Best eBike Battery Options & Lingo
Voltage can be tricky to explain, the easiest way to think of it is as the pressure and strength of an electrical power source (think of it like water pressure in a hose). Generally speaking, the higher the voltage the better. This is because high voltages pass through wires and motors more efficiently. Usually electric bikes will have a voltage of between 12-36 volts, 12 volts will generally be the lowest you can find as anything less than that will just need to work overtime to get the bike up to the same speed. Electric bike voltage will increase up to around 36v on more powerful motors.
AMPs measure the volume or quantity of electric current that is available. To add to this definition, the flow of amps is called the current. The speed of flow of an electrical current is fixed and does not change. The higher the level of amps in a system, the thicker the wiring you will need to accommodate the level of electricity.
The wattage is considered the “power” of a system and is calculated by multiplying both the flow of amps (current) and voltage (pressure) together. The number of watts in a system is the important one, this is a large determinant of the level of power output available in the system.
How many watts do I need?
This will depend on the type of riding you will be doing and the extent at which you will use your motor. Typically ebikes that will be used for hills will need more Watts that an ebike that will be used strictly on flat ground. If you want your motor for hilly areas you may want a motor with peak consumption of around 600 Watts or more. For flat terrain, a motor of 200 Watts may be enough.
How big should my battery be?
Battery capacity is typically measured by the amount the amount of current it can supply over a period of time (amp/hours). But, in order to get the most accurate reading you will need to multiply this figure by the voltage to get watt/hours. The capacity reading on your battery should only be taken as indicative as the performance can differ depending on the conditions of use (temperature, battery age etc). If you will be using your ebike regularly and for longer distances, you should look for a battery with a capacity that falls at the higher end of the spectrum.
See our breakdown on more general electric bicycle parts lingo.