Electric bikes are an excellent way to increase your physical activity while lowering your carbon footprint. The electronic battery is more environmentally friendly than gas-powered engines. However, it still provides additional help to the rider when challenging parts of the journey are encountered. Although getting into ebikes is exciting, selecting the correct bike with the proper electric bike batteries may be tricky.
The battery is perhaps an electric bike's most important (and expensive!) component. Yet, it is frequently overlooked by many first-time buyers. Understanding the fundamentals of the battery is critical to determining the TRUE speed, range, and power capabilities of any new e-bike battery.
In this article, you'll discover what battery types and specs genuinely mean, practical battery charging recommendations (including how long it takes to drain and charge a battery) and how to pick the best battery pack when buying a new electric bike.
Understanding Battery Specifications:
The beautiful thing about battery specifications is that they are just numbers and math. It may sound scary, but with a rudimentary grasp of volts, amp hours, and watt hours (Wh), you'll be able to swiftly analyze any e-bike's performance benefits (power, speed, and range).
First and foremost, let's define the word "battery pack." We frequently refer to the 'battery,' but it's a battery pack with electric bikes. The pack comprises several tiny battery cells arranged in a certain way to provide the power needed for an e-bike to work.
Volts: VOLT measures the "force" that pushes Amps through the system. Higher voltage suggests the battery can move more energy density or be carried quicker (more volts = more energy moving through to the motor). 36V batteries are typically found in entry-level, low-cost e-bikes.
The higher Voltage system will provide greater torque for quicker starts and more power for higher speeds if all else is equal.
Amp Hours: The amp hour measurement indicates a battery pack's energy capacity. It's a technical term for how much current the battery can deliver at a usable voltage in one hour. While Volts affect power and speed, Amp Hours significantly influence the riding range of your e-bike.
Watt Hours: This is a very common spec that relates to the number of watts supplied in one hour. Consider Watt Hours the total power given throughout time (more power available to you, the rider). Multiply Volts by Amp Hours to get Watt Hours. A 48V 14Ah battery, for example, equals 672 Watt-hours. This is a standard specification for many e-bikes in the United States.
It is essential to comprehend an e-bike's Hours to determine its true riding range potential. Many e-bikes may advertise exaggerated ranges, but calculating Watt Hours can help you weed through deceptive marketing claims.
Reputable and high-performance electric bike makers display these battery specs so customers can know the bike's genuine power, speed, and riding range. Higher Volts, Amp Hours, and Watt Hours ultimately result in faster speeds, more power, and a longer riding range.
So, if you're wondering how long it will take to deplete an e-bike battery, pay attention to voltages and amp hours (and watt hours) to choose the bike with the most powerful, longest-range battery.
Types of E-Bike Batteries:
- Lead Acid
- Nickel-metal Hydride
Most e-bike customers will probably find this a much easier choice, given there are only two real alternatives for e-bike batteries (and one offers significantly more advantages): lithium and lead acid. We recognize that there are other e-bike batteries (such as the obsolete nickel-cadmium batteries). However, most popular electric bikes in the United States will use one of these batteries.
Lithium Ion: This is a considerably superior e-bike battery due to its extended battery life and thousands of charge cycles. They are incredibly efficient and can be charged in half the time using rapid chargers. Lithium batteries account for almost 90% of the e-bike industry, making them the apparent victor due to their efficiency, longevity, and capacity to generate more power.
Lead Acid Batteries: These batteries are well-known for their low cost. Most importantly, they produce less power and are somewhat heavy. Compared to other battery types of the same weight and size, they have less capacity. Lead-acid batteries have three primary applications.
They can be used as backup power for stationary applications. They're also helpful for deep-cycle applications like golf carts and scissor lifts. Finally, they can be used as motor system starters in autos. E-bikes may also use them. However, we will not suggest their use due to their weight and power output.
