Range anxiety is a real thing when you rely on your wheels to get around. Getting a bigger battery isn’t always an option so there has to be an alternative. Luckily we’ve got some tried and tested tips to improve Electric Bike range you can do today!
How To Improve Electric Bike Range?
Electric bike range is mostly about your battery. Keeping it in the right conditions and at the right charge is going to make a big difference. At the same time, there are a few things you can do to change up your own riding that will help.
1 – Charge At The Ready
Try to have your bike’s battery fully charged an hour to a day before you use it. Being fully charged (80-90%) gives the best range but batteries get hot while charging. Give it a little time to cool down as they are less efficient when hot.
However if you’re leaving your E-Bike without use for longer periods of time, you shouldn’t leave it fully charged. For optimal battery life, most manufacturers recommend leaving batteries at around 60% if you won’t be using it for a while.
Conversely, never let E-Bike batteries discharge too low. Much like a car battery, below around 30% can kill the cells.
2 – Pedal More
Try and do as much of the pedaling as you can handle. While most of the point of an Electric Bike is that you don’t need to do all of the work, don’t leave everything to the motor. The more you can do, the better.
Consider dropping down one level of assist from what you normally use if you need the battery to last longer. You can even turn the assist off on smooth downhill sections to let it recover a little.
If you don’t need to use the throttle: don’t. Using throttle (especially from a standstill) is the biggest draw on battery. Different Electric Bike classes have different throttle or pedal assist allowances, but most just have both.
3 – Tire Check
If you’re using an off-road bike like an eMTB or fat tire to get around on very flat ground it won’t be very efficient. City riding on smooth concrete with very textured tread will mean a less smooth ride that won’t be as efficient.
Vice versa, if your tires are too smooth for off-roading you’ll find the tire slipping. As a result you’ll have to pedal or use the motor more to stay upright. If you have the time you can switch tires when needed.
A lot of E-Bikes are all-rounders and get used for a bit of everything. So as a result many bikes have tires that are a happy medium between on-road and off-road. That being said, make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Don’t underinflate and don’t overinflate. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines or the tire wall for the correct pressure and keep an eye out to check you don’t lose pressure – indicating a small puncture.
The absolute highest pressure isn’t necessarily the most efficient. Around 80-90% of the max is a good bet.
4 – Keep Cool
Don’t let your battery sit in the heat or the cold. This will drain charge, eventually kill cells, and make the battery less efficient. If you store your bike somewhere that isn’t a nice, moderate temperature – take the battery out and bring it inside.
5 – Stay Smooth
Your style of riding makes a big difference to range. Much like driving a car, you want to think about smooth acceleration and deceleration, straight lines or smooth corners, and keeping aerodynamic.
Our best tips for riding your E-Bike more efficiently are:
- Sit in a forward position with the seat higher. A more laid-back, scooter-style seating position means your body acts as a sail, adding lots of wind resistance. Find the right position for you.
- Keep your wheel straight and minimize weaving on straight, clear roads.
- Plot your immediate route out and avoid hard corners. Think like a professional driver and take turns wider when safe to do so.
- Accelerate slowly. Using the highest pedal assist setting and pulling on the throttle every time you need to start from standing is a great way to drain battery.
- When starting from a stop, do the pedaling and changing gears yourself until the bike is moving. Then you can add some power to increase your top speed.
6 – Keep It Clean
Regularly check your bike to make sure nothing is jamming up the chain, gears, or wheels. If you’re like me and cycle on poorly-maintained cycle paths or trails a lot, you might find sticks and dirt somehow accumulate in all the wrong places.
Do little maintenance checkups after big rides, use a degreaser when needed, and lube your chain regularly for a smoother and more efficient ride. This last bit alone makes a huge difference.
7 – Drop The Weight
If you’re carrying around extras or panniers you don’t need, drop anything you can get away with. Sometimes you’ll need to carry cargo- which is totally fine. Just make sure you use a rack or bag instead of a backpack.
Evenly distribute the weight on the left and right and keep everything strapped down and secure. Wobbly or loose cargo (like a backpack) wastes energy.
8 – Upgrade Your Battery
If all else fails, the biggest difference will be made by just getting a newer battery. Batteries discharge over time and it could be that you’ve run your battery down too much for it to recover properly.
Getting a newer, bigger battery could cost less than you think as prices go down with more technological refinements. Getting a larger or a higher voltage battery (check your controller for what voltage it can take) is a sure way to increase your range.
9 – Be Ready
Take your charger if you know you’re going on a long journey and have time to stop off. Find a café and borrow an outlet, or badger your office into providing somewhere for you to charge it.
Many manufacturers also offer extra batteries when you first buy your bike. Check out our picks for the Best Electric Bikes For The Money for some. Taking an extra doesn’t add that much weight and could be the solution if you are out on longer rides.