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Can You Add a Bigger Battery to an E-Bike to Increase Range and Speed?

When it comes to the hobby of Electric Bikes, we’re all trying to get the most bang for our buck and improve performance. So the question often arises, can you add a bigger battery to an e-bike to increase range and speed?

You can put a bigger battery on your e-bike for more range, and in some cases, more speed, but it’s not a DIY-friendly project. You may want to get a bike with expandable battery storage upfront if you’d like to have this feature.

Keep reading to learn more about what affects your performance, batteries, and how to improve the range of your electric bike!

How Does Battery Life Affect E-Bike Performance?

removing electric bike battery from frame

Battery life relates to the number of total charges (0 to 100%) a battery can withstand before it can no longer function. Your Battery life cycle will affect overall performance. A battery nearing the end of its life cycle will not last as long or hold a charge as well.

The life expectancy of an e-bike battery is going to be based on battery type. The most common types of batteries are:

  • Lithium batteries are the most common type of battery and hold roughly 1,000 charge cycles.
  • Nickle batteries can expect around 500 charge cycles.
  • Lead batteries will come in around 300 charge cycles.

Although the battery life cycle is essential and will affect performance, the battery capacity and range are crucial to look for in a battery. The range is how far you can expect to travel on a single charge, and the capacity is how long it will last.

Not all brands and manufacturers are accurate when describing their model’s range, but for a general rule of thumb, here are some numbers:

  • 250-500Wh: In this range, your bike will be pretty basic and standard. You can expect to travel up to 25 miles on a single charge.
  • 500-800Wh: In this range, you start to dip your toes into the higher end. You’ll typically be able to get 30+ miles out of a single charge.
  • 800+Wh: This is the premium and luxury range for batteries. You can expect to consistently travel over 40 miles with this type of battery.

Think of capacity as a gas tank on a car; the more the tank can hold, the longer you can travel. The same goes for battery capacity; the bigger capacity, the more distance you can cover.

If you’re considering upgrading your current e-bike with a bigger battery, make sure you look into the capacity and range. 

Can You Retrofit An Electric Bike With A Bigger Battery?

Not all electric bike batteries are interchangeable.

There’s a lot that goes into an electric bike. If you have the knowledge and skill, you may be able to outfit a bike with a different battery. But, for most people and many models of bikes, the battery will be built into the bike itself.

Let’s take the Core-5 Model from Ride1Up, for example. This model comes with a removable integrated battery that you can upgrade, but only with parts from the manufacturer.

To boost this battery and get more out of your bike, you would have to spend around $500, which is nearly half the price of the bike itself.

Now take a look at the ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike (on Amazon). This bike has an externally mounted battery making it easy to remove and swap out.

Because of this externally mounted system, you wouldn’t necessarily have to go with battery options from the same manufacturer. This external system would allow you to have more freedom and ease when upgrading the battery. 

Are Batteries Of Different Voltages (36v, 48v, 52, Etc.) Interchangeable?

Black electric bike li-ion downtube battery isolated with clipping path

This question is a bit complicated because it depends heavily on your model and manufacturer. Depending on the type of controller you have, you may be able to accept 24v-36v or 36v-48v. You’ll have to look up your model’s specific details to be sure.

The worry here is the higher voltage battery burning out the motor and electronics. Running a higher voltage battery in a model that doesn’t support it can burn out the motor causing permanent damage.

That being said, many manufacturers build in significant margins of safety, allowing for these types of things. Be sure to always check your model and manufacturer to avoid damage to your electric bike.

Adding More Cells (Expanding) An Existing Battery

Adding more cells to an existing battery is no simple task and is not beginner-friendly. If you are looking for an upgrade, going with a higher-end model will be better in the long run.

When it comes to adding more cells to an existing battery, you have to know what you’re doing. Lithium-Ion Cells can be particularly dangerous, potentially causing min explosions. Assuming you don’t encounter explosions, adding extra battery cells can lead to imbalance problems, early cell death, and potential battery failure.

The bottom line is, do not try this if you do not know what you are doing. Adding more cells can ruin your battery and be potentially life-threatening.

Will Adding A Bigger Battery Increase Both Speed And Range?

Man removes electric bike battery close up on white background

When it comes to increasing speed and range, adding a bigger battery is no simple task and is much more complex than it seems.

To put it simply, adding a bigger battery can be potentially fatal, damage your bike, or be a very complex issue that isn’t worth the hassle. To increase the speed of your bike, you have to add battery capacity in a certain way.

Capacity doesn’t necessarily mean more speed but can represent more range. Watt-hours is a measurement used to determine the capacity of a battery pack, allowing you to gauge the range. To calculate, multiply the voltage by the amp hours on the pack. An example would be a 36-volt 10ah battery pack that would have 360 Watt-Hours (36 x 10 = 360.) Let’s say each mile you traveled used about 20 Watt-Hours; you would then be able to travel 18 miles.

