Let’s say you’re cycling from one side of town to the other. You may have some concerns with the range of your ebike. It’s a problem for sure. So let us find out how to increase ebike range when you really need it!
Ebikes come in so many different shapes and sizes now.
Some with large displays.
Others with small motors.
And some with all the extra bells and whistles you never knew you needed!
But none of that matters if you’re 20 miles from home and have 20% of your battery remaining.
So how can you “supersize” your remaining ebike battery charge and increase your ebike range!?
Here are my top 10 tips to increase ebike range!
1. Pedal more
It’s no secret that your ebike is first and foremost a bike!
That means in addition to your fancy motor and battery, you also have good old-fashioned pedals!
Pedalling is a surefire way to increase your ebike range at least twice as much!
When you pedal, you’re doing some of the work that would have otherwise needed to be provided by the motor.
Less work for the motor means less required charge from your battery.
And hey presto! You have yourself instant extra mileage.
A very important fact to consider is if you’re pedalling when you’re moving off from a stop and accelerating.
Accelerating using the ebike motor is hard work for it, and consumes significant energy.
If you can start pedalling yourself to get up to speed, then let the motor take over to stay at the speed. You’ll save a lot more battery charge and increase your overall range!
Alternatively, try and keep a constant speed and avoid stopping and starting all the time. It takes much less energy to maintain a certain speed than it does to accelerate to that speed.
2. Use less throttle
Maybe you’re a little throttle happy (I know I certainly am!) and your battery is running out a bit quicker than you hoped.
The answer boils down to – use your throttle less! Or turn down your pedal assist, if you roll that way.
Less throttle use means you have to pedal more to go faster, which is great your mileage.
Also worthwhile to consider is being more smooth with the throttle. If you go for maximum throttle every time, it’s using a lot of energy. If you smoothly accelerate and use the throttle gently all the time, you’ll use less energy compared to full throttle every time you want to accelerate.
Coasting is another great way to increase ebike range because it means that you won’t need to start from a stop every time you see a red light ahead. Or when you see something you have to wait to avoid.
If you’re coming to a red light, just as in your car if you coast instead of jamming the brakes at the last second you’ll maintain some speed.
If you keep up some speed, it means that when the light turns green or an obstacle is out of your way, you can smoothly accelerate. Except, instead of accelerating from zero, you’ll still have some speed. This reduces the power needed to get you back up to your cruising speed!
4. Slow down
So we know that using your throttle heavily or relying on the bike to propel you uses energy.
But did you also know that speed is a significant aspect of power consumption also?
As an example, if you were riding your road ebike at 15mph on a flat road, it would need about 188 watts of power.
Compared to riding 25mph, you would use 760 watts.
That 15mph could get you about 40 miles on an average sized (500wh) battery.
25mph would get you 16 miles on that same, fully charged battery.
Sure you’ll get where you’re going quicker, but you won’t get anywhere near as far!
So take a look at how fast you’re going next time. If you’re relying on motor power alone, slow down and go much further!
If you add in some human-powered pedalling, you’ll be going a lot further too.
5. Take a different route
Riding on a flat road is much easier than trudging uphill.
Riding 10mph on a 6% slope will use 404% more energy than riding flat at 10mph.
This means if you normally ride over a hill (up and back down, not just up!) you’re much better off to go around the hill if you can.
You’ll be using significantly less energy to ride on a flat road. Even though it might take you twice as long, it’ll save you more battery charge for later.
6. Start your journey fully charged
In my other articles, I have said that you should charge your battery to 80%. And in general, you should!
But if you’re serious about getting the most mileage from your bike (for a one-off trip, or emergency) you should charge your battery to 100%.
Being at 100% battery means you have access to the maximum possible amount of energy for the duration of your ride.
This ultimately takes you a lot further than if you have less battery charge to start off with.
7. Swap out for a bigger battery
If you’re trying to squeeze every last mile out of your battery every time you use it, you may need a larger battery.
A larger battery is obvious if you want to increase your range because it can hold more energy to use.
Not only will your range increase, but you’ll also have a spare battery now!
If you carry around a spare battery when you’re on those extra long commutes or day trips, your mind can be at rest. You know that you have a spare battery to get you those last few miles.
If you want to learn more about battery sizes, check out my article here.
8. Maintain your bike (chain lube)
Bike maintenance is something you should probably be doing anyway.
But if you’re worried about getting as much mileage as possible out of your battery, then you should definitely be keeping up with bike maintenance.
A significant source of friction in your bike is the drivetrain and tires.
And friction is hindering your quest for mileage!
To reduce friction in your drivetrain, you should be using chain lube. At least once a month if you commute or use your ebike regularly. This will keep your chain and gears in the optimal condition, allowing you to squeeze out those extra few miles.
For your tires, keep them inflated to the maximum pressure written on them. If you have under-inflated tires it causes more rolling resistance with the ground. This increases the energy required to move!
So staying pumped up to the correct pressure means you’ll save more energy overall.
A road tire is often fully inflated around 100psi, where a mountain bike tire is somewhere around 60psi.
The maximum pressure should be written on the sidewall of the tire!
9. Be Careful Of Wind
Riding around in the wind can be fun for some. But you have to be careful of where you’re biking if you want to increase your range.
Biking into a headwind can severely reduce your ebike range. Likewise, biking with a tailwind will significantly increase your range.
So while you or I cannot control the wind direction, we can control which direction we bike!
If you can, try going down different streets or directions if you notice a headwind (even if it doesn’t feel strong to you!)
This will give you a much greater range!
And less windchill too, which is always great to avoid in those cold winter months!
10. Invest in a wattmeter
If you’re super worried about a long ride you have coming up, you should invest in a wattmeter.
A wattmeter is a device that you can wire to your ebike that will let you know how much energy is being used at any given time.
This means you can monitor in real time, how much energy you’re using at any speed. On any hill. How much energy you’re using when pedalling (or not) and how much battery charge you have left.
While not strictly necessary to increase your ebike range directly, it does allow you to change your behaviour.
If you notice that you’re using a lot of battery on your first half of the trip, you can cut down on your speed to save battery.
Alternatively, if you notice you have a lot of juice left, you can go hard out for the remainder of your trip.
It’s all about the flexibility that is offered with a wattmeter that you just don’t get with normal ebike displays.
If you want to grab a wattmeter, hands down the ultimate wattmeter is the Cycle Analyst.
It can give you speed, distance and time. Watts used total, current usage, voltage remaining and energy remaining!
You will not be let down!
Final Thoughts: How To Increase Ebike Range
You’ve just finished work. You need to bike home. But your ebike is only on 20% battery.
Using a combination of techniques we’ve just talked about. Such as pedalling more, coasting, taking a slightly different route or slowing down. You can easily take that 20% and stretch it all the way home.
Even in the worst circumstances, you’ll find these tricks useful to get that last mile out of your battery.
Do you have any other special tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay charged and bike for longer, friends!