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E-bike batteries are the main components that help to make e-bikes different from regular bikes and thus are their most vital components. They provide electrical power to electric bikes. There are different types of e-bike batteries available in the market. Whether you are a new e-bike user or an experienced enthusiast, or whether you are looking to replace your old bike battery with a new one or planning to buy a new electrical bike altogether, knowing about the different types of e-bike batteries is essential for choosing the right one for you.
Types of E-Bike Batteries
Having different sizes, energy production methods, and drainage times, several types of batteries are available to choose from. Picking the right one requires you to have basic information about each.
Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) Batteries
Nickel-Cadmium batteries are strong and can last for a long time if cared for and maintained properly. They have more battery capacity than lead-acid batteries but do not beat lithium batteries in this regard. Their load performance is excellent as they can withstand high pressure from the throttle of the e-bike.
However, they have their downsides that inarguably supersede their few advantages. They have low power density and tend to self-discharge at an alarmingly fast rate. Within 24 hours after a full charge, your electrical bike can lose up to 70% of its power without usage if it is installed with a nickel-cadmium battery. The batteries are outrageously expensive as well and cadmium is a severely dangerous pollutant. These batteries are not popular anymore as they have recycling issues (most landfills do not accept them) and are an environmental safety hazard.
Also, their chemistry does not suit and allow for rapid discharge. The term ‘battery memory’ applies to nickel-cadmium batteries as they have to be fully discharged and fully charged each time making them unsuitable for e-bike applications.
Believe it or not, lead-acid batteries are worse than NiCad batteries. The only few good things about them are that they come for much less dough than all the other types of batteries, and are the easiest to dispose of and replace. But, these benefits go down the drain when they do not provide you with the utility you want for your e-bike. They are heavy and have a low power output. A lead-acid battery of the same weight and size as the other types would have much less capacity than them. These batteries are not long-lasting as they are very delicate and sensitive. If you use or plan on using your electrical bike as serious transportation and commuting method, you cannot rely on lead-acid batteries.
You would find this type of battery in most cars, scissor lifts, and golf carts. They are readily available but are only suitable for immobile and deep-cycle applications. They are commonly used in electric bikes though, in many Asian countries. They significantly sag under load as well. If you nail the throttle suddenly, their voltage will suddenly drop for a few moments. We do not recommend using lead-acid batteries for your e-bikes.
Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
These types of batteries are high capacity and can hold up to 45% more charge than nickel-cadmium batteries. They produce a lot of heat and even a limited usage can get them to self-drain (although not as much as NiCad batteries) by getting heated up fast. They are not durable and charging them can be complex and a hassle. Although more productive and effective than the previously discussed two types, they are pretty expensive with respect to their offerings.
They are easy to recycle but do not offer rapid discharge. If there were not any lithium batteries in the world, we probably would have advised you to get this type for your bikes but fortunately, that is not the case.
More than 90% of the electric bikes available in the market for purchase have lithium-ion batteries installed in them. This type of battery has the most power density, meaning, they produce more power for their weight compared to any other battery type. They are very long-lasting and heavily reliable. There are different types of lithium-ion batteries with different features but they all offer the above-mentioned benefits along with being small and light-weight and can be easily handled.
The chemistry of this type of battery has the potential to self-destruct and catch fire but manufacturers have fail-safe functional electronic components in place to take care of that scary prospect for you. Range, longevity, volume, weight, and handling – they are the best at everything but are expensive. However, their high cost is well worth the utility and ease it provides. We strongly recommend you to buy the most popular battery type – lithium-ion batteries – for your e-bike.
The different kinds of lithium-ion batteries are:
Lithium Cobalt Batteries
Buy a lithium cobalt battery for your electric bike if you want to cover long distances with it in one go. It is older than the lithium manganese battery in the market but is believed to be more energy-dense than the other types of lithium batteries.
Lithium Manganese Batteries
Some hybrid cars are also using the latest lithium batteries in the market, the lithium manganese battery. They are reliable and can take you to long distances but if you want to go for durability, get yourself one of these as they are claimed to be the longest-lasting among all the lithium manganese batteries.
Lithium-Ion Polymer Batteries
Being almost the same as the other two lithium battery kinds as far as the price and features go, lithium-ion polymer batteries offer style and looks as lithium polymer can undertake upon it, different molding processes to customize its shape. Another attractive factor is the easy handling and maintenance of them as they do not require any liquids. This feature calls for less protective battery casing and offers more stability.
Tips for Buying a Lithium-Ion Battery
There are two things you need to look out for when buying a lithium-ion battery for your e-bike. One is the voltage rating and the other is the ampere rating. Both of these determine the power, range, and durability of the battery, and a wrong rating can damage your bike or cause a fire outburst.
To avoid potential complications, you need to check the input voltage range of your e-bike and select a battery with the same voltage range. If you install a battery with a voltage range that is lower than your bike’s range, the motor system of your bike will not get enough power to run properly. Similarly, a higher battery voltage is also not good for your bike as it can damage its sensitive electrical parts.
Amperes are the measuring unit of the flow of current a battery puts out or the motor of your bike extracts from the battery. Ampere-hour (Ah) is a measure of amps a battery can sustain for an hour. If your battery has more amperes to offer to the motor of your bike, you can expect more torque.
A lithium-ion battery (of any kind) is the best among all the available e-bike batteries. It is the most reliable and durable but that does not mean that it does not require care and maintenance. For some people, an e-bike is undoubtedly the most fun, reliable, and environmentally healthy mode of transportation if it has a lithium-ion battery installed in it.