Electric bikes are becoming increasingly common in the US, thanks to their extended range. The range of an electric bike refers to how far it can travel on one charge. You’ll find this figure may vary greatly from person to person.
When estimating range, consider the following:
- The weight of the rider.
- The level of pedal-assist used by the rider.
- Riding terrain.
- The weight of items being hauled.
- The speed of a ride. A one-third increase in speed reduces the range by half.
- Starting and stopping frequently, particularly on hills, will quickly drain power.
- Wind speed and direction.
- The temperature. Battery capacity decreases as the temperature drops. On a warm, sunny day, a battery will get about 15% more range than a colder battery would.
- Tire pressure affects the efficiency of the bike. Soft tires will be less efficient and will result in less distance for power expended.
- The size and age of the battery will determine how long it will have the ability to maintain optimal power.
- Larger motors will drain more battery power.
Focus on Battery Capacity
It is important to know that motor power impacts only how quickly an electric bike can accelerate, how well it can scale hills, and does not necessarily impact the distance traveled. The most important factor in estimating electric bike range is the battery capacity.
Electric bike capacity is usually measured in watt-hours (Wh), where Wh = amp-hours x volts. This calculation is important because it determines how far your electric bike will travel on a single charge.
1. Bike A has a 24V - 20Ah battery: 24V x 20Ah = 480Wh
2. Bike B has a 48V - 10Ah battery: 48V x10Ah = 480Wh
3. Bike C has a 24V - 6Ah battery: 24V x 6Ah = 144Wh
In this example, Bikes A and B have similar amounts of energy. With identical motors and riders, bikes A and B will perform similarly. The bike with the higher voltage battery will speed up faster and climb hills better. However, this will diminish some of the bike's energy. Bike C, on the other hand, will travel a much shorter distance than the other two bikes.
If you want your electric bike to accelerate quickly, climb well, and travel a long distance before needing a charge, then choose one with a battery that has high-voltage and high amp-hour capacity. A battery with high voltage and low amp-hours will not travel as far on a single charge.
To get the most out of the experience with your new electric bike, consider these factors before making your purchase. Thanks for reading!