A Battery Standard?

Solom01

Well-Known Member
I understand where you're coming from, but the ebike industry in the US is in a sad place compared to Asia or Europe. It may grow or if customers get confused and frustrated with their first experience it could just die out. Normally industries that want to encourage growth set up standards,such as Bluetooth or USB. Even a huge company like Apple that sets up totally non-compatible technologies such as Apple Airplay haven't seen much adaptation compared to the number of people using Bluetooth. As for advances in battery cost/technology there really hasn't been much advancement since lithium started being used about 15 years ago. There is always a new type of battery "just around the corner" or expectations that pricing will go down, but it never seems to materialize. I hope you're right but in the meantime I guess the solution for me is going to be to become more hands-on and simply stick to conversions in the future. That way I can use standard frames and other components and just replace the battery, bms and motor as they die. The result may not be as "stealth" but at least I won't be throwing multi-thousand dollar bikes into landfills every three to four years.
 
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raymann112

Member
food for thought: The 12v car battery standard wasn't adopted until 1955.

I don't think ebikes stand a chance, although Tesla probably will for automobiles.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Anyone that thinks it's a niche or passing fancy isn't involved in the more dynamic areas of the country where sales are BOOMING. Just not in small town middle America where a $500 battery throws buyers into a panic.
 

Solom01

Well-Known Member
Any numbers to back that up (besides anecdotally)? The only figures I could easily find show a decline compared to a few years ago, with just a slight increase in 2016. https://www.statista.com/statistics/255658/worldwide-sales-of-electric-bicycles-by-region/. I was surprised that there wasn't more information available on the number of sales per manufacturer (easy to get for car manufacturers) so there very well might be some real numbers available on sales of electric bikes in the US - I just couldn't find it.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I have a Juiced Bikes Cross Current that uses the same battery design that I've seen in probably a dozen other bikes (plus no-name Alibaba bikes.)
These packs are common in aftermarket, but I'm not sure whether they are all same size. If you go from 400WH to 600WH - won't it be longer, or wider?
OTH, packs that are not integrated into the downtube, are truly interchangeable between the brands. The trade-off is that it doesn't look as nice - not important to me personally, but for some other people it is.

So, OP - if you want to be worry-free, get a bike with external battery - bolted to downtube, to seat tube, or on the rear rack.

Connectors are still a problem, but Chinese are well known for their, er... ability to imitate. On Alibababa you often can choose the connector type.
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
Most all ebike batteries use the same 18650 cells from various manufacturers, the only thing proprietary is the BMS (sometimes) and the configuration, including how the cells are held together and housed. Fairly simple designs. If you find yourself with a failing battery that is no longer being sold (even after market), easy to DIY replace the bad cells. Several online sources of info on that topic.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Most all ebike batteries use the same 18650 cells from various manufacturers, the only thing proprietary is the BMS (sometimes) and the configuration, including how the cells are held together and housed. Fairly simple designs. If you find yourself with a failing battery that is no longer being sold (even after market), easy to DIY replace the bad cells. Several online sources of info on that topic.

True, and that what makes the Ebike accept or reject the battery by recognizing if the battery has the proprietary BMS. I think this is what the major players are doing right now (stromer, specialized, bosch, yamaha, brose, shimano, etc..).
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Cells are the same, BMS and housing are not.

Mostly I view housing as an obstacle (replacing individual cells is not for everybody). As I understand, the only thing with "brains" to accept or reject a BMS is a controller. Replacing a controller (when switching to a different battery) doesn't cost much. At least, on mid-priced bikes. Major players make it difficult, yes. They must be spending a lot on keeping their position, but then this money has to come from a buyer's pocket, and not too many will be willing to ;)
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I think that you will find more compatibility of components, including the battery, in the under $2k range bikes as they are mostly made in China and are sourced via Alibaba which if you look through there you will see a lot of repetition in the basic designs but with different grade components and frame styles.
A lot of repetition in both basic designs and frame styles. And yes, they are available at Alibaba. If you look at the Reention page by Juiced, they are standard cases, one is called Shark Pack at Alibaba and the one integrated into frame - Tiger Pack (Juiced calls it that, but I don't remember if there is any special name for this at Alibaba).

Tiger pack is frame-specific, but it's pretty much a standard and is readily available at Alibaba. I'm not sure if length remains the same 15.7" for different WH sizes, but you can indeed find your size.

Other than these two, there is also Dolphin pack (similar to Shark only lower profile), Bottle pack and Silverfish pack (long box to attach to seat tube).

Ebike manufacturers - except for low priced kit bikes - don't source batteries through Alibaba. Battery makers (case makers, suppliers, whatever) ship to ebike manufacturer a battery with whatever connector and whatever length of wire is required for this particular model - different wire length for different ebike models. Same goes for controller, display etc - identical unit but different wire length and/or connectors. Mostly all this takes place in China. US and Canadian ebike companies only assemble and box it. Don't know why Juiced have somebody else to make an extrusion downtube for a Tiger pack, probably they found a cheaper fabricator than at the frames' factory. Tiger pack is standard, anyway.

We, consumers, can only get an aftermarket battery with a generic wire length (usually longer than needed, i.e. one size fits all), but connectors type can be specified. Doesn't have to be Alibaba - Luna have batteries (and motors) at quite reasonable prices with cheaper shipping cost than 'Baba.

