in the mountains to big social night rides.