Here at Grin we've been dealing with ebike batteries for a very long time during which we've offered over 100 variants of NiCad, NiMH, LiFePO4, LiPo, and Lithium-Ion packs in all kinds of voltages, geometries, and capacities. It's been a love/hate relationship over those years, but the more recent mass production of 18650 lithium cells for high power consumer goods like power tools has shifted things to the love side, with ebike batteries that are cheaper, lighter, and with far longer life span than we could have ever wished for in the past. We're happy to stock both frame mount and rear rack mounted batteries from 98 watt-hours to 1100 watt-hours in size to suite the needs of most electric bicycle conversions.
As of 2017, all the battery packs offered by Grin have either Panasonic or LG 18650 cells and include a robust BMS circuit for overcharge, overdischage, and overcurrent protection.
|Cells||LG MG1||Panasonic PF||Panasonic PF / GA||Panasonic PF||Panasonic PF||LG MG1||LG MG1|
|Max Current||10 Amps||30 Amps||25 Amps||35 Amps||25 Amps||40 Amps||40 Amps|
|Typ. Range||8-12 km||40-60km||40-60km||40-60 km||30-50 km||55-90 km||60-100 km|
|Installation||Seat Bag||Downtube||Downtube||Rack Rack||Rear Rack||Rear Rack||Rear Racl|
|Weight||0.6 kg||3.3 kg||3.5 kg||3.9 kg||3.8 kg||4.6 kg||5.9 kg|
|UN38.3?||Yes||No||No / Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Battery Manual||36V eZee||48V eZee|
||This is our smallest battery offering specifically aimed at people who have to travel or fly with their ebike. Each module is 36V 2.7Ah, so just under 100 watt-hours, exempting it from most of the heavy shipping restrictions. You can parallel connect them for as much capacity as required, and series connect them for 72V setups. Designed and made in Canada by Grin Tech, full details here.|
||Hailong makes some of the more refined of the generic battery enclosures from china. You'll see them online everywhere, stuffed with whatever cells and BMS circuit appropriate to the market being addressed. They secure to the water bottle eyelets on the down tube of your bike frame, and the narrow height of this pack design allows it to fit even on samller or hybrid frame geometries that wouldn't normally fit a pack. We have them in stock both in 36V (10s 5p) and 52V (14s 4p) layouts, suitable for 20-25A max current setups.|
|eZee Flat Batteries
||The eZee flat packs are one of the nicer rear rack battery options that we've dealt with, featuring a locking on/off key switch, and a rail system to slide into the eZee double-decker rack or attach with our more universal CNC battery anchors. They hold up to 70 cells, allowing for both a 36V 20Ah (10s 7p) and 48V 14Ah (13s 5p) options. The 36V pack has UN38.3 certification for air shipping, and can handle up to 40A motor controllers fine, while the 48V pack shouldn't be used above 25A.|
||The battery packs from Allcell are unique in that the cells are surrounded in a phase change material supported in a graphite matrix, which allows these batteries to handle higher sustained discharge currents without the cells overheating, and they have longer cycle life as a result of this thermal management. However, being 'naked' packs, they do not come in a rigid enclosure or bike mounting solution, and it's up to the user to install them in protective case or bag on the bike. These batteries are available in 36V 17Ah, 36V 23Ah, 48V 17Ah, and 48V 23Ah options, and can handle 40A motor controllers just fine. They are assembled in the USA and have UN38.3 certification.|
|eZee Vertical Batteries
||We also maintain stock of replacement vertical seattube batteries that have been in use in the eZee bicycle line since time immemorial. If you have an eZee bike circa 2008-2012 with the Phylion lithium battery pack, you'll be in for a serious upgrade with over twice the capacity in the same size and weight.|
How to Choose a Pack
The very first consideration when choosing a battery pack is ensuring that it can handle the current draw of your motor controller. If you have a 40A motor controller, but your battery is only rated to deliver 25A max, then either the BMS circuit will shut off the battery at full throttle, or the battery will be stressed and have reduced cycle life. The converse, having a battery that has a higher current rating than what your controller will draw, is no problem at all. In fact, it can be quite beneficial.
The next consideration is ensuring that the battery is large enough for your required travel range; it's no fun having a battery go flat before the end of your trip. In order to determine the range that you will get from a given battery, you need to know both the watt-hour capacity of the battery, and how much energy you use per kilometer. Sounds complicated? Not really. As a rule of thumb most people riding an ebike at average speeds consume about 10 Wh/km from their battery, and this makes the math very easy. If you have a 400 watt-hour battery, you can expect a range of 40km. A 720 watt-hour battery? ~72km
Of course, if you go really fast or are pulling an extra load, then this mileage will be worse, like 12-15 wh/km. On the other hand, if you use the motor more sparingly, then you can easily stretch it down to 6-8 wh/km. The table below summarizes the expected range for these different batteries under light, average, and heavy usage paradigms:
|Range with Light Use||Range with Typical Use||Range with Heavy Use|
|3 Parallel LiGo
|35-45 km||25-35 km||18-22 km|
|eZee Flat Pack
|Allcell 48V 23Ah
|120-150 km||100-120 km||65-85 km|
It makes very little difference whether you have a small geared motor, a large direct drive motor, or a mid-drive motor. The mileage and range figures for a given battery have to do with how you use the ebike, not which motor system is on the bike.
