When will we have better ebike batteries?

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In 2020, we did a video about future battery improvements. We predicted that the high nickel lithium ion cells would be next in line. And it seems they are. Watch the video below for the full story, or keep on reading,

More energy, same size and weight

High nickel cells are now being produced in China, according to Battery News. These cells have a “gravimetric energy density” of 302 Wh/kg. We expect the weight to be pretty much unchanged, and the cell volume will be identical. These new cells are being produced in the 21700 form factor, and we assume they could be built as 18650 cells too. The LG Chem NMC811 is a high nickel cell too. They are now being delivered in the Tesla Model 3, but we don’t know the energy denisty of these cells.

16% improvement

The cells used in the current ebike batteries have an energy density between 250 and 260 Wh/kg, so the new cells contains about 16% more energy. If the new cells come in the 18650 form factor, a 504 Wh battery will be bumped up to 588 Wh using the new cells. Size and weight will remain unchanged. A 630 Wh battery will increase to 735 Wh. The 720 Wh battery using 21700 cells will turn into a 840 Wh battery.

A comparison between current and new cells for common ebike battery configurations,

Perhaps 2024?

When will we see these battery cells in ebikes? No one in the ebike industry will talk about this, it’s a secret. So, we can only speculate. The electric car industry is pushing this development. They need all the cells they can get, so there will be little left for others. But, as production capacity increases, ebikes too should get these cells. A couple of years ago, there was a rumor saying 2023. But this was pre corona. We expect the new and more energy dense batteries will be introduced with model year 2024 ebikes. At best.

  1. Rolls Royce are working on small portable nuclear power engines.
    Would never need to charge your bike ever!
    Might add a bit of weight and you could glow in the dark which might not be a bad thing actually for night riding.
  2. I think the bigger question is, when will we have better e-bike motors. Reliability is woefully inadequate. Surely a motor should be capable of at least 10k miles ??? Replacing an out of warranty motor is horrendously expensive, but without it you are left with a pile of scrap metal / plastic.
  3. Rolls Royce are working on small portable nuclear power engines.
    Would never need to charge your bike ever!
    Might add a bit of weight and you could glow in the dark which might not be a bad thing actually for night riding.

    Like a terminator. And you could program it to nuke itself If someone steals it.

  4. When will we see these battery cells in ebikes? No one in the ebike industry will talk about this, it’s a secret.

    They obviously don’t want to kill their current product line.

  5. I think the bigger question is, when will we have better e-bike motors. Reliability is woefully inadequate. Surely a motor should be capable of at least 10k miles ??? Replacing an out of warranty motor is horrendously expensive, but without it you are left with a pile of scrap metal / plastic.

    800 euros for new Bosch CX Gen 4 motor is doable, but 1700 euros for FOX 36 Float Grip2 Factory 29" is horrendously expensive or is it? The other you really need but most parts and "mandatory" upgrades you just want but maybe not need.

  6. The question for me is.
    When the battteries get better and smaller will the battery manufacturers sell improved batteries to fit existing battery forms? For example will Bosch do a higher capacity battery in the form of say the existing bosch power tube to retrofit existing bikes or will you have to buy a new bike?
    I kinda think I already know the answer to the question. 🤔
  7. I’ll take the same capacity and less weight if it’s all the same to you.

    I’m doing similar length and height rides on my KSL to my Rail but I’m having more fun on the downs and a greater sense of achievement on the ups. I’m even doing climbs unassisted on the KSL which was unthinkable on the Rail.

  8. Well at least a subject to read other than geo
    THANKS GOD !
    It will probably = a boost in price, not my cup of tea.
  9. But what’s the likelihood of the manufactures doing that?

    it will depend what market they are aiming at. The tourers/casual bikers will just want the largest capacity they can and wont care about weight, the proper mountain bikers will want the right compromise between weight and range.

    Hopefully there will be a variety of batteries for all uses.

