10 Tips for Improving Your Electric Bike’s Range

Improve Your Electric Bike Range!

Are you concerned about your electric bike’s range?  Would you like to know some tricks for extending your e-bike range when you have that extra errand to run but don’t have that much charge left in your battery?

Electric bike range is a common concern among e-bikers and I would like to offer some tips that will help you make the most of your electric bike ride.  Some of these tips are obvious but I have thrown in some additional tips that may help you add a few more miles or kilometers to your e-bike range.

Electric Bike Range Tips

1.  Okay, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way.  Make sure your battery is fully charged.  The reason I mention this is because sometimes it is easy to forget about charging your battery after a hard day at work.  Create a routine so that you immediately plug in your battery when you get home.

2.  Pedal harder!  This may be obvious too but it needs to be mentioned.  For instance you may need to run some extra errands and realize that you don’t have that much juice (charge in your battery) left.  You could reduce the assist setting (or use less throttle) and pedal more to compensate for a low battery.  I have limped my e-bike home this way without totally draining the battery.

Another big tip is to pedal harder at the right time.  A lot of energy is consumed when you accelerate from a stop.  If you pedal hard to get your bike off the line this will help conserve your battery energy.  Additionally, hills take a lot of energy so pedaling a little harder on the hills will help improve your range.

3.  Take it easy and enjoy a slow ride.  Wind resistance can really drain you and your battery’s energy.  If you need to extend your range, riding a little slower will reduce the wind drag.  Oh yeah and riding slower is usually safer!

4.  Consider a second charger.  If you have a long commute to work and errands to run, you may need more range than your battery can provide.  You could have a charger at work so that you can recharge during the day.  And if your boss is concerned about the electricity bill you can tell them it will cost pennies to charge your e-bike battery!

5.  Buy a second battery? If you have a really long commute or ride route that you like to do it may be worth buying a second battery to add to your bike.  Some electric bike manufacturers offer the option of adding a second battery to double your range.  Check with your local shop or e-bike manufacturer for more info.

6.  Keep your tire pressure up.  This will make a big difference in how much energy (electric & human) is required to move you and your e-bike around.  Low tire pressure can make your electric bike feel sluggish.  For normal city style e-bikes I recommend a tire pressure of 50-60 psi.  Don’t over inflate your tires though because it can lead to a very rough ride!  Here is a floor pump I recommend.

7.  Replace your old battery.  If you have had your e-bike and battery for a while, the amount of energy your battery can hold will most likely have decreased.  I recommend replacing your battery once the decreased range gets annoying.  Your local electric bike shop can help you with this or you could contact your e-bike manufacturer.

8.  Use the regenerative braking feature.  Some electric bike systems have a regenerative braking feature (Bionx for example) that turns the motor into a generator in order to act like a brake and put a little bit of charge back into your battery.  Typically this is activated by a sensor on one of the brake levers (usually the rear brake lever).  Please note that there is debate in the e-bike world as to how much energy is actually recaptured using regenerative braking.

9.  Take care of your battery!  If you can, store your battery at room temperature.  Batteries don’t like really cold or hot temperatures.   In general it is a good idea to charge your battery often to keep it topped off.  If you don’t ride your electric bike much in the winter, store your battery fully charged and charge it every couple of months.  Try not to leave it plugged in for more than 24 hrs.

10.  Oil your chain.  This will improve your pedaling efficiency and if you have a motor that powers through the cranks of your bike (Panasonic or Bosch for example) it will improve your motor’s efficiency too.  After you oil your chain let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe off the excess oil with a rag.

I hope these tips help you to improve your electric bike range.  The best way is to implement these tips today and make them a habit.

Do you have any questions on these tips?  Do you have some electric bike range tips of your own that you would like to share with the Electric Bike Report community?  Please leave them in the comment section below.

Thanks!

-Pete

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!


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29 Comments

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  1. Roscaroo February 13, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    You forgot 11. Ride with the wind at your back!

    • DolphinPal / Bernie February 14, 2012 at 2:07 am #

      What is when my destination is all head winds (or all uphill) ?

    • Pete at Electric Bike Report February 15, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      Oh, good point…….I also forgot to mention that you should try and find all downhill routes too :)

      • DolphinPal / Bernie February 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

        Isn’t that a bit “catch 22″?… At the very latest, on your return trip you are all uphill or (if the winds keep blowing) HAVE to ride into the wind! Or am I missing here something? :-/
        DolphinPal / Bernie.

  2. DolphinPal / Bernie February 14, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Turn on hi-power headlights only when needed to illuminate your path. City streets are bright enough to see from city street lights! — To be seen use flashing laser LED lights (front & rear) which work between 100 to 600 hours on just one flashlight battery! Flashing laser lights are noticed much better than headlights!
    DolphinPal/Bernie.

  3. DolphinPal / Bernie February 14, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Turn on hi-power headlights only when needed to illuminate your path. City streets are bright enough to see from city street lights! — To be seen use flashing laser LED lights (front & rear) which work between 100 to 600 hours on just one flashlight battery! Flashing laser lights are noticed much better than headlights!
    DolphinPal/Bernie.

