Most users wishing to invest in an electric bike raise the question of autonomy. A legitimate concern because when using an electric bike, it is not to run out of battery and have to pedal hard to move the weight of the cycle forward.
Weebot answers all your questions about the autonomy of electric bikes if you hesitate in your choice to go electric .
Can we trust the manufacturers' announcements?
It is quite rare for cyclists who have switched to electric assistance to run out of battery on a single trip. But the goal is above all to be able to do without the chore of recharging as long as possible. The lack of autonomy is therefore justified for those who do not want to waste time loading their two wheels every day.
We must be careful about the announcements on the autonomy of the manufacturers of electric bicycles. This is a theoretical autonomy calculated very often in favorable traffic conditions . Nevertheless it generally gives an order of idea. The autonomy of your battery is therefore a determining criterion for choosing between several electric bikes.
No WLTP standard as in the automotive sector
Manufacturers of electric bikes are not subject, like the automotive world, to a method of calculating autonomy like the WLTP standard . Each manufacturer can therefore be more or less optimistic about the announced autonomy of its two wheels.
So don't hesitate to make comparisons with other brands of electric bikes by studying the battery data provided. It is possible to optimize the consumption of the electric bicycle for the manufacturers.
With a motor consuming less, as well as the data display on the handlebars, it is possible to save a little battery. But in general, a battery of the same capacity will offer a range of approximately the same order.
A note on the battery of an electric bike
To answer the question of the autonomy of an electric bike, it is also necessary to understand how a lithium battery works . What is the battery life? How to optimize your autonomy? How to know the power delivered?
What is the capacity of a battery?
To know the order of magnitude of the autonomy, it is very simple to carry out a quick calculation with the data of the battery. Multiply the voltage of the battery by its amperage to get an idea of the autonomy. The higher this figure, the more the expressed capacity of the battery, expressed in Watt-Hour (Wh) will give you a better autonomy.
The voltage (V) determines the force delivered, while the amperage (Ah) expresses its autonomy. It is therefore this last figure that is the most important when inquiring about the autonomy of an electric bike.
For example, a 36V 13Ah (36x13) battery will give you an expressed capacity of 468Wh. This then corresponds to the energy on board the battery . a bit like a gas tank to make the comparison with a car.
Battery charging time
Unfortunately, unlike the car, the time to refuel is much longer. If connecting the battery at a recharging cost much lower than gasoline, it is on the other hand sometimes very long. It is therefore necessary to take this parameter into account. Generally, it is advisable to recharge your battery at night to have time to fill it without seeing the time pass.
Indeed, the higher the autonomy capacity of the battery, the longer the charging time will be . Most e-bikes on the market come with a standard charger.
Often providing a current of between 2A, it takes about 4 to 5 hours for a full recharge . But this figure can climb up to 7 or 8 hours on models with large batteries.
It is possible to divide its charging time by 3 or 4 using a fast charger delivering a higher current. The other side of the coin being that they heat up more and risk degrading the battery over the long term.
How long does the battery of an electric bike last?
Battery life varies between 500 and 1000 full charge cycles . This means that you can at least charge your e-bike from 0% to 100% more than 500 times.
If this number of cycles seems small, it must be taken into account that an average user only recharges his battery once a week. The life of a battery can therefore be maintained for at least 5 years before losing significantly in autonomy.
How many kilometers of range on an electric bike?
At the same time, we invite you to consult our guide to the most frequently asked questions about the VAE in order to disentangle the true from the false.
If an entry-level electric bike offers a range of between 30 km and 40 km, you should know that the quality of the battery has a role to play. Manufacturers of electrically assisted bicycles with a price under 1000 euros generally equip their two wheels with a poor quality battery.
This has the effect of seeing its autonomy deteriorate sharply quite quickly. In just 2 or 3 years, these cheap electric bikes only have 10km to 20km maximum in electric assistance.
So prefer mid-range and high-end models equipped with well-known brand name lithium-ion batteries. They allow you to travel between 60 km, 80 km and more than 100 km in a single charge. What to spend the week without loading it while being able to have fun with very long rides on the weekend even with the highest level of assistance.
How is the autonomy of the VAE calculated?
