Electric bike range anxiety. 8 tips to put your mind at ease
"Will I make it?" "What if I'm late?" "And I've got the return journey to make!" As is the case for users of other electric vehicles, range anxiety is a nagging problem for riders of electric bikes.
Let's start with some good news. Unlike electric cars, if an electric bike battery does run out, the bike remains rideable, helping the rider reach their destination, albeit a bit later than desired!
But after experiencing the pleasing push of an electric bike, riding without assistance can feel like pedalling through treacle, especially with that dead battery on board. So, how best to preserve your battery for every bike ride? It's time we put your electric bike range anxiety to rest.
Take the maximum range figures with a pinch of salt.
There. We said it. The quoted range figures from manufacturers (we'll also mention them) are the best-case scenario. Several factors can affect the riding range of an electric bike. The type of ride, the riding surface, the weather, the terrain, the rider, any extra weight on board, and even the rubber compound of the bicycle's tyres; these variables might sound minute, but teamed together, they can drastically impact the performance of an electric bike battery.
Our advice, in this case, is to be realistic. Say your weekly commute will top 40 miles and your chosen e-bike has a range of 20-40 miles. You'll likely run out of juice before the weekend has welcomed you with open arms.
Make the most of different riding modes.
It might sound simple but start by making the most of the different riding (assistance) modes on an electric bike. Most electric bike motors have at least three different settings. The highest setting will provide the maximum amount of grunt but will suck power from the battery quicker than you can say: "Bosch PowerPack Lithium Ion 36V 500Wh". Switch to the lowest setting and watch those range numbers spiral upwards.
This advice is significant if a bike ride involves a variety of terrain or a pedal through stop-start traffic before reaching a quieter, less congested area. Use a higher setting when heading uphill or away from traffic lights. Then make the most of the lower settings when the terrain levels out, or you're not stopping every 30 seconds.
Alter your route
This tip is an expansion of the one above. Let's say you're planning a ride to a friend's house, and there are two routes. One is shorter but hillier - the other is longer but flatter. If the battery charge is a worry, we'd suggest taking the flatter route. The electric bike motor will have an easier job on its hands.
Sit up, slow down
Although this might seem counterintuitive, lowering average speeds can help increase the riding range of an electric bike. Let's dial up the Bosch eBike range assistant to illustrate this. Ride at 10mph on average rather than 15mph, and you could potentially extend the range by 18 miles.
Reduce unnecessary weight
Do you need to lug that ring binder of work files everywhere you go? Remove unnecessary items to ensure the e-bike motor doesn't work so hard to reach your usual riding speed.
Take care of your battery.
Care for your electric bike battery, and it'll repay you with better performance for longer. Store it carefully, don't leave it in direct sunlight - remove it when washing your bike. This topic is an electric bike subject that deserves more explanation. Read our journal: Electric bike battery care - 5 helpful tips.
Keep tyre pressures correctly inflated.
Running tyres below recommended inflation levels will increase rolling resistance and battery consumption. You can find the recommended PSI or Bar levels on the size of bike tyres.
Buy a spare charger
Although a spare electric bike charger might seem like a luxury, it may come to the rescue when your day takes an unexpected turn. They're small enough to leave in an office desk or locker and light enough to carry in a backpack or pannier bag.
Today most cafe and restaurant owners don't bat an eyelid when you ask about a plug to charge a battery. With a charger on board, the world is your oyster - at the very least, it should finally put any remaining range anxieties to bed.
There we have it - 8 tips to keep an electric bike rolling and you smiling for longer. Where next? Our electric bikes are a quick click or tap away.