How to Extend the Life of Your E-Bike Battery
Today’s eco-friendly e-bikes are suitable for everything from exercise to commuting. E-bikes are easy to park, reduce your carbon footprint, and give you a great view of your surroundings. They’re fun in the city and on the trails.
As the price of lithium-ion e-batteries comes down, so does the cost of electric bikes. Technology continues to advance. Quality e-bikes are more affordable than before for people at all income levels.
Most electric bike manufacturers use long-life lithium batteries. They’re a significant improvement over previous battery types. Lithium batteries are compact and lightweight. That means electric bikes don’t weigh as much. The batteries operate in a variety of temperatures. This means cyclists can ride their electric bikes in more situations throughout the year.
The self-discharge rate is low, usually around 5% per month. Lithium batteries are nontoxic and can be recycled. With proper care, the cycle life can be as high as 1,000 cycles.
Make sure your bike is ready for your next adventure with the following tips for battery care. Follow the guidelines to extend the life and running time of your e-bike battery.
Read the Owners Manual
The first tip is to read your owners manual. Don’t assume you can figure it out. There are some dangers with lithium-ion batteries. They’re flammable if used incorrectly or paired with the wrong charger.
Following the manual recommendations means your e-bike battery will last longer. E-bike battery life is calculated in charge cycles. It’s based on the number of full charges from 0 to 100% the battery can undergo before losing effectiveness.
Lithium-ion electric bike batteries hold an average charge for 30 miles. When maintained, the battery lifespan is up to 1,000 full charges from a dead to a fully charged battery. The manufacturer specifies the maximum number of charge cycles. It refers to the number of recharging cycles a battery can go through without losing efficiency.
After reaching the specified number of cycles, expect a reduction in performance. The battery won’t hold a charge as long. At this point, the owner decides if a replacement battery is needed. An electric bike battery usually becomes less efficient after 3 to 5 years of regular use.
You need to understand your battery and charger. Read the owners manual and any warning stickers on your battery or bike. Ask the manufacturer or your local bike dealer if you have any questions. Keep reading to learn more.
How to Charge an Electric Bike Battery
If you fully discharge a lithium battery, it reduces its ability to hold a charge. That results in a diminished capacity. It’s best to keep a lithium battery charged. Plug it in after a ride, even if you’ve only gone a few miles. If you do empty the entire charge on a battery, you should recharge it as soon as you can.
Use the Charger Provided
Don’t mix and match chargers. Only use the charger that came with your e-bike or conversion kit. It’s possible to cause an explosion and fire by using the wrong charger.
Fully Charge Your Battery Before Your First Ride
When you get a new e-bike or conversion kit, fully charge the battery before riding it. Follow the instructions in the owners manual. A full charge may take 4-8 hours.
Create a Safe Charging Station
As mentioned above, there’s a risk of fire with all large lithium batteries. It’s smart to designate a safe place to charge your e-bike battery. Outside, or in the center of an empty garage floor are two good options. Make sure the location is dry.
Here are some specifics:
- It’s worth repeating: use the charger that came with your bike battery.
- Keep a fire extinguisher that works on battery fires nearby in case of emergency.
- Pay attention to how long the battery is on the charger. Smart chargers sense when the charge is complete and turn off. As a backup, unplug the charger when you aren’t using it.
- If your charger isn’t a smart charger, pay close attention to the time while it’s charging. Unplug it when the charge is complete.
- You can’t go wrong with charging the battery after each use.
- If you store the battery for several months, charge it once each month when it’s not in use.
- Turn off the e-bike after every use. If the power switch stays on and the battery hasn’t been charged in a while, it may fail. Some e-bike battery systems have auto shutoff features to prevent over-discharging.
Never charge a battery if you think it’s damaged. Never charge it unsupervised inside a building. Always buy your battery from a reliable vendor and charge with care.
Don’t Regularly Fully Discharge Your Battery
As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t fully discharge your battery on a regular basis. Discharging lithium-ion batteries to 0% is harmful. The batteries don’t have a charge memory.
Shallow discharges and recharges are better. They don’t add stress to the battery, which makes the battery last longer. Use partial discharges with regular top-ups to extend battery life. When your battery reaches 50%, top it off with a charge.
It’s okay if your battery fully discharges once in a while. But, it’s best to charge every few rides to avoid 100% discharge.
Create the Best Environment for Your Battery
Extreme hot or cold temperatures will hurt performance. Lithium batteries like cooler temperatures. If you want to extend the life of your battery, don’t let it get hot. Warm is alright, but hot to the touch is bad.
Stay Away from Extreme Temperatures
The recommended temperatures for storage are 32F – 77F. Extreme temperatures, over 104F, should be avoided. The lithium powder inside the battery cells loses electrical resistance when it heats up. Warmer temps make the battery discharge faster. You’ll have to charge it more often.
Cooler temps are better. Your battery will last longer. That’s because the lithium powder increases resistance in colder conditions. Maybe you’ve heard recommendations to store camera batteries made of lithium in the refrigerator. Manufacturers advise this to prolong the life of the battery.
Storing an e-bike battery in the fridge is hard. Instead, keep it in as cold a place as you can. But, remember to warm the battery to room temperature before you charge it. If you charge a frozen battery, it can damage it.
Keep the Battery Dry
Store your bike in a dry location. Don’t forget to consider humidity. Humidity isn’t good for any electrical device. Check the contacts on the battery every couple of months. Make sure they are clean and dry. If you find corrosion, remove it with an emery cloth.
Try not to expose your battery to high heat, sub-freezing temperatures, water, and high humidity. Avoid shock, vibration, punctures. The better the environment, the longer your battery will perform at capacity.
Long-term Bike Battery Storage
If you won’t use your e-bike for a few months, make a plan for storing your bike and battery in a safe manner. First, choose a fire-safe location for storage.
A lithium battery will self-discharge, or go flat, at the fastest rate when it’s fully charged. It discharges at a much lower rate when it’s almost flat. Over a long period, the battery loses the least capacity if it’s partially discharged.
Yet, you don’t want to leave the battery almost flat. That isn’t good for it either. Try to store it with a charge between 40% to 80%. This charge amount reduces the loss of capacity over time while preserving the battery.
What does this mean for storage purposes? If you have a smart charger, charge to 80%. If not, you can estimate the charge. Ride your bike for about 20% to 60% of a full-charge distance or time. Then, store the battery in a cold place. If possible, give the battery a short charge every 4-6 weeks.
If it’s not convenient to check that often, you can examine the battery at three months. Check the charge level and recharge to top it off if needed.
Don’t Ever Open Your Bike Battery
There is never a reason to open your e-bike battery. Don’t try to examine it. Don’t try to repair it.
Lithium powder in lithium-ion batteries is combustible. It will explode on contact with oxygen. You could start a fire or hurt yourself and others. Don’t do it.
If you think your battery is faulty, contact a professional. Return it so it can be tested, repaired and replaced. It is not worth the risk to open the battery yourself.
Get E-Battery Advice from the Experts
Now you know correct maintenance and storage increases the lifespan of a quality battery. Proper care of a lithium-ion battery makes it last three to five years. A neglected battery can be ruined in one season or less.
Here’s one final tip for maintaining your e-battery. Always buy a quality battery from someone you trust. If you need help choosing an e-bike battery, contact Leeds.
Contact Leeds Electric Bike for expert advice and assistance. We have everything from e-bike parts to e-bike conversion kits. If you’re looking for a new way to commute to work or want a healthier lifestyle, we’re here to help. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes.