What is the average autonomy of an electric bike? In fact, there are two answers to this question: the short answer, and the long answer. The short answer is that the average autonomy of a best electric bike is the best bike us with a best and fast cycling. The long answer, which is much more interesting, requires understanding the main parameters that come into play in determining the autonomy of a bike.
Indeed, even if we compare two exactly similar bikes, one could have a range of 80 km while the other would just 20 km before having his battery completely exhausted.
How is it possible? In this article, I explain in detail all the functioning of the autonomy of a bike as well as the elements that play the most in its calculation.
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Factors that determine autonomy
To understand how to calculate the autonomy of a best electric bike, you must be aware of four major parameters. In this section, I will explain them one by one in a clear and concise way.
1 – The capacity of the battery
The first and probably most obvious factor influencing the autonomy of an electric bike is the capacity of its battery.
This capacity is obtained by multiplying the battery hour intensity (Ah) with its voltage (V). Currently, a midrange battery is 36V and 10Ah, for a total of 360 Watts/hour.
The higher the voltage and the intensity of a battery, the more autonomy it will have (and the more it will be expensive, of course). In the table below, here is a comparison between three fictitious batteries with different capacities.
At the sight of this table, we see that the autonomy of the electric bike is directly related to its battery capacity, at least if the engine used by the three fictitious bikes is the same. Of course, if the motor of one of the bikes was more powerful, it would consume more electricity and therefore reduce the estimated autonomy of the bike.
We also note that the price of a battery is strongly related to its capacity. Generally, the bigger the battery, the lower the cost per Watts/hour.
Thus, switching from 100 Watts/hour to 200 Watts/hour can result in a difference of around € 80, while going from 300 to 400 would only cost around 50 euros more.
The quality of a battery is also judged by the number of charge/discharge cycles it can handle. The higher it is, the better. Indeed, while charging the battery has almost no cost (count € 1 per charge), depreciation is the largest cost in an electric bike.
That’s why, when you buy, do not hesitate to choose a battery with:
- A high capacity
- A large number of charge/discharge cycles
The battery will certainly be more expensive to buy, but it will make you make big savings in the long run. And in addition, you will enjoy a better autonomy.
2 – Your weight
Yes, you may have thought that the weight of the bike, as in the case of a conventional bike, has a lot of influence on the effort to be given when pedaling and on the autonomy, but it does is nothing. I also explained why in detail in another article. Average weight of an electric bike the 4 Most Important Factors
In fact, it is mainly the weight of the cyclist that influences the autonomy of the bike. This is logical, because where the difference between a heavy bike and a light one is about ten kilos that between a heavy and a light cyclist can be about fifty.
To illustrate more clearly the influence that the weight of the cyclist has on autonomy, here is an example of a comparative table between three people of different weight.
In this table, we can see that the capacity of the battery is the same for each person. However, the higher the weight, the lower the average autonomy.
This phenomenon is even more felt when the course contains many slopes and few dishes. Indeed, in this situation, the engine will have to compensate even more for the weight of the cyclist than when the course is mainly flat.
3 – Electric assistance
The third biggest factor in the autonomy of an electric bike is its power assistance. Electric assistance is what will determine how much the bike’s engine will help you when you pedal. It can be set on different levels depending on whether we want to be much assisted or not.
It is obvious that the more the electric motor helps you, the more it has to pump electricity into the battery. Thus, if you want to increase the autonomy of your bike, stay a maximum in the low levels of assistance and activate the highest levels only when you really need it (steep slope or when you are very tired of example)
In this table, it is clear that between three electric bikes with battery capacity and engine power equivalent, the one using a low level of assistance will have a longer battery life than one that is strongly assisted by its power assistance.
It is also interesting to know that the higher the engine power, the greater the reduction in autonomy when using a high level of assistance.
The case of accelerator bikes
If your electric bike has an accelerator, it is obvious that the more you use it, the faster you pump electricity from your battery. When you activate the throttle, the motor is 100% responsible for advancing your bike and you do not help it at all, unlike pedaling assistance.
In practice, here is the column that could be added to the previous table by taking the example of a bike that would constantly use its accelerator to move forward. The most interesting feature of this chart is, of course, the average range, which drops to only 20 km when you constantly use the accelerator to move forward.
