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E-Bike Range: How Far Can I Ride on a Single Charge?

Key Takeaways: E-Bike Range

An e-bike can have a range of anywhere from 20-100+ miles (32-260 km). Most modern e-bikes have a range of 30-50 miles (48-80 km). Lower-end e-bikes might have a range of just 15-20 miles (24-32 km). An e-bike with a large battery or dual batteries might have a range of over 100 miles (160 km).

Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular modes of transportation around cities. One of the most common concerns for potential e-bike buyers is range. Range is the distance you can ride on a single charge. E-bike range can vary from anywhere from 20 miles to 100+ miles (32-160 km).

With the recent advancements in battery technology, e-bikes can now achieve longer range than ever before. In this guide, I’ll explain how far you can ride on a single charge with different types of e-bikes. I’ll explain how e-bike range is measured and how to estimate your range. In addition, I’ll outline some factors that affect the range of your e-bike and explain some ways you can improve your range.

At this point, I’ve been riding e-bikes for about 10 years. During that time, the range has improved significantly. I’ve also learned to adjust my riding style to maximize range. In this guide, I’ll share my experience.

An electric bike with a mid-drive motor
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Table of Contents

A woman riding an electric bicycle

Factors that Affect How Far an E-bike Can Go

A number of factors can affect the range that you get out of your electric bike. Under ideal conditions, an e-bike might get 50 miles of range. The same e-bike might only get 40 miles of range when the conditions change.

The exact range you get out of your ebike depends on:

  • The battery capacity
  • The motor’s power output
  • The weight of the bike, rider, and gear
  • Your average riding speed
  • The level of pedal assist you’re using and throttle use
  • Your ride position
  • The terrain and grades you’re riding
  • Wind conditions and outside temperature
  • Tire pressure
  • Your level of fitness
  • The type, age, and quality of the battery
  • The quality of the bike and how well it’s maintained
  • And more

In this section, I’ll outline some of the main factors that determine your e-bike’s range.

1. Battery Capacity

The battery capacity is the main factor determining the range of the e-bike. Battery capacity is usually measured in watt-hours (Wh). Watt-hours are a measurement of the amount of energy stored in an electric bike battery.

This number tells you the number of watts the battery can deliver for one hour. The higher a battery’s capacity the farther you can travel on a single charge.

For example, an e-bike with a 960 Wh battery will achieve twice as much range as an e-bike with a 480 Wh battery because it holds twice as much energy. It can run twice as long and carry you twice as far.

2. The Weight of the Ebike, Rider, and Gear

The more weight the bike is carrying, the shorter the range will be. A heavier rider will reduce the range. Loading your bike down with heavy luggage will also reduce the range. On the flip side, a bike carrying less weight will have more range.

Carrying around weight reduces the bike’s range because it takes more energy to move more mass around. This causes your battery to drain faster. It takes less energy to move a lighter bike around.

3. The Outside Temperature

Batteries don’t perform as well when temperatures drop below 40°F. In below-freezing conditions, your range will drop substantially. You might lose 50% of your range in freezing weather. E-bike batteries offer the best range between 60 and 80℉.

4. Road Conditions

A bumpy road reduces range because more energy is needed to move the bike over uneven terrain. Hitting potholes slows the bike down. It takes energy to accelerate the bike back up to speed. Riding on a smooth, flat road requires less energy and allows you to go further on a single charge.

A man riding a red ebike
The terrain you ride on has an effect on your range

5. Wind Conditions

Riding into a headwind reduces your range because more energy is needed to overcome the wind resistance. On the other hand, riding with a tailwind allows you to travel further on a single charge. The wind can assist you.

6. Tire Pressure, Wheel Size, Width, and Tread Pattern

Running your tires at higher pressures improves efficiency while riding on flat ground. If you’re riding rough terrain, lower tire pressure may give you more grip and improve bump absorption but reduce your range. Try to run your e-bike tires at the maximum recommended PSI for the best range.

Wheel size can also affect range. Larger diameter wheels increase rolling resistance and lower range. Smaller diameter wheels can reduce efficiency when traveling on bumpy surfaces.

Tire width also has an effect. Wider tires generally offer more grip but create more drag and friction, reducing your range. More narrow tires are more efficient but offer less traction.

Finally, tread pattern affects grip and efficiency. Lower profile designs provide superior range but reduce grip. Aggressive designs provide better grip but reduce efficiency.