Manufacturers' data on your battery life is usually calculated in eco mode, with a person weighing around 70 kg and on flat ground. These favorable traffic situations give autonomy sometimes far from the real conditions. several factors come into play on autonomy.
electric motor power
A powerful electric motor consumes more energy. The French standard requires the electric bike to have a maximum of 250W motor to travel on public roads. It is possible to find models equipped with 500W or even 1000W motors, but reserved for off-road use.
To ride in town with it, you must equip the electric bike with a license plate, the wearing of a compulsory helmet, as well as specific insurance . These two wheels are called Speedbike or Speedelec in the eyes of the law.
The motor of the bicycle can be placed at your choice, in the rear wheel, on the front wheel or in the crankset. The latter is called central engine, which generally has a greater torque on acceleration. Like Bosch, Shimano (which equip O2Feel bikes ) or Bafang motors , for example, which are the most famous on the market.
The assistance mode of the e-bike
By riding all the time in the most powerful assistance mode , your electric bike will see its consumption increase. So remember to use the selection mode according to your driving. This will greatly affect the range performance of the bike.
So adopt eco-driving because it is not always useful to have maximum power. Lower the level of assistance in town where you will regularly be stopped by traffic, traffic lights and pedestrians.
The heavier the rider's weight , the shorter the battery life will be. The same goes for your equipment. If your electric bike has a luggage rack, do not exceed the maximum load supported by the cycle.
Autonomy can be reduced by 20% in the case of an additional weight of the cyclist to the 70 kg optimized by the manufacturer.
Reduced range in cold weather
The battery of electric bicycles consists of heat-sensitive elements. The climatic conditions then have an impact on its autonomy. The lithium battery operates optimally at an outside temperature between 8° and 25° .
When the temperature drops, the electrons lose their mobility in the electrolyte. In addition, the charging time will also be longer in cold weather. We note that in winter or in cold weather, the loss of autonomy can go up to 20 or 30% .
One of the factors that is often underestimated is that of the unevenness of the roadway. The more the type of route has slopes to climb, the more it reduces the autonomy of an electric bike.
The more uneven the routes taken, the more the electric motor of the VAE will be used. The ideal is therefore once again to have flat ground, optimized for eco-driving. Plan ahead for your trips!
How to gain autonomy on an electric bike?
In addition to eco-driving, there are little-known tips for optimizing the lithium battery of your VAE. It is therefore necessary to know how to dose with the assistance but also to remember some tips to gain precious kilometers in electric.
Conserve your battery life
To gain autonomy, you must first not lose it over time. Like all batteries, these degrade over time. But it is still possible to prolong their optimal functioning as well as possible.
charge at least once a month
For this, it is essential to recharge an electric bike at least once a month. Thus, the electrons that compose it keep a better health in the long term.
On li-ion batteries, there is no memory effect unlike lead batteries. These lost capacity over time if you recharged before reaching 0%. To optimally recharge your VAE, we advise you to do so when the autonomy is between 20% and 80% .
avoid 100% charging
The last percentages above 80% always take the longest to load. Indeed, the intelligence of the internal system takes the time to properly “arrange the electrons”. But this operation has the consequence of increasing the temperature of the battery.
To keep your battery in good condition, it is vital to avoid overheating .
avoid using the battery when it is hot
This is why it is advisable not to use your electric bike immediately after charging. The battery needs time to cool down . The same is true when you plan to charge the battery right after a bike ride. We advise you to wait a bit for it to cool down in order to optimize charging.
do not use a fast charger
As we have seen before, fast chargers tend to raise the temperature of the battery. By injecting a current this causes overheating which in the long term will make you lose autonomy. To be reserved only in emergency situations.
Properly inflate your tires
It may make you smile, but properly inflating your bike tires saves on your accumulator. So check the tire pressure of your e-bike from time to time . It is important to follow the instructions provided in the manual.
In addition, correctly inflated tires will reduce the risk of a puncture while cycling.
Clean your electric bike
As a final tip, Weebot recommends that you clean your bike's chain. Accumulated dust may eventually require more power from the motor to function properly. Invest in a chain or transmission cleaner to maintain your cycle.
It doesn't work miracles either, but each cumulative trick allows you to rack up additional kilometers to get more out of your electric-assisted bike.