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Everything You Need to Know about E-Bike Batteries

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Going from point A to B hasn’t been the same throughout time. The first wheel was invented around 4000 BC.

Now, we’ve got wheels moving electronically with the help of an e-bike. With this invention coming to light in the 1990s, users have been able to move around with much less energy exertion.

You might be wondering what kind of power an e-bike battery holds or how much range it has. Well, you’ve come to the right place for answers.

Stick around to learn more about everything you need to know about e-bike batteries.

E-Bike Terminologies to Know

If you’re an e-bike beginner, then you might want to start by understanding some e-bike battery terminologies.

Here are some of them below.

What are Amp-Hours (Ah)

Amp-hours (Ah) basically help you figure out an e-bike battery’s life or capacity. It lets you know the number of amperes or electric charges dispersed per hour.

In short, you’ll be able to figure out how many electrons you’re getting for every hour of use. There are also milliamperes (mAh) that are mostly used for smaller-scale batteries like AA ones.

How would you calculate your e-bike battery’s Ah or electron capacity? Well, one Ah is equal to one ampere multiplied by one hour.

The value of one ampere is equivalent to one coulomb, or electrical unit, moving in one second.

A coulomb equates to 6.24 x 10^18 electrons and one hour is 3,600 seconds. If we follow the formula: Ah= 1 Amp x 1 hour, then we can calculate it as follows: Ah= (6.24 x 10^18) x (3,600).

The result would be 2.25 x 10^22 electrons in an amp-hour. If you try to estimate that any further and you’ll get a lot of zeros. Most e-bike batteries have around 8 to 15 Ah.

Having this many electrons can impact the range of your e-bike battery as well as the amount of torque produced.

What is Voltage (V)

Whenever you hear about anything related to electric current, the first metric you’ll come across will probably be voltage.

Now, you know how many electrons your e-bike battery contains from calculating the Ah. It’s time to know how much energy each of those electrons is pulling by figuring out the battery’s voltage.

To get a better sense of voltage, let’s compare it to gravity. If you were bouncing a ball while standing up vs. throwing it from the 4th floor, the impact on the floor will differ.

The distance between your hand and the floor is the voltage. The ball represents an electron. Having said that, the higher the voltage, the more power an electron will pack.

E-bike batteries typically come in a range of voltage options such as 36V, 48V, and 96V.

What is a Watt-Hour (Wh)

Most people tend to confuse watt-hour (Wh) with voltage since both help in identifying energy output. Nevertheless, Wh differs because it estimates the energy circulating in not only one electron but all the electrons in the battery.

If someone told you that Wh is defining the capacity of a battery, they’re mistaken. A battery’s capacity is only referred to as Ah.

That being said, your e-bike retailer might discuss with you the battery’s Wh. They’re most likely mentioning the overall energy you can get from the whole e-bike battery.

To get an estimate of your battery’s Wh, you’ll have to multiply the Ah with the voltage. If you have a 48V e-bike battery with 10 Ah, then the Wh would total 480 Wh.

Types of E-Bike Batteries

Electric-powered vehicles have seen lots of battery-type changes throughout history. Similarly, e-bikes can accommodate a few kinds of batteries. Each has its perks and disadvantages.

Without further ado, let’s look at the types of e-bike batteries below.

What is Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)

Lithium-ion batteries have become one of the most commonly used energy sources for electronically charged vehicles.

The e-bike battery can store up to three times more charge than nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are so popular because they can be shaped in various sizes. Additionally, they carry a lot more voltage.

Unlike nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium-ion batteries don’t have a memory effect.

A memory effect happens when you don’t fully charge a battery, so its capacity and performance slacks. It’s why the term is also commonly referred to as the lazy battery effect.

What is Lead-Acid

Lead-acid batteries were commonly used on e-bikes since their initial manufacturing. Approximately 80% of e-bike batteries are lead-acid-based.

It might be because they’re not as pricey as most other batteries on the list. Nevertheless, this battery type may not be as efficient.

As a rule of thumb, you should always charge a lead-acid battery whenever you can. This is to essentially compensate for lost energy from the battery’s internal decay.

What is Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd)

Compared to lead-acid e-bike batteries, nickel-cadmium holds more advantage when it comes to Ah levels or battery capacity.

While that’s great for that extra range, this battery type can prove to be highly costly. Plus, if you’re trying to be green, then you wouldn’t want to use nickel-cadmium.

The battery expels harmful pollutants and can be difficult to recycle during disposal. Overall, this battery choice isn’t the best.

What is Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH)

Nickel-metal hydride batteries operate more efficiently compared to nickel-cadmium ones. They can give you better capacity rates.

On top of that, they’re much less polluting. The main drawback of nickel-metal hydride is that it’s pricey.

Nevertheless, this battery type has other advantages such as its quick charge capability, higher tolerance to overcharging, and overall safety features.

Despite its array of benefits, other battery types, like lithium-ion ones, have more coverage in the marketplace for e-bike batteries.

What is Lithium Polymer (Li-Po)

Like lithium-ion batteries, the lithium polymer range has captured a sizeable share of the e-bike battery market.

