How far can I go?
The single most common question about EBikes is, how far can I go? Somewhere between 36 and 73 kilometres on flat ground. Many factors may move this number lower or higher. The formula to calculate battery power is as follows: Multiply the voltage by the amp hours and divide by the wattage of hub and you get the time it will last if running full throttle.
Therefore, a 36v500w hub with a 36v16ah battery would be: 36v x 16ah / 500w = 1.152 hours of full throttle operation. 32 kph times 1.152 = 36.684 km. So at full throttle you would go over 36 kilometres if your maximum speed is 32 kilometres an hour (the legal ebike limit in Canada).
However, if you are on flat ground it only takes about 250 watts (about half throttle) of power to maintain a speed of 32 kilometres 36 x 16 / 250 = 2.304 hours of half throttle operation. 2.304 hours at 32 kilometres per hour is 73.728km. So on perfectly flat ground with a light rider and bike and no wind or stopping and starting you go over 73 kilometres. If you pedal, you can go even further than 73 km.
Now, this number also has many overriding factors. Negative impacts on this number are the weight of bike and rider, opposing wind and uphill climbs. Positive impacts on this number are favourable winds at your back and regenerative braking that charges the battery when you apply the brakes to slow down or to stop another positive impact on distance is very few people actually travel at maximum speed.
So how far can I go? Somewhere between 36 and 73 kilometres on flat ground with many overriding factors.
Now the above is the standard definition of how far you can expect to go under perfect circumstances.
Basically, volts is speed and amp hours is distance. A simple calculation of amps times voltage gives the capacity of a battery.
48V10AH = 480
36V12AH = 432
So, if these two batteries run at full speed, the 48 volt would be faster but the 36 volt would go further.
But if these two batteries run at the same speed, the 48 volt would go further because it has more capacity.