The most recent e-bikes and e-scooter tend to have lithium-ion batteries, which are the best option for reliable, long-lasting power. Older models may include batteries that contain nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride. Although not the best on the market, these batteries still maintain a decent amount of capacity for short journeys and might be a great choice if you’re on a budget.
Usually, electric bike batteries are mounted in one of three places: at the rear, on the frame, or integrated into the frame. Although rear-mounted batteries are becoming less common, they’re still practical for e-bikes that require lighter batteries for moderate riding. E-bikes with rear-mounted batteries can, however, cause handling issues if heavily loaded. Frame-mounted batteries (either on the frame or integrated into it) are positioned centrally, so the weight is balanced. Your choice is about preference – frame-mounted batteries can be easier to remove whereas the integrated battery offers better protection and looks cleaner.
The capacity of e-bike batteries is measured in watt-hours (Wh), with 400-500Wh being the standard nowadays. Of course, the size you go for depends on what e-bike you want and how you intend to use it. Lightweight bikes or e-folders, for example, generally require lower watt-hours (anywhere from 180Wh to 300Wh) as they are designed for shorter trips. If you need an e-bike for longer, faster journeys, there are dual battery systems that feature a 1000Wh capacity for maximum performance and longer life.
For every full charge, the average Wh capacity of an e-bike battery is approximately 33 miles per 500Wh battery. It’s very difficult to be precise because it all depends on the weight of the rider, the weather and terrain, and what power level the battery is set to. You can increase battery range by reducing the power settings, changing gears effectively to maintain pedal movement, and riding at a consistent speed.
Here are a few tips to ensure longer lasting e-bike batteries:
- It’s important not to over-charge your battery and always use the correct charger to prevent damage.
- Batteries prefer room temperature. Try to store them indoors in colder weather, away from direct sunlight.
- A bike cover is advised to protect the battery in freezing weather.
- Lithium batteries degrade over time, so it’s better to use them instead of store them for long periods.
- It’s a good idea to avoid cheap e-bike batteries that claim greater battery life and charge cycles – limits for under and overcharging may have been tampered with.
Most e-bikes come with an extended guarantee, but it’s important to understand what this means with each manufacturer. Many brands guarantee their batteries based on the number of full-charge cycles, for example. Despite a battery’s reduction in charge capacity, if well made, it will still perform for several years before electric bike battery replacement is needed.
It is important to take the correct care of your e-bike and e-scooter batteries. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, only use the battery outlined by the manufactuer for your bike or scooter and avoid storing the batter in extremes of heat or cold. The National Fire Chiefs Council has more detailed advice regarding fire safety and batteries.
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