Everything You Need to Know About Lithium Ion Batteries for E-Bikes
E-bikes are all the rage right now, offering a speedier, smarter, and more advanced upgrade on classic, manual bikes of the past. The latest electronic bikes are able to go further and ride faster than ever before, and this is all thanks to better, stronger batteries.
However, not every lithium battery for e-bike is made equal. There are some big differences in terms of e-bike batteries, and it’s important to have all the information before buying your next bike so that you make the right choice.
In this guide, we’ll look at what makes lithium batteries the best choice for e-bikes and how to find the right battery and bike for your needs.
Let’s begin with a brief overview of why lithium ion batteries are so important. Put simply, a battery is the beating heart of any e-bike. It’s the thing that keeps the bike powered up, allowing you to cycle to work or enjoy e-bike rides with friends and family.
Batteries provide the necessary power to keep an electronic bike going as it hits high speeds and covers miles of ground. They need to be strong and sufficient to provide the best results, and that’s where lithium ion batteries excel.
There are actually three different kinds of electronic bike batteries you can find:
- Lead batteries
- Nickel batteries
- Lithium ion batteries
Each type of battery has its pros and cons, but lithium ion batteries are being used in more e-bikes than any other kind. This is because of their lightweight design, compact size, impressive durability, and amazing ability to stock power.
In short, lithium ion batteries offer the superior levels of power and long-lasting performance that e-bike owners need, and here are just a few factors that make these batteries stand out:
- Design – Lithium ion batteries are compact and light, so they can be fitted to e-bikes without affecting the riding experience or weighing the bike down.
- Quick Recharge – The best lithium ion batteries are able to charge back up to full capacity in a matter of hours, perfect for charging overnight, ready for your next ride the following day.
- Power and Performance – Lithium ion batteries can store huge amounts of energy, sufficient to boost your bike up to speeds of 25+ mph and distances of 30 miles or more.
Before we look at some of the best e-bike lithium ion batteries and how they compare, it’s important to understand certain terms and measurements that are commonly used when talking about these kinds of batteries.
- Amps – Short for amperes, amps is a unit of electrical current. Higher numbers of amps typically result in a more powerful and physically bigger battery pack.
- Volts – Volts, voltage, or V, in simple terms, refers to the speed or flow of electrical energy from the battery.
- Watts – Usually shortened to W, watts or wattage is arguably the most important power-related measurement to look at when examining bike batteries. It’s calculated by combining volts and amps, and it tells you how much power your bike’s battery is capable of emitting.
- Ampere per hour – Shortened to Ah, ampere per hour tells us the capacity of a lithium ion battery, showing how many amperes of energy can be discharged each hour. You often see this shortened to mAh, or milliampere per hour. The higher the number, the bigger your battery’s capacity.
- Watt per hour – Shortened to Wh, this is another measurement of power over time. It gives us an idea of how long a bike’s battery can last.
So, if you’re buying a new e-bike or looking for the best lithium ion battery to help you go further and last longer on every ride, what factors should you focus on? Here are some of the most important ones.
Lithium ion batteries can vary wildly in terms of size, shape, and weight. Some of them can be quite bulky and heavy, while others are much lighter and more compact. Often, riders will favor smaller, streamlined battery packs that don’t interfere with their riding enjoyment.
Most e-bikes are designed and rated with specific voltage ranges in mind, so you have to use a corresponding battery that matches your bike’s ideal range. One that is too high or too low will not work and could lead to permanent damage if fitted to the wrong bike.
From a scientific standpoint, amps tell us the flow of electrical current. But from a practical standpoint, they also tell us how much torque your e-bike will have. Higher amp batteries lead to more torque to help you reach faster speeds and enjoy more power on every ride.
Lithium ion batteries will run out of charge eventually and have to be charged back up before you ride again. Charging times can vary, and it can be convenient to find batteries that are quick to charge, especially if you’re someone who cycles often.
Capacity and range tell us how long a battery can last and how far you can ride on a single charge. You can look at the wattage and the mAh rating to get an idea of this. Higher numbers result in better-performing and longer-lasting batteries. Many manufacturers will also tell you the average range of their bikes or batteries.
Good quality lithium ion bike batteries are also easy to change when needed. They should be easy to access and quick to change, without requiring too much effort or the use of complicated tools.
Let’s take a look at some of the best e-bike models out there right now, based on the batteries that power them.
The OKAI stride consumer e-bike has one of the best battery packs in the business. It’s made from high-end LG 21700 battery cells, giving the Stride industry-leading speeds of 28mph and an incredible range of up to 40 miles. The battery itself is rated at 48V and 460Wh. What’s more, it can be swapped out in a matter of seconds when it needs to be replaced.
The Aventon Solera is a best-selling budget e-bike that features a 36V, 10Ah lithium ion battery. It can reach a top speed of 20mph and has a variable range from 20 up to 60 miles, depending on the speed and settings.
The Gazelle Ultimate C380 is fitted with a 500Wh battery that can reach speeds of 20mph, with assists. It can ride for around 40 miles, maximum. This bike offers a smooth ride and a strong aluminum frame but has a very high price tag.
The Swift Volt is a budget-friendly, highly-rated e-bike with a 36V lithium ion battery. It can reach a top speed of 19.8mph in conjunction with a 350W motor. The battery is rated at 10Ah, but cannot be removed.
The folding Brompton H6L e-bike features a 300Wh battery. It takes around four hours to charge up to full capacity and is capable of reaching speeds of up to 15mph for leisurely rides in the city. It has an estimated range of 20 to 45 miles in total, with a 250W motor. The battery in this e-bike can be removed.
Our winning pick for this list has to be the OKAI Stride. By using state-of-the-art LG battery cells, OKAI’s engineers have crafted one of the best battery packs on the market. It’s fast, strong, long-lasting, and super easy to remove, covering all the bases of what you need in a good e-bike lithium ion battery.