Managing Editor

David Blenskey

Senior Editor

Paul Ramsey

Assistant Editor

Stacey Ann

Article Editor

Joseph Flax

Products Reviews Editor

Bill Spencer

Projects Coordinator

Harold Bernstein

Editor at Large

Chuck Swanger

Technical Editor

Don Ficken

Art Director/Web Design

Dale Gibbs

Advertising Director

Jason Goldman

Published by:

Electric Bicycles Magazine

1642 E. Sixth Street

Long Beach, CA 90802


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Feel free to reproduce  material from EBM so long as you  credit the magazine and place a link to the magazine on your website.

Editorial Note

Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the magazine. In fact, we may even disagree with them.  But, frankly, we usually do.


Henry Holcomb

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The Case for SLA Batteries

Lithium battery distributors have done such a powerful job of doubting the  advantages of Lithiums and discrediting  SLAs (sealed lead acid)  that  they have convinced much of the public that a  Lithium battery is the only way to go.  That is just not the case.  In this issue, Managing Editor, David Blensky–in his article: “How to Purchase an E-Bike” makes the case for SLA batteries. He questions the validity of the often made claim made by many Lithium battery distributors that an SLA will last only a couple of years, while a Lithium will last 6 to 10.

If you read his article, please note that he does NOT question the superior technology of Lithium over SLA–great for cell phones and such. But for e-bikes,  it is the often less than adequate end product that is of concern, and the overblown advertising hype that accompanies it. Yes, the life of a Lithium battery (a good one that  is) will last two to three times that of an SLA . But 6 to 10 years? That’s  just yet-to-be-proven merchandising hype. Anyone who has ridden an e-bike with a Lithium battery for 6 years without problems please step forward. As for 10 years?  Lighten up people! Lithium e-bike batteries have NOT  even been around that long. Furthermore, despite their claims, we don’t  see any of them willing to offer a 10- or even 6-year warrantee! Why not?

The SLA battery has been a proven technology for many years and manufactured in the USA where service is always available, while the Lithium  (for their use in powering electric bicycles) is still a ways from being  a perfected product.  

Lithium battery distributors scare off many potential SLA battery customers by exaggerating the importance of the difference in weight. A 36 volt Lithium battery including the necessary mounting plate will weigh 10 lbs. A 36 volt SLA will weigh 25 lbs–a difference of 15 lbs. Dave, in his article, explains how the battery–neither SLA nor lithium–rarely represents over 9% of the combined weight of rider and bike.

Battery Weight Comparison:

Price Difference:

A 36 volt Lithium battery will cost you anywhere from $450 up to $600 and sometimes more. And don’t forget to add $100 shipping. And if you purchase direct from China try to imagine a distributor in China servicing a battery in the USA. An excellent 36 volt SLA can be purchased for as little as $150 to $250 and it is made in the good ‘ol US of A