Edit-PS: my typo - Shark pack is a lower profile than Dolphin. Sorry, I'm not much into big fishes :)
 
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Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Alibaba IS actually the wholesale resource for OEM's or large resellers. If you look closely that site usually has a MOQ and it is often significant. Aliexpress has individual cases and parts.
Yes there are reasonable prices but even better prices if you purchase from reliable Aliexpress vendors whose warranties are as good as USA discounters.
When purchasing from ANYONE check the warranty!
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I stand corrected - meant to say "Aliexpress", i.e. retail quantities. Alibaba does wholesale.
Though I think that manufacturers that have been in business for a few years or more, have already established direct relations with their respective suppliers.

Reliability of Aliexpress vendors is a big issue, agreed. They won't necessarily take your money and run, but many of them (most?) don't have items that they advertise. They order it after you've paid, it takes time to arrive, and then a longer time yet to ship it overseas. Quality of the casing, cells, assembling - varies too. On the balance, if US "discounters" ;) offers something at the same or close cost - I'd rather deal with those. At least phone and email inquiries won't involve not-so-English language or delays due to different time-zone.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
I stand corrected - meant to say "Aliexpress", i.e. retail quantities. Alibaba does wholesale.
Though I think that manufacturers that have been in business for a few years or more, have already established direct relations with their respective suppliers.

Reliability of Aliexpress vendors is a big issue, agreed. They won't necessarily take your money and run, but many of them (most?) don't have items that they advertise. They order it after you've paid, it takes time to arrive, and then a longer time yet to ship it overseas. Quality of the casing, cells, assembling - varies too. On the balance, if US "discounters" ;) offers something at the same or close cost - I'd rather deal with those. At least phone and email inquiries won't involve not-so-English language or delays due to different time-zone.
I won't blather it on here but you can save significantly over those USA goofs and their 30 day warranty by going direct to the same builder they use.

Aliexpress and a known reseller with lots of customers and reviews, $368.74 delivered. USA discounter with 30 day warranty, $430. I have referred dozens of buyers directly to the maker with no issues. $60 is enough to motivate me. My friend bought a battery from a USA seller and the warranty was no better, actually worse. The seller left him out in the cold after 30 days. I had a refund from the Aliexpress seller, once I proved the problem. The better sellers are rated and Aliexpress does offer protections. That said, these days I'd rather pay a premium and buy from an even better builder with advanced build systems. Also in China, but an English speaking company run by a bloke from the UK. Not much more than the USA guys with the smoke and mirrors. Sorry, I don't drink the discount, change and savior of the markets, kool aid being served up recently. I have batteries from 5 sources and have the experience to back it up.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Er... there is "warranty" and there is "free return of a defective item".

Warranty can be anywhere from 3 months to 1 year, and/or certain number of cycles, whichever comes sooner.

Free returns are just that - free returns.

High-end bikes with proprietary battery might quote an impressive 2 years warranty, but read fine print - if battery is not manufactured by that particular ebike company, then warranty is provided by a battery manufacturer.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Thomas, the world of warranties is big and complicated. I'm not a lawyer, but those who write warranties, are.

You don't want to deal with warranties. They may ask for "proof" that the item was used within the specified temperature range, charging and other specs. Shipping may not be covered. You may not receive a full refund, but only a portion prorated over the warranty term. And so on, ad infinitum.

Aliexpress vendors carry standard protection - refund if it's "not as described or a lower quality", with shipping paid by the buyer. They only give you 15 days to submit the request after completion of the order. And, even if they offered a real "warranty" similar to high-end brands that guarantee minimum 75% performance for 2 years or N cycles whichever comes first - you're right, there is no legal recourse against Chinese vendor. Not that I would want to go after a US vendor - dealing with courts is a bigger pain yet than dealing with warranties - but US businesses know that I "can" do this, and consider this in their business practices.

One thing to remember when dealing with China - when battery fails, you need to fix the problem FAST. Aliexpress vendors take 3-4 weeks one way, so it will take 2 months after you've dropped it off at the post office until you receive a new/refurbished battery (IF you get lucky and they accept your warranty claim).

One year warranty is impressive. Better than Luna's 3 months "limited warranty". Note that this still requires for manufacture defect to be found and/ or a proof that you used it as intended during this year.

I agree that the best "warranty" is when vendor is selling a top quality product and has established reputation in honoring warranty claims. The fact that many people bought from him, doesn't mean much to me. If you or somebody you know had a positive experience with some Aliexpress outlet on numerous occasions - please post the link to his storefront. Or a link to go "directly to maker".
 
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Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
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Have a look on Endless Sphere Facebook. There's a few discussions about reliable vendors. I'm not going to post them here as it would be a conflict of interest.
 

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Alex M

Well-Known Member
OK, will check Endless Sphere.

Didn't mean to lecture anybody in particular, the thread is public.

Btw, people don't hire attorneys for most cases in Small Claims Court - at least, in North America. Pretty much a DIY thing. Though, filing fees (in case of a battery) are high enough to make you think twice before doing this, because the court would only refund the fees if you win.

There are some other things that one "can" do to a business in North America, that don't require to have a deep pocket. Smearing them in Better Business Bureau (or notifying them that are about to do this) is often enough.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Alright, let's see if I've missed anything.

Aliexpress - 15 days returns, buyer pays return shipping (right, hazardous item shipped overseas). No other warranties.
US "discounters" (love this word) - 30 days returns, free return shipping, 3 months warranty (or if anybody knows US source with longer warranty, please post).
Unspecified reliable Chinese maker - one year free returns but you don't have to return because shipping it to China is unrealistic.

Will research other forums as suggested.
If anybody here who is not a business and have no vested interest, can add anything to the picture - you are welcome to chime in.