Electric bicycle or scooter must-know terminology

A/C current

A/C current stands for alternating current. It is the type of current found in homes not in electric scooters.

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After Market Kit

An after-market kit is an electric kit that converts a regular bicycle to an electric one. A kit usually consists of a motor, controller (computer), battery pack and wiring.

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Amp-Hours

Amp-Hours is the unit that describes the amount of electrical charge a battery can hold. The higher the Amp-Hours (ah) the farther the eBike can go per battery charge.

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Amps (Amperage)

Amps or amperage is a measure of the amount of electron flow (electrical current) that passes through a given point (in a circuit) in a given amount of time. One ampere is the amount of current produced with one volt applied through the resistance of one ohm.The symbol for amp is I (for current), and small amounts of current are measured in milli amps (mA) => 1 /1000th of an amp.

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Battery Voltage (Volts)

Battery voltage, measured in volts, is the potential difference between the battery poles. This potential difference of the battery is what gives torque to the motor. The greater the battery voltage the better the hill climbing ability and motor performance.

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C

C refers to the charge or discharge rate of a battery. For example the discharge rate of a 10ah battery is equal to the capacity of the battery divided by 1 hour. In our case C = 10Amps* / 1 hour = 10Amps. Thus C (where C = charge or discharge rate) for a 10ah battery is 10 amps. The battery capacity of this battery is therefore 10 amps.

* The 10Amps is derived from the capacity of the battery which is 10ah (Amp hours).

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Charge Rate

Charge Rate is the amount of current applied to a battery during the charging process. This rate is commonly expressed as a fraction of the capacity of the battery. For example, the C/2 or C/3, etc. Therefore, Charge rate = Battery capacity / number

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Charging current

If your system consists of 12v12ah batteries, you charger should not supply more than 12amps of current, since the battery capacity of your battery is 12v12ah.

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Charging voltage

The correct charging voltage depends on the chemistry of the battery and therefore is determined by the battery manufacturer.

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Controller

The controller is the computer that controls the speed of the electric motor (located in the front or rear wheel). The controller has numerous other functions that depend on the installed features of the eBike.

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Current rate

Current rate is the amount of electron flow (current) that the battery pack can supply, for example, when needed by the motor. A 10ah battery that has a current rate of 1, anotherwords it can be completely discharged in one hour. A 10ah battery that has a current rate of 2 (doubled current rate), can be completely discharged in half an hour. A 10ah battery that has a current rate of 3 (tripled current rate), can be completely discharged in 20 minutes. For example, if a 500 watt motor requires a current of 30 amps in order to climb a hill, the battery must be able to supply a current rate of 30 amps in order to climb the hill.

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DC

DC is a type of electrical current used called Direct Current (as opposed to A/C current used in homes). When it comes to eBikes they all work with DC voltages and currents.

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DC Motor (brushless)

The brushless DC motor is the type of motor found in today’s eBikes or eScooters. These motors do not have brushes (the way alternators have brushes in automobiles) and therefore have no parts to wear out except for the bearings. These motor types are longer lasting than brush-type motors. Brushless motors are also quieter because there are no “brushes” rubbing against the armature.

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Electric bicycle

An electric bicycle is a vehicle regarded as a bicycle having an electric kit installed that consists mainly of a motor, controller and battery, in order to assist the rider when pedaling.

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Fast charging

Fast charging a battery means charging the battery temporarily with a charger that has a greater than float voltage output in order to continue charging a full battery in order to re-engergize any weak cells within the battery. The higher output voltage of the charger allows the battery to charge for a longer time.

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Float voltage

Float voltage is the constant voltage that can be applied continuously to a battery without causing any damage to the battery. The appropriate float voltage varies significantly with the chemistry and construction of the battery. With the appropriate voltage for the battery type and with proper temperature compensation, a float charger may be kept connected indefinitely without damaging the battery. (Wikipedia).

If you SLA battery has 6 cells in it and lets assume each cell has an open circuit voltage of 2.0v per cell, the nominal voltage of your battery is 2.0v x 6 = 12v. The float voltage of your battery is a voltage that is slightly higher than the nominal voltage. Let's assume the nominal value of a battery cell is 2.14v. 2.14 x 6 cells / SLA battery = 12.84v. Aa charger having a nominal voltage of 12.84v would not harm your battery if left charging your battery for ever.

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Frequency (Hz)

Frequency is defined as the change in state in a waveform (eg; sine wave, etc), at a speed of one cycle per second.

In Canada and US, the frequency is set to 60Hz (60 cycles per second), whereas in Europe it’s set to 50Hz (50 cycles per second). If you run a 60 Hz charger on a 50 Hz supply line, or vice versa, the charger will run hotter than designed. If it has some kind of internal protection it will not run at all. A charger that displays 50/60Hz can run be operated in North America and in Europe, whereas a charger displaying 50hz is best when used in Europe under 50Hz supply line.

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Hub motor

A hub motor is an electric motor located in the front or rear hub of the bicycle.

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Lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are the next generation of batteries used in eBikes or eScooters. They are much lighter than SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries, which give your bike a better autonomy (range), but, they cost much more than SLA batteries. There are many types of lithium batteries out there; Lithium Polymer (Li-Poly), Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), etc. Lithium ion is very light and offers the most charge cycles (number of times you can charge a battery before it needs replacement).

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Nominal Voltage

Nominal voltage is the voltage of a fully charged cell when under load or delivering rated current.

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Pedal Assist bicycle

A Pedal Assist bicycle is an electric bicycle of which the motor delivers additional power if and ony if the rider eerts pressure to the pedals. These electric bicycles give you more range due to this fact. If you do not pedal, you do not get any help from the motor.

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Peak current

Peak current is the current required by the motor when starting the bike from a full stop position or going on an uphill. Having a 500w motor, the ideal peak current would be 20-30 amps.

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Sealed Lead Acid Batteries

SLA batteries are similar to car batteries. SLA batteries are the old technology type of batteries that are still in use today in eBikes due to their low cost and reliability. They are extremely easy to replace; simply place them in series to give you the desired output voltages of 24v, 36v, 48v, 60v or 72v systems.

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Trickle charger

A trickle charger is a low-level electrical charge charger. Due to its low output, it can be left connected to a battery indefinitely. Trickle chargers help maintain batteries in good health  when they are not in use. A trickle charger has a mechanism that prevents overcharging.

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Watt Hour

A Watt Hour is a measurement of the amount of energy in the battery.  In terms of eBikes, a 48v system having 20ah batteries will give you 960 watt hours of battery energy. The larger the number, the farther the battery can take you per charge.

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Watts

Watt is a measurement of total power. It is amps multiplied by volts => Power (watts) = V (voltage) x I (amperage).

Watts is the unit of power used to measure the size of an electric bicycle's motor. The higher the number, the faster the eBike will go and the better the hill climbing ability will be. Battery voltage also plays a factor along with the size of the motor.

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