How to figure out electric bike range
The range of an electric bike means how far you can ride on a single charge. Most electric bike companies will provide a range estimate but these are often, well, estimated. Range is one of the crucial factors that people consider when considering buying an electric bike and exaggerating it might help sell an electric bike but won't do anything for their reputation. Below we outline the factors you need to consider when calculating the range of an electric bike.
Factors that affect ebike range:
- Rider & luggage weight
- Level of assistance (pedal assist or throttle, throttle will be the least efficient)
- Average speed
- Size of the wheels & tire pressure
- Constant stopping / starting. Starting on hills will demand more from the battery than flat ground.
- Temperature (batteries work better in warm, sunny conditions)
- Type & age of battery
- Size of motor & current in system
A lot of people want to get their hands on the most powerful motor they can, but the speed limit for electric bikes in the US is 20mph and an unnecessarily large motor will just drain the battery faster. The most crucial factor in determining electric bike range is battery capacity. Think of the battery capacity as the gas tank on a car.
Capacity is usually measured in Watt-hours which is calculated by:
Multiplying Volts by Amp Hours: V x Ah.
The technical explanation for this is power is equivalent to how long the current will be applied to the battery's potential, multiplied by the amount of potential power the battery has.
We've put together a tentative range guide for different levels of Watt-hours:
- 250-500Wh: Up to 25 miles
- 500-800Wh: 30+ miles
- 800Wh+: 40+ miles consistently