What is the best type of Lithium-Ion battery for an electric bike?

Lithium Polymer (LiPo) is the best type of Lithium-Ion battery for an electric bike. They have the potential to perform better than other types of Lithium-Ion batteries. In addition, they can look great on your bike.

VOLT Folding Bike
Powered by LiPo batteries

Lithium Polymer (LiPo-pronounced “lie-poh”) is a type of lithium-ion battery in which the electrolyte is a gel (rather than a solid).
So what, I hear you ask!
The polymer is lighter and thinner than a traditional electrolyte so you get more energy per kilo of battery. In addition, LiPo batteries can be easily molded into shapes that complement the design of your bicycle.
LiPo batteries have not caught on as quickly as some expected. As a consequence, they remain expensive and in many cases, the capacity is no greater than other Li-Ion batteries.

Batteries are one of the most important and expensive components of an electric bike. A poor choice of battery will literally stop you in your tracks. Fortunately, any Lithium-Ion battery is likely to out perform older battery technologies.

The technology inside Li-Ion batteries is developing fast. Longevity, safety and capacity continue to improve at a steady rate. At the same time, new Lithium-based battery technologies are still emerging.

When choosing a Li-Ion it is worth buying a high-quality brand. Higher quality batteries will give your bike significantly greater range and power. They are also more durable and safer.

Li-Ion batteries are dangerous and can catch fire or explode. Counterfeit and unbranded batteries are of particular concern, as they may not have been safety tested.

When choosing the best type of Lithium-Ion battery for an electric bike you need to consider the conditions you expect to encounter.

The best type of Lithium-Ion battery for an electric bike

  • Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) batteries deliver high power in a light, small package. It’s one of the newer eBike battery technologies and is gaining popularity due to the amount of energy that is packed into a small, light-weight package. Tesla electric cars use NMC batteries.  LiPo batteries may use Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide.
    Charge Cycles: 300-700
    Specific energy: 205 Wh/Kg
    Energy density: 580 Wh/L
  • Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) batteries are slightly bigger and heavier than NMC batteries. They perform better in extreme temperatures and are the safest type of lithium-ion batteries.
    Charge Cycles: 300–700
    Specific energy: 100–150 Wh/Kg
    Energy density: 420 Wh/L
  • Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFe of LiFePO4) are widely used in eBikes and have a longer lifespan than any other Li-ion battery. However, they are larger and heavier than NMC or LiMn204. Furthermore, lower discharge rates make them less suitable for high power electric bicycles.
    Charge cycles: 2,000
    Specific energy: 90–130 Wh/Kg
    Energy density: 333 Wh/L
  • Lithium-Ion with Polymer  For comparison. Li-Po batteries can use the chemical compositions above.
    Charge cycles: 300-400
    Specific energy: 100–265 Wh/kg
    Energy density 250–730 Wh/L
‘Cycle life’ is the number of complete charge/discharge cycles that the battery is able to perform before its capacity falls below 80% of its original capacity.

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