The revolutionary impacts of electric bikes have been widely recognized for a long time now. From reducing carbon footprint to solving last-mile delivery challenges, electric bikes are a blessing in disguise.
Priced between INR 30,000 to 1,00,000, e-bikes can be costlier than their non-electric counterparts. However, buying an e-bike is a significant investment that owes valuable returns in the long term.
Want to improve your fitness?
Looking for ways to cut down fuel costs?
Not sure how to speed up the delivery process?
Whatever the requirements may be, e-bikes are often the perfect solution. Thanks to the rechargeable battery, the vehicle gets charged in no time and you can go traveling again.
But anyone using (and charging) an e-bike, including me, would often have one lingering question in their mind – how long will the battery last? The answer is dependent on many factors.
Let’s jump into the discussion!
The Right Ways to Take Care of Your E-Bike’s Battery
If the control switch is the brain of the e-bike, the battery is the heart and soul of the vehicle. Since e-bikes have motors and lithium-ion batteries, they require some different maintenance than conventional bicycles.
All batteries indeed lose capacity over time, but if used carelessly, they may need to be replaced sooner than expected. Taking care of your e-bike’s battery is crucial as running out of charge would be the last thing on your mind. Not to forget, you’d want to travel distances uninterrupted, don’t you? Hence, you must maximize its lifespan the right way.
1. Charge the Battery Correctly
Charging your e-bike battery correctly is crucial for its longevity. It is advisable to avoid charging the battery to 100% as it puts added pressure on the battery.
Lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used in e-bikes, should be charged between 20% to 85% of their capacity. Charging the battery beyond this range may cause damage to the battery and reduce its lifespan.
The same goes for discharging. Allowing your e-bike’s battery to drop to zero does more harm than good. So, most of the time, you don’t need to wait for the battery to discharge completely; rather, you can put it on charge when the capacity is between 30% to 60% remaining.
It is also essential to use the correct charger for your e-bike battery or a compatible charger recommended by the manufacturer. Using the wrong charger can damage the battery and void the warranty.
2. Maintain Optimal Conditions for Charging
You know when it comes to weather, what’s common between a rider and an e-bike battery? They both feel the same way! The temperature should be neither too hot nor cold but moderate. To extend your e-bike battery’s lifespan, refrain from exposing it to extreme temperatures whether during usage or while charging.
When the battery is getting charged, the environment shouldn’t be too warm or freezing. As extreme temperatures can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan, battery manufacturers recommend charging at a temperature between 5°and 45°C (41-113°F).
3. Ideal Storage Conditions for the Battery
Many e-bike owners want to know whether the battery should remain inside the e-bike or be taken out and stored elsewhere. Experts recommend taking the battery off the e-bike after usage. You can also apply a layer of grease at the contact points of the battery aid to prevent corrosion.
Additionally, you should refrain from storing the battery when it is completely charged or discharged. The battery should have 30% to 80% charge preferably before storage. Battery with half charge for storage helps in retaining its capacity and improves longevity too.
When storing your e-bike’s battery, it is important to ensure that the temperature of the room is moderate, i.e. anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. Too high or too low temperatures can impact the battery’s lifespan. If you’re riding your e-bike regularly during winter, don’t forget to use a thermal protective cover. Storing an empty or nearly empty battery at a low temperature should be avoided at all costs – the reason being it can lead to extreme discharge rendering the battery unserviceable.
Also remember, never expose your e-bike’s battery to sunlight directly. When using your e-bike during the winter, make sure the battery is in place before you start riding.
4. Don’t Leave the Battery Fully Discharged for a Long Time
Wondering what’s the ideal temperature of the environment when discharging your e-bike’s battery? According to most manufacturers, it should be 20 degrees Celsius or 68 °F. Even lower than this temperature isn’t a problem. However, storing a completely discharged battery is never recommended. Leaving the battery fully discharged for an extended period can cause permanent damage.