    • Pete at Electric Bike Report February 15, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Good point Bernie, If you have a generator type light on your electric bike that will use up some of your energy. When it comes to safety at night I am always in favor of using as many lights to see and be seen. I suppose if you live in an area that has a bunch of street lights you could go with the strategy you described but that can be a little risky. Thanks for your comment!

      • DolphinPal / Bernie February 15, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

        Most city streets are very well lit… Seriously, have a close look at FLASHING (!) Laser LED Lights! When it comes to to BE SEEN / NOTICED they are a LOT more effective than steady ON Head or Tail lights… don’t you agree? :-) Folks def Do Not pull out in front of me with those Flashers on!
        DolphinPal / Bernie.

        • Pete at Electric Bike Report February 16, 2012 at 8:39 am #

          Hi Bernie,

          I totally agree that flashing lights are the way to go for being seen by others. I just want to make sure people are also using a good headlight so that they can see the road in front of them at all times.

          • bob October 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

            howdy,pete…….can you recommend some/any sellers of these “flashing headlight” mentioned (the single battery type)as endorsed by Bernie? the flashing laser led kind…thanks!

          • Pete October 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

            Hi Bob,

            Yes, here is a light that has both a normal light and a flashing option. It uses 2AA batteries.

  4. Peter February 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    What we really need are bike batteries the new battery technologies that allow a “fast charge”. You can completely recharge the battery in 15 minutes.

    Main problem with this is the fast charge generally requires a pretty beefy charger. Imagine charge stations scattered around your area. You could have a cup of coffee while you recharge.

    Fast charge batteries and charge stations would also enable long-distance touring on ebikes.

    • DolphinPal / Bernie February 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Yes, hopefully soon… I read it’s already being tested for E-Cars!
      The drawback at this point, the quick charge range is somewhat less than Lithium Batteries with regular charge.
      With E-Power gettin’ popular very fast, industry will work very hard on improvements! (Big $$$ up for grabs!) :-0)

  5. Peggie April 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Hoping to get more out of my battery I will turn it off during the parts of my commute I’m coasting down hills for a mile or so and/or lengthy light changes etc. Any significant block of time my battery is not needed, I shut her down, thinking it will decrease my chances of being stranded-powerless!

    • Pete April 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      Great tip Peggie! Thanks for sharing that.

  6. Rob April 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Purchased and E+bike Glide model last November wanted to purchase an additional battery, batteries are in the front wheel hub, cost $1000 dollars, tried removing cover but the sealed wheel bearing seems to need to be pressed off, don’t know the type of bearing so did not try to remove any further fear of damaging it. E+bicyle website use to have them as an optional accessorie but now website does not seem to be available anymore. Company use to offer a lipo for extended range but seems they had a massive recall. Bike has and optional port for a rack mounted battery but cannot find the matching plug on any after market battery pack it looks like and automotive weather tight plug for headlights but it is round with one flat side and 3 female socket. Could I just remove the connector and put any connector I can find to the rear wheel motor hub and still be able to operate the bike through there supplied control, which has very small 6 pin connectors which also don’t seem to be available after market? Any advice out there would be appreciated, since it does not seem the Electric Motion systems is willing to divulge any of there proprietary info or where to buy parts to maintain there bicyles other than to ship the whole thing back to what is left of there business?

    • Pete April 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      Hi Rob,

      Sorry to hear about your troubles. I would recommend continuing to try to get E+ to help you. If you do decide to go it alone I would recommend checking out this forum for more DIY and technical help:

      http://endless-sphere.com/forums/

  7. Ken Sanders - Trek Navigator June 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    You mentioned tire pressure but did not mention types of tires . Running a low resistance comfort bike tire versus a mountain bike tire with all that extra rubber ‘ higher rolling resistance and extra weight would make quite a difference . Consider tire choices and what type you need for the job there are lots of choices of tires for sure .

    • Pete June 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Great point Ken! Thanks for that.

  8. craig November 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    how about 1st stop make sure you select an appropriate battery for the journeys you intend to make in the first place, lets say you want to travel 10 miles round trip to work and back every day which for arguements sake use say 10ah, if theres a journey you will be making regularly really you want a battery capable of more than twice this distance as firstly if you only discharge your battery to half capacity it will last a whole lot longer but then you need to account for this when your battery has aged as well as it may hold 20ah now but in 6-12 months it may only hold 16ah or less so for this i would select a 25ah battery, then if you go out on a really windy day or have an irregular longer journey you will always have this extra power in reserve to comfortably make this extra journey and draining your battery to its fullest wont hurt if its only once in a while but doing this every day is known as batterycide

  9. Brad Sloan March 13, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    I had wish you wouldn’t have included 8. Regenerative braking. This just encourages manufacturers to use this useless gimmick to increase the price of Ebikes. For every who think this is a good option read this. http://www.ecospeed.com/regenbraking.pdf

    • Pete March 15, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      Hi Brad,

      Yes this is a debatable topic but I felt that it should be included. Ideally it would be best to have an impartial 3rd party report on the effectiveness of of e-bike regenerative braking.

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