  10. The question for me is.
    When the battteries get better and smaller will the battery manufacturers sell improved batteries to fit existing battery forms? For example will Bosch do a higher capacity battery in the form of say the existing bosch power tube to retrofit existing bikes or will you have to buy a new bike?
    I kinda think I already know the answer to the question. 🤔

    Based on current experience, it might seem the motor manufacturers isn’t interested in making bigger batteries that fit older bikes. But it wasn’t always like this. The external 400Wh batteries from Shimano/Bosch/Yamaha could all be replaced with the 500Wh external battery, which was the same weight with the same enclosure.

    The issue the later years is that the energy density hasn’t increased, so a new battery with more energy needs to be bigger. Then it can’t be expected to fit older bikes. But, when we get the new and improved cells, I think it makes a lot of sense to use existing battery enclosures of course. And hopefully some manufacturers do too. I expect 3rd party battery manufacturers think so.

  11. I’ll take the same capacity and less weight if it’s all the same to you.

    Yeah, it’s about time we get this option. If the cells are powerful enough, I’m thinking the 30 cell (21700) 540Wh battery used by YT and Orbea (Rise alloy) is a good candidate, it will be ~630Wh.

    Also the old 40 cell (18650) 500Wh battery should live on, if we get the new chemistry in this form factor. It will be ~580Wh and about 3 kg. Possibly less from some manufacturers.

    Going smaller on a full power emtb could be difficult, it depends on the characteristics of the new cell.

  12. Whenever you see an interview with a brand talking a bout their planned developments, it is clear that they consider "range anxiety" to be the primary customer concern.I’m not sure that is in fact true but clearly the direction of travel has been larger capacity batteries even when that has necessitated changes in frame design.
    In that respect it somewhat copies the same sort of limitations and development responses in electric cars, although few people pay much attention to the significant weight gains in cars due to those developments, whereas for EMTBs and road bikes, weight is a key issue as well.
    I think the more switched on brands will pursue more effective use of range extenders and faster charging batteries. The faster charging technology is already here on some bikes and certainly in power tool Li batteries. If you can get another 20 miles out of a 10 minute charge for example that would satisfy those using bike parks and trail centres. If "range extenders" were small and light enough to carry in a waist bag or back pack and could deliver 20 mile range, that would satisfy adventure/trail riders on all day rides. Maybe range extenders that are in fact power packs capable of charging the main battery for decent additional range in say 20 minutes rather than actually neeing to be strapped to the bike and plugged in?
  13. The cutting edge of commercial LEV battery development comes from the automotive sector. The 18650 "as seen on Teslas" batteries that have been advertised for years are testament to that although not always true. Same for the 21700 cells also. Car packs are nothing more than huge bike packs after all.

    But for cars weight is not as much of a consideration and so while they are always searching for the optimum chemistry, Tesla for instance, is working on larger cells that are capable of sustaining more charge cycles with the ability to charge at a high rate with a longer life span of the battery also. As shown here:

    View attachment 79421

    While these could easily find their way into use on bicycles they won’t make smaller or lighter packs necessarily. But for the bulk of eBikes out there that are not as concerned with weight such as commuters the long lifecycle potential is very attractive. Not going to make any big advancement for eMTB use though.

    But for long distance touring one might imagine a big pack of these set up with a Class I charger plug on a BOB or Burley trailer that you could mount to a bike as needed. Charging @ 7+kw while having a quick bite then on your way again.

  14. There won’t be a new revolution. Batteries will continue to slowly get better ever year. What is sorely lacking is faster charging. For example all batteries can safely charge at 1c and go from 10 to 80% in 40ish minutes.
  15. 800 euros for new Bosch CX Gen 4 motor is doable, but 1700 euros for FOX 36 Float Grip2 Factory 29" is horrendously expensive or is it? The other you really need but most parts and "mandatory" upgrades you just want but maybe not need.

