One of the most vital components of an electric bike is the battery. It makes a whole lot of difference when it comes to the performance of your vehicle. Since there are so many options available, bike owners often get confused about which one to buy.
Depending on your situation, you might need a specific type of battery. You must know about the different types of batteries and their specifications. This guide can help you out. Keep reading to know how to choose an ebike battery.
Basic Terminologies For eBike Batteries
Before you purchase a battery that will suit your requirements, you need to be familiar with some common terminologies. This will allow you to make a more informed decision. Here are some of the basic terms:
- Amperes: This is the international unit of electrical current. Think of it as a channel. The wider it is, the more number of boats can pass through it.
- Ampere per hour: It is the unit of electrical charge that indicates the battery’s capacity. A 10Ah device can discharge a 10A current for an hour at a stretch.
- Voltage: This is popularly termed volts. It denotes the potential difference between neutral and live conductors. If your battery is a pipe, voltage is the pressure of water that flows through it.
- Watts: This is the unit of electrical power. You get its value by multiplying the voltage with the amps. A device with a higher Watt delivers more in terms of power.
- Watt hour: It represents the power generated for an hour. If watt is equivalent to the speed, watt hour is the distance. You calculate it by multiplying the amps, voltage, and hours.
Different Types Of Batteries
When you start browsing online stores, you will find several types of batteries. You might be wondering how they are different from each other. Here is a list of all the different categories:
This is one of the cheaper options. These devices weigh a lot and generate very little power output. If you ride your bike on a regular basis, you shouldn’t use this electric bicycle battery type. It is relatively safe and easily disposable.
But compared to nickel and lithium batteries, they are not very durable. Very few people use lead acid batteries these days due to their low power output. Moreover, they are many times heavier than lithium and nickel batteries. However, they have 50% less capacity.
While these devices have decent capacity and shelf-life, they have some obvious downsides. You won’t find any of the latest models using this type of electric bike battery. A nickel-cadmium device will discharge at a rapid rate.
It can lose 70% of its charge in a day even if you don’t use it. Additionally, it is not eco-friendly since you cannot recycle it easily. Cadmium is a major pollutant and environmentally conscious companies are doing away with it.
Compared to nickel-cadmium batteries, the nickel-metal hydride type has 45% more charge capacity. Nevertheless, it is difficult to charge them and they are not very long-lasting. These power units heat up fast, even without heavy usage.
As such, they have a high rate of self-discharge. Although the discharge rate is low compared to nickel-cadmium devices, they are not ideal for electric bikes. They are pricier than nickel-cadmium batteries. Also, you don’t get too much range with them.
This is by far the most popular battery type for electric bikes. Lithium-ion batteries generate a lot of power and last for a long time. Moreover, they don’t have a negative impact on the environment like nickel-based batteries. Because of their complex build, these devices do not come cheap.
They are lightweight and need electronic components for fireproofing. This shouldn’t be an issue, since the makers always install safety measures to prevent hazards from occurring. A lithium-ion electric bike battery 48v 20ah lets your vehicle run for at least 50 miles.
Types Of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Most electric bikes these days use lithium-ion batteries. Because of this, you must know all about them. Here are the various types you can find on the market:
- Lithium Cobalt Oxide: Compared to others, these have high energy density. They are lightweight, cheap, and deliver reliable performance. Nevertheless, they are considered a bit outdated. This is because of the low lifespan, low safety, and low specific power.
- Lithium Manganese Oxide: This is a new type of Li-ion battery that is relatively safe, offers more energy, and has decent specific power. Additionally, it does not cost as much as the other types. However, there are some downsides, that is low lifespan and low performance.
- Lithium-Ion Polymer: When it comes to range, price, and weight, these batteries are not much different than other lithium-ion batteries. Since there is no liquid in these devices, they require less protective casing. Due to high stability and durability, they are suitable for electric bicycles.
- Lithium Iron Phosphate: These batteries do not offer much in terms of specific energy. Nonetheless, they are long-lasting and inexpensive. They are also less likely to cause safety issues. This makes them perfect for e-bikes.
- Lithium Titanate: They have low specific energy. But lithium titanate batteries offer decent specific power. Due to their high cost, not all bike owners might be able to afford them. A major advantage of this battery type is its fast charging time.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Battery
Now you know about the different types of batteries available for electric bikes. But, there are a few more things to consider. You can find some of them below:
The higher the battery volume, the longer you can travel before needing a recharge. This is not the sole factor dictating the bike’s longevity. Nevertheless, you should decide the capacity beforehand. Watt-hour represents this. You need to consider the kind of terrain you’ll be traveling on. If you’re riding on hilly terrains, your battery will drain faster. So, you need a high-capacity device for this purpose. If you plan to travel mostly on level roads, a 480 Watt hour battery should be adequate.