In theory, if you have a bigger battery with an increased capacity, you will be able to travel longer. Although, this is no simple task and should be left to professionals. But, what are the best ways to increase your E-Bike range without adding a bigger battery?

What Are The Best Ways To Increase E-Bike Range?

When it comes to electric bikes, how the bike is used is just as crucial to the battery and motor. The surface you’re riding on, the way you handle the bike, and even the wind can all affect the range of your bike.

1. Pedal More. Pedaling more, especially when coming out of a complete stop, will take the load off your motor, which will then take the burden off your battery. Another great time to pedal is when going up a hill; this will not only add power but help the battery immensely.

2. Coasting. Coasting can be a great way to save battery life, and in turn, increase range. Just as you would in a car approaching a red light, you gradually slow down, cruising to a complete stop. You can apply this to your riding to gain more range.

3. Flatter Terrain. The terrain in which you’re riding has a definite impact on the range of your e-bike. Going up hills and rough terrain will cause your battery to use more power, effectively draining it faster. Aim to ride on flat and smooth terrain if your commute allows it.

4. Avoid Wind. Just like terrain, nature is going to play a force in your range. Going downwind will give you an extra boost of speed and take some load off the battery. On the flip side, riding into a headwind will cause your battery to use more power. Try changing routes on incredibly windy days.

5. Keep Up With Maintenance. Keeping up with the maintenance of your electric bike is a surefire way to get the most out of it. Make sure the tires are adequately filled to avoid drag. Be sure to check the brakes aren’t coming loose and rubbing against the tire. This can cause extra friction, which can negatively impact your performance.

6. Don’t Use Hard Acceleration. Speeding up too fast can use unnecessary energy from the battery. Instead, accelerate slowly, building up to a cruise speed. This will ensure you get the most mileage out of your battery.

7. Reduce Weight. The more weight your motor is having to push, the more power you’ll use up. Reducing the weight you hold on a trip can improve your range significantly. Try checking your bag to make sure you’re not carrying anything extra or unnecessary. 

8. Get A Spare Battery. One of the best ways to get the most out of your e-bike is to purchase a spare battery. You can carry the extra battery with you on your rides, effectively doubling your mileage.

Is Adding One Bigger Battery Better Than A Spare Small One?

Another way to look at this question is not to consider which option is better but more practical.

Installing a more extensive battery can be as simple as purchasing an upgrade from the manufacturer to an incredibly complex issue left to professionals. The more practical option, on the other hand, might be to keep a spare battery with you.

Purchasing an identical replacement battery to use as a spare can effectively double the range of each trip. Spares are a great way to get more out of your e-bike.

There can be some downsides to this as well. One thing to note is, e-bike batteries can weigh anywhere from 3 pounds to 12. Carrying this extra weight in a backpack could become cumbersome and even affect the overall performance of your bike.

Another thing to take into account is how you will handle charging the spare battery. You’ll most likely have to buy some type of external charger for your extra battery. External chargers can add to the cost and affect how you store both your bike and batteries.

One of the positives to getting a spare is having a replacement In case anything goes wrong. Having an identical reserve can not only increase your range but act as a back in case of failure. This can save you headaches and worry in the future.

When it comes to getting a bigger battery or a spare, a spare is typically going to be a much easier and safer investment. That being said, the choice is up to you!

How Much Do Replacement E-Bike Batteries Cost?

Electric Bike batteries are going to vary in cost but typically range anywhere between $200 and $900+. This range depends on the brand, capacity, and quality of the battery.

Let’s take a battery like the BtrPower 36V 48V Ebike Battery (on Amazon), for example. This battery comes in at 48V and 10AH and is priced very reasonably. You won’t be getting the backing of a high-grade name brand, but this battery boasts 20-30 miles per charge.

Now for a more notable brand, BAFANG (on Amazon). This battery comes in a fairly higher price range. At its highest option, 52V and 17.5AH, it should travel around 45 miles on a full charge. That’s a significant increase from the lowest price point.

With options nearing $800+, you’re going to be shelling out more for the brand and quality. The mid-range price of $400-$600 should complete the job very well.

Another factor that will alter the price of your battery will be if it’s an external or integrated battery. For an integrated in-tube battery, you could be paying significantly more than an external option.

Keep in mind that although there can be a hefty price upfront, buying a replacement battery is a great option. Purchasing a replacement battery can effectively double your range and give you peace of mind in case of disaster. The decision will be up to you and your budget, but we highly recommend purchasing a spare!


Friday 22nd of September 2023

Adding a bigger battery can potentially be fatal? How so? Also, you can't spell 'Nickel". Who writes this crap.