Is electric bike range anxiety lingering in the back of your mind every time you look at electric bicycles? Are you unwilling to believe that a battery weighing 10lbs or less can power you up to 20 miles on a charge? Well I think that is perfectly understandable. It is actually pretty incredible that such a technology exists, and the reality is a bit like fantasy. But this article will do its best to dispel the lingering electric bike range anxiety in your head so you can get right on to enjoying a new electric bike.
The first concern to address is this: Can you still pedal an electric bike when the battery runs out? Of course! There is actually no noticeable resistance from the motor when it is not in use. In fact you could ride your electric bike around all day without a battery with no problem. It would just be a bit heavier than a regular bicycle.
The next concern to address is being able to constantly see how much battery life you have. While many of our electric bikes have power meters, some do not. The truth is most people have a fair idea of how far they have to go whenever they leave the house and most of those trips are within a few miles. On an electric bike that can do 20 miles per charge you'll rarely reach that limit unless you plan out a longer ride (in which case you know how far you're going and what the terrain is like).
And then there's the example of one of our customers who rides an EcoBike Vatavio electric bike (let's call her Mary for the sake of this article). Mary lives in Brooklyn, New York and commutes daily to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. Her trip is about 27 miles round trip which she completes on a single charge. It's not because she is a special case or because she is doing anything differently from what you might do. The thing is Mary uses her electric bike efficiently. She has developed a few habits which I've outlined below:
Range tip 1: Help your electric bike get off the starting line. The most power is consumed when the motor accelerates you from 0 to 15/20mph. If you can assist the motor any amount during this period you will greatly increase you battery range. It will still be relatively effortless to start up compared to a regular bicycle but even that little bit of help can go a long way. Some electric bikes force you to help them off the start, they are more efficient and have a longer range. Read an article on the types of electric bikes for more information.
Range tip 2: If you want to stop pedaling, do it when you are cruising. Pedaling an electric bike isn't the same as pedaling any normal bicycle. You don't really have to put in all that much effort if you don't want, but the more you do the better your range will be. Lightly pedaling as you go up hills can extend your range from 10 to 20 miles. It's really pretty simple to see why. So if you do want to primarily ride without pedaling, try to make that time when you are cruising or coasting.
Range tip 3: Electric bikes aren't drag racers. Accelerating overly quickly is a great way to burn out your battery prematurely. Take a more relaxed approach to starting up and you can really save your battery a few extra miles. If you have a throttle bike that means easing into it instead of spinning your throttle back right away. If you have a pedelec or pedal assist bike like a BionX bike this will be much easier as you will naturally start up more gradually.
So now that you have a few good tips on how to get the most out of your battery you should know you can ussually get about 20 miles per charge if you do some pedaling at about %50 the normal effort. It's true that range will decrease as you add large hills and increase rider weight but that's a good ballpark figure to stick with.
Don't let electric bike range anxiety hold you in its grip of fear and doubt. Enjoy the freedom of taking longer bike rides than you ever thought you could on an electric bike!