Everything You Should Know About Types of E-bike Lithium Batteries

by Mark Minstrel on Nov 24, 2021

Everything You Should Know About Types of E-bike Lithium Batteries
One of the most critical e-bike components is the battery. Long-range electric bikes are only made possible recently thanks to all the progress being made in the storage of energy for use at a later time, like on a bike ride! But not all batteries are created equal. There are many different brands and types of electric batteries that range in quality.

In addition, recent technological advancements give rise to newer and better batteries all the time. Different types of lithium batteries have been widely used and experienced in Asia. As bikes, cars, and scooters log more and more miles using lithium batteries each year, battery suppliers can model many different use-cases and identify new and better ways of building batteries. Electric bike brands like Himiway are then able to take advantage of these battery innovations and improve the reliability, longevity, and functionality of our electric bikes.

It’s important to know a little bit about the various batteries that you can purchase and use for your electric bike. But no matter what type of battery you have, because of the criticality of e-bike batteries to the proper operation of your bike, always refer to your e-bike manufacturer’s specs and standards for their battery. Only use the supplied chargers and cables when charging your bike.  

Lead-acid battery 

Before we discuss the different lithium batteries being used in the e-bike industry today, it’s important to understand how far we’ve come in a short amount of time. The original battery was a lead-acid battery. In the late 1990s, lead-acid battery sales accounted for about half of all batteries sold worldwide. Many gas engine vehicles today still use these batteries. However, they are not ideal for today’s electric bikes for several reasons. 

First, these lead-acid batteries do not perform well in low temperatures. Their power drains quickly in cold weather and therefore is not suitable for many climates. They also have a relatively short life span and are heavy and bulky in size. For these reasons, better and newer battery types have taken their place. 


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Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery 

As lead-acid battery usage continued to decline, the second-generation Lithium Iron Phosphate battery took its place. Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries were relatively affordable, non-toxic, and had excellent thermal stability (how well the battery resists overheating while still maintaining its important characteristics). 

Thanks to the large amounts of iron available on the Earth, manufacturers were able to produce a large quantity of these batteries for various uses in the market. Unfortunately, like lead-acid batteries, these Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries were also not great at performing in low temperatures and so battery producers continued to look for new and better materials to build their batteries. 

Ternary Lithium battery

Next up we have the ternary lithium battery. This is another type of lithium-ion battery. They are widely used in electric cars and have been the style of battery used in many electric bikes recently. The name “ternary” here means “three” and in this case refers to the three different metals found in ternary lithium batteries which are nickel, cobalt, and manganese.

These three metals are used as the cathode material in ternary lithium batteries. The cathode is the point of the battery where electricity flows into the battery. This is opposite the anode, which is where oxidation occurs, and the electricity flows out of the battery. Further explanation of how batteries work is outside the scope of this post, but just know that the types of metal used in the cathode can change the use-cases and efficiency of various batteries.

Ternary lithium batteries are more efficient than lithium iron phosphate or lead-acid batteries and have a greater capacity to hold more energy in the same amount of space. These batteries also tend to have longer life cycles and better low-temperature resistance. 

One downside to ternary lithium batteries is that they can be intolerant of high temperatures. This may not be a safety issue when used in compliance with the specific application for which the battery was designed, but caution should be exercised when operating these batteries outside of the manufacturer's recommended temperature range or with incorrect chargers. 

The Himiway Cruiser and Escape are both equipped with ternary lithium batteries and have performed exceedingly well compared to the range and life of older batteries used in electric bikes. 

Quaternary Lithium Battery

All of this previous history and the earlier generations of Lithium-ion batteries brings us to today. Recent advancements in battery production have resulted in the Quaternary Lithium battery. Quaternary batteries are made with nickel, cobalt, manganese, and include one additional metal: aluminum.

Two of the biggest advantages of these batteries are their improved safety and reduced cost. They also have a longer life, higher capacity, and better cycle performance than previous Lithium-ion batteries. Combined with good thermal stability and good low-temperature performance, these batteries make the perfect electric bike battery. One downside, however, is that mining costs for the metals of this battery are quite high. 

But that didn’t stop us here at Himiway from adopting this new battery type while still maintaining affordable pricing for our customers. Each of the new Himiway E-bikes recently announced will use Quaternary lithium batteries. This will provide superior battery performance in our new lineup of long-range e-bikes. Rest assured that we will continue to research and develop the best specs, configurations, and products.

Now that you know a bit more about the history of lead-acid batteries, and the advancement to lithium Iron Phosphate batteries and Ternary Lithium batteries, and finally to Quaternary Lithium batteries, you can ride Himiway brand bikes with confidence knowing that you have the best battery available in the e-bike market.

If you are looking for more content related to e-bike batteries, we have you covered! Check out our recent guide to maintaining E-bike Batteries in the Winter. If you are going to buy a top-rated e-bike battery, it is in your best interest to take care of it. Happy charging!