7. Motor Power Output

Electric bike motors come in a range of sizes. The most common sizes are 250w. 500, 750. 1000w motors are also common. Larger motors are also available.

Generally, electric bikes with larger motors have less range. Larger motors use more energy and drain the battery more quickly. Smaller motors use less power.

A 500w motor will drain a 500 Wh of battery in one hour if run at peak power. A 250w motor will take 2 hours to drain a 500 Wh battery if un at peak power.

8. The Power Control System

E-bikes come with either pedal assist system, a throttle, or both. You’ll get more range when you’re using pedal assist. This is because you are supplying part of the pedal power. The motor doesn’t have to do all of the work. The pedal assist just makes pedaling easier. This saves power.

You’ll get less range when you use the throttle because the motor will be doing all of the work for you. This takes more energy. Your battery will drain faster.

For more info, check out my guide to pedal assist vs throttle controlled ebikes.

9. The Pedal Assist Mode You’re Using

Most electric bikes offer 3-5 different levels of pedal assist. There may be an eco mode that reduces power output to save energy. There may also be a performance mode that is designed for riding at high speeds. This mode uses more energy. The less pedal assist you use, the more range you’ll get.

10. The Age of the Battery

Batteries degrade as they age. A brand-new battery may give you 50 miles of range. The same battery may only give you 35 miles of range 2 years later.

Battery life is usually measured in charge cycles. Modern lithium-ion batteries can last 500-1000 charge cycles. After a battery degrades to 75% of its original capacity, it should be replaced.

Batteries also degrade with age, even if they aren’t used. Most e-bike batteries last 2-5 years depending on how much they’re used. As a battery ages, you’ll get less and less range out of it.

An electric bike battery
The range decreases as your ebike battery ages. Modern batteries can last for 500-1000 charge cycles.

11. The Type of Battery

The type of battery used in your electric bike can have a big impact on its range. Different types of batteries offer different energy densities. The most common type of electric bike battery is lithium-ion.

Lithium batteries are the most efficient batteries available for electric bikes. They provide excellent power output and they are lightweight. Lithium battery powered electric bikes have the longest range.

Nickel batteries offer a good balance between performance and cost savings. They don’t provide as much power or range as lithium batteries.

Lead acid batteries are much cheaper than lithium batteries. They provide less power output and shorter range. Lead acid batteries also tend to have a shorter lifespan overall.

12. Maintenance and the Condition of the Ebike

An electric bike that is well-maintained will have a longer range than an e-bike that is poorly maintained. If the drivetrain is clean, lubed, and free of rust, the bike will run more smoothly and efficiently.

If the drivetrain is dirty and rusty, it will create additional friction and drag. It wastes some energy to overcome this and your battery will drain faster.

13. How Much You Pedal

Most e-bikes come with a pedal assist system. With pedal assist, the motor supplies part of the pedaling power. It doesn’t do all of the work for you. The motor just makes pedaling easier.

If you don’t pedal at all and let the motor do all of the work, your range will be significantly shorter. If you do most of the pedaling and just let the motor help you with difficult sections like hills and headwinds, you’ll get much more range.

14. Sensor Types

Some ebikes use torque sensors while others use cadence sensors. Generally, torque sensors are more efficient than cadence sensors.

15. The Type of Riding You Do

The type of riding you do also impacts your range. For example, riding in stop-and-go traffic uses more battery power than riding at a steady speed along a country road. It takes more energy to accelerate from a stop than it does to ride at a steady rate. As a result, your e-bike’s range will likely be a bit shorter than advertised.

You’ll get less range while mountain biking than while road riding. Riding on steep terrain or challenging trails requires more power than cruising on a flat road. If you’re planning to do a lot of off-road riding, you may want to look for an e-bike with a larger battery capacity or bring along an extra battery. Electric mountain bikes come with larger batteries than electric road bikes.

An electric mountain bike

16. Your Average Riding Speed

Riding fast reduces your range. This is mostly because of wind resistance. At speeds over 10 mph, air resistance becomes the main force acting against you. It takes more energy to overcome the air resistance. This reduces your range.

How to Estimate the Range of Your E-bike

To calculate the approximate range of your e-bike, start with the battery capacity. In most cases, the battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh). You’ll need to find this number. You can usually find it in your bike’s specifications.

If your battery is measured in volts (V) and amp hours (Ah), you can convert it into watt-hour by multiplying the volts and amp hours together. For example, if your battery is 48V 20Ah, it is 960 Wh (48V x 20Ah = 960Wh).

