Electric bike range: How far can you go?

by David Em
Last updated:

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Electric bikes show an approximate range. However, it can be confusing because there’s so much that goes into it. Find out how range works.

Person riding an electric bike on a mountain trail.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

What affects the range

Most electric bikes have a range between 25 and 50 miles on a single charge. However, many factors go into the actual range and how far you can go. That’s why it’s difficult to narrow down the range to an exact number.

Related: What are the 3 e-bike classes?

The actual range is affected by the total payload, tire pressure, average speed, assistance level, type of battery, hill grade, wind, road conditions, type of tire, and how often you stop and start.

For example, if you compare a fat tire e-bike with one that has slim tires, the fat tire e-bike will have less range. While it’ll give you more traction in different terrain, the resistance and heavier weight reduce the range.

Related: The best electric bikes in 2021

Another major factor is whether or not your e-bike has a hand throttle. If you’re using the handle throttle a lot, expect your battery to drain more quickly, reducing the total range.

How to estimate an e-bikes range

To estimate the range of an e-bike, you’ll need to know its battery capacity. Most e-bikes will show it as Watt-hours or Wh. Some e-bikes will also show it as a combination of volts and amp-hours. To get the Watt-hours, multiply the volts by amp hours.

For example, if an e-bike has a 48V 10Ah battery, multiply 48 by 10. That means it has a 480Wh battery capacity.

Once you’ve figured out what the battery capacity is, you’ll need to know the efficiency. It’s expressed as Watt-hours per mile or Wh/mi.

The efficiency will depend on your riding style and how much assistance you’re using. When you’re using a lot of assistance, the Watt-hours per mile number will be higher than a small amount of assistance.

Once you have the figure for Watt-hours per mile, divide the total Watt-hours by the Watt-hours per mile to get the range in miles.

The equation is Watt-hours/Watt-hours per mile = Range in miles.

To put it all together in an example, say you have an e-bike with a battery capacity of 500Wh. If you’re using a higher assistance level, you may have an efficiency of 25 Wh/mi. To get the range, divide 500 by 25, which results in 20 miles of range.

If you’re using less assistance, you may have an efficiency of 10Wh/mi. Using the same battery capacity, divide 500 by 10, which results in 50 miles of range.

Remember, there are factors that negatively impact your range, such as the terrain and constantly stopping and starting. However, the formula gives you a good estimate of how far you can go on an e-bike.

Which e-bike has the longest range?

The Delfast Top 3.0 electric bike has the longest range. It’s a Guinness World Record holder, as it has a range of 200 miles on a single charge. It has the styling of a dirt bike and a top speed of 50 mph. The e-bike is designed for riding on trails.

Some options may cause the Delfast Top 3.0 to be classified as a moped or motorcycle. Make sure you’re compliant with the legal aspect of it. It may require licensing, registration, and insurance.

The runner-up is any DŌST bike. It comes with a 750W mid-drive motor and a dual-battery option for 120 miles of range.

Bottom line

While many factors go into an e-bikes range, understanding how to calculate an estimated range based on battery capacity and efficiency will help you compare e-bikes.

A larger battery capacity will offer more power and range. With time and as your battery ages, the capacity may decrease. By knowing how to calculate the range, you’ll be able to find the best e-bike for you.

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Featured image courtesy of Canva.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder and editor-in-chief of Hello E-Bikes, the destination for electric bike reviews, comparisons, gear, and tips.

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