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How to avoid battery disappointment in an electric bike.

There are four main types of batteries in use today on electric bikes:

1. Lead Acid (Old, large,heavy technology)

2. Nickel Metal Hydride (used in Optibike 2007)

3. Lithium Phosphate (A123 Style)

4. Lithium Cobalt (used in Tesla Electric car, Optibike)

Battery capacity is are rated in amp –hrs (ah), but all capacity ratings are not the same. Depending on the current rating, one 12 amp hr battery may not be the same capacity as another 12 amp hr battery. Sound confusing? Read on.

Many battery capacities are listed as “ideal Capacities” which exist for only a few charges (or cycles) and then rapidly drop off. Optibike Lion batteries are actually “de tuned” meaning they are advertised under their real capacity so they last longer and give true capacity. The Optibike Internal 20 amp-hr battery is actually a 23 amp hr battery. This way, the battery actually delivers the advertised amp/hr capacity and will continue to do so longer since the battery is managed to operate at 85% of its actual capacity rather than beating it to a quick death at 100%. The Optibike lithium battery systems are warranted for 3 years or 30,000 miles. We guarantee that your battery will still have at least 80% of its original capacity after this time- meaning that after 3 years or 30,000 miles of riding your Optibike lithium battery will have more capacity than most electric bikes have right out of the box.

For an electric bike, it is desired to have a battery with the most capacity, lightest weight and smallest size, this gives maximum distance. Lithium Cobalt batteries have the highest amp hr rating for their size and weight. For their weight, the Lithium Cobalt pack used in the 2008 Optibike has nearly three times the capacity of the same weight Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) (used on 2007 Optibikes) and two times the capacity of an A123 pack and seven times the capacity of a Lead Acid pack.

Higher capacity means longer distance traveled. Be careful as some batteries claim very high Watts per KG which is the amount of power the battery can discharge, not energy. For example, if the battery is 9ah and 36v the battery will have 324 watt/hours. If the motor is 1000w than the bike can run for 1/3 of an hour, or 20 minutes- ONLY if the battery really has 9ah.

A high quality battery is the foundation of a great electric bike. Good batteries are not cheap, but your investment in a high quality battery will pay off in long run with years of faithful service. The Optibike Lithium Cobalt battery system, managed to run at 85% capacity is warranted by Optibike for 3 years or 30,000 miles. This is the longest warranty offered by any electric bike manufacturer and we offer it because we know that we make the lightest, most powerful, longest lasting battery available.

Battery Type

Cycle Life



Lion (Cobalt) (Optibike) *limited to 90% capacity for long cycle life




Nickel Metal Hydride (NIMH) (Optibike 2007)




Lead Acid (SLA) (Optibike Prototypes)




Lithium Phosphate (A123)




Jim Turner is the Inventor and Founder of Optibike Electric Bikes


  • opti says:


    We do not offer Lead Acid Batteries because they are too heavy to make a good electric bike. all of the bike prices include a 20ah lithium ion battery.



  • jim greco says:

    can I get the prices of the different battery packs and the voltages also is it possible to go from the cheaper lead acid battery pack to a lithium batery pack using the same motor