Electric bikes in the UK tend to come with either Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. In China, on the other hand, lead acid batteries are still the most common ones used. In 2014 – according to the China Bicycle Association / IdTechEx – 35 million eBikes were sold on the Chinese market, and just 2.8 million of them had lithium battery.
Because of problems with quality and weight, lead acid batteries are not common in the rest of the world. In Europe, for example, acid lead batteries represent less then one per cent of the total; while 96.5 per cent is taken by Li-Ion and two per cent by LiPo
Specifically, battery packs are made up from many cells: the lead acid ones are similar to those we use on our cars, while the lithium ones use the same technology as mobile phones. Apart from the chemical component inside their cells, the main feature that differentiates lead acid and lithium batteries is their size: the lead ones are heavy and have a short life (200 to 300 charge cycles), while the lithium ones are smaller and can last longer (from 500 to 1,000 charge cycles).
The LiPo batteries are a further development of the Li-Ion ones – they are relatively cheap and small in size, but their service charge is unclear and they are quite fragile.
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