How Far Can an Electric Bike Go?

Two people riding to see how far electric bikes can go

Distance Coverage and Everything You Need To Know About an Electric Bike

Electric bikes have been in existence as early as 1890. They are categorized into classes depending on the power delivery of the motors. The classification might also vary depending on the country and jurisdiction. E-bikes are broadly categorized into two; pedal assists and power on demand.

With pedal-assist, the electric motor is controlled by the pedals. It is all about augmenting the input of the rider when they are pedaling. Such bikes are called pedelecs and use a sensor to detect the speed of the pedaling and also the force. The brake mechanism also has a sensor that can deactivate the motor. With power on demand, there is a throttle that is used to activate the motor and is usually hand-held similar to what you’d find in a motorcycle or a scooter.

The range of an electric bike- How far can they go?

Electric bikes have been gaining popularity in the last couple of years. They pack a punch and have functionalities that you wouldn’t find in a regular bike. The extra power from the motors can propel you forward even in tricky terrains. With modern batteries, you travel long distances without necessarily having to put in a lot of work.

It is recommended that you always check your batteries before you go on a riding expedition. You don’t want to be running out of power when you’re in the middle of the journey. Which begs the question, how is the battery capacity of an electric bike determined?

A simple answer would be to multiply the battery’s amp hours (Ah) to the battery’s voltage (V). This could be overwhelming for the common person who is more interested in how many miles the electric bike can go before it runs out of charge.

According to research, covering a mile can take up to 20 watt-hours. That means you can ride up to 12 miles with 24 volts 10 Ah battery. You will need to upgrade the battery capacity if you intend on travelling a long distance. Assessing the battery capacity can be a challenge and that is why you should reach out to the shop where you bought an electric bike. They will be able to advise on the different battery configurations and how they can be maximized. You can only know the true range of your e-bike once you take it through its paces.

Conserving Battery Energy

You should always look for ways to conserve your electric bike’s battery even if the energy capacity has been stipulated. You should also be prepared for the worst case scenario which is when your battery is completely dead. You can save energy by turning off the motor when going downhill or riding through smooth terrains. The motor can be powered on once you hit a rough terrain or when about to start an uphill climb.

Make sure you have an extra battery pack if you intend to travel long distances. Your electric bike manufacturer will always recommend buying a couple of battery packs. The size of the battery is going to be the main factor that determines how far you can go before the motor is dead. The terrain and the weight that you’re carrying could also be determining factors as well. There are batteries that take just 4 hours for a full charge.

Factors That Affect Range of An Electric Bike

  •  Mode

Depending on the electric bike you have, the mode that you have it configured on could affect the range. It is recommended that you switch to power efficiency mode if you’re going to be out for a long time. You should ride on the lower settings if you’re on the rails or the roads. Technical climbs might require that you have the mode at the best efficiency. Taking the electric bike through its paces is a great way of knowing how you can get the best range depending on the mode.

  • Weight

The weight that is exerted on the electric bike will also determine how far it can go before you get to charge it again. If you intend to cover long distances, you should only carry what is necessary. The effect of the weight is noticeable during climbs as it takes a lot more power to propel the electric bike. A lighter ride will significantly improve your range. Your backpack should only include the essentials like water and a light fast aid kit. You can also carry an extra battery pack just in case you run out of juice.

  • Terrain Variety

The terrain variety will also have an effect on the range of your electric bike. Steep hills will drain your battery faster even if the distance is shorter. Gentle gradients don’t consume a lot of power. You should plan your route before you go out riding. Longer routes could be energy saving provided you’re avoiding steep climbs.

  • Pedal Technique

The pedal technique will also have a bearing on the range of your electric bike. If you have been biking for a long time, you’re likely experienced in pedaling which might come in handy when it comes to prolonging the range of the electric bike. Stamping your feet is not encouraged. Instead, you should spin on the pedals and you should also learn to select the right gears depending on the terrain and speed that you’re riding.

  • Riding Smoothly

This is closely tied with the pedal technique. Smooth and consistent pedaling will come in handy in ensuring you’re getting the best range out of your electric bike. There should be consistent follow through instead of hammering. The riding technique can only be perfected with constant practice. You should never try to accelerate just immediately after getting on the bike as it could strain your batteries.

  • Battery Getting Cold

This could be beyond you as there is not a lot you can do about it. According to Bosch’s literature, low temperatures reduce the range for a single battery charge. When it comes to storage, the battery should be kept in temperatures above 30ºC. They should also not be exposed to direct sunlight. They should be stored in a cool and dry place. Make sure they are not fully charged or completely empty when you’re storing them.

  • Washing

This has always been a controversial topic when it comes to electric bikes. There are some people who will encourage you to point water to every part of the electric bike. You should never direct the jet wash to your motor. This will result in corrosion which ultimately interferes with energy transfer in the motor.

  • Type of Tires

The types of tires will also determine the range you can get from your electric bike. This comes in the form of rolling resistance. You don’t have to compromise with your riding style as you can still get tires that improve the range. Look for tires with high pressure that discourage rolling resistance while still ensuring a comfortable balance. It should be noted that semi-solid inserts increase rolling resistance as much as it is becoming popular among electric bikers. There is the dilemma of going for aesthetics or focusing on functionality.

Why Electric Bikes?

According TO Mintel, 11% of existing bikers are planning to move to electric bikes. They are becoming popular because contrary to popular beliefs, electric bikes provide just about the same health benefits as regular bikes. Their popularity has also been on the rise because of public endorsements from celebrities like Victoria Pendleton who is an Olympic gold medalist. There are already insurance proposals in place for electric bikes because of the anticipated growth in the niche. There have been proposals in Europe which are seeking to increase the speed limits of electric bikes to 20 mph.

Conclusion

Cycling is a great past time and can also be beneficial to your health. An electric bike can be a great choice if you’re looking to make commuting less expensive and more fun. Going for an electric bike could provide a smooth transition if you’re looking into biking as a hobby as a way of commuting long distances.

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