Electric Bike Battery Range: How Far Can I Go?
Date Posted: August 4, 2022
Last Updated: August 31, 2022
At FattE-Bikes, we are committed to providing top quality batteries that help you get where you want to go on your ebike - and back.
That’s why we offer some of the longest range electric bike batteries on the market.
One of the most common questions for ebike buyers is about range, or how far you can go on a single battery charge.
The answer to this question usually is “well, it depends.”
It Depends on What?
The range the battery will give you depends on the capacity of the battery, and on the nature of the ride or trip.
That is, it depends on the nature of the battery in terms of its power and capacity to store energy, and how much energy you are using during the ride.
Essentials of Electric Bike Batteries
Let’s start with some basic understanding of what ebike batteries are and why different batteries get different ranges.
Today’s ebike batteries are made of lithium-ion cells. It’s the same technology you have in your cellphone, many consumer electronics and electric cars.
Inside the electric bike battery, there are multiple battery cells. Individually, these cells look much like the AA batteries you might put in a flashlight.
The cells get wired together to create one battery.
The quality of the electric bike's battery cells do matter. Look for ebikes with batteries made of cells from top known brands like Panasonic or Samsung - they’ve been at this for a while, and make lithium-ion batteries for a range of applications.
The power (speed) and capacity, or amount of energy available in your battery, is determined by the size and number of cells, and how they are linked together.
How do you know what speeds and distances your ebike's battery is capable of? Understanding the battery's specifications will help.
Electric Bike Battery Specifications
Ebike battery specifications will be presented to you by three primary factors:
- Volts (power, speed)
- Amp hours (how much energy can be delivered)
- Watt hours (maximum capacity)
What are Volts?
Volts refers to the amount of power, or speed at which electrons can move through the system. The higher the volts, the faster the battery can spin your motor and wheels.
Volts matter because it they you a little more about the speed abilities of the battery and motor.
36-volt and 48-volt batteries are most common on ebikes. While 36-volt batteries are common on smaller, lighter and low-budget ebikes, the 48 volt batteries best suited for fat tire electric bikes and for getting to speeds of 25+ miles per hour.
Larger voltage batteries, like 52 volts are generally overkill for most ebike uses, and are more suited to 'scooter' or 'motorcycle' power and speed requirements.
48-Volts is perfect for most ebikes, especially fat tire electric bikes!
What are Amp-Hours?
You will also see batteries specified for Amp-Hours. Amp-hours tell you how much energy can be delivered, over time. An amp is how much energy flows per second, an amp-hour is how much energy flows per hour.
In short, Amp-hours are how much energy can be moved from the battery to your electric bike motor over time. This is a strong indicator of the potential range of your ebike.
Together, voltage and amp-hours tell you about the potential speed you can ride at, and how much energy the battery can provide over time.
Ebike batteries generally range in amp-hours from 10 AH to 21 AH.
Remember: amp-hours are a strong indicator of the amount of energy the battery can provide on a single charge.
So How Far Can I Go On My Ebike Battery?
This is where the volts and amp-hours help, because we can multiply them together and get Watt-Hours, which is a good indicator of the overall Capacity of the battery, and can be compared across batteries with various volts and various amp-hours. The higher the Watt-Hours, the higher the capacity.
Volts x Amp Hours = Watt Hours
And capacity is what really tells us more about how far you can go.
Watt Hours = Capacity
Here's a rider who benefits from more watt-hours on his long electric bike rides up in hilly Summit County, Colorado:
For example, let’s say we have a 48 volt battery with 14.5 amp-hours. The capacity of this battery is 696 Watt-hours.
48 Volts x 14.5 Amp Hours = 696 Watt Hours
Or, let’s say we have a 48 volt battery with 19.2 amp hours. This battery has a capacity of 922 watt hours.
48 Volts x 19.2 Amp Hours = 922 Watt Hours
Same voltage, but 32% more capacity. That means, all other things equal, you could go 32% further with this battery.
32% more range? Nice!
So What Does Watt-hours and Capacity Indicate The Range of My Ebike?
The battery capacity has a direct influence on the potential Range of the electric bike.
If we know the battery Capacity, and we can start to estimate the range, depending on how many watt-hours you are using per mile of riding.
Actual use of your battery’s capacity - and your resulting range - depends on a lot of factors, including how hilly your route is, how much you pedal, reliance on higher pedal assist modes, use the throttle, your weight, the amount of wind, and more.
How much energy are you using from the battery? On the low end, your fat tire ebike is going to use anywhere from 10 or 15 watt hours per mile - that’s with steady pedaling and some moderate pedal assist.
On the higher end, if you are using a lot of throttle and higher pedal assist modes, you’ll be using 20 to 25 watt hours per mile, maybe even more.
So let’s say you like to pedal and use a moderate pedal assist mode of 3 or 4 most of the time and are traveling over moderate terrain. You are likely using about 15 watt hours per mile.
That means your 48 volt, 14.5 amp-hour battery - with a total of 696 watt hours - will give you a range of 46 miles at that usage level.
696 watt hours / 15 watt hours per mile = 46 miles range
Or, let’s say you really like to accelerate fast with the throttle, and go fast with a steady pedal assist level of 5. You are likely using at least 20 watt hours per mile. That gives you a range estimate - on the same battery - of 35 miles.
696 watt hours / 20 watt hours per mile = 35 miles range
That’s over ten miles of range difference, so you can see that your riding style really does matter.
Now, think about those bigger amp-hour batteries. A 48 volt battery with 16 amp hours has 768 watt-hours. This will boost your range estimates up to 51 miles at that lower pedal assist usage, and 38-40 miles for faster acceleration and speedy trips.
Want even more capacity and range? A 48 volt 21 amp-hour battery has over 1000 watt-hours. The range on this battery is another 31% bigger than the 48 volt 16 amp-hour battery,
With this battery, you've easily got a range of 67 or more miles at moderate pedal assist modes, and an ample 40-50 miles if you are using the throttle and pedal assist more aggressively.
Here's a summary of common ebike battery sizes and range estimates:
So What Capacity Battery Do I Need For My Ebike?
Well, that depends... Sorry, just kidding!
Jokes aside, it really does depend on the type of riding you plan to do.
If you are doing mostly short, local trips, a smaller capacity battery should be just fine, though you may have to recharge more frequently and sacrifice some speed and power.
If you are planning to commute, or do longer rides for fun, a larger battery capacity will ease any 'range anxiety' and reduce the frequency that you need to recharge your battery. Need to recharge a lot? Get a high speed electric bike battery charger to reduce charging time.
All that said, it's often better to go with a larger battery than you think you will need, so you have maximum power more of the time. You can also buy a spare or replacement electric bike battery.
WANT MORE? WATCH THE VIDEO: HOW FAR CAN I GO ON MY EBIKE?
Some words of caution: A lot of ebike brands will cut corners to keep their prices a little lower and profits a little higher. Often, that’s in the battery quality and size. Small cuts in battery size and quality might save you a few hundred dollars, but you sacrifice the long term fun and performance of your ebike.
Here’s another part of the FattE-Bike difference: We provide top quality ebike batteries with appropriate capacities, so you get where you want to go on your ebike - and back.
Ready to get an ebike with excellent speed and range? Shop Now.