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Batteries 101

What kind of batteries does an electric bike use? If you've been wondering about that, you've come to the right place. At NYCEWheels, we're electric-bike and battery experts. Read our basic pages on batteries 101 to learn about batteries for all types of electric bikes and all types of scooters. We'll tell you the basics on the three main kinds of batteries: sealed lead acid, nickel metal hydride and lithium - and the pros and cons of each.

Most electric bikes and electric scooters that we carry feed from one of the below listed types of batteries. Some are interchangeable and can use either or.

Click to purchase a battery for your electric bike

1) Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)
2) Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
3) Lithium (Li)

1) Sealed Lead Acid
Sealed Lead Acid batteries (or SLA) were once the standard battery type for most electric scooters and electric bicycles. These days, most electric scooters still use SLA batteries, while electric bikes (which often require human input) have opted for newer battery technologies to keep the bike as light as possible. This is largely due to the fact that SLA batteries are particularly heavy. While they are heavier and bulkier, SLA batteries do maintain one advantage: they are easy to come by and they are inexpensive. A SLA battery has lifetime of roughly 100-300 full charge cycles, depending on use, size, temperature, quality and many other factors. Most electric scooters use SLA batteries. The popular Gomier Electric Trike also still uses SLA batteries.

2) Nickel Metal Hydride
Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (or NiMH) have been around for a while now. They are significantly lighter than SLA batteries. While there is a jump in the price and while these batteries are usually designed specifically for their respective electric bikes, they represent many improvements. A NiMH battery has about 2 times the life of a Sealed Lead Acid battery but weights about 30% less. NiMH batteries need to be recharged about once a month if not in use to maintain their full capacity.
Our most popular electric bikes using this battery technology are:
The best electric bike ever, the (discontinued) Giant Lite and all of NYCeWheels eZee bikes have the option for NiMH batteries as well.

3) Lithium Ion, Lithium Manganese, Lithium Polymer, Lithium Phosphate?..
Lithium Ion batteries (or Li-Ion) are the newest technology in batteries. A Lithium battery has a lifetime of roughly 2-3 times of a Sealed Lead Acid battery. Lithium batteries are the lightest yet, on average weighing approximately 15% less than NiMH batteries and about 50% less than SLA's. Lithium batteries also feature the benefit of being largely maintenance free. Where as earlier forms of batteries need periodic attention when not in use, Lithium batteries do not require much of this. A lithium battery can sit for long stretches of time without any maintenance or charging. As such, if you're only planning on using your electric bike> from time to time (perhaps you store it at a summer home, or retire it during the winter months), a Lithium battery would be a good option. Lithium batteries cost a little bit more than NiMH batteries, but the cost per mile ends up being roughly the same.
Out of our line of electric bikes, eZee bikes have opted for Lithium Manganese batteries manufactured by Phyllion. We have also received test packs using Lithium Polymer which come in at around 7.2 lbs per pack!
Our new addition of OHM bikes are using MoliCell batteries manufactured in Canada.
BionX electric motor systems uses Lithium-Manganese cells manufactured by Sony Corporation. (surely one of the best products out there)
The brand-new Giant Twist Freedom uses Lithium-Polymer battery packs of 2x 9 AH each - currently the longest range (highest capacity) per charge production electric bike out there.

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