- Okay, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. Make sure your battery is fully charged. The reason I mention this is because sometimes it is easy to forget about charging your battery after a hard day at work. Create a routine so that you immediately plug in your battery when you get home.
- Pedal harder! This may be obvious too but it needs to be mentioned. For instance you may need to run some extra errands and realize that you don’t have that much juice (charge in your battery) left. You could reduce the assist setting (or use less throttle) and pedal more to compensate for a low battery. I have limped my e-bike home this way without totally draining the battery.
Another big tip is to pedal harder at the right time. A lot of energy is consumed when you accelerate from a stop. If you pedal hard to get your bike off the line this will help conserve your battery energy. Additionally, hills take a lot of energy so pedaling a little harder on the hills will help improve your range.
- Take it easy and enjoy a slow ride. Wind resistance can really drain you and your battery’s energy. If you need to extend your range, riding a little slower will reduce the wind drag. Oh yeah and riding slower is usually safer!
- Consider a second charger. If you have a long commute to work and errands to run, you may need more range than your battery can provide. You could have a charger at work so that you can recharge during the day. And if your boss is concerned about the electricity bill you can tell them it will cost pennies to charge your e-bike battery!
- Buy a second battery? If you have a really long commute or ride route that you like to do it may be worth buying a second battery to add to your bike. Some electric bike manufacturers offer the option of adding a second battery to double your range. Check with your local shop or e-bike manufacturer for more info.
- Keep your tire pressure up. This will make a big difference in how much energy (electric & human) is required to move you and your e-bike around. Low tire pressure can make your electric bike feel sluggish. For normal city style e-bikes I recommend a tire pressure of 50-60 psi. Don’t over inflate your tires though because it can lead to a very rough ride! Here is a floor pump I recommend.
- Replace your old battery. If you have had your e-bike and battery for a while, the amount of energy your battery can hold will most likely have decreased. I recommend replacing your battery once the decreased range gets annoying. Your local electric bike shop can help you with this or you could contact your e-bike manufacturer.
- Use the regenerative braking feature. Some electric bike systems have a regenerative braking feature (Bionx for example) that turns the motor into a generator in order to act like a brake and put a little bit of charge back into your battery. Typically this is activated by a sensor on one of the brake levers (usually the rear brake lever). Please note that there is debate in the e-bike world as to how much energy is actually recaptured using regenerative braking.
- Take care of your battery! If you can, store your battery at room temperature. Batteries don’t like really cold or hot temperatures. In general it is a good idea to charge your battery often to keep it topped off. If you don’t ride your electric bike much in the winter, store your battery fully charged and charge it every couple of months. Try not to leave it plugged in for more than 24 hrs.
- Oil your chain. This will improve your pedaling efficiency and if you have a motor that powers through the cranks of your bike (Panasonic or Bosch for example) it will improve your motor’s efficiency too. After you oil your chain let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe off the excess oil with a rag.
Acknowledging Pete (Electric Bike Report) for this article