Electric bike batteries can be rather confusing for beginners. Particularly because people work with batteries in every facet of their life.
These batteries will be used for a range of applications – almost universally. These batteries are swappable, disposable, and interchangeable. In theory, any battery from your local store should work on your ebike. Unfortunately, this does not translate to ebikes.
Myth: eBike Batteries Are Universal
It is no surprise that people believe that ebike batteries are interchangeable. If only life were that easy. This simply isn’t the case – especially if you’re considering multiple ebike brands and models.
Electric bikes require specific types of batteries based on voltage and amps. Other features to consider include capacity, size, and weight. Never use a 36-volt battery on an ebike built for a 48-volt battery.
They Look the Same… Right?
Sure they look similar and serve the same purpose – but that doesn’t make them compatible. If your ebike battery dies, you’ll have to find a compatible replacement. Besides, batteries don’t all look alike, especially across different ebike models.
Batteries with the same voltage and amps may also be incompatible. The design and structure of the ebike might make it impossible to use them. A good analogy is using a computer cell battery for your smartphone. It just won’t work.
Moreover, ebike batteries are often bolted on the frame. So you may need the services of a professional to swap them out.
This means you have to do your homework to find a suitable replacement. Make sure the replacement ebike has appropriate specifications. Otherwise, your ebike simply won’t work. Worst-case scenario – you might end up damaging the motor and battery.
For instance, you may be tempted to use a higher voltage on your ebike. This may help the motor spin faster, but doing so will increase the temperature. The internal systems may not be designed to handle the temperature and might burnout.
The Overarching Role of eBike Batteries
The battery looks small compared to the rest of the ebike. However, its role in the ebike’s performance is undeniably important. It provides power to the ebike so it can move without pedaling. It also powers all the electronics on the ebike.
Ebike batteries usually last for anywhere from three to five years. They may last longer if the owner takes good care of them. However, ebike batteries are subject to wear and wear. This means they will become less efficient with usage, especially if used every day.
Electric bike batteries deteriorate over time with each charge cycle. As a rule, you need to replace your ebike battery every three to five years.
eBike manufacturers don’t design their batteries without considering the overall ebike. The more features your ebike has, the larger its battery is likely to be. This means that the ebike battery case will have to fit the battery’s specific dimensions.
High-end ebikes feature various electronic components. They may come with GPS, radio, and safety features on the ebike. They should be protected given how fragile these electrical systems are.
Using an inappropriate battery puts them at risk and leads to expensive repairs.
Even in ebikes with similar power, battery differences are based on ebike size. For instance, a heavy-duty mountain bike would have a larger battery case than a cruiser.
In theory, you might be able to use the battery across both ebikes. But you run the risk of damaging the equipment and frying the electronics. Swapping ebike batteries is simply not worth the risk.
Using the appropriate ebike battery maximizes the lifespan of all electronics on the bike.
The most important step is to consult the ebike’s manual to understand the specs. You could also refer to the original manufacturer’s website and give them a call.
Try to get a direct replacement that is fully compatible with your ebike battery.
It shouldn’t be difficult to find a replacement from the original retailer. You might have to reach out to the local dealer near you. This also applies to electric bike kits. In any case, your first stop should be the electric bike manufacturer.
But what if the manufacturer has gone out of business and closed up shop?
In this case, you will have to be careful when finding replacement ebike batteries. There is no other choice but to look for something that matches the ebike’s specs. However, always stick to a reputable ebike battery provider to be on the safe side.
eBike batteries differ in size. In fact, this is the first thing you should consider when seeking a replacement battery. Here are a few factors you need to consider when choosing an ebike battery.
As mentioned earlier, not all batteries will fit into your ebike’s case. You must consider the dimensions and the locations of the positive and negative terminals.
Mountain ebikes, off-road ebikes, and larger ebikes will have larger batteries compared to smaller ebikes.
Don’t use the battery if it is physically too large for the ebike. Forget about going far with it; your ebike may struggle to start. You don’t want the ebike battery wiggling and bouncing as you ride around. That’s dangerous and potentially life-threatening!
If it’s smaller than the tray, the battery can’t be secured properly. This could lead to short-circuiting, fire, and even an explosion.
There are some ebike models with different connectors and configurations. It is important to find the right one since the connectors directly connect to the ebike.
The capacity rating of the ebike lets you know how long it will last. It will also indicate the total distance you can travel on a single charge. However, don’t just go for the highest capacity rating. Your ebike battery may come with a specific capacity rating.
You should consult with the manufacturer and choose one that falls within the recommended range.
|Capacity in AH||Voltage in V||Energy in Watt Hours||Range in Miles|
|10 Ah||36 V||360 watt-hours||22 miles|
The above table provides a rough idea about most 36 voltage batteries.
For the most part, an average ebike battery is rated at 36 volts. This will allow the ebike battery to maintain speeds of up to 12mph. It’s both safe and manageable when using an ebike.