Weight, Shape, and Size
You don't want your vehicle to get weighed down by the battery. It also needs to be the perfect fit for your bike. If you do not travel long distances on a regular basis, you don't need a gigantic battery. Lithium ion batteries weigh approximately 6 lbs. You can ride almost 20 miles with them without recharging. Sometimes there might not be enough power to travel the rest of the way. In this case, you can hit the pedal to save battery life.
Battery Management System
The BMS is to a battery what a CPU is to a computer. Its main job is to enhance the battery's shelf-life. It limits the amount of current that can enter the device during charging. During discharging, it controls the number of amps that you can extract from the pack. Some battery management systems monitor the temperature to prevent overheating. This keeps the cells from getting damaged. A few batteries have high-end BMSes that use Bluetooth to connect to your phone. This provides you with further details on your battery.
Every electric bicycle comes with a controller. It pulses on and off to regulate the power between the motor and battery. If the vehicle is stationary and you press the throttle hard, the controller will stop too many amps from entering the motor. Each controller has a maximum amp rating. You need to get a battery that is compatible with it. For example, a 20 Amp controller will require a 10ah battery. Some manufacturers assign watt ratings to their controllers.
Each vehicle has a distinct voltage range. The battery power must be within this range for the bike to work properly. If you use a battery with too low or too high voltage, it can cause complications. When it is low, there won’t be enough power to drive the motor. On the other hand, high voltage can ruin the electrical components of the bike. Most of them range between 36 and 48 volts. To get the average value, multiply the voltage of each cluster with the number of cells.
Battery integration decides whether you can replace the device with a cheaper one. Integrated frame batteries are almost impossible to replace. If you plan to make your vehicle last for a long time, you should not choose this option. It can be quite expensive and difficult to replace the batteries in these models. So if something goes wrong with the device, you need to purchase a new vehicle. As such, it is better to go for a battery that can be easily mounted and dismounted.
You can easily replace off-brand batteries. But, there is the warranty factor to consider. Some of the warranties for ebikes come with clauses. If you replace the battery, the company will no longer cover you. You can do so after the warranty has expired. But before tinkering with the system, you should decide whether it is worth giving up on the coverage.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions asked by customers:
How long do ebike batteries last?
This depends on the type of battery you buy. Maintenance is another very important factor. When you take proper care of the device, you can make it last longer. A high-end battery that has been well cared for can last up to four years. You should keep the device stored in a dry place. Remember to always keep it charged partially.
How much does an ebike battery cost?
The price of a battery depends on its capacity and brand. You can get decent models between $500 and $900. This will get you a device having a capacity between 400 Watt hour and 700 Watt hour. Here, you need to consider the amount paid for one Watt hour. Branded batteries are more expensive. For them, you need to pay an average of $1.72 for each Watt hour.
Why are ebike batteries so expensive?
The vast majority of ebike batteries are lithium-ion. They have metals like cobalt, manganese, nickel, and lithium. All of these are relatively rare on the planet. Also, the production cost is high because the metals need to be refined. For each kilowatt hour, you need to pay an average of $156. However, over the last few years, the prices have gone down a bit.
How to charge the batteries?
Charging is an operation you need to conduct with great care. Not doing it the correct way can destroy your battery. Also, it can cause you personal damage. To ensure the best charging environment, you should take the device out first. After that, you can use a power outlet to do the job. When it is fully charged, the charger will show a green light.
How to replace the battery of an electric bicycle?
Most manufacturers offer replacement batteries. Some devices are hard to extract from the frame and you need to spend a lot of time replacing them. Others are relatively easy to replace. First, unlock the battery kit, unplug all wires, and loosen the clamps. Then, you can remove it and install a new one in its place. Remember, you need to reconnect all the wires.
The above information will help you choose the best ebike battery. The younger generation is crazy about electric bikes at this moment. Selecting the right power source will help you get the most out of your vehicle. With proper care, you can make your bike run for several years on a single battery.
Do you need a 48v lithium battery for electric bike? You don’t need to spend a fortune. There are some attractive deals available on the market right now. So grab the opportunity while you still can. Get yourself a solid battery today and enjoy your ride.
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