Key Takeaways:

  • Most electric bikes feature lithium-ion battery packs.
  • Lithium batteries are made from a number of key components, including metallic lithium and electrodes.
  • Electric bike riders can expect between 500 and 1,200 charging cycles before the battery starts to fail.

One of the key components of the top electric bike is its battery system. These batteries can often be misunderstood by consumers, with many wondering exactly how they work and what they are made out of.

Understanding Electric Bike Batteries

In order to understand electric bike batteries, you need to understand what exactly modern bike batteries are made out of and how they work.

How eBike Batteries Work and Their Components

Electric bike batteries fall into a number of categories, though the lion’s share of modern eBikes features lithium-ion battery packs.

Lithium Battery Components

Lithium battery packs are typically made from metallic lithium in the form of an anode. For this reason, these batteries are also known as lithium-metal batteries or lithium-ion batteries. Other key components include electrodes for passing electricity to the motor and a thin and porous slip of polypropylene to help keep all of the various components away from one another during use. This latter addition keeps these batteries from catching on fire, a problem that plagued early personal scooters that were equipped with cheaply made lithium batteries.

Tip: Lithium battery packs are typically made from metallic lithium in the form of an anode

Warning: This latter addition keeps these batteries from catching on fire, a problem that plagued early personal scooters that were equipped with cheaply made lithium batteries

How a Lithium Battery Works

A lithium battery can be installed in a variety of locations throughout a bicycle, including the front wheel hub and the rear wheel hub. Occasionally, batteries can also be affixed to the center of the bike frame. Modern lithium battery packs are extremely lightweight, allowing them to be installed on just about any part of an electric bike. Some modern eBikes allow for easy removal of the battery, for the purposes of remote charging. In other words, you can usually charge the battery inside without bringing in the whole bike.

Tip: Modern lithium battery packs are extremely lightweight, allowing them to be installed on just about any part of an electric bike.

Tip: In other words, you can usually charge the battery inside without bringing in the whole bike

These Batteries Last a Long Time

Modern lithium battery packs operate within peak efficiency for around 500 charging cycles, which could translate to around two years of use. After 500 charging cycles, the battery can still be used it will just operate at a lower efficiency level. Once a lithium battery pack has been charged around 1,200 times, it may begin to degrade and experience total failure.

Tip: Modern lithium battery packs operate within peak efficiency for around 500 charging cycles, which could translate to around two years of use

Warning: Once a lithium battery pack has been charged around 1,200 times, it may begin to degrade and experience total failure

What Else Lithium Batteries Are Used For

Lithium battery packs can be found in just any and every type of gadget, from smartphones to laptop computers. You can also find them in tablets, personal scooters, eBook readers, various smart gadgets, and more.

STAT:

When you plug your battery in before your next ride, you should avoid charging it to 100% as this can prematurely degrade the battery. (Source)

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_battery

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_in_lithium-ion_batteries

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378775309020564

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tluh8a9fTnQ

Understanding Electric Bike Batteries FAQ

How long does it take to charge?

This depends on the size and amperage of the battery, though most lithium batteries will complete a charging cycle between three and six hours. The distance an electric bike can go on one charge will vary depending on weight and model.

Does pedaling charge the battery?

Some of the newest electric bikes advertise that the battery can be charged by pedaling. This technology is in its infancy, however, and is quite inefficient.

Are replacement batteries available?

Sure. Check the manufacturer’s website to purchase a spare battery. They can also be found on Amazon and other online retailers.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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