These batteries are relatively cheap, have high voltage, and charge fast. Now, you might be wondering, “What’s the difference between lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries.

It mostly comes down to the electrolyte content of each one. Lithium-ion batteries have liquid electrolytes. Meanwhile, lithium-polymer ones are composed of solid polymer electrolytes.

Which is the Best Type of E-Bike Battery?

After getting some brief info about each battery type, we’d have to say that lithium-ion batteries take the cake.

Being the most budget-friendly and efficient battery type makes this option the most cost-effective.

Meanwhile, most other options are either too expensive or lack enough energy output, which hinders capacity.

Removable vs. Non-Removable E-Bike Batteries

Apart from the different types of e-bike batteries to choose from, you also have to take your pick between removable and non-removable batteries.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each one below.

Removable E-Bike Batteries

Removable or detachable e-bike batteries are a clear winner when it comes to convenience. If you want to charge the battery, you just need to take it out.

You can also swap the batteries if you have some last-minute errands, rather than wait out a complete charging session.

On the other hand, removable batteries tend to appear too clunky on the bike. The good news is that several e-bike manufacturers have created more streamlined designs for smaller batteries.

Non-Removable E-Bike Batteries

Non-removable or fixed e-bike batteries offer several advantages. These power units are considerably lighter and less bulky looking.

With a fixed bike, you might not have to worry too much about weather conditions. This battery type can withstand a summer day in your stuffy garage without getting damaged.

As for the cons, charging can be inconvenient because you have to move around the entire e-bike with you.

If you live in an apartment on the top floor, then we wouldn’t recommend fixed batteries; unless you’re okay with dragging the bike up several flights of stairs to charge.

Removable vs. Non-Removable E-Bike Batteries: Which is the Best Option?

Both non-removable and removable batteries are adequate choices for your e-bike. That being so, we believe the best option is the removable battery.

It’s user-friendly and much more trouble-free charging-wise. Whenever you purchase a bike, you could be looking for quick transportation.

A non-removable battery might curb that easy-transport feature since you’ll have to move the whole bike to charge it.

How Long Do E-Bike Batteries Last?

Whenever you’re on the lookout for an e-bike battery, you’re probably hoping to find one with the most range or that lasts the longest.

There are lots of factors that can affect an e-bike battery’s life.

One of the major ones is temperature. The hotter the weather, the more likely your e-bike battery will deteriorate and lose a certain percentage of its charge.

How much percentage it loses depends on the surrounding temperature. For instance, if you leave your bike for a year at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, then chances are, it’ll reduce from 100% to 80%.

Having said that, some manufacturers boast that their e-bike batteries can last a thousand cycles. This ultimately means that you can charge and discharge a thousand times.

This isn’t usually the case. Instead, you might be getting 80% of that, leaving you with 800 cycles.

If you have a lithium-ion battery, it could approximately take 250 to 400 cycles. With consistent use and care, that can amount to about a year and a half or two.

How to Maximize Riding Range

While e-bikes are an exceptional and clean means of transport, you can’t help but think, “What if it suddenly stops working?”

A dead battery is probably the most dreaded feature of an e-bike. Luckily, there are ways you can attempt to maximize your riding range to get the most out of your battery’s capacity.

Before we get into how you can do that, you may want to first consider what could impact the battery’s life. Some of those factors include:

  • Weight
  • Tire Pressure
  • Terrain
  • Elevation

Now, to maximize your e-bike’s battery range, you’ll want to unpack each factor mentioned above.

If you weigh less, you’ll be saving up on more range. You can lessen your weight by carrying less load if possible.

As for tire pressure, the higher it is, the more range you’ll get. That’s because, if your tires are more full, there’s less surface area touch between the tire and the ground, which means less drag.

You can adjust your tire’s PSI levels to benefit from a better range. On the other hand, if you prefer more traction, then you’ll have to lower your PSI levels.

More traction equals more drag, which means your e-bike motors will exert more work and use up more range.

Speaking of overexertion, if the terrain you’re on is rockier and filled with more obstacles, then you’ll likely experience less range. A flatter surface won’t require as much energy and will conserve more range.

Finally, higher elevation will also mean that your e-bike will have to work harder to pump you forward, which results in less range.

Going downhill requires little to no power output from your e-bike battery, so you’ll naturally have more range to use.

How to Take Care of Your E-Bike Battery

Maintaining your e-bike battery is crucial to maximizing its lifespan. One thing you should always consider is to never leave the battery to drain completely. It always has to be charged.

Another critical care tip is to keep your battery at room temperature, especially when charging it. If it’s too cold, try to warm it up first by covering it with a blanket.

Contrastingly, if it’s too warm, then you could try charging it indoors with the air conditioner on or a fan facing it.

To Conclude

E-bike batteries come in different types and features. Whether you prefer lithium-ion or lead-acid, removable or non-removable, each has its advantages and drawbacks.

Before purchasing an e-bike battery, we recommend reading our guide to get a better idea of the terminology associated with the energy source.

It’ll help you gain more knowledge, especially if you’re confronted with a salesperson trying to push a product.

That’s everything you need to know about e-bike batteries. Good luck!

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