Ebike range is crucial. One of the greatest fears of taking your ebike out on a lengthy jaunt is the nightmare scenario of running out of charge before the journey’s end. Being in the unfortunate position of no more battery power in a hilly region with nothing but physical pedal power alone to get you to your destination. It can waste the pleasurable experience of a countryside cruise on a good day. It should though never happen, and with a bit of care and planning never will.
How Do I Improve My Ebike Range?
The range of an ebike depends on several factors, most of which are out of the control of the ebike rider, but with care and attention, some of the factors affecting the range of the ebike can be mitigated.
What Factors Can Affect Ebike Range?
The battery size and how charged it is. The weight of the ebike and the weight of the rider. The terrain you are negotiating, whether hilly or not. The weather conditions, riding in extreme cold, or heat, riding against strong headwinds. How much assist you are asking of the ebike, and how often you choose the higher assist modes. In hilly regions, for example, on a touring trip, you will use more assist for longer, so may greatly affect the range. How smooth your ebike runs; is it well maintained? A well maintained ebike will run smoothly creating less friction to hinder the motor. The harder your ebike has to work to journey on, the quicker your battery will drain.
Some Easy Ebike Range Tips
1 Ensure your battery is fully charged before you begin.
Get into the habit of plugging in after every journey and that way your ebike will always be fully charged before you take it out again. If this becomes routine, you will never start a journey with a percentage of charge that may not be enough to get you where you plan to go. Don’t be fraught with worry from the get-go, spoiling your trip because you are constantly worrying about running out of power.
2 Don’t use full assist all of the time.
Negotiating hills and headwinds are when you need maximum assist, so in the parts of your journey when you are cruising easily along, turn the assist down a notch or two, or turn it off entirely if possible. This will extend your range by conserving battery power. Using the lowest level of assist when going along a flat stretch should minimally tax your battery without you having to exert yourself much at all. And let’s face it, gentle exercise will do no harm and may in fact enhance your journey with little effort.
3 Take off Easy.
Peddling hard to get up speed from a stop will add stress to the motor, and yourself. If you have no need to hurry, no impending deadline or appointment to meet, then take it easy off the line and build up speed gradually; less strain on you, the motor, and less drain on the battery. Pedal hard only when you have to.
4 Take along a Charger.
Depending on the length of your trip and what facilities are available when you get there, it may be a positive move to take along a charger and top up the battery at your destination. Beware though, that taking your only charger and forgetting to repack it and find you have left it behind, may be a nightmare of another variety. For the price of a charger, it is always a good idea to have a spare. You can easily pack this either on your ebike or in a backpack and always have it available, or if you commute, you could keep a spare at your place of employment when not requiring it for extensive excursion trips. A second charger may turn out to be a fine investment.
5 A spare battery pack.
Depending on your personal finances, and whether extensive trips are a frequent enough event to justify the expense, buying an additional battery pack may be a good idea. On the positive side, it is easy to switch out a drained battery for a fully charged one and continue on with a fully powered ebike. On the negative side, a battery pack can be an expensive purchase, and there is the additional weight to carry around.
6 Replace your battery.
Related in a way to the above point. After a few years your original battery pack will begin to lose efficiency and therefore the power it holds and the range you can go will be diminished. Batteries, unfortunately, are one of the integral parts of your ebike that you will eventually have to replace. Buying a new battery pack before the original pack is so unusable it is fit for nothing but the recycling centre, means you can still utilise it as a spare. It may not power enough to double your range, but it may make enough of a difference to get you to your destination without worry.
7 Cherish your battery.
If you take good care of your battery, it will last longer. Store your battery away from extremes of temperature, preferably indoors at room temperature rather than in a freezing shed or garage. Top up the battery charge occasionally if you leave the ebike alone for long periods. Don’t let it drain and be left in this condition long term. A monthly top up charge will keep your battery in the peak of condition ready to go the next time you take the ebike out.
8 Monitor your tire pressures.
Under-inflated tires make the motor work harder to move the ebike. Just as it is harder to pedal a bicycle with soft tires, it is also an additional strain on the motor, and therefore a drain on the battery. Tires kept at the proper pressures run smoother and create less drag and friction.
9 Lubricate the chain.
A dirty and corroded chain is harder to move, more friction is involved in carrying the chain around the cranks, and it can make the chain weaker and more likely to break. Keeping the chain clean and oiled will improve the action of the ebike and increase efficiency, therefore making motion less of a drag on the motor and using less battery power.
Of course, the tips above are common-sense tips that everyone should know, or learn. Keeping your ebike well maintained and serviced regularly will not only help with the range of the ebike, but will also ensure your ebike is safe and fit for purpose. Make sure you are never in the situation where you are in danger of running out of battery power. Get into the habit of following the tips above till they become second nature in your routine and get the most out of your ebike.
More information on ebike batteries here:
As well as ensuring you have the battery power to get you to your destination, ensure you travel safe while you get there, and ensure your ebike will be safe if you leave it unattended for any period of time.