An electric bike is designed to reduce the dependency on gasoline-powered vehicles, and replace the need for personal cars or public transport when a person has to travel within a city.
The total distance that an electric bike will cover on a single charge will depend on multiple factors such as battery size, riding landscape, riding practices, etc.
How Far Can an Electric Bike Go on One Charge?
The average distance that an electric bike is able to cover on one complete charge is called its range. In general, the average range that most electric bikes offer goes from 22 miles to 50 miles or more.
The less expensive electric bikes offer just enough battery range to allow riders to commute to their nearby friend’s place, office, school, etc.
However, some electric bikes that can travel up to 80 miles or more on one recharge can allow the rider greater freedom to commute leisurely around town, to a different part of the city, or plan a long biking trip without having to worry about the charge level.
This ability to cover greater distance while requiring lesser physical effort is one of the most significant reasons many people prefer an electric bike over traditional bikes, despite the significant price difference.
However, regardless of what an electric bike company may advertise or claim, the actual range an electric bike will offer will not always be the same as the stated value.
Instead, the actual range will increase, decrease, and vary due to multiple factors. Some factors that will determine how far an electric bike will travel on one charge are as follows:
- The chemical type of the electric bike’s battery
- The size, voltage, and capacity of the electric bike’s battery
- The terrain that the rider rides their electric bike on
- The weather
- The total weight that the electric bike has to pull
- The rider’s riding habits and frequently repeated practices
- The electric bike’s battery care
- The state of the electric bike’s tires
- The quality and efficiency of an electric bike’s different electrical components
Continue reading below to learn about each of these determining factors in greater detail and depth.
Factors Determining How Far an Electric Bike Will Go on One Charge
The Chemical Type of an Electric Bike’s Battery
With so many existing companies and new emerging brands entering the market, the competition in the electric bike industry keeps on getting more aggressive.
To give their rival brands a good competition, electric bike engineers are constantly trying to create better electric bike batteries that are able to store more charge, offer greater efficiency, and have longer lifespans.
Over the years, the electric bike industry has seen the use of three different types of electric bike batteries that differ due to their unique cell chemistry.
The oldest type of battery that was first introduced was the lead-acid battery. These batteries were larger in size, could not store a lot of charges, offered poor efficiency, and did not allow a high range.
Over time, nickel-cobalt electric bike batteries were introduced, with higher charge storing capacities and more range.
While these batteries were much better than lead-acid batteries, the space and need for improvement were still there.
The most modern kinds of electric bike batteries that we see in most modern types of electric vehicles are lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries are designed to be smaller, lighter, and capable of being molded into different shapes.
Moreover, lithium-ion batteries have the ability to store significantly higher electric charge, have higher capacities, offer better energy efficiency, have longer lifespans, and offer the highest ranges.
Hence, an electric bike equipped with a lithium-ion battery will be able to cover a greater distance on one charge when compared to electric bikes with nickel-cobalt or lead-acid batteries.
The Size, Capacity, and Voltage of the Electric Bike’s Battery
A battery’s ability to store electric charge is called the battery’s capacity. The higher an electric bike’s capacity, the more electric charge it will be able to store, and hence, the more range it will offer.
Moreover, the bigger the battery, the most space, and capacity it will have to store an electric charge. Furthermore, batteries with higher voltage readings can offer greater ranges.
The table below demonstrates the direct relationship between an electric bike’s battery size (lbs.), voltage (V), capacity (Ah), and range (miles).
|Cell Chemistry of Electric bike Battery||Total Weight||Voltage||Average Capacity||Total Expected Range|
|Lithium Battery||5.5 lbs.||36 Volts||6.1 Ah||20 miles|
|Lithium Battery||9.2 lbs.||48 Volts||7.5 Ah||25 miles|
|Lithium Battery||15 lbs.||52 Volts||20 Ah||48 miles|
The Landscape That the Rider Rides their Electric Bike On
Most electric bikes are designed for flatter and smoother surfaces. While an electric bike can climb steep slopes and travel over ranging terrains, such landscapes should not be preferred.
Riding an electric bike over arduous landscapes or frequently riding over steep slopes adds pressure on the electric bike’s battery. This pressure forces an electric bike to overwork itself, which leads to its overheating.
As a result, the electric bike loses its charge quickly, offers less total range, and hence does not cover much distance on one charge.
If a rider has no choice but to travel over such landscapes to get to school or work, an electric mountain bike is a more appropriate choice for them.
The Weather Conditions
Many new or poorly informed electric bike owners tend to underestimate the effect of the weather on an electric bike’s total range and hence do not check the weather before heading out.
As a result, they get shocked by how quickly their electric bike’s battery runs out of charge and mistakenly blame other factors for the battery’s reduced range.
However, in reality, the weather can strongly influence how far an electric bike will travel on one charge.
For instance, if an electric bike is ridden during extremely hot weather, the heat causes the battery’s liquid to heat up. As a result, the battery begins to lose charge quickly, and the total range drops.
