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If you're just starting to shop E-bikes, you'll hear how important, the range is, but it differs from one bike to the next. How do you chose? All brand indicate an estimated range, but they don't all calculate it the same way.
WHAT IS E-BIKE RANGE?
E-bike range is pretty much the same as evaluating how far a car can go with a full tank of fuel, taking in consideration how many miles per gallon the engin consumes. But just like for a car with a fuel tank, you know the Km per gallon won't always be the same depending if you drive in the city or on the highway...or if you carry a heavy trailer on hilly roads!
Just like a car, the E-bike motor can be more or less energy consuming, depending on how powerful it is and instead of fuel, it consumes Watthours, the battery being the "tank".
On top of the speed at which the motor consumes the energy from the battery, other factors will influence the range as our example of the car dragging a trailer will burn a lot more fuel per kilometer, then the brochure suggests.
It's the same for E-bikes, you'll have the transmission that will play a part but with another layer on top: the assistance comes in different levels et spends the energy differently too. This creates another variable: each person will use the assistance in a very personal way and thus, the energy spent will differ accordingly.
These are variables that will influence the way the battery gets depleted of energy:
An E-bike carrying 300lbs (kids' trailer, grocery bags, etc.) vs a 130lbs cyclist: the range will not be the same for both even if they are riding the same bike, on the same path at the exact same speed, gear and assist level.
Gravity wins, always! Riding upward on steep hills, really long ones or both, will deplete the battery faster than on flat ground of course.
Sounds silly? Not at all, anyone riding along a winding path such as the Saint Lawrence river banks knows all the well the resistance you have to fight with!!! Your E-bike will help you fight against it but it will use more energy to do it, just like you get tired a lot faster when you have to fight those frontal wind all by yourself with no motor assistance.
Now that you know all that can affect how a battery is spent, fabricants who want to give you an idea of the range their E-bikes offer, have to base it pre-determined variable to establish a baseline, in order to give you an estimate. Pretty much all companies calculates as so:
With the exception of Gazelle, who calculates their range with a rider + bagage (250lbs), a few hils, a little wind, a few stops.
So when a company suggests MAXIMUM RANGE, it's not the average range, it's not the garanteed range, it's the maximum POSSIBLE range: the longest possible distance in the best possible conditions
Although different companies can claim 115km range, they may have different range still. A great indicator though, are the Amp/hour (Ah) of the battery, that determines the capacity for a battery to maintain its charge.
Knowing all this, when you see an estimated range on a E-bike, don't take it literally. Keep in mind your own personal reality when you shop for an E-bike.
Think of your own routes and paths, the distance, the weight you're likely to carry and consider that depending on the conditions, the range will not even be the same from one ride to the next.
So how do you figure out what range you'll need for your E-Bike? Look at what you are currently capable of doing on a regular bike and make that two and a half (regular bike 20km -> E-bike 50 km). That is what you are likely to be able to do with an E-bike. More so on the long run but that's a good place to start. Then, add a good 20km to that, to make sure those days when you are just a bit more tired so you need to use higher assist level, AND it's windy, AND you have hills, AND you happened to carry grocery (the worst possible conditions) you still have enough battery to make it home.
If you are just getting back on the saddle after years of not cycling at all, consider renting an E-bike for a day, to give you a chance to evaluate what range you'll need for real.
You can always talk to one of our experts when you are ready to evaluate the range that you need for your futur E-bike, we'll hep you make the best possible choice for your needs, so you won't have buyers' remorse.
Hoping those infos were useful!
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions: 1-877-683-3338
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