eBike battery guide for beginners
Your eBike’s motor receives electrical energy from the battery, so it can be considered as your eBike’s heart.
There are several battery variants on the market to choose from nowadays. The classic old battery types are the sealed lead-based batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries (NiCd or NiCad) and nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH). These used to power our cell phones too – but very rare now.
The disadvantages of these types of batteries are their weight, short lifespan, low storage capacity, and finally, difficult charging technology. These batteries can be as heavy as 40lbs and may only last for a few seasons at max.
The Lithium Ion battery – for your modern eBike
Undoubtedly, the most advanced eBike batteries today are Lithium-Ion based technologies. Lithium Ion batteries can be two to three times more expensive than the classic battery types mentioned above, but also much lighter – up to 70%.
The lifespan of lithium-ion batteries is measured by charge cycles. It can be 500 to as high as 2000 cycles depending on the manufacturer of the particular battery. Which roughly translates to 12,000 to 45,000 in mileage. Without a doubt, this will be dependent on how well you look after your battery too. As well as that, the type of battery in your eBike is a lifespan factor.
Worth mentioning, unlike classic battery types, lithium-ion batteries don’t have the lazy battery effect, so you can recharge the battery even after using the bike on just a short distance. Its lifespan won’t be affected either. They are safer, less toxic, self-discharge slower, and can be used on any angle/gradient. Also, they have a reduced capacity memory loss, charge quicker and can operate in a larger temperature range than other batteries.
eBike battery sizes
The most common eBike battery sizes are 24V, 36V, 48V, 52V, 60V and 72V. The higher the voltage the lower the resistance losses are. Importantly, if you intend to ride on the road, you may need to check your state’s laws regarding these higher end batteries – their output wattage can produce road speeds above certain bicycle limits. On the other hand, if you’re going off-road, cut sick! In any case, it’s a good idea to wear your safety equipment regardless of where you’re riding. Falling off your eBike can be hazardous to your health, and your wallet.
Which eBike battery is the best for me?
How long’s a piece of string?! Depends a great deal on what your main purpose for your eBike is. For that matter, even the type of eBike you have or want. If you prefer pedal-assisted riding, then 24V is ideal if you don’t want to climb hills and do hardcore off-roading, and ranges will be more than enough for 18 to 25 miles. If you plan to go further than that, and perhaps pedal some mountainous areas as well, 36V variants are the most suitable types with an at least a 9Ah rating.
High speed or off-road cycling would probably require a minimum 36V battery. Alternatively, 48V and even the newer 52V variants are the best option for that, especially if you plan to carry heavier loads, or even if you’re a larger human as well.
So, a 36V battery yielding 10Ah would equal 360 Wh
Bear in mind, not all eBike batteries are created equal. For example, in the formula above, 360 watts could be drawn to use completely in 1 hour. There are many variables here too – pedal assist (or not), hills/gradients, tire size/type/inflation, terrain, wind direction etc., you get the picture.
Interestingly, the difference in a 36V, 9Ah battery and a 36V, 14Ah battery is stark. In round about figures, the 1st battery could propel you from ~25-50 miles, and the 2nd battery ~35-75 miles! More watts = more power. As you know, your car’s engine produces horsepower – which is a unit of work. This is also measured in kilowatts.
Where can an eBike battery be mounted?
These can be installed in several places – like building it into the frame itself with no visual appearance, or to visible places like the rear rack and the bottle holder’s fixing points. Frame integrated batteries would be the most secure without any possible dislodgement whatsoever.
Downtube batteries are also very sturdy and an optimal solution with a low center of gravity effect; and larger battery size allowances. Not depicted below, there are even battery packs mounted to your seat post under your saddle. Indeed, these may seem small, but can still pack a punch – you can get a 36V, 12Ah model to fit under your rear end!
The rear rack is also a good place for the battery although a negative is the higher and rearward center of gravity effect, which can be a problem if you prefer more adventurous cycling. Although, in less challenging environments like city or commuter biking, it’s a great option as well. A positive is the larger battery size and even the possibility of a dual-battery setup. Avoid installing your battery on the bottom of the top tube as sooner or later vibration could fatigue the mountings.
What is the best battery for electric bikes?
How long’s a piece of string?! Depends a great deal on what your main purpose for your eBike is. If you like pedal-assisted riding, then 24V is ideal if you don’t want to climb hills and do hardcore off-roading, and ranges will be more than enough for 18 to 25 miles. Although, as eBike battery technology improves, these are becoming outdated.
But, if you plan to go further than that, and perhaps pedal some mountainous areas as well, 36V variants are the most suitable types with an at least 9Ah rating. High speed or off-road cycling requires a minimum 36V battery but 48V, and even the newer 52V variants are the best option for that, especially if you plan to carry a heavier load as well.
In the marketplace, you’ll see these Lithium-Ion batteries described in more detail too – as there are 2 common variants of the modern eBike battery.
First (eBike) cab off the rank, is a battery with the cell makeup of LiFePO₄ – Lithium Iron Phosphate. These batteries have a superb potential lifespan – up to or even exceeding 2000 cycles, before dropping below the 80% DOD (depth of discharge) mark of its original capacity. Their energy density, which is a measure of how much energy it can store per volume, is smaller than its counterpart, the LiMnO2 – Lithium Manganese Oxide battery.
Nevertheless, these batteries generally have half the lifespan of a LiFePO₄ battery but have a higher energy density. These are relatively cheap to produce too, as its elements are plentiful in nature. Moreover, manufacturing techniques have improved a great deal in recent times. On balance, these 2 batteries, well looked after, are very safe, non-toxic, are durable, and a great compliment to any eBike.