The voltage requirements may also differ from one place to another. In fact, many cities and states have defined maximum speed limits for ebikes.
With that said, an increasing number of ebikes are using 48-volt batteries. This allows for higher performance and on-board electrics. Consumers are pushing for faster ebikes.
However, it is worth noting that higher voltage doesn’t always translate to a higher speed. Using a higher-rated battery for your ebike comes with pros and cons. The biggest disadvantage is that it could lead to overcharging.
As a result of overcharging, the ebike may stop working sooner than later. This is a major reason why ebike batteries are not universal. Don’t use a 48-volt battery on an ebike that runs on a 36-volt system.
Doing so will fry your electronics and could be dangerous. Stick with the rated voltage of your bad battery.
Amp-hours indicates the amperage provided by the battery in one hour. In other words, it measures the overall capacity of the ebike battery. More Amp-hours allows the battery to longer durations and increase the ebike’s range.
Just like voltage, a bigger amp-hour rating isn’t always better. You still have to account for the overall fit and specifications of the ebike battery. Moreover
eBike batteries are different and serve a wide range of purposes. Some are only used to fire up the motors. Others will be used to power various electronics on the ebike. This means it would be impractical to find universal battery solutions for ebikes.
Most ebikes use lithium ion batteries as their primary source of power. Li-ion batteries are reputed to have longer lifecycles and recharge quicker. eBike with Li-ion batteries are ideal for the daily commute.
A typical ebike battery should last a good 1000 charge cycles. This makes them ideal for cycling on a regular basis.
Moreover, lithium-ion batteries weigh less than conventional lead-acid batteries. The latter will weigh you down, especially when riding uphill. Besides being heavier, lead acid batteries will only last 300 charge cycles.
Most ebikes are outfitted with lithium ion batteries.
Here’s an important rule of thumb to remember. Never use a lithium ion battery on an ebike that runs on lead acid batteries. And vice versa.
This simplifies your quest to find a new ebike battery. You still have to find a compatible battery based on various factors, including battery output.
Prioritize ebike batteries that match the specifications of the original ebike battery. The battery should, ideally, let you travel fast. It should also help you get to your destination and back on a single charge.
The replacement ebike battery should have the same specifications. It must be the correct size and weight to fit on the ebike. It should also have similar amp-hours, watt-hours, and volts.
As mentioned earlier, you should get in touch with your ebike manufacturer for more information. If the ebike manufacturer is no longer in business, visit a reputable ebike store.
Most ebike batteries will cost you at least one-third of the ebike’s total cost. It is a good idea to learn as much about the replacement ebike as possible.
Here are a few questions you should ask the store before buying an ebike battery:
- How long does it take to charge the ebike battery?
- Does this ebike battery come with a warranty?
- What actions can void this warranty?
- What should be done to take good care of the ebike battery?
- Does your store provide any discounts for the ebike battery?
- Will you perform the installation yourself or is that left to the customer?
- Can I return the battery if my ebike doesn’t run on it?
- How far will the battery take the ebike on a single charge?
There have been voices in the ebike industry who are pushing for ebike battery standardization. For example, EnergyTube, a manufacturer based in Germany, is known for their swappable battery system. Their batteries can be used across a range of devices, including ebikes.
EnergyTube makes an interesting case for ebike battery standardization. They argue that standardizing ebike batteries would reduce manufacturing costs. This will also make the ebike battery safer, durable, reliable, and user-friendly.
While all of this sounds great on paper, ebike manufacturers aren’t keen on embracing standardization. This is because standardization does not play to their interests. Using universal bike batteries would reduce their products to little more than a commodity.
This means having to sell their ebike at a lower price – and cutting profit margins. eBike manufacturers would rather maintain control over the entire supply chain. For manufacturers, selling their ebike isn’t the end of the customer journey.
They would rather have buyers return for replacements and keep churning profits. Consumers, on the other hand, are much more in favor of a universal battery system. But ebike manufacturers are looking at this from the perspective of profit.
These are the fundamentals of a free market anyway. It’s the constant struggle to push profit margins while maximizing sales.
Are all ebike batteries universal? No they are not. This is because of the differences in configurations, specifications, dimensions, and ratings across ebikes.
Although there are many ebike batteries out there in the market, they won’t all fit. These are ebikes with a larger case or complex electrical systems. You need to find the right ebike battery to make sure you can start the ebike without a hitch.
So how did you swap out your electric bike battery? Did you find a replacement or did you make do with a different battery? Let us know your experiences and thoughts in the comments!
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- How Do You Charge an Electric Bike
- Can You Use An Electric Bike Without A Battery?
- How Long Does an Electric Bike Battery Last?
- Can You Use a Car Battery for an Electric Bike?
- How to Start an Electric Bike Without a Key
- Can We Charge Electric Bike at Home?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.