Bottom line, it’s ALL about the darn batteries….
I’ve always been fascinated by them, at a very early age I remember asking a teacher why a charged battery weighed the same as an empty one ….
I never did get a proper answer from teacher… but Googling it will give you the Physics and Chemistry geekazoidial answer..
To most people, it’s all voodoo, and all batteries are the same.. however they could not be more WRONG…
I struggle with this all the time, riding around town on my ebikes, i always get asked ” Is that electric ? ” .. uhm.. ” Yes , it is ” .. obviously…. as most of my bikes are Frankenstein rigs with wires and tape all over the place.. but it’s like flirting, you have to find something to say and break the ice.
Then come the questions:
” Does it charge when you pedal ? ” . no, it does not.
” How fast does it go ? ” . depends on what bike i’m on, 30 to 70 kph..
” How far can you go on a charge ? “. depends on how fast i go, and the battery…
This is where most humans gloss over and roll their eyes……. There is just no way to explain complex things that require hours and years of learning, in minutes..
I am by no means an engineer, everything I know was learned by trial and fire. My first battery was a Lead Acid pack, next came Nimh, then Nicad ( nicad is older tech, and is the evil toad that started the ” memory effect ” thing that everyone seems to have remembered about batteries ). Then i moved on to Lithium, the holy grail …
Fast forward to late 2013 and nimh/nicad are no longer on the map *( as far as ebikes are concerned ) , it’s all about Lithium, and oh boy, there is much stuff to know.
When I try to explain to most people that the battery can cost as much as a quality conversion kit, sometimes more, I get this ” ok.. i’ll show myself out now.. bye … ” . However, it’s the life blood of your bike, if you want a nice ebike, you have to use lithium, and not just the cheap stuff either.
Yes, you can buy an ebike battery pack for very little money on ebay, but most of them are someone’s failed science experiment. You can also buy a 2000$ carbon fiber boxed piece of art. There is a happy medium in the middle somewhere but there is a huge grey area of lies and cheats and everything in between .
Over the last several years i have seen quality improve, prices drop slightly, new packs being offered, it’s like the PC era, what’s cool this week, is obsolete the next.
As of this writing, I know of no pack available that is completely idiot proof, drop proof, water proof, affordable, fast charging( say under 1 hr ) and safe. You can have some of these features, but you can not have them all. yet.