Buy a Better Bicycle Battery

Buy a Better Bicycle Battery

Older Technologies in Electric Bicycle Batteries

Many electric bikes today use sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries, which are older technology but much lower in cost.  But you get what you pay for.  There are problems with ‘going cheap’ with these batteries:

Long charge time – Up to 8 hours. Short cycle life – Good for up to 300 recharges, they need to be replaced every 12 months. Extremely toxic pollution produced by the used battery Heavy in weight – Increasing the load will decrease the life expectancy

Keep you’re electric bike as light as possible! These low cost electric bicycles will cost you in the long run in additional batteries.

Some electric bicycle brands use a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery, which are lighter, with a high energy density, both important for an electric bicycle.  Their life is longer than the SLA, at 400 – 600 recharges.  But this battery has shortcomings:

They lose performance in cold conditions. They have a reputation for suffering from memory effect This technology is no longer state-of-the-art, so the cost of replacement batteries can be high.

Better Electric Bike Batteries

The state-of-the-art in electric bicycle battery technology is the lithium ion (or Li-ion) battery. We all use lithium-ion batteries in our cell phones, laptops, PDA’s, and other appliances. Lithium ion batteries have powered consumer electronic devices for years, but their use in electric bicycles is fairly new. In electric bikes, the Li-ion batteries have these advantages:

They are lightweight, easy to recharge using a standard electric outlet, and are more portable. Most li-ion batteries are 70 percent lighter and about 50 percent smaller than cheaper, bulkier batteries used in some electric bicycles. The rechargeable lithium ion batteries in electric bicycles enable these vehicles to travel at speeds of up to 20 mph for a range as high as 40 miles. The batteries are low-maintenance and can be recharged for only pennies a day. This makes an electric bicycle with a lithium ion battery a real bargain in a time of rising gasoline prices. They can take a few bumps, and a wise choice if you are going to be riding off-road.

So do these batteries have any problems? Well, yes:  the price. The li-ion can be expensive up front, but the battery is good quality, with a long life. The Lithium Ion battery is well worth the additional cost in the longer term. 

So choose your battery wisely.  Buy the better battery.

As a long time employee at electric utilities, I am naturally a fan of electric powered vehicles. But my passion for electric bikes was turned on when my husband and I bought our first e-bike It is really fun to ride! So now I’m an eBiker. Even my dog Teddy loves to ride our electric bike.

My philosophy is that everyone should contribute to improving the Earth by conserving energy and reducing their dependence on fossil fuels. In my own small way, this is how I am doing that: By promoting the use of small electric vehicles, especially electric bicycles.

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