The battery is like the fuel tank of an electric bike. It determines how long you can ride your ebike before recharging it. Throughout this article we will explain everything that goes into accurately predicting an electric bikes battery range
Lithium-ion batteries are now the standard for majority of electric bikes. Their capacities differ between makes and models. A typical Lithium battery has an expected life span of about 1000 cycles which is about 2 years of riding for the average user. As the battery ages, the total capacity decreases and results in a lower bike range, similar to all of the batteries we use in our day to day (Phones, laptops, etc).
Let’s take a look at how the electric bike range is measured. The battery capacity is the primary factor to check for an electric bike range. It is measured in Watt-hours (Wh) and will determine how far you can ride your bike.
Usually, electric bike batteries are rated in volts (V), Watts (W) Ampere hours (Ah). To convert to Watt hours (Wh), multiply the volts by the ampere hours.
Electric Bike Range Calculator: Wh = V x Ah = Estimated Range
Note: The average electric bike battery will provide an estimated 1 mile of travel for every 20 Wh of energy usage.
48V 13Ah battery
Wh = 48 x 13 = 624Wh/20Wh/Mile = 31.2 miles of range
48V 17.5Ah battery
Wh = 48 x 17.5 = 840 Wh/20Wh/Mile = 42 miles of range
If you are still confused by the bike battery terms, don't worry most people are! Read below to better understand the meanings behind them.
Watts (W): A measure of power/total out put
Voltage (V): A measure of potential energy
Amp-hours (Ah): A measure of how long a battery can provide one amp of power per hour.
Watt-hours (Wh): It is the energy capacity stored in an electric battery.
An electric bike’s range is the distance that you can ride the bike on a single charge before you run out of battery. This calculator allows you to roughly estimate a batteries range but there are many other factors that come into play! We have broken it down into three different groups that effect electric bike range calculations. Bike factors, rider factors and environmental factors. Read along to understand how to better understand your electric bike range.
The type of battery that you are using and its age also affect the electric bike range. Each battery type has its life span depending on the materials used and the manufacturing process. Once a battery passes it recommended cycles you will start to notice that the battery will no longer fully charge. This is similar to when you have a phone and over time it starts to have a shorter battery life.
The tire type and the tire pressure affect the efficiency of an electric bike as well. A narrow tire has less friction on the ground, increasing its efficiency on paved roads but not off-road. A wide tire with deep tread can be more efficient off-roads but less efficient on on-roads. If you want to learn more about fat tire bikes check out our pros and cons of fat tire electric bikes blog post.
A harder tire will roll easier on paved roads but less on off-road. A softer tire rolls faster over rough terrains but drags on smooth roads. All of these small changes effect how much the battery needs to output.
The weight of the rider and any cargo has a big effect on the range of an electric bike battery. Carrying extra weight will slow down the bike and use more energy causing it to have a shorter range. The more weight, the shorter the range.
The average speed also has an effect on the batteries range. The faster the electric bike is going, the shorter the range. When the bike is moving faster it is using more energy quicker.
The assistance level also effects the batteries range. The lower the assistance setting, the longer the range. If you just use the throttle the entire time the range will be a lot shorter than if you are using the lowest level of assist. To preserve more power use the lower settings.
A big environmental factor is hills. It uses a lot more power when you are going up hills because the battery needs to use more energy. It also includes how many times you will stop and start your bike on a hill. Hill starts, in particular, will drain power. Most of the time electric mountain bikes will have a bigger battery size and output than commuter bikes since mountain biking involves more hills than regular commuting. On the flip side going down hill will preserve your battery because its providing you with extra power and speed naturally.
The type of terrain, flat or bumpy, that you are riding affects the electric bike range. When its hard for the bike to get traction on the surface the ebike is forced to use more output.
The wind direction and strength affect the bike range. Riding into a strong headwind drains the battery faster and decreases range compared to light or no wind. It is similar to hills where the bike just has to compensate more to maintain the same speed. A tailwind prolongs battery life and extends the bike range because it provides you with extra power.
Cold temperatures cause the battery to drain faster. The battery is one of the most expensive parts of your electric bike so it is important to store it properly at room temperature to get a good bike range. The effect of temperature will vary drastically depending on the quality of your bike and what its intended use is.
The range recommended by the manufacturer tends to be in ideal conditions and can be used as a rough estimate. The actual range will always vary depending on many factors. There will never be an exact measure for the bike because it will vary from rider to ride, setting to setting and battery to battery. Just make sure you get a high quality battery that fits your intended use and you should be good!
If you have any other questions about how to calculate an electric bike battery don't hesitate to reach out!