    I’ve gone through 4 Shimano motors in two and a half years (3 E7000 & 1 E8000). The going rate for having a new motor installed is around £1k. You can’t really compare that to having to service a fork periodically. Luckily I do a lot of miles (>90% off road), and my replacements have been under warranty. I could never justify a new motor every 1k miles or so (my E8000 only managed 600 miles)

  16. I have two 630’s for an EP8 which suit me well. My interest would be in less weight for the same form-factor inside my current down-tube. I’d find a buyer for one of the two batteries and replace.

    2024 would be good timing as I don’t have the same issues some do of maintaining good ‘health’, despite year round riding in the U.K.

  17. I think the bigger question is, when will we have better e-bike motors. Reliability is woefully inadequate. Surely a motor should be capable of at least 10k miles ??? Replacing an out of warranty motor is horrendously expensive, but without it you are left with a pile of scrap metal / plastic.

    I saw a bunch of reports Yamaha motors did well over 10k miles and kept going. But yeah, I can’t remember a single report for such high mileage for another brands motors.

    10k is quite high mileage for an average and the most common emtb user, so most manufacturers do not care to design more reliable motors, but they are mostly focused on weight to power ratio, weight savings, noise reduction etc because of most people focused on those perameters when they are on the market for a new emtb and people keep believing all emtb motors are reliable enough which is not true. Most of the motors reliable enough to make profit for manufacturers, but most of them are not reliable enough to overcome 10k miles under intensive usage.

    Yamaha selling point is reliability, and they can do well over 10k miles easily, but there is a cost – Yamaha motors are a few hundred grams heavier than another brands motors with comparable performance, and they are not the quietest motors.

  18. Rolls Royce are working on small portable nuclear power engines.
    Would never need to charge your bike ever!
    Might add a bit of weight and you could glow in the dark which might not be a bad thing actually for night riding.

    Yeah but then @Tubby G would get hold of one & shortly after he says ‘Watch this!’, the north Yorks moors would be laid waste for the next 500 years.

  19. On the other hand, we could crowdfund one for Zim and do the rest of Europe a favour…

    Just not a good idea now I’m a single guy, can you imagine.

    I’d have porn on one screen, the nuke monitor on another .. get distracted and excited – rods in, rods out, rods in, rods out .. BOOOOOMM M!!!

    Nuclear fallout mixed with bike armour scattering over half the globe.

  20. Yamaha uses 1 plastic heavy duty helical gear at low torque step (at the motor) for safety (not to stop failures, I hope you understand the difference between safety and failure. If that gear woul be metal it would not cause failure. That plastic geat is to save other metal expensive gears in case you jammed the crank somehow. Another safety reason is that gear shears in case of electrical issue when motor can’t stop and rotates at higher not rated torque and you hit the brake) and that gear has no issues, other gears are metal surface hardened gears do not fail even if you hit the crank. Bosch uses plastic for most gears including the high torgue light duty spur gears close the to the ourput crank and those gears fail.

    Don’t even make me to start explaining to you again all the issues those Bosch gears have and why they actually installed those. That nylon plastic degrade over time making those high loaded spur gears even more prone to fail.

    You probably newer asked yourself why Yamaha claims their motors are sealed and maintenance free for life and do not sell any repair or maintenance parts for them and why Bosch sells repair kits for their motors.

  21. Yamaha uses 1 plastic heavy duty helical gear at low torque step (at the motor) for safety (not to stop failures, I hope you understand the difference between safety and failure. If that gear woul be metal it would not cause failure. That plastic geat is to save other metal expensive gears in case you jammed the crank somehow. Another safety reason is that gear shears in case of electrical issue when motor can’t stop and rotates at higher not rated torque and you hit the brake) and that gear has no issues, other gears are metal surface hardened gears do not fail even if you hit the crank. Bosch uses plastic for most gears including the high torgue light duty spur gears close the to the ourput crank and those gears fail.

