7 Different Types of E-Bike Batteries


Without a working battery, an electric bike simply won’t move. However, not every type of battery is suitable for your electric bike. With the rapid developments in battery technologies, it’s sometimes a challenge deciding which type is superior to the other. To help you out below is an analysis of the different types of batteries.

1. Lead-acid Batteries (SLA)

These batteries are inexpensive and easily recyclable. They are nonetheless fragile and too sensitive to rough handling. As a result, they have a very short lifespan. Avoid them if you want to get the most out of your bike, such as riding it to work.

Lead-acid batteries are very heavy. They are double the weight of NiMH batteries and thrice as heavy as lithium batteries. Lithium and nickel batteries last twice as long. In most cases, if you come across a heavily discounted electric bike, chances are it has a lead-acid battery.

2. Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

As noted above, NiCd batteries are far more superior in terms of performance than lead-acid batteries. However, NiCd batteries are not only more expensive, but the cadmium in them is also a dangerous pollutant and stubborn to recycle.

They, however, last twice as long as lead-acid batteries. Unfortunately, since they are such intransigent pollutants and difficult to recycle, NiCd batteries are becoming obsolete.

3. Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries

Compared to NiCd batteries, NiMH batteries are superior in terms of efficiency, but they cost more. While some people contend that NiMH batteries are no better than NiCd, they nonetheless last longer than the latter and are easy to dispose of. NiMH batteries are becoming rare in a market dominated by Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

4. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries

Li-ion batteries control over 90% of the electric bike batteries market. However, it is not easy to choose one type over the other since Li-ion batteries come in different types. An advantage of Li-ion batteries is that they have a superior performance and last longer than other batteries.

They are, however, highly sensitive and require specialized handling as they can easily catch fire. The manufacturer can, however, mitigate this downside, but at a cost; making it a very expensive battery.

5. Lithium-ion Polymer (Li-pol) Batteries

Li-pol batteries are as good as Li-ion batteries in terms of price, weight and range. They, however, come in various interesting shapes. Since they do not contain any liquid, unlike other batteries, you don’t have to carry them in heavy protective cases. They are more stable and less vulnerable to overcharging, abuse, and damage.

6. Lithium Cobalt (LCO) Batteries

LCO batteries are also relatively new. Those who swear by them say they have a higher energy density compared to other lithium batteries. They are also light and compact.

7. Lithium Manganese (LiMg204) Batteries

This battery is also a new entrance into the market. The technology used to is similar to that used to manufacture the Nissan Leaf hybrid car. Some people swear it is the best e-bike battery and that it is superior to the others in terms of performance and durability.

While most people agree that lithium batteries are the best, your choice depends on what your biggest concern is. For safety and range, go for Li-ion batteries. For optimal energy density, the LCO would do just fine. However, for a battery geared towards safety and performance, the relatively new LiMg204 is perfect. Finally, if you are looking for aesthetics in terms of cool shapes, the Li-pol will trump the others.

It is not easy to settle on one type of e-bike battery over the other. Each has its diehard fans who swear by its efficiency, power and durability. Nonetheless, although lithium cobalt batteries have a higher energy density, lithium manganese batteries are safer and friendlier to the environment.

Dean is a self-professed tech geek with a fondness for computers, video games, and any novelty tech-savvy gadgets.