Not using your e-bike for a long time? It is recommended to charge the battery at least once every three months if it’s not in use. Make sure the battery has a charging level between 30% and 70%. Don’t miss out on checking the charge of the battery every month. Is it below 30%? Charge it up right away!
5. Don’t Expose the Battery to Water
E-bike batteries are typically made up of sensitive electronic components that are not designed to be exposed to water. Water can cause significant damage to the battery, which can lead to malfunctions or even render the battery unusable.
Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t expose an e-bike battery to water:
- Corrosion: Water can cause corrosion to the metal components of the battery, leading to rust and other forms of damage. This can cause the battery to degrade faster and potentially become unsafe to use.
- Short circuit: Water is a good conductor of electricity, and if it gets into the battery, it can cause a short circuit. This can damage the battery and even create a fire hazard.
- Electrical damage: Water can damage the electrical components inside the battery, such as the wiring and circuit board. This can cause the battery to malfunction, reducing its capacity and potentially creating safety risks.
- Safety risks: If water gets inside the battery, it can create safety risks for the user. For example, a damaged battery may fail to charge properly or discharge too quickly, potentially causing an accident.
If the battery gets wet, wipe it with a cloth and allow it to dry completely before use.
Related Article: How to Maintain an Electric Bike During Monsoon
6. Check the Battery Connections
Over time, the battery connections may become loose or corroded, affecting the bike’s performance. It is important to check the battery connections of an e-bike as loose or corroded connections can lead to safety hazards, reduce battery life, and affect the performance of the bike. Loose connections can cause electrical arcing or sparking, which can be a fire or explosion hazard.
Corrosion and poor connections can reduce the efficiency of the battery, causing it to drain faster, which may shorten its lifespan. Poor connections can also lead to intermittent power loss or reduced performance, which can be frustrating and even dangerous in certain situations.
Therefore, it is crucial to regularly check the battery connections to ensure they are secure, free from corrosion, and functioning optimally to avoid safety hazards, extend battery life, and maintain optimal bike performance.
To check the battery connections, use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to clean the battery connections.
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7. Overloading the Bike is Harmful
E-bike batteries are designed to handle a specific weight limit. Overloading an e-bike battery means drawing too much current from it, exceeding its rated capacity. This can be harmful to the battery because it causes excessive heat buildup, which can damage the internal components and shorten the overall lifespan of the battery. Overloading can also cause the battery voltage to drop, leading to decreased performance and reduced range.
Furthermore, repeated overloading can lead to a condition called “cell imbalance,” where some cells in the battery become weaker than others, further reducing the battery’s overall capacity and lifespan. Therefore, it is important to avoid overloading an e-bike battery and to use it within its rated capacity to ensure maximum performance and longevity.
How to Determine the Charging Time for Your E-Bike Battery
Every e-bike comes with a charger but not all e-bike chargers are universal. A majority of e-bikes have unique chargers that are compatible with only the bike’s battery.
Determining the optimal charging time of your e-bike is easy if you know two things – Amp hours in the battery and Amp in the charger. For example, if a 2 Amp charger is paired with a 10 Ah battery, it will take 5 hours to completely charge the battery. To cut things short, the bigger the Amp charger, the lesser the charging time.
Amp chargers are rated based on the amount of electric current they can deliver to a battery. The higher the amp rating of a charger, the more current it can deliver to the battery, resulting in a faster charging time. In other words, a higher amp charger will allow more electricity to flow into the battery, thereby reducing the time required to charge it fully.
Usually, a fully discharged lithium-ion e-bike battery takes 3.5 to 6 hours to completely charge up. This time will even be lesser for a partially charged battery. The final hour of a charge is used to “top off” the cells, and you don’t have to wait for it to finish. Thus, some batteries can be charged 90% in 2.5 hours or less.
How Many Charge Cycles Does Battery an E-Bike Battery Have?
The number of charge cycles determines an e-bike’s battery life.
But what is a “charge cycle”?
