E-Bike Battery Ranges vs Manufacturers Claims

When you have purchased your e-bike one of the first things you will notice is that you are unable to achieve the published range claimed by the manufacturer, here we explore the reasons for this and try to offer some advice to get the best range possible, also some tips on battery maintenance.

  • How far can your e-bike travel on a single charge?
  • Are the manufacturers claims realistic?
  • How long do they last before replacement is necessary?

For this blog we will use our own batteries as an example, as we have experience and customer feedback on which to base our answers. However it is important to stress that every manufacturer uses the same method to produce range figures, many will find the results disappointing and should read the explanation to understand how complex the issue is.

E-go bikes are lightweight foldable electric bikes, available in 4 sizes, using 3 battery sizes, 6.4ah, 7ah and 14ah, we use only branded batteries, either Samsung or LG, both top quality brands. Beware of non branded batteries, when we first started importing our bikes, four years ago, they came with an unbranded Chinese lithium battery that were very problematic, make sure you insist on a branded battery.

When I started this business 4 years ago, I was very disappointed by the range claimed by my supplier and soon realised this was the case with every manufacturer for one simple reason, there is no standardised test by which to compare one bike/ battery against another, unlike cars using either petrol or diesel, where manufacturers must publish, city, urban and motorway figures.

Manufacturers range claims

If we quickly take the example of an electric car, for this we will use the Jaguar I Pace as per their website figures, https://www.jaguar.co.uk/electric-cars/range.html

Jaguar Electric Car Range Calculator | Jaguar UK Above number of journey’s are estimations ONLY, based on The Department for Transport’s 2016 National Travel Survey, Table NTS0405, Average* trip length by trip purpose: England, 1995/97 to 2016 using 2016 trip data published 27 July 2017.www.jaguar.co.uk

23/10/22 Here the initial range shows 292 miles on a single charge, however this is not the realistic range and like e-bikes I would suggest this to be almost impossible to achieve. By changing a few settings this figure is substantially reduced, by changing from urban to motorway, 56mph, the range has dropped to 197 miles, if we want to turn on either heating/ air con we now have 190 miles, change the outside temperature from 20 degrees to 10 degrees, not unrealistic for our country during winter, we are at 181 miles, other factors come into play here not catered for in the figures, if the owner lived in Suffolk/ Norfolk, the range would be different to if he lived in Derbyshire/ Yorkshire dales as the elevation is drastically different. So a difference of 112 miles, although in reality I suspect more than this.

Now, if we look at bikes and the variables that affect the range, you will see the same issues arise.

Weight of rider: This is important as the power to weight ratio is completely different to that of a car.

Temperature: Lithium batteries perform worse the lower the temperature.

Elevation: Range will be much reduced by steep elevations due to the extra burden on the motor.

Weather: In particular wind, a strong headwind can significantly reduce range.

Road surface: More friction less range.

Pedal assist level selection: This is important, the temptation is to put it on maximum PAS level however this drastically reduces the range if the conditions don’t call for this.

None of the above would be included in the manufactures stated range claims, it’s not unreasonable to think why, unless they all do the same test, no one is going to state the realistic achievable range as this would seriously disadvantage them.

Getting the most from your battery

Of the above stated variables the one the rider can change to have the greatest effect on the range, is the last Pedal assist level selection, as previously mentioned, it is very often the case that riders find it all too convenient to set the pedal assist level higher than it needs to be. Unless you have a reason for this, a physical issue of some kind, you are just wasting battery.

E-go Bikes have 5 levels of pedal assist (PAS) From the lowest level of assistance, level 1, each incremental increase through to Level 5, increases the amount of work the motor does in relation to the rider. The rider is free to change from level to level whilst riding. Added to this all our bikes will ride as a standard bike, without friction due to brushless motors.

I have ridden many miles on all our models and with management, ranges can be greatly increased just by using the appropriate PAS level for the conditions, for example, when on flat level ground, level 1 is more than adequate for effortless riding, for any kind of downward slope no assistance is required, saving higher PAS levels for when the conditions call for it.

Battery care

If your battery is looked after it will give you a good and long service, both LG and Samsung expect their batteries to achieve 500-600 cycles (Charges) per lifetime. A few simple steps ensures this is realised.

1: Make sure you top up your battery regularly, around once a month, the earlier problems associated with Lithium batteries, primarily memory, have long since been resolved, no problems will occur by regular top ups.

2: Always try to charge your battery at a temperature between 10c-20c

3: During colder months, whilst not using the bike, keep the battery inside. This is very simple to do on our bikes as the battery can be removed in 15-30 seconds.

4: Avoid charging immediately after riding, wait 30 mins or so.

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