Moreover, continued exposure to excessive heat will permanently reduce an electric bike battery’s range and will lead to expensive battery repair and replacement costs.
If an electric bike owner takes their electric bike for a trip during harsh winters without first letting the battery warm-up, the battery range and capacity will get permanently damaged, and the electric bike will not be able to travel very far.
Moreover, riding an electric bike in windy conditions means the battery will have to do more work to provide the same amount of electrical assistance.
As a result, the battery charge depletes quickly, and the range suffers as a result.
On the contrary, if the rider is riding their electric bike in the direction of strong winds, the pressure of the wind would aid the electric bike’s speed and motion.
As a result, the electric bike’s range increases, and it will be able to cover a much greater distance than normal.
The Total Weight that an Electric Bike has to Pull
An electric bike is designed to be stronger and hence is heavier than most traditional bikes. Although an electric bike is capable of carrying a good amount of weight, like every other automobile, it also has its limits.
If a rider is overweight or is carrying a lot of weight that the electric bike is not equipped to carry, the extra weight puts a lot of stress on the battery.
As a result, the battery begins to permanently lose its range and charge storing capacity.
To cater to different kinds of consumers, stronger and bulkier electric bikes are designed to carry more weight, which can help in different situations.
The Rider’s Riding Habits and Frequently Repeated Practices
Riding at Changing Accelerations
When a rider excessively hits the throttle and continuously rides their electric bike at changing accelerations, the battery is put under a lot of stress.
As a result, the electric battery loses its charge quickly and discharges before it needs to. Hence, the electric bike is unable to get too far and needs to be recharged to complete the journey.
Hitting the Brake Frequently
Making frequent stops during a trip will lead to the battery deplete before time. Every time the electric bike is restarted after being stopped, the battery has to work harder.
As a result, the battery charge gets used up, and the electric bike does not make it too far.
Continuously Riding at High Speeds
Continuously riding the electric bike at high speeds uses up the electric battery’s charge more quickly. As a result, the bike cannot reach its destination without having to top-up.
Charging the Battery After Complete Depletion
Every time a battery dies, it permanently loses some of its charge storing capacity. When a rider continues to deplete the battery to 0% before charging it, the battery’s range and capacity decrease significantly over time.
As a result, the battery is unable to store sufficient charge and hence is unable to make it too far on a single recharge.
Excessive Dependency on Pedal Assistance
When a rider chooses to pedal less and excessively depending on the electric bike’s pedal-assistance feature, the battery’s charge usage automatically increases.
As a result, the battery depletes in less time, and the rider has to recharge their battery more frequently.
The Electric Bike’s Battery Care
Some battery care practices that lead to the battery’s range dropping are as follows:
- Overcharging the electric bike or letting it discharge to 0% before recharging it
- Using an outsourced battery charger that is not provided by the company
- Storing a discharged battery
- Never let the battery fully charge
- Storing the battery in excessively cold or hot conditions
- Letting the battery get submerged in water
- Not using bike fenders to protect the battery from sun damage
- Developing an irregular battery charging routine
- Frequently charging the battery on fast DC superchargers instead of charging at home
The State of the Electric Bike’s Tires
The state and condition of the electric bike tires are critical to the electric bike’s performance and battery charge.
The tires of an electric bike have the responsibility to pull the weight of both the bike and the rider, while offering high speed, balance, and momentum.
If a rider continues to ride their electric bike on worn-out, old, sticky, and poorly inflated tires, a lot of stress is added to the battery.
Now, you may want to know how flat or under-inflated tires stress out the battery. It’s quite simple. When your tires aren’t giving you the traction you need, the motor has to put in more power to push the bike forward.
Think of it this way. If your arm is hurt, you can still lift heavy items, but the arm that’s not hurt will have to put in extra effort to compensate. The same is the case with riding an eBike on poor tires.
As a result, the battery loses its charge a lot quicker than it needs to and the electric bike is unable to cover a lot of distance on one charge.
An electric bike is an excellent and one-of-a-kind alternative to traditional bikes, gasoline-powered vehicles, and public transport. However, it does have its limitations.
The electric bike’s battery size and type will determine the range the electric bike will offer on a single charge.
Moreover, apart from the battery’s natural charge holding capacity, the way a rider chooses to treat and ride their electric bike will also significantly impact the electric bike’s total range.
Hence, if you wish to travel farther on a single battery charge, you need to refrain from hitting acceleration, making short trips, riding on uneven terrains, and carrying excessive luggage.
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- How to remove speed limiter on an electric bike
- Electric Bike Service Costs in the USA
- How to Charge an Electric Bike in Remote Areas?
- Can an Electric Bike Run Without Pedaling?
- Do You Need Insurance For An Electric Bike?
- Are Electric Bikes Safe to Ride?
- Can You Overcharge an Electric Bike Battery?
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.