Are you wondering why your ebike didn’t last the city ride? Well, your battery could be the cause.
As small as it may be, an e-bike’s battery is its lifeline.
Having the right cell for your two-wheeled electric bike goes a long way in saving you money and time.
In this ebike battery guide, we discuss everything you need to know about the best ebike battery for your electric bikes including types of cells, charging and cost.
Let’s dive in,
Classes of Electric Bike Batteries
There are four main types of e-bike batteries. These include:
· Nickel cadmium batteries (NiCd)
· Nickel metal hydride batteries (NiMh)
· Lead-acid batteries (SLA)
· Lithium batteries
NiCd batteries are the least popular options to consider for your e-bike. That’s because they are expensive and is a technology of the past. Both nickel and cadmium are nasty pollutants, thus being hard to recycle.
NiMH batteries are more efficient than NiCd batteries; however, they are still expensive. The success of lithium batteries is increasing the rarity of these batteries. The advantage of NiMh batteries is that they are easy to recycle and last longer.
SLA batteries are the cheapest and easiest to dispose of or replace. However, they need proper handling as they can following a deep discharge. The SLA batteries don’t last longer than the competition, thus making them unreliable. Their unreliability can pose serious problems to your transportation needs.
Lithium batteries are the best because they are affordable, light, and provide more power. Almost 90% of e-bikes use lithium batteries because most manufacturers have dealt with all the past security problems of catching fire and self-destruction. Some variants of lithium batteries include:
· Lithium Manganese batteries (LiMg204)
· Lithium Cobalt batteries (LCO)
· Lithium-ion batteries (Li-pol)
E-Bike Battery Bag
How long will my electric bike battery last?
These batteries can last between three to five years. However, it will depend on whether you have protected the batteries from temperature fluctuations and kept them in a dry place.
Again, the number of times you charge your e-bike cell from 0 to 100 percent has an impact on its lifespan. Regular full charging reduces the half-life of your battery.
The battery longevity can also depend on the energy management system on the bike and your riding habits. Some e-bikes have energy management systems that you can turn on depending on your preferred riding mode. You can use the EMS system by activating the pedal-assist mode, thus easily regulating the levels of charge used.
What is the ideal capacity of an e-bike battery?
The capacity of a battery is the charge or power that it can maintain. The capacity provides you with added range on your e-bike. Selecting a battery that has a good capacity means that you won’t spend time recharging it frequently.
Your e-bike battery capacity is indicated in either amps hours or watt-hours. You will come across batteries that range from 250W to 750W. These batteries deliver power differently, thus ensuring that your e-bike lasts longer.
Before purchasing the battery, check on the different capacities and power delivery options. For example, you can find a 500WH battery that can deliver 500W of power in an hour. Such a battery also has the potential of delivering 250W in two hours and 1,000Win 30 minutes.
Electric Bike Battery Power Capability
Power capability refers to the amount of energy the battery can deliver for use within a specific period. For instance, your e-bike battery may have a capacity of 1,000 watts of power. However, it may deliver only 5W to the motor at any given time.
The power produced by the motor is known as torque, and this will vary from e-bike to e-bike.
You should choose a battery that can deliver up to 1,000W to ensure that you always have all the power you need. A normal pedaling speed of 9mph requires 30W. If you want to get to 20mph, you require 220W. Having a battery that’s capable of 1,000W means that you have more power at your fingertips.
How much does an e-bike battery cost on average?
On average, you can spend between $500 to $900 on a good e-bike battery. The price will vary depending on the battery type, wattage, and brand. To ensure that you get value for your money, consider assessing the cost per WH of each battery.
If you want a cheap battery, you should also expect to obtain cheap quality. Be careful when purchasing these batteries because, in most cases, you get what you pay for. That is, you can purchase a battery that might wind up being a potential fire hazard.
E-bike Battery Prices
Some of the best batteries are from Yamaha, Shimano, and Bosch. These companies provide you with reliable batteries that range from 400WH to 650WH. Comparing the prices of each battery option allows you to know which one has the best value for the money.
Besides, you can assess your budget to know the battery that can work best. From these companies, you will find the cheapest offering of $565 from Shimano. It’s a 418WH battery that’s capable of 38mph. That’s enough speed if you are planning on using the bike around the city.
Despite your budget limits, you can find a battery for your bike.
Price (USD) Estimate
E-bike Battery Care - Lithium-ion cell
To ensure that you get the most out of the battery, you should begin your care from the charger. Get the right charger that can either deliver 36v or 48v, depending on the battery system. You should also consider plugging in the battery and let it charge till full for the first time.