    Don’t even make me to start explaining to you again all the issues those Bosch gears have and why they actually installed those. That nylon plastic degrade over time making those high loaded spur gears even more prone to fail.

    You probably newer asked yourself why Yamaha claims their motors are sealed and maintenance free for life and do not sell any repair or maintenance parts for them and why Bosch sells repair kits for their motors.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a report of Bosch gears failing, not saying they don’t but it’s usually the bearings.
    With your last paragraph, how do you twist it that Bosch selling motor spares is a bad thing😂

  22. Just not a good idea now I’m a single guy, can you imagine.

    I’d have porn on one screen, the nuke monitor on another .. get distracted and excited – rods in, rods out, rods in, rods out .. BOOOOOMM M!!!

    Nuclear fallout mixed with bike armour scattering over half the globe.

    :D

  23. Rolls Royce are working on small portable nuclear power engines.
    Would never need to charge your bike ever!
    Might add a bit of weight and you could glow in the dark which might not be a bad thing actually for night riding.

    Not good for hair loss though

  24. Yes it’s great. And with significant investment and time they should be able to successfully get at that battery grade lithium. That’s only step 1 though. Mined lithium then needs to be converted/processed into lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide for the battery manufacturers. Unfortunately most of these plants are in China, but there are plans to start building them in Europe, North America and Australia. Only cost half a billion to get up up and running.

    I’m sure that will happen. Some companies are planning to build a battery factory in the UK (Megabucks!!). They will need to source their Lithium from somewhere. What is half a billion between friends?

    PS: I’m sure you mean dollars, not GBP, so not that expensive after all! :unsure: :)

  25. I’m sure that will happen. Some companies are planning to build a battery factory in the UK (Megabucks!!). They will need to source their Lithium from somewhere. What is half a billion between friends?

    PS: I’m sure you mean dollars, not GBP, so not that expensive after all! :unsure: :)

    Yeah I think they are planning at least one battery factory in the UK. In the North East? Sunderland? Would be a great way to revitalize the area with a new industry being established.

  26. I saw a bunch of reports Yamaha motors did well over 10k miles and kept going. But yeah, I can’t remember a single report for such high mileage for another brands motors.

    10k is quite high mileage for an average and the most common emtb user, so most manufacturers do not care to design more reliable motors, but they are mostly focused on weight to power ratio, weight savings, noise reduction etc because of most people focused on those perameters when they are on the market for a new emtb and people keep believing all emtb motors are reliable enough which is not true. Most of the motors reliable enough to make profit for manufacturers, but most of them are not reliable enough to overcome 10k miles under intensive usage.

    Yamaha selling point is reliability, and they can do well over 10k miles easily, but there is a cost – Yamaha motors are a few hundred grams heavier than another brands motors with comparable performance, and they are not the quietest motors.

    Well spoken. I have just turned over 10.000km on my Yamaha ( 2019 Giant Trance +1 Pro (500Wh) motor without fault ( touch wood) and battery 177 full cycles. Battery expected to last 700-1000 full cycles. I have no complaints and I might add at least 50% of my mileage is biking to/from the local mountain bike park, the other 50% on the local MTB Park which is mostly Grade 2 and 3, with a little bit of Grade 4 to keep us geriatrics on our toes.

  27. Yamaha uses 1 plastic heavy duty helical gear at low torque step (at the motor) for safety (not to stop failures, I hope you understand the difference between safety and failure. If that gear woul be metal it would not cause failure. That plastic geat is to save other metal expensive gears in case you jammed the crank somehow. Another safety reason is that gear shears in case of electrical issue when motor can’t stop and rotates at higher not rated torque and you hit the brake) and that gear has no issues, other gears are metal surface hardened gears do not fail even if you hit the crank. Bosch uses plastic for most gears including the high torgue light duty spur gears close the to the ourput crank and those gears fail.

    Don’t even make me to start explaining to you again all the issues those Bosch gears have and why they actually installed those. That nylon plastic degrade over time making those high loaded spur gears even more prone to fail.

