Electric bikes are a great way to get from A to B. They’re incredibly convenient, especially for urban dwellers who don’t own a car or for those who need something to handle tricky terrains like hills and gravel roads.
Not only are electric bikes easy to ride, but they can also save you loads of money by cutting fuel costs, but how long do electric bikes last on one charge? Can you really use them for long-distance commutes? And if so, what are the factors that determine the range of an electric bike? These are some of the questions we will be answering in this blog.
How Long Do Electric Bikes Last
So to the big question… how long do electric bikes last on one charge? Well, if you want a short answer, we’d say ‘it depends.’ Owing to the wide variety of electric bikes available on the market for all kinds of use cases, it’s impossible to give a certain figure.
For instance, the electric bikes meant for hardcore performance on trails or hills can last for a few hours of continuous use and can cover 20-30 miles on average.
On the other hand, the lightweight electric bikes meant for long-distance commuting can go for days without requiring another recharge. For example, the Engwe C20 Pro can let you cruise up to 93 miles (150km) on one charge!
Then there’s the cost factor. You obviously get what you pay for!
While the budget electric bikes can usually last 20 miles (32km) on one charge, the high-end premium e-bikes with $6k+ tags can last up to 100 miles (160km) before requiring you to plug them in the socket again.
But there are quite a few exceptions as well. For instance, the Fiido L3 has a mind-boggling maximum range of 124 miles (which comes out at 200km) and costs just $999.
Understandably, it compromises on a few things to make this feat achievable for under $1000 – the biggest of which is its overall styling. The L3 pretty much looks like a GIANT battery on wheels… but even with its compromised looks, it can be the perfect ride for those who like to get a long range from their bike and nothing else!
Still, if you want to know how long do electric bikes last on one charge in pretty specific terms, you need to consider a number of factors. Let’s see what they are.
The battery capacity is arguably the single most important factor that determines how long do electric bikes last on one charge. The battery capacity is measured in amp hours (Ah), and the relation between battery capacity and the e-bike range is extremely simple… the larger the capacity, the longer it will last, and the further you’d be able to go.
For instance, the abovementioned Fiido L3 features a magnanimous 48V 23.2Ah Lithium-ion battery, which is unarguably one of the biggest batteries on the market right now. The energy content of 1113.6Wh is hard to find, let alone in the price tag it has.
You can always increase the battery capacity by upgrading to bigger units but this will also increase the weight of the e-bike. Still, the overall result will be an increase in your range. For instance, the Gosen Q7-DB features dual batteries of 48V 13Ah and 48V 18Ah, putting the cumulative capacity at 48V 31Ah and the cumulative energy content at an unbelievable 1488Wh. Thanks to this 1.5kWh energy content, the Q7-DB – despite being a heavy fat tire electric bike – can last for up to 140 miles (225km) on one charge. Seems insane? It’s!
The weight of the electric bike and the rider directly impacts how long it will last on one charge.
This is because more power is needed to propel a heavier bike. The same applies to the amount of cargo being carried on the electric bike. A heavier load will consume more power than a lighter load, and will eventually reduce the range of the battery.
For example, the Fiido D11 weighs just 39lbs (17.5kg) – and that’s an important factor why it can last for up to 62 miles (100km) on one charge, despite having a small 417.6Wh (36V 11.6Ah) battery.
This is why it is important to consider the weight of the rider and the total payload of the e-bike when calculating the range… and also why many e-bike manufacturers mention rider weight in their mileage stats.
Electric Bike Power Settings
The way the motor operates on your e-bike also affects your range. For example, if you frequently use the throttle instead of the pedal assist mode, the battery will be drained much quickly. The same goes for pedal-assist levels.
Using your e-bike in higher assist modes will draw more power from the battery, due to which, you’ll experience a shorter battery life than what you’ll experience at lower levels of pedal assistance.
Speaking of which, always always always keep one thing in mind.
The maximum range advertised by e-bike manufacturers is true only on the lowest pedal assist level (and under ideal conditions, that’s when the bike is ridden by an average-weight rider at a flat terrain at normal wind conditions) … and that’s also true for the mileage stats you read above.
Type of Motor
Mid-drive motors are extremely more efficient than hub motors. They use less battery charge to deliver the same amount of power because they can fully use the mechanical advantage of your bike’s gears to significantly increase the power output.
However, when compared to hub motors, they are extremely pricey. Even the most affordable mid-drive electric bikes start from $3k… and there’s practically no upper limit to where the price can go.
Hub motors, however, are improving rapidly, with more and more manufacturers churning out efficient designs. For instance, most hub motors today use internal gears to amplify the torque and work at an efficient rate.
Type of Sensor
An electric bike’s pedal-assist sensor measures your pedaling input to determine how much motor power you need at any given time… and it therefore plays an important role in determining your range.
Torque sensors, which determine how hard you pedal, have an extremely high sampling rate, when compared to cadence sensors, which determine how fast you pedal. Torque sensors can change the power output of the motor in real time – they provide motor power just when you need and stop just when you want it to stop. Due to ultra-responsive power delivery, there are minimal to no energy losses… and your battery can deliver an excellent range despite being small in size. This explains why the electric bikes with torque sensors, such as the Fiido D21, the Fiido X, and even the fat tire Fiido M21, can deliver a 100km (62 miles) despite featuring small battery units.
The speed at which you ride also affects the range of the battery.
The power consumption of your motor is much higher when the e-bike is going at a faster speed than when it is at a slower speed. This is not only because your motor is doing a lot more work, but also because most motors lose their efficiency at higher RPMs.
Likewise, if you’re riding with frequent stops and starts such as on a congested urban road, you will consume more power due to frequent acceleration. Likewise, riding against the wind direction will reduce range, compared to riding in the wind direction.
The type of terrain or the slope of the road also affects the range of the battery. When you are riding uphill, the motor has to use much more power, which will drain your battery quickly. This can be compensated for by pedaling at a higher speed or with more force.
The amount of pedaling that you do while riding also affects the range of the battery.
When you are riding the e-bike, it is the combination of the motor’s power and your leg power that propels the e-bike forward. If you don’t pedal at all (such as on throttle), the motor will consume more power from the battery.
Likewise, if you pedal a lot, you can expect a long range as you’ll be generating most of the power for the e-bike to move forward and the motor won’t be consuming much power from the battery.
Riding with an aerodynamic posture also helps increase the range.
The age and condition of your battery also has a great impact. Electric bike batteries lose their efficiency if they’re subjected to frequent overcharging or if they’re fully drained repeatedly or if they have been damaged due to an accident or any other reason.
Following the shallow ‘charge/ discharge’ way (that’s to recharge your battery without waiting it to deplete completely, and charging it to slightly below 100%) keeps your battery in a healthy condition, giving you a long range for every charge.
So, that’s it. These were the factors that determine how long do electric bikes last on one charge. As we end this blog, we want to reiterate what we have already said before.
Always keep in mind that the range for the same electric bike can vary from rider to rider due to the factors we discussed above… so it is really important to keep them in mind when riding your e-bike so that you can get the most out of your experience.
Hope it was an informative read!