A majority of car trips in Germany takes place within a 40 km radius. You could also cover this range by pedelec. Depending on the equipment even a 100 km long reach is possible by use of an e-bike or a pedelec. The main features are battery, weight and route. While planning long bike tours you should however regard some factors as listed below and thus optimize the type of bicycling. If the batteries of your pedelec are detachable you could bring a spare battery on your bike tour.

The battery is the determinant to calculate the range of a pedelec. The stored energy of the battery is measured in watt-hour (Wh). When buying a pedelec keep in mind: The bigger the Wh-value the greater the range. When you compare different pedelecs you should consider that different engines have different powers and therefore consume different amounts of energy.

The range of an e-bike or a pedelec is essentially directed towards the assistance the cyclist needs. The more engine power the shorter the range. Conversely, the more I pedal the longer the range. Therefore you should make sure that the pedal assist of a pedelec is adjustable via a lever at the handlebar. Pedelecs often outrange e-bikes because the latter consume more electricity due to their greater power.

Furthermore range is dependent on the efficiency of the engine, which means: how much of the stored energy can actually be translated into kinetic energy or into power?

Besides technical factors such as engine, level of assistance and battery – range also depends on external factors like road surface and the consequent rolling resistance. Sitting position, clothes related to aerodynamics and total weight of cyclist and additional load are also very important.

Realistically speaking it is possible to attain a range of 40-140 kilometers with today’s models. As you can see from/at this margin, a concrete statement about range is only possible individually.

Summarizing, the following factors are important for range:

- Terrain

  • Road surface or ground conditions 
  • Outside temperature 
  • Tailwind or headwind 
  • Road profile

- Cyclist and Assistance

  • weight of cyclist 
  • clothes 
  • braking behavior 
  • total weight including additional load

- engine power and efficiency
- personal effort for pedalling
- battery

  • charging capacity of battery 
  • energy recovery (recuperation) via brakes

Manufacturers of e-bikes and pedelecs frequently test their bikes under ideal circumstances and accordingly release good results of range. But these statements are just as vague as the statements of gas consumption of a car. However, it is not certain how road conditions are during the actual usage, how much total weight the vehicle has and how weather conditions are during the testing. Many manufacturers test the range on following conditions:

  • Speed 20 km/h 
  • uneven ground but without incline 
  • calm 
  • dry asphalt 
  • sufficient tire pressure, perfect technology 
  • body weight about 70 kg 
  • outside temperature 20-25 °C ( 68-77 °F) 
  • low level of assistance via electric engine

You might call them „ideal conditions“. As soon as the above-mentioned conditions change just a little bit – range can decrease quickly. Depending on the ascents, the battery of an e-bike - with a supposedly range of 100 km - can be dead after only 35 km. Make sure to examine the capacity of the battery before you buy it. It is specified in watt-hour and gives you at least a first indication. The connection between watt-hour and range can easily be calculated through a formula.

  • personal effort (W) x level of assistance in % = power (W)
  • power (W) x loss of power in % = required power (W) 
  • capacity of battery (Wh) / required power (W) = number of cycling hours (h) 
  • number of cycling hours (h) x average speed (km/h) = range (km)

Personal effort is measured in 100W, loss of power is about 25%. Before you buy a pedelec you should always do a test trip to estimate the achievable range. Just ask your retailer if you could rent an electric bicycle for a couple of days or for a weekend. So you have the possibility to determine your personal range on your everyday life conditions. Keep in mind that range of the battery is dependent on the following parameters:

  • Weather conditions. The colder it is, the shorter the route that you could cover with an e-bike. 
  • Weight. The more total weight (electric bicycle + cyclist + baggage) the lower the range. 
  • Grounds. Many ascents shorten the range enormously.
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