    You probably newer asked yourself why Yamaha claims their motors are sealed and maintenance free for life and do not sell any repair or maintenance parts for them and why Bosch sells repair kits for their motors.

    Sorry @TPEHAK Not sure where you’re getting your info from? But I feel I must point out a couple of things. Plastic gears are used in most ebike motors for noise suppression, weight and cost. It is not a safety consideration and will not shear even if you put the brakes full on and pedal in 1st gear until the bike stops.

    Bosch plastic gears from Gen 2 onwards will not degrade in the lifetime of the motor. We have seen so many old high mileage (50,000 Miles +) motors now with no visible issues. In fact, the only time I have ever seen a plastic gear fail has been when the main motor bearing has collapsed and the owner has tried to keep going once all the bearings balls had dropped out! For information:
    Gen 1 gears occasionally crack due to excess pressure from the boss they are pressed onto.
    Gen 2 gears do not fail.
    Gen 3 The large plastic drive gear can shear its teeth the same as the Yamaha does, but very rare as only fitted to road and gravel bikes.
    Gen 4 do not use any plastic gears.

    Yamaha are actually one of the only manufacturers that do produce a service manual for all their motors! These show motor parts torque settings, grease type and where it should be applied etc. Other manuals for Japanese bikes show internal motor part numbers etc. This information is not supplied for the EU though. I don’t know why you are allowed to fix your Yamaha motor in some countries and not others? It maybe EU law or more likely commercial suicide to admit your motor required intervention when all others don’t.
    Parts are available, you can find new internal parts on our website for example and we can order most internal parts if you require them.

    Proof of service requirement would be the fact, that without fresh lubrication, the bronze bush bearings that support the crankshaft through the large steel drive gear will wear the crankshaft away without fresh grease every 1500 – 2000 Miles.

  28. So the crankshaft on my Yamaha motor with 8000 miles I never serviced is worn away? My Yamaha motor user manual says no service needed for life. Maybe they required service for their first generation motors many years ago but then figured out how to make maintenance free motors.
  29. So the crankshaft on my Yamaha motor with 8000 miles I never serviced is worn away? My Yamaha motor user manual says no service needed for life. Maybe they required service for their first generation motors many years ago but then figured out how to make maintenance free motors.

    Not worn away, but wearing. Unfortunately, the huge pile of evidence we have here speaks for itself. The motors have not changed internally for many years, the oldest PW motor has the same mechanical internal parts as the latest PW-CE, TE & ST motors. Only the PW-X range have changed slightly, but these still rely on bronze bushes rather than bearings for the steel gear. Although, the crankshaft does appear to be a little more robust so far.

    As I stated previously, Yamaha don’t specify service for their motors in Europe. But, the ‘how to do the service’ and ‘what you need for the service’ was still included with PW-SE until the TE was released and has now been removed for the latest PW-X PW-CE, PW-TE and PW-ST motors. Shame really because they will still suffer excessive wear without a little maintenance.

    Please don’t get me wrong. Yamaha PW and PW-SE, CE, TE and ST were and are some of the best motors on the market! They will last space ship mileage if used on road (no motor lasts well off road) and, I have a big respect for these motors. I do hope the PW-X3 gets over the issues suffered by the PW-X and X2 though.

  30. So the crankshaft on my Yamaha motor with 8000 miles I never serviced is worn away? My Yamaha motor user manual says no service needed for life. Maybe they required service for their first generation motors many years ago but then figured out how to make maintenance free motors.

    I’ve yet to find a bearing that lasts forever, or even a number of years.
    I’ve serviced a hell of a lot of hubs and always found it feels smooth spinning the wheel, till you get it out and its gritty and sometimes cant be easily turned by hand.
    Bearings wear, and water which appears to be our biggest problem washes out the grease, and that means its fooked. Just using it constantly and thinking its fine does not mean it is. And ill wager if you removed it you’d find it is in need of replacement.