Priority Bicycles launched a battery extender for their popular Current e-bike a few weeks ago and we were thrilled when they asked if we wanted to take one for a test drive.
The Priority Bicycles Battery Extender doubles the battery capacity from the factory 500 Wh to a full 1kWh of capacity. They accomplished this by adding a second removable battery to the bike that mounts into a custom rear rack. This new battery wires directly into the bike for a seamless doubling of capacity.
Disclaimer: Priority Bicycles provided the Battery Extender to the author free of charge for the purposes of this review.
Over the years, I have assembled and disassembled hundreds of electric bikes but I was still a bit apprehensive about pulling off factory covers to wire in a second battery. Priority Bicycles provides a handy walk through video depicting the entire process and after watching it, I was ready to go.
The Battery Extender itself is essentially a heavy duty rear bike rack designed to hold a removable 500 watt-hour battery. A pigtail wire extends off the front of the rack, making it obvious where the electrical connection must be made. Installing the Battery Extender starts off by installing this rack onto the bike. That is much accomplished like any other rack and is a simple matter of screwing in the four mounting screws to attach it to the bike frame over the rear tire. Pro tip: remove the battery from the assembly by turning the key and pulling it to the rear before starting the installation.
With the Battery Extender securely fixed to the frame, it’s time to get it wired up. Removing factory covers to play with wiring might sound daunting, but assured by lessons gleaned from the installation video, I boldly removed the handful of screws covering the mid motor assembly.
Wiring the battery into the bike was as simple as promised. I disconnected a single connection within the bike and plugged one end of that into the new Battery Extender harness. Plugging the only other connection from the new harness into the now vacant connection on the bike and just like that, it was time to put everything back together. After putting things back together and adding a few zip ties to secure the new wiring in place, I plugged the charger for the bike into the new battery pack.
Charging the Battery Extender is straight forward but could definitely be more streamlined. It has its own charging port and must be charged separately from the Current’s integrated battery. It would be nice to be able to simply plug the bike in once and have both batteries charged, but this configuration does offer some additional flexibility. The Battery Extender pack can be unlocked and removed from the bike and charged by itself which is nice for folks commuting with the bike or to easily charge the battery up inside a house or apartment.
The Battery Extender also has its own power switch so you can literally ride around knowing that you have a fully charged, electrically disconnected spare battery sitting below your rack in the event you need it. It’s great for peace of mind and to know just how much range you actually have left in the integrated battery and extra battery.
Taking the bike out for its first ride, its new heft of the rear end of the bike took some getting used to. The Battery Extender adds 9 pounds to the bike, most of which is from the new battery itself. Adding this weight to the top of the bike makes it a bit more top heavy though I found this more noticeable when moving the bike around manually and did not find it bothersome when riding. It is nice to have the option to add a second battery as the potential use cases are wide ranging.
Adding a second battery to the back of the Current adds 574 Wh battery to the back of the bike, more than doubling the electrically-assisted range you can ride without having to charge up. A typical ride I does is to ride up into the mountains and back down, for a total of about 45 miles. That’s enough to squeeze just about every bit of juice out of the frame-integrated 500Wh battery on the Current and left us with a fully charged Battery Extender. It’s easy to imagine wanting to ride farther than a single battery allows though it is admitted a bit harder to actually ride that far.
Alternately, cranking the pedal assist from the typical setting of 1 or 2 to a higher level puts less strain on your legs which also allows you to ride farther. For example, if you’re normally putting in half of the effort to move the bike on an assist level 2, increasing the assistance from the motor to 4 might cut that in half, letting you travel farther than your legs would otherwise be able to .
For those who don’t have easy access to a charger for the bike, it might be nice to have enough range on the bike to easily ride it to work or school and back for an entire week and only charge it on the weekends. It opens up new options and around these parts, we are huge fans of enabling more people to use more electric vehicles more of the time.
The Priority Current Battery Extender retails for $799 which includes the integrated rear rack. For more information about the Priority Current Battery Extender or to order one, head over to Priority Bicycles’ website.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.