When researching the purchase of my e-bike the question always to the forefront was would it be possible to complete the most iconic cycling route in the region, circumnavigating Lough Derg, without my battery running out? The total distance around the lake is stated as 120Km/74 miles and this is without taking the fabulous detours to visit the charming lakeside villages of Dromineer and Garrykennedy. This is highly reccomended if time allows and it will only add approximately 8km to your trip.
Extensive online research made it quite difficult to get precise figures for e-bike ranges but I was impressed with the method used by bike manufacturer Giant to give an indication of distances that could be travelled on a full charge. I did however remain unsure as to how this would translate to me, my bike and where I ususally ride. Home for me is on the eastern shore of Lough Derg in Tipperary where the roads are short flat sections punctuated by short sharp hills, undulating would probably be best description.
My bike - Giant Explore E+ with a 650wh battery.
My trip started in Coolbawn as I am lucky to live right on the route. I chose to go in a clockwise direction so the first hill of the day is in the village of Portroe. This is the most challenging climb but once crested it is a relatively easy trip down to the twin towns of Ballina/Killaloe. The second hill of mild significance is at Ogonelloe and again, once out of the way there is a beautiful descent to Tuamgreaney and Scarrif, where I stopped for lunch at the East Clare Community Cafe. Here there was also the opportunity to recharge my battery, if required. From here the trip back to Portumna is almost totally flat where the crossing the bridge brings me back into Tipperary and a "lumpy" ride of 22km back to Coolbawn.
So how did the bike and battery perform? Based on my experience to date I was reasonably confident I could make the trip without the need to recharge my battery, though I did bring my charger wih me in my panniers just in case as well as a camera and 2 lenses. On the outward trip I rarely went above assist level 2 - with the exception of the aforementioned Portroe Hill. On the long flat section between Scarrif and Portumna I was at level 2 most of the time but did use level 3 due to a very stiff headwind. The good news is I made it back with 8% battery remaining. It is worth noting that based on the graph above this is very accurate as conditions were not particularly hilly and I only had a headwind for part of the journey. The battery on my Giant Explore e-bike is a 625wh so it should be possible to make approximate deductions from this if you are looking at a bike with a different battery.
Here's a video I made of the trip:
Finally a few observations:
From my experience a 650wh battery is capable of approximately 120-130km on the undulating roads around where I live, if used carefully.
Recharging gives approx 1% for every 2 mins plugged in - so if you put the battery on charge while on a lunch stop of say 40 mins you could extend the range of your bike by 20 to 25km.
For cafés, bars and restaurants on cycling routes simply providing a standard 3 pin socket could attract e-bike cyclists wishing to charge their bike while having lunch.
I have calculated the cost of fully charging the battery to be approximately 12cent so a cyclist recharging their battery on a lunch stop will cost about 3 cent!!