Next, you can estimate the range by dividing the watt-hours by an average efficiency number. You can use watt-hours per mile or watt-hours per kilometer. You’ll have to estimate this number based on how you ride and the conditions you ride in.

You might use anywhere from 10-25 Wh/mile. Many manufacturers use 20 Wh/mile to estimate the range of their e-bikes. On relatively flat terrain, you might use 15 Wh/mile. On hilly terrain, you might use 25 Wh/mile.

It’s important to note that this method won’t give you the exact range. It’s only an estimate. Your exact range depends on all of the factors outlined above. In my opinion, it’s better to use a higher number to give yourself a more conservative estimate.

In my experience, an e-bike with a 500W motor uses around 20 watt-hours per mile when ridden on relatively flat terrain at an average speed of around 20 mph or 32 km/h with a medium level of pedal assist. This means an e-bike with a 960Wh battery would get around 48 miles of range (960Wh / 20Wh/mile = 48 miles).

While riding your e-bike, track your range. Write down the mileage when you have a full battery then note the mileage when you recharge. Over time, you’ll learn your e-bike’s actual range under different conditions. Knowing your range can help you better plan out your rides.

A view of an electric bike from the handlebars
The handlebar-mounted display will tell you your estimated range

How is Electric Bike Range Measured?

Range is usually measured in Wh/mile (watt hour per mile) or Wh/km. This is the same metric that electric cars use.

Most e-bikes come with a handlebar mounted display. This display shows you your range in miles or kilometers as well as your battery power remaining.

The range that your e-bike indicates is estimated by the bike’s computer. The system calculates your range based on the amount of energy that is being drawn from the battery and the voltage remaining in the battery.

It’s important to note that the range that your bike shows you on the display is how far you can ride based on the current riding conditions. If the riding conditions change, the range may increase or decrease. In other words, it’s dynamic.

For example, if you’re riding up a steep hill and you crank up the pedal assist level, the range indicator will show a much lower range because you’re using more energy while climbing. If you’re descending a long hill and coasting, the range indicator will display a much higher number.

The range indicated won’t be 100% accurate. It is an estimate. While riding, it’s important to give yourself a bit of a buffer in case the actual range is lower than what the display indicates.

12 Ways to Improve the Range of an Electric Bike

An electric bike in a field

1. Use Pedal Assist Instead of the Throttle

The throttle uses more energy than pedal assist. This is because the motor does all of the work for you when you use the throttle. This drains your battery faster. When you use pedal assist, you’re doing part of the work. This conserves energy and extends your range.

To increase your range, only use the throttle when you need to. For example, if you need a bit of help accelerating, use the throttle. When you’re just cruising along on a flat stretch of road, use pedal assist instead.

2. Accelerate Gently

Faster acceleration uses more energy. This is because it requires more force to accelerate a given mass quickly. To improve your range, accelerate gently. This will conserve energy.

3. Pedal As You Accelerate

When you pedal while accelerating, the motor will use less energy since it’s not doing all of the work. If you ride a pedal assist e-bike, you have no choice but to pedal to accelerate.

With an e-bike with a throttle, you can choose to use the throttle to accelerate. This is easier on your knees but reduces your range.

4. Keep Your Tires Inflated to the Recommended Air Pressure

Keeping your tires properly inflated minimizes rolling resistance. Firmer tires create less friction with the ground. This means that less energy is required to keep the tires rolling. If your tires are too soft, they will create more friction and will take more energy to keep them rolling.

To improve range, make sure to keep your tires at their recommended pressure. You can find the recommended pressure on the side of your tires or in your e-bike’s owner’s manual.

5. Reduce Wind Resistance

There are a few ways to go about this. One way to reduce drag is to wear aerodynamic clothing such as a cycling jersey and bib shorts. These are designed to keep you aerodynamic. Baggy clothing creates drag.

You can also install aerodynamic handlebars, such as drop bars or aero bars. These allow you to crouch down lower which reduces the surface area exposed to the wind. This also reduces wind resistance.

6. Coast Whenever Possible

Whenever you can, try to coast or freewheel instead of powering your bike with the motor. This will help to conserve energy and improve your range. Coasting uses no battery power.

There are plenty of opportunities to coast. Whenever you’re approaching a stop light or stop sign, stop pedaling and start coasting. Allow yourself to slow down naturally. Of course, you can also coast down hills. Let gravity do the work for you.