It is the maximum number of charges the battery can sustain before it becomes unproductive.
Generally, an e-bike battery can undergo 500 charge cycles on average. However, its lifespan depends on the type of battery, how frequently it is used, maintenance, and more.
Speaking about e-bike batteries, the lifespan varies from one type to the other. Want to know the different e-bike batteries and their longevity? Read below!
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery – It is the most common type of e-bike battery and is known for its high energy density, lightweight design, and longer lifespan compared to others. What’s more? These batteries are capable of multiple recharge and discharge cycles while retaining their storage capacity.
Approximately 5% of lithium-ion batteries self-discharge in the first 24 hours, before losing between 1% to 2% per month as per Battery University’s study. It is substantially lower than the estimated 20% per month for NiMH batteries. They are also relatively safe and do not suffer from memory effects.
Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries – Another most common type of rechargeable e-bike battery is the NiMH battery. Containing lesser active materials, these batteries have a higher energy density which makes them a safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The charge-up time is very slow, taking between 10 and 12 hours depending on the capacity. Furthermore, they are not able to perform well at extreme temperatures.
Lead-acid batteries – Meet the heavier and lesser efficient type of e-bike battery – lead-acid battery. They have a shorter lifespan than other types of batteries and need frequent maintenance. First used in the 1800s, lead-acid is one of the oldest types of batteries now used in vans and larger vehicles too. These take a long time to charge but are also the most affordable.
Depending on how well it is maintained, an e-bike battery can be expected to last between 3 and 5 years. Overall, Li-ion batteries are the most popular choice for e-bikes due to their high energy density, lightweight design, and long lifespan. However, the choice of battery will ultimately depend on the specific needs and preferences of the rider.
Can an E-Bike’s Battery Life be Optimized While Riding?
Never knew that the way you ride your e-bike can also impact the battery’s lifespan? Well, it turns out to be true!
E-bikes usually have a long battery life but you can follow these rules to extend the lifespan:
- Multiple Shift Gears
Disregarding the transmission is a common mistake made by many e-bike owners. Avoid turning the handle if you can’t step on the pedal. It is imperative to adjust the gear ratio to ride a greater distance and save battery life.
- Use the Right Pedal Assist Level
Most e-bikes come with several pedal assist levels that can help you conserve battery life. If you want to extend your bike’s battery life, try to use the lowest pedal assist level possible that still allows you to ride at a comfortable speed. Using a higher pedal assist level will drain your battery faster and you can opt for this only when required.
- The Right Type of Tires
When it comes to choosing the right e-bike tires, you may be tempted to go for lightweight ones. But hold on! Lightweight tires can affect your ride negatively. While riding an e-bike, the sidewall gets used more owing to the additional weight and also since the rear wheel is more difficult to get off the ground. Consequently, more force is needed when traveling on uneven surfaces.
- Maintain a Steady Speed
Rapid acceleration and sudden halts can drain your battery quickly. To optimize your battery life, try to maintain a steady speed while riding. This will help you conserve energy and maximize your range.
- Avoid Using Brakes Excessively
Braking converts kinetic energy (motion) into heat, which is wasted energy that doesn’t help you go further. To optimize your battery life, try to avoid excessive braking. You can change to four-piston brakes if possible. Also, don’t forget to check for wear and tear on the brake pads before, during, and after a ride.
Optimizing your e-bike’s battery life while riding is crucial for maximizing your range and getting the most out of your vehicle. By following the above-mentioned tips, you not only save money on battery replacements but also reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy the multiple benefits of e-biking for years to come. So, get out there and ride, knowing that you’re taking steps to make the most of your e-bike’s battery life!
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A digital content writer by profession and a tech enthusiast by heart, the world of Electric Vehicles has always left me fascinated. And I am sure there are many like me who wish to know more and more about electric cars and bicycles. This has led me to share all the hottest news in this industry with my readers! Exploring new places, trying out different cuisines or binging on Netflix always brings a smile, of course when I am not writing!