E-Bike battery life and range explained

E-Bike battery life and range explained

One of the most often asked questions at Dyson Bikes is, "What's the range on this bike?", quickly followed by, "How long will the battery last?"

Let's take a look at each one of these questions as neither is totally straightforward to explain. Firstly we have the range issue and while it is impossible to answer it definitively, we can certainly take a look at what factors play a part in it. Firstly it is important to remember that e-bikes are for the most part what we call 'pedal assist'. This means the rider does some of the work and the bike puts in some effort to make the riding experience more enjoyable. The harder the rider pedals, the less power the motor uses and subsequently the range will be greater.

Most e-bikes also have the ability to select the amount of pedal assist - for example our Dyson Bikes Hard Tail Evo has a range from '0' at no assist to '1', through to '6'. If you are mostly riding at a modest pace on level ground on assist level '1' then you're going to get the longest range out of your battery as the motor merely provides gentle assistance. The exact opposite of this would be to tackle a long climb on assist level '6', whereby the motor will be at full power at all times to help you with the load. Strong consistent headwinds will also have a negative impact on your battery range as the motor will have to work constantly due to the bike's inability to coast into a headwind.
In all reality, for the most part we have some uphills and some downhills, which then average out your battery usage, especially when using assist level '3' or thereabouts. It is what you might call the 'sweet spot' between having a good amount of pedal assist and a decent range. Our current Hard Tail bikes have a choice of 11Ah (Amp hour) or 15Ah batteries, so it stands to reason the 15Ah battery will have a range of around 35% greater than the 11Ah battery. Suffice to say that riding in that 'sweet spot' our 15Ah battery equipped bike should give you approximately 50-80 km range. 

Don't forget that having a clean and well lubricated drivetrain (chain, chainring and gears) will also increase your ride range as there is less friction to overcome. The same goes for tyre pressures as low inflation causes your tyres to sag and make your pedalling and pedal assist system work harder. As a side note, this will also cause your tyres to wear out before their time.

So what about the battery life? Our battery packs are made from multiple Lithium Ion cells to create the pack itself. At Dyson Bikes we use only high quality cells, such as Samsung or Panasonic, which give us an excellent starting point with a longer service life. Our battery management system (BMS) ensures the battery is used in an optimal fashion, never over charged and never drained too much - once the voltage has dropped too low, the battery simply switches itself off. Your battery level indicator will let you know about this well in advance. Dyson Bikes ebikes may reduce the power output when the battery gets low in the way of an 'Reserve Mode' engagement to ensure you have some assistance to get you home.

The temperature at which the batteries are used, stored and charged will also have a detrimental effect on the longevity of its cell with extreme cold and/or heat taking their toll. Dyson Bikes batteries are on average capable of around 500 full charge cycles from 100% to empty - or 1,000 charge cycles from 100% to 50% etc. If you use this as a rule of thumb and conservatively say each trip is  40km per each full charge cycle then your battery can power you along for around 20,000km. After this time the bike will still work just fine, but the capacity will be reduced, and therefore the useable range of the bike.  

Leaving your ebike in a very hot place, such as a parked car in direct sun or a metal shed on a hot day will certainly shorten its battery's lifespan. If you must store your bike in such environments then you would do well to remove the battery and store it indoors at a cooler temperature. When cleaning your ebike, be sure not to get pressure or steam washers too close to the battery. While the bikes can be ridden in the rain, extreme pressure and heat may cause some damage.

You also have to factor in that Li-Ion cells will deteriorate with age even if they are not being used. Most mobile phones, laptops, tablets, Tesla cars etc use Li-Ion cells and we're sure you will have noticed your three year old phone not holding its charge as well as it did when it was brand new. While environmental factors play their part, we estimate a well looked after battery should be good for at least four years before any major deterioration will set in.

It is also worth noting that your bike will ship with its battery at 50% or less of charge, so prior to your very fist ride we strongly recommend your fully charge it first to ensure a good starting point.

At Dyson Bikes we stock spare parts for all of our ebikes, including batteries - and we're always on hand to answer any questions you may have.

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