Tip: No one EVER regrets having too much battery capacity
The Case for Extra Capacity
Say you have a 12km trip to work and back, so to do the full 24km round trip you'll need 240 watt-hours. A 36V 8Ah batery at 288 watt-hours should be a perfect choice no?
The answer is that, unless you are seriously budget or weight constrained, this would probably be a bad battery investment. It might fit the bill initially for your commuting needs, but then it doesn't really leave any reserve if you need to run some errands on the way home, or forget to charge it up one night etc. Even worse, as the battery ages over time the capacity drops. After a year your 8Ah battery is now only 7Ah, it's only barely able to do your daily commute, and the next year when it is just 6Ah you now need to carry the charger with you and top it up at work every day.
Most people find that once they have an ebike, they use it for all kinds of applications and trips outide of just commuting, and the ability to go 50+ km on a charge opens up possibilities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. Plus, as the battery ages and declines in capacity, it still has more than enough range for your key commuting needs. Imagine if instead of getting an 8Ah pack, you purchased a 15Ah battery. Even if after 4-5 years it has lost 30% of its original capacity, that's still over 10Ah and leaves plenty of reserve for your 24km commute.
Furthermore, if you have more capacity than required, then you also have the opportunity to do partial charging of the battery with a Satiator or similar device, so that instead of charging the pack to 100% to squeeze out every km, your standard charge is set to a lower 80 or 90% level. This can have a pronounced effect increasing both the cycle life and calendar life of a lithium battery by several fold.
And a final point is that a larger battery has a lower per cell stress during discharge, since the current is shared among more parallel cells. Cells that are cycled at high discharge curents (>1-2C) also exhibit lower cycle life than those cycled at low currents
Parallel Connecting Batteries
One of the easiest ways to increase the current handling capability and range is to put two or more batteries in parallel. In general, with lithium batteries of the same nominal voltage, this is no problem. It is perfectly fine to mix old and new lithium batteries in parallel, or even batteries from different manufacturers and with different capacities, so long as they are the same voltage. We stock a parallel battery joining cable to facillitate connecting packs this way.
Where things can get a bit dicey is in charging batteries that are parallel connected. If you leave the batteries in parallel while charging, then the charger current will get shared between the batteries and you can be sure that they are always at the same charge level. However, that does mean one of the batteries will be getting charged through the discharge port, and depending on the specific BMS circuit it may not have overcharge protection on the discharge wires.
Alternately, you can separate the batteries and charge each with its own charger, but then you have some small risk of reconnected the batteries when one is charged and the other is flat, if for some reason one of the batteries didn't get charged up properly. We usually recommend leaving the packs parallel connected at all times.
36V or 48V?
We sell roughly equal numbers of 36V and 48V battery packs, and all of our conversion kits and controllers work fine with both 36V and 48V (or 52V) battery options. Just because 48V is a larger number, it does not mean that a 48V ebike is intrinsically better / more powerful / faster than a 36V ebike despite what the ill-informed internet will lead you to believe. However, it is true that a given motor will spin faster at a higher voltage, and usually higher speeds will correspond to more power consumption. For most of the stock hub motor kits that we offer, a 36V battery will result in a commuting speed of 30-35 kph, while wth a 48V battery will result in closer to 40-45 kph.
If you are upgrading or replacing an existing battery pack, it is always safe to replace it with a battery that has the same nominal voltage. If you have an 36V ebike setup that is not from us, and are looking to 'upgrade' to a 48V/52V pack, more often than not you can do this without damaging the existing electronics. That is because most 36V motor controllers use 60V rated mosfets and 63V rated capacitors, and so even a fully charged 52V battery will not exceed these values.
Series Connecting for 72V?
It is also possible in principle to series connect two 36V batteries to make a 72V setup, but the only battery we have that is intrinsically designed for this is our LiGo modules. With all other batteries, it is essential to use a pass diode across the output of each battery so that when one BMS circuit trips it does not get exposed to a large negative voltage. We have a special series battery cable with this diode built in available here.
When you series connect batteries, you want to make sure they are packs with identical capacity and specs. You also want to make sure that either your controller or Cycle Analyst low voltage cutoff is set such that the discharge stops as soon as one pack trips. Otherwise continuous current will continue to flow through the pass diode when you are running off just the one non-tripped battery, causing the diode to overheat and fail.
We like to use Anderson Powerpole connectors as the standard discharge plug on all of our ebike battery packs. These connectors are ingenious since they are genderless, allowing you to use the same plug both on both a load and a source, and the connector design allows them to withstand the arc of inrush current when plugged into capacitive loads much better than bullet style plugs. For the charging port, we like to use the female 3-pin XLR plug standard. This is directly compatible with the Satiator charger, and the quality Neutrik XLR plugs are rated for a full 15 amps per pin allowing very rapid charging. Unfortunately, this option is not available for the smaller Hailong frame batteries and we are forced to use the lower current DC 5.5mm barrel plug instead.
It's a bitch. More explanation and details coming soon.