7. Avoid Rough Terrain

To improve your range, stick to smooth roads, trails, and paths as much as possible. If you see a pothole or bump in the road, try to ride around it instead of over it.

Riding rough terrain uses more energy because you lose momentum when you hit an obstacle. It takes energy to speed back up again.

8. Try to Ride in the Optimal Gear

Try to use the most efficient gear for the terrain you’re riding. For example, when you’re climbing a hill, shift into a lower gear. This allows your motor to run at a higher RPM so it can handle the hill more efficiently. Before coming to a stop, shift into a low gear so you can easily and efficiently start pedaling again.

It’s important to note that shifting only helps if you’re riding an e-bike with a mid-drive motor. This is because mid-drive motors provide power through the drivetrain. Hub motors power the wheel directly and don’t benefit from the mechanical advantage of the gears.

Your range will still improve if you ride in the optimal gear, even if you ride a hub motor e-bike. This is because the right gear allows you to pedal more efficiently. Your pedal assist will be more efficient if you can pedal in the optimal gear.

An e-bike parked next to a lake
This e-bike has a removable battery mounted to the downtube. It would be possible to carry a spare in the rear pannier.

9. Buy a Larger Battery or a Second Battery

One of the best ways to improve your range is to buy a larger battery. Upgrading from a 500Wh battery to a 1000Wh battery will double your range. A 1000Wh battery has twice the capacity of a 500Wh battery.

Alternatively, you could buy a second battery and swap them out. On most e-bikes, you can easily swap out batteries. Some e-bikes have dual batteries so you can mount two batteries at once.

10. Pedal Instead of Using the Motor

When you pedal, you’re using your own energy. You can achieve much more range when you pedal part of the time instead of always using the motor.

Try to pedal whenever you can and save the motor for when you really need it. For example, when riding on flat ground or down a slight decline, consider switching off the pedal assist. This will help to improve your range significantly.

11. Use Regenerative Braking

Some electric bikes have regenerative braking systems. These systems capture energy from braking and convert it into battery power. They achieve this by creating resistance with the motor. The motor essentially acts as a generator.

Regenerative braking helps electric bikes recharge their battery. You can improve your range by around 5% if you use regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking systems are only available on some direct drive hub motor e-bikes. Mid-drive e-bikes and geared hub motor e-bikes usually can’t utilize regenerative braking. There are some exceptions.

12. Ride in Eco Mode

Most e-bikes come with an eco mode. Eco mode reduces the pedal assist level so that less power is used. In other words, the bike doesn’t provide as much assistance. This saves battery power.

Of course, this means riding will require more effort on your part. You will be able to ride further on a single charge when you ride in eco mode but you will have to work harder.

Black electric bike

Which Ebikes Have the Longest Range?

There are plenty of long range e-bikes on the market. If you need lots of range, a few of the best choices include:

  • Optibike R22 Everest- 300 miles or 483 kilometers

  • Delfast Top 3.0i- 200 miles or 322 kilometers

  • Raleigh Centros Tour- 128 miles or 205 kilometers

  • Trek Allant+ 9 Stagger- 124 miles or 200 kilometers

  • DŌST Kope- 120 miles or 193 kilometers

  • Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty 3- 109 miles or 175 kilometers

  • S-Works Turbo Creo SL- 80 miles or 128 kilometers

  • Himiway Zebra Fat Bike- 80 miles or 128 kilometers

  • Urtopia Chord- 74 miles or 120 kilometers

What is the Longest Range Electric Bike On the Market?

The longest range e-bike I’m aware of is the Optibike R22 Everest. This bike comes equipped with a massive 52V 3.3kWh battery. The manufacturer claims the bike can get up to 300 miles of range.

The R22 Everest gets its name because it is the “only ebike able to climb Mt. Everest on a single charge if there was a road”. If you want this amount of range you’ll have to spend over $18,000 for the bike.

A man carrying an electric bike up stairs

Should I Buy an E-bike with the Highest Range?

Not necessarily. Very few riders actually need 100+ miles of range. You shouldn’t buy an e-bike with a long range if you don’t need long range for the type of riding you do.

Think about how you plan to use the bike and how far you need to ride. For most people, an electric bike with 15-30 miles of range is sufficient for a daily commute or leisure riding. The average bike commuter only rides 3-4 miles one-way. You don’t need 50 miles of range for this.

