When I was recently looking to get an electric bike one of the things I wanted to know how I would be able to increase the range of the battery. So, I did some research and testing to find ways to increase the range of an electric bike.
So, how to increase the range of an electric bike? There are a number of things that can be done to increase the range of an electric bike. The main ones are to use a lower level of assistance, pump the tires fully, replace the battery, cycle at a slower speed and to reduce weight.
There are actually a lot of things that can be done to increase the range of an electric bike and some things will give a better return than others.
How to Increase an Electric Bike’s Range
Below I will list as many things that I can on how to increase the range of an e-bike if you know of others then please let me know.
- Lower the assistance
Pedal assist electric bikes work by assisting you as you pedal. The level of assistance can be raised and lowered. The higher the level of assistance the more quickly your electric bikes battery will lose power. This means that if you want to increase the range of an electric bike you should use one of the lower levels of assistance.
- Charge battery after use
Data from Battery University shows that lithium-ion batteries do best when you charge them from 50%. This means that if you want to maximize how far you can get as your battery gets older then you should make sure not to let it completely run out of power before charging it.
- Cycle slower
As you cycle faster the amount of power required to maintain speed increases by a large amount. You can look at the calculator on this website to see just much the power required to maintain speed increases as you speed up.
With this being the case in order to get more range out of the battery you should consider lowering the speed at which you cycle, you’ll get to your destination later but it will be more relaxing and with a lower risk of losing power before you get there.
- Gear properly
When you cycle at a lower speed using a lower gear is easier and when you cycle at a higher speed using a higher gear is easier. This means that, in order to reduce the power required by the battery, you should ensure that you are in an appropriate gear for your speed. When using electric bikes it can be tempting to use a higher gear to get up to speed but this can cause your electric motor to need to work more than it needs to.
When professional cyclists are racing in the Velodrome they always crouch down low. The reason they do that is that they are trying to reduce the amount of air resistance that they are creating so that it is easier for them to cycle at higher speeds. When you are cycling the amount of air resistance you create will have an effect on how hard the motor needs to work to maintain speed.
This means that if you want to go as far as possible on your electric bike you should take measures to minimize the amount of air resistance that you are creating. You can do this by crouching or you could use a windshield designed for bikes.
- Pump the tires
When the tires are not pumped fully they create more drag than they need to which means that the electric motor will need to be working harder to keep the bike moving.
An easy way to get more range out of the battery is simply to pump the tires fully before using the bike. You can normally find the required tire pressure on the side of the tires.
- Use thinner tires
Another thing that can reduce the amount of drag that your tires are creating is to use thinner tires.
There is a reason racing bikes always have very thin tires. It’s because they make it easier to cycle at high speeds when on the road if they were to use tires designed for mountain bikes then they wouldn’t be able to go as fast.
Despite that, since electric bikes give you the ability to cycle with more power it has meant that using thicker tires such as with fat tire electric bikes has become more popular. Using thicker tires like these enables you to cycle on more difficult terrain like sand but it means that your motor has to work harder to keep you going.
- Use smoother tires
Another thing that creates more drag than is necessary when on the road is the knurling on the tires. Tires that are designed for off-road use typically have rubber blocks on them designed to give you extra grip but for on-road use, this is not necessary. So, if you know that you won’t be cycling off-road it would be worthwhile to switch to smoother tires.
- Reduce weight
The higher the amount of weight that your electric motor is having to push along the more power it is going to use up. This means that if you want to maximize how far you can go on your bike you should take measures to reduce the amount of weight that you are carrying. Perhaps there are things in your bag that you don’t really need that you could leave behind.
- Use a 2nd battery
An easy way to double the potential distance that you can get out of the e-bike is to simply carry a spare battery. You can normally buy an additional battery from the manufacturer if you need to.
- Use a larger battery
Another way to increase the range of the electric bike would be simply to use a battery that has a larger capacity. Most electric bike manufacturers offer a long-range battery that you should consider if you want to get as much range as you can out of your e-bike.
- Use flatter terrain
Depending on your route options this might be a difficult one to control but if you can take a route that has consistently flat terrain then this should help the battery to go further. Going up a hill requires a lot of extra power and can drain a battery quickly so if you can avoid that then it will improve your batteries range by a large amount.
- Use a different type
Different types of e-bikes are built for different purposes. If you want to get the most range out of your battery as you can then you should ensure that you use an e-bike designed for the terrain that you’ll be on. If you’re going to be on the road then using an e-bike designed for commuting would be ideal.
- Battery age
Batteries are typically designed to be able to go through 1000 full charging cycles before they become less than 80% as efficient as they were before. If you have been using your electric bike for a long time and you have recently noticed that you haven’t been able to get as much range out of the battery as normal then it’s likely that the battery needs replacing.
- Store the battery at room temperature
The temperature at which you store the battery can have an impact on its performance. It is generally recommended that you store the battery at room temperature to get the best use out of it.
An easy way to reduce the weight of the bike and to reduce the amount of air resistance that it creates is to clean the bike. Mud can make the bike become very heavy which can reduce its performance. While you’re at it you should take a moment to lightly lubricate the chain since
- Coast down hills
Instead of pedaling when going down hills and using up power from the battery an option would be to simply coast down hills and to let gravity do all of the work. This can have a surprisingly large impact on how much extra you can get out of the battery.
- Use regenerative breaking if you have it
Some electric bikes come with regenerative braking which charges the battery when you brake.
Regenerative braking can be a costly addition to an electric bike, but it can add about 15% to the range of the bike. If you’re considering getting an electric bike with regenerative braking it might be worthwhile to use the extra money to get an extra battery or a long-range battery instead.
- Check the brakes aren’t rubbing
Over time the brakes can become loose and begin to rub against the tire as you pedal. This can cause for the brakes to create extra friction when you don’t want it and result in you having to pedal harder than normal to move the bike. If you have not checked the brakes in a while then this is something you should consider doing since it can have a large impact on the performance of a bike.
- Use a volt/amp meter
There are amp hour gauges that you can use such as the cycle analyst that will be able to tell you your watt hour per mile.
This is a useful number to know since you can see how the way in which you are cycling effects how much power you are using.
- Get the bike moving yourself
It takes a lot of power to get the bike moving from a stationary start. With that being the case, in order to increase the range of your battery, it would be an option for you to simply get the bike moving by yourself and then to turn the assistance on once you are moving.
- Have a charger at your destination
An additional way to get more range out of your bike would be to keep a charger at your destination that way you’ll effectively be able to double the range that you’ll be able to get out of the battery.
- Prevent the battery from overheating
Allowing the battery to overheat can cause it to become less efficient and could cause damage to it. If you use the e-bike the way it was when you bought it then it’s unlikely that the battery is at risk of overheating. But, if you put a cover over the battery then this could be preventing it from getting the air that it needs to stay cool.
- Stiffen the suspension
Using stiffer suspension is unlikely to have a large impact on how far you can get on your battery but it should increase your range by a small amount.
- Use a bike with a dual battery setup
Some electric bikes, such as the Riese and Muller Delite Nuvinci, come with two batteries attached to the bike which will help you to increase the potential range that you can get out of the bike.
How far do electric bikes go? Most electric bikes have a range of between 20-50 miles with normal use. The range will depend largely on the size of the battery, how fast you cycle, the level of assistance that you use and the terrain that you cycle over.
How can I make my e-bike go faster? Most electric bikes are set to stop giving assistance after you reach a certain speed. With that being the case the real speed limit of the bike is how fast you can cycle. You can increase your potential speed by reducing the amount of weight on the bike, using thinner tires and selecting a high gear. Please read here to get more tips.