Compared with the 60 km of autonomy possible when using a low level of assistance, this drastic reduction shows how much the battery is able to save money when it does not have much help from the engine.
Also, keep in mind that the data in this table is for illustrative purposes only. In practice, many parameters come into play (all those in this article actually), and autonomy can vary a lot from one situation to another.
The case of unrestrained bikes
European regulations require electric bicycles to be limited to 25 km/h in order to qualify for the status of EVA (Electric Assisted Bicycle) and thus be considered by law in the same way as conventional bikes despite having of an engine.
To limit the speed of their bike motors to 25 km/h, manufacturers such as Bosch set up a clamping system that automatically stops power assistance when the bike reaches 25 km/h.
However, it is possible to unleash his bike and remove the speed limit that manufacturers have placed on their engines. I explain how to make this unclamping in another article on my site- How to unclog electric bike: The Complete Guide
When an engine is unbridled, it can reach the full speed that its power allows it to reach. But obviously, that says top speed also says higher electricity consumption.
In this table, it is observed that the motor power of the bike, whether flanged or unbridled, remains the same. Indeed, the unclamping of a bike is not to increase the power of its engine but to remove the speed limit that the manufacturer has put in place.
In the case of the best bike us whose engine, once unbridled is capable of reaching a speed of 35 km/h, it is expected a decrease in average autonomy consequent because of the higher consumption of electricity that the engine will have to achieve to reach this speed.
So yes, of course, you can ride at 25 km/h on your unbridled bike and thus maintain the same autonomy as if it were bridled. But hey, in this case, there is no great interest in unleashing it.
4 – The type of course
The fourth and last biggest parameter that comes into play in the autonomy of an electric bike is the type of course.
It is obvious that if you plan to use your bike only on roads with steep slopes, the electric assistance will have to help you much more than on flat roads.
Overall, therefore, the higher the course you will achieve will have altitude, the less autonomy of your bike will be great. Here is a table illustrating the difference in average autonomy on different courses.
How to increase the autonomy of your bike?
Now that you know all the factors that come into play when calculating the autonomy of an electric bike, you can easily change your habits to increase this autonomy if you wish.
Many online articles will tell you that, to increase your range, you can try to reduce the friction of your tires on the ground by choosing specific tires. Improve your aerodynamics by shaving your leg hair and head hair. Decrease the weight of the bike by removing some secondary parts.
Well, let’s be serious for a moment.
Yes, there are plenty of minor parameters like those that can increase its autonomy. But the simplest and most effective way is to tackle the four major parameters that I explained to you at the beginning of the article.
Of these four parameters, one can already remove one: the weight.
You weigh what you weigh, and it would be completely absurd to go on a diet to reduce his weight by a few pounds and thus slightly improve the autonomy of his bike. In addition, if you currently want to lose weight, it means that riding a bike is definitely a great way to do that. And it’s not because the bike is powered by an electric motor that you have to feel guilty. Yes, you will make less effort, but you will make the effort anyway. Your legs and your buttocks will get muscle and the fat that is present will be burned.
So there are three factors you can play to increase the autonomy of your bike: battery capacity, power assistance, and type of course.
If you have not bought an electric bike yet and expect to do it soon, I hope this article has convinced you of how important a bicycle battery is to battery life.
This is BY far the most important factor. Having a good or bad battery, it changes everything in the use of an electric bike. And to be of good quality, a battery must have:
- A high capacity
- A large number of charge/discharge cycles
Choosing a good battery is not only convenient to have a great autonomy, but it is also cheaper, quite simply.
Certainly, a battery with a higher capacity and a large number of recharge cycles will cost more to buy, but it will last much longer than a cheaper battery and lower quality.
As far as the optimization of its the best bike us autonomy is concerned, it is no longer a question of using electric assistance as little as possible by regulating it to the minimum level, and to avoid courses with large slopes.
But hey, that’s in case your battery does not have enough capacity to support the trips you impose. In case you have chosen a battery of good quality and with a high capacity, you do not have to worry.
Adjust the assistance to the maximum, take the worst slopes imaginable, and enjoy the full power of your electric motor. Because the best autonomy is the one we do not have to worry about.