Lead-acid batteries are the heaviest of the electric bike battery types available. They are three times the weight of lithium batteries and two times the weight of nickel batteries. Furthermore, lead-acid batteries have a lower capacity than nickel and lithium batteries. A lead-acid battery's maximum capacity is half that of a lithium or nickel battery.
Nickel-cadmium Batteries: These batteries are powerful and, with proper care, may last a very long period. They also have a larger battery capacity than lead-acid batteries but significantly less than lithium batteries.
Furthermore, nickel-cadmium batteries offer exceptional load performance. They can withstand a lot of throttle pressure.
They do, however, have certain flaws. They have a shockingly high rate of self-discharge. They can drop by up to 70% in 24 hours after a full charge with no usage. Their power density is poor.
Furthermore, nickel-cadmium batteries are costly, and the principal component - cadmium - is a hazardous pollutant. Nickel-cadmium batteries are often phased out of the market due to environmental safety and recycling concerns. These batteries are not the best option for your ebike.
Nickel-metal Hydride Batteries: Nickel-metal hydride batteries outperform the previous two battery types, lead-acid and nickel-cadmium. Even with self-discharge, nickel-metal hydride batteries can carry up to 45% more charge than nickel-cadmium batteries. Nonetheless, nickel-metal hydride batteries are not long-lasting. They are challenging to maintain, and charging them may be difficult.
Even with modest usage, nickel-metal hydride batteries generate much heat. This results in a high-self discharge. Although the discharge rate is lower than that of nickel-cadmium batteries, it is not recommended for use with electric bikes.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries offer minimal gain in range over nickel-cadmium batteries, although they are more costly. They are, nevertheless, more efficient and productive than lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are rapidly losing market value due to the advent of Lithium-ion batteries. They are considered to be overly pricey and have a restricted power output. As a result, they are not suitable for electric bikes.
Before we get into the most crucial aspects to consider when selecting an e-bike battery, here's a brief primer on battery charging and answers to frequently asked questions regarding charging an electric bike battery.
- All e-bikes should include a simple battery charger compatible with the battery.
- The charging time varies based on the size of the battery and the charger's amps.
- The higher the amps, the faster the charge. However, most e-bike battery chargers are limited to 8 amps since there are severe consequences to charging too quickly and with too many amps. Charging too quickly might harm the battery cells, cause premature deterioration, and create a fire danger. At the moment, the safest fast charger available is an 8 amp charger.
E-bike Charger Math: Divide the amp-hour rating of your battery by the amp rating of your charger to get how long it will take to completely charge your battery (if it is fully discharged). As a result, charging a 20Ah battery using a 4 amp turbocharger will take around 5 hours. That same battery will take about 2.5 hours to charge with an 8amp fast charger. Anything more significant is a potential hazard.
To provide optimum power balance to the battery cells, all excellent lithium smart chargers drop the charge towards the conclusion of the charge cycle.
- It is not suggested to let your e-bike battery charge overnight or beyond the point of full charge since it might hinder the charge cycles of a battery.
- Check that your e-bike is correctly maintained and that the tires are filled to the required pressure levels.
- It is advised that the battery be kept at 50% charge during extended periods of inactivity.
Because the battery pack is such an essential component of an electric bike and determines the bike's most crucial performance qualities (power, speed, and range! ), selecting the best battery should be one of your top priorities when shopping for your next e-bike.
To discover the best e-bike battery, several aficionados recommend evaluating the benefits of personal importance: weight, safety, price, and power. Unfortunately, there isn't a single e-bike battery that provides everything on the list (cheap, safe, lightweight, and powerful), so e-bike purchasers must prioritize which are the most important. For example, the most affordable e-bike battery will likely be hefty, potentially dangerous, and underpowered.
A lightweight battery means sacrificing power, speed, and riding range. However, losing power may make the most sense if you're commuting a short distance, require a modest amount of power, and need to transport your bike from a fourth-floor walk-up. If, on the other hand, you want an electric bike that will consistently carry you on a 30-mile commute and get you there safely, and comfortably, battery power is going to be considerably more essential than weight.