After the battery fully charges, you should test it out. Conducting a test ensures that there isn’t any voltage sag.
How to Test E-bike Battery
The first way of testing an e-bike battery is through a multimeter. It provides you with precise measurements since you connect it directly to the battery. You should, however, be careful to avoid short-circuiting the battery and damaging the charging ports.
Before you commence the test, you should fully charge the battery and remove it from the bike frame. On your multimeter, you should choose the “test load battery” option. After which, you can proceed to assess the voltage and then the current of the battery.
E-bike Battery Output Voltages Options
The voltage of your e-bike battery is the equivalent of horsepower from a car’s engine. Most electric bike batteries will range from 24V, 36V, 48V, and 72V. The higher the voltage, the greater the power of your bike cell.
The most common voltage option is 38V; however, there are other e-bikes with either 24V or 48V. Most e-bike manufacturers will spec their e-bikes depending on the power to cost ratio. If you want a 72V bike, it might have to be custom and expensive.
How to Charge an Electric Bike Battery
Charging your battery ensures that it can lead a long, healthy life. You should plug in the charger for a new battery or bike and leave it for at least 12 hours. The initial charge ensures that there is power flowing through all the battery cells and helps condition the battery.
If you use your e-bike regularly, you should charge the battery regularly. Never allow the bike or the battery to discharge completely. The best option is therefore to recharge the battery whenever it is nearly half-full.
Following safe battery charging principles ensures your bike delivers when you need it most.
How do I Select the Best Battery for My E-bike?
Picking the best battery requires you to consider the available types. The best solution is the lithium battery since it’s a compact package that packs more capacity than its competition. It's also an affordable and durable solution for your e-bike.
Besides picking the type, you have to know the budget you have to spend on the battery. Some batteries range from $500 to $900+. Consider assessing your budget to know which lithium battery will be worth your money.
The voltage options of the battery are also crucial. If you want a battery that can transport you around a city or town, a 36V option will be enough. However, you can opt for a 24V if you don’t care much about the power, a 48V for a bit more power, or a custom 72V for the best performance.
Are e-bike batteries interchangeable?
Yes, some e-bike manufacturers offer interchangeable battery options for their bike lineup. However, this option isn’t available for all the other e-bike brands. All you can do is replace a battery with an option that can work with your e-bike.
E-bike Battery Sizes
Most e-bike batteries vary from 250WH to 1,125WH. Your choice depends on several factors like how far you would like to travel on a single charge, whether you want power settings, if the e-bike is a long-term investment, and the technology available.
E-bike Battery Connector Types
A good battery connector can impact your e-bike experience. Picking the right connector can be arduous, especially if you don’t know what you are dealing with. Since there are lots of options in the market, let's look at a few:
· Anderson connectors
While most connectors have separate male and female plugs, the Anderson Powerpole connector stands out with its genderless design. Having one pin and a single housing unit, the connector gives you the versatility of using it either as the load or in the source. Also, if you want to establish a multi pin connector series, Anderson Powerpole is a great consideration as it allows stacking. Thanks to its dovetail joints.
· Deans plugs
Deans plugs are among the smallest connectors an e-bike owner can purchase. Just like their size, they are quite cheap. So if you are on a tight budget but looking for a connector that can handle large currents, consider Deans plug. Noteworthy, they have poor moisture resistance and are quite difficult to solder. A pigtail reduces the work of soldering.
· XLR connectors
XLR connectors are as old as the electric bikes. Their metallic cases serve well in preventing disengagement even with an accidental knock or drop. But this may also work against the connector as the metal housing increases the risk of shorting incase of a loose wire.
They have unmatched moisture resistance and come with a varied number of pins. Connectors with more pins are larger in size.
Manufactured by Amass, XT60 is a heavy-duty ebike battery connector that can handle huge currents of more than 100 amps without melting. Its compact size and low asking price makes it many ebikers’ favorite. Unlike other connectors that require crimping, XT60 must be soldered. It also doesn’t support arcing connections. These two are its primary limitations.
Similar to XT60, this connector is designed by Amass. As an upgrade to the smaller XT60 model, it has 4.5-milimeter bullet pins that impart the ability to handle higher currents. Fitted with an in-built precharge resistor, your battery is protected against sparking that commonly occurs following a capacitive-load battery plug-in.
· Bullet connectors
Available in different pin sizes of between 2.5-8mm, these connectors have varying current handling capacities. You can combine the different genders of this connector in a polarized housing to a single easy-to-use connector. Its moisture resistance almost equals that of the premium XT90 connector.