There are situations where you’ll need a lot of range. For example, if you plan to use your e-bike for touring, you’ll need as much range as you can get. You’ll want a minimum of 60 miles of range to make touring possible.

If you plan to use your e-bike for a long commute, you’ll also need more range. Some e-bikers commute 15-20 miles one way. In this case, you’ll need an e-bike with at least 40-50 miles of range. If you’re able to charge at work, you could get by with less range.

It’s best to choose an ebike with an appropriate range because a large battery substantially increases the cost of the bike. Long range e-bikes are expensive.

For example, a 1000Wh battery might cost $800. A 500Wh battery might only cost $500. You could save $300 by choosing an e-bike with a smaller battery. The battery is the most expensive individual component of e-bikes. If you don’t need the extra range, you might as well save the money.

an electric bike motor

A Note About Regenerative Braking

With regenerative braking, the electric motor acts as a generator. It converts the kinetic energy of the bike’s motion into electricity that can be used to charge the battery.

Regenerative braking allows e-bikes to generate electricity while slowing down or coasting downhill. The electricity that is generated is sent back to the battery and charges it.

Regenerative braking only improves electric bike range by around 5% in most cases. It’s a nice feature to have but it is not required to achieve a long range.

Not all e-bikes are capable of regenerative braking. Mid-drives and most geared hub drives can’t do it. Many direct-drive hub motors are capable of regenerative braking.

A Note About Charge Times for Electric Bikes

The charge time can be almost as important as the e-bike riding range. If you can charge your e-bike quickly, the range doesn’t matter as much. You can just plug it in for a few minutes while you take a break or grab lunch then continue riding. All you need to charge your e-bike is your charger and a power outlet.

On average, a lithium-ion e-bike battery takes 4-6 hours to charge completely from 0% to 100%. There are quick-charge batteries available that can be charged 50% in under an hour. This gives you a good amount of range in a relatively short amount of time.

FAQ About E-bike Range

What If the Battery Runs Out While Riding My Ebike?

If your battery runs out mid-ride, you’re not stranded. You can pedal the bike normally until you reach a place where you can recharge.

If you’re pushing your range, it’s a good idea to carry your e-bike’s charger with you in case of emergencies. You can find an outlet to charge your electric bike at many restaurants, coffee shops, and stores.

Can I Ride an E-bike as a Regular Bike, Without Using the Electric Power?

Yes. You can ride an electric bike with a dead battery or when the motor is turned off. All electric bikes can be ridden without the motor and battery.

It’s important to note that an electric bike is slower and less efficient to ride than a traditional bike when you’re not using the motor. This is due to the extra weight of the motor and battery. You’re carrying an extra 20-30 pounds with you.

What is the Largest Ebike Battery Available?

The largest e-bike battery available is Optibike’s 52V 3260Wh battery on the R22 Everest. This is actually a dual battery setup.

These days, people are using their e-bikes for longer commutes. Larger batteries are becoming more widely available. E-bike batteries are available in sizes ranging from 1000-1250Wh.

If you need more capacity than that, your best option is to buy a second battery and swap them out when the first one runs out of power. You can store your backup battery in a pannier or on your rear rack. Some e-bikes have a dual battery setup.

Should I Charge My Ebike After Every Ride?

Whether or not you need to charge your battery after every ride really depends on how you use your e-bike and the level of charge when you return home. It’s best to charge your battery whenever the charge level drops to 20-60%.

Some manufacturers recommend that you charge your e-bike battery after every ride. If you do this, your e-bike will be ready to go at any time. This is convenient if you ride daily.

It’s best to avoid fully discharging your battery. If you do this frequently, it can decrease your battery’s capacity over time. It can damage the cells. If you do run the battery to 0%, you should recharge it as soon as possible. Running your battery empty regularly can reduce its lifespan.

Final Thoughts

E-bikes are a great way to get around town without relying on a car or public transportation. These days, most e-bikes get anywhere from 20-40 miles of range. Some higher-end models get as much as 50-100 miles of range.

Range can vary based on a range of factors including battery capacity, motor wattage, terrain, rider weight, the pedal assist setting, and your speed. As the battery ages, the range will also decrease. Your e-bike won’t always get the same range.

It’s also possible to improve the range of your electric bike by installing a larger capacity battery or riding more efficiently. Hopefully, this guide helps you get the most range out of your e-bike.

Do you ride an electric bicycle? What kind of range do you get? Share your experience in the comments below!

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