9 Factors That Influence the Travel Distance on Your eBike

What is the distance you can cover on an eBike with one fully charged battery?

From Robert Guimond, owner of Quantum eBikes:

It’s a common one

One of the most common questions I have received after working in the eBike industry for over 15 years is this: “How far can I go on my electric bike”? So let me help you get all the answers!

Manufacturers always provide the average battery autonomy range and the indication of distance. These numbers are usually based on the best road and weather conditions, just like the case of gasoline consumption in cars.

But there are many other factors that affect the travel distance. Here are a few of the main ones:

Stops and Starts

If your itinerary is in a busy city, with traffic lights, congestion, and construction orange cones like you see in Montreal, you are often forced to slow down or stop completely. And every single start, especially using high level of assistance for extra acceleration, requires a lot of energy from the battery. In terms of energy consumption, this factor is one of the most important ones that determine your battery autonomy.

Slopes and weather conditions

An electric assist bike was designed to help you easily climb steep hills or ride upwind. But if you live in an area with steep slopes all around you, the motor is using more energy to assist you in climbing these hills. Same works for harsher weather conditions – if your commute happen to be against the strong wind the entire way, the motor has to work extra hard for you to be able to pedal easily. Thus, using more battery energy. Those two things will shorten the distance you are able to travel with your eBike.

The tires

In Montreal, Quantum eBikes’s store is located right on the bike path along Lachine Canal, so I get to see many cyclists each day. Quite a lot of them ride with tires of low pressure, which slows cyclists down and causes the tires to wear out faster. Usually, tires that are under-inflated deform under the weight of a rider and increase the rolling resistance tremendously. And the proper-inflated tire provides ideal balance between rolling resistance, comfort and traction with the road.

I would recommend to always check the pressure of your tires and make sure it is within its PSI level. It improves your tires’ road holding abilities and requires less assistance from the motor, allowing you to ride longer and farther.

Chosen assistance mode

Think of how far you can ride on a regular bike… pretty much as far as you can possibly go! It works the same for the electric bikes – if you choose low level of assistance or no assistance at all, you are able to go really far. However, if your ride requires higher levels of assistance, your battery would use more energy so it would die faster. Let’s use Bosch as an example: with a 500 Wh battery and a turbo level of assistance you can only go up to 60 km. However, keeping your assistance on the eco mode with the same battery size allow you to double the distance to 120-130 km, with good road conditions.

The battery power of your eBike

On every single electric bike we have batteries of a given capacity. The technology around them keeps evolving and we see extraordinary eBike system advancements every year. Today, the average autonomy range of an eBike would be 80-100 km. However, on a Swiss eBike Stromer, the biggest battery of 983Wh can take you up to 250 km!

The motor

Another important factor is the motor of the electric assist bike. Here the logic works the exact same as in cars: the more powerful the car engine is, the more gasoline it uses. The motors that accelerate faster, have more torque and power, will therefore use more battery power, shortening your travel distance.

Bosch motor on Quantum Crescent bike

Changing gears

A mistake that some people make when riding an eBike is fully relying on the motor and not switching to proper gears. Selecting the proper gear ratio for your terrain will allow your motor to provide the proper level of assistance without strain to the motor and battery. Low gears should be chosen for climbing hills, while high gears for going downhill. And whatever gears feel comfortable and safe for terrain and traffic you encounter otherwise.

Being in the proper gear means that you feel a bit of resistance while pedaling. If you’d like to exercise more and work a little harder, you can switch to lower gear. And if you’d like a bit of an easier ride, switch to higher one. However, the resistance should always be present if you want to go far distances. Otherwise the motor is doing all the work for you, draining the battery more.

Your body mass

After working with three different bike manufacturers, I have learnt about the average weight standard that companies use to calculate the stats for their eBike parts and systems. Commonly, the companies take the average weight of a person riding a bike at 70kg. Therefore, if your weight is greater than this number, it might shorten the distance you cover on your eBike.

To conclude

In today’s electric bike market, there are so many bikes available of every style and color that you are sure to find the one most suitable for your needs. Based on the terrain you usually ride in, your cycling experience, physical strength and other factors, you can find the one eBike that would allow you go the farthest distances. That’s the beauty of choice we see today!

At your treadle … Robert


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