How to Protect the Battery of Your Electric Bike

How to Protect the Battery of Your Electric Bike

While electric bikes are fun to ride and a great investment, those that spend months on end inactive can result in a dead or damaged battery, which can become a large expense for the owner. In general, the battery of an electric bike is worth almost a full one-third of the total value of the bike, so it is a good idea to protect your investment by taking special care of the battery.

Most high-quality bikes will come with at least a two-year warranty for the battery.

Batteries for these machines are typically lithium-based. Finding popularity within the last 15 years, this type of battery will slowly lose its power over time, even if not in use.

In general, the battery in your electric bike should last somewhere between three and five years. While the power will begin to drain over time, if you take proper care of the battery it will last longer.

Related Article: How Far Can an Electric Bike Go?

Keep It Cool

It is no surprise that batteries will last longer if they are kept cool. A battery sitting in direct sunlight will see its power drain much faster than one kept under cooler conditions.

This is especially true for batteries that are not currently in use. It is highly suggested that your battery is kept out of the sun, preferably in a cool room no warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Store Your Battery Under a Partial Charge

While storing a fully-charged battery will have a minor effect on the amount of power you will be able to recover from it, later on, the same holds true on a much larger scale for batteries that are stored when drained of all power. The cell damage that can occur from storing a battery that has had its voltage drop below a certain point can be irreparable to the point that a new battery will need to be bought.

In general, it is suggested that a battery set to be stored hold somewhere between 40% and 80% of its full charge. One simple way to make sure this happens is to take your bike for a quick ride before getting it ready for storage.

Some types of chargers come equipped with a “storage” setting. If this is your case, all you need do is to switch it on before putting your bike away.

In addition, it is highly suggested that you not leave your battery plugged into the charger for extended periods of time. Remember, a battery that is stored at close to 100% of its power will have a lesser life later on. It is a good idea to check the level of power your battery holds every couple of months throughout the winter. If you find the battery level has dropped below 40% it is alright to charge it quickly to bring the power up to an acceptable level. Those that do not have the ability to check the battery level may want to charge the battery for about thirty minutes every two months to be safe. While you will not want to fully charge the battery, it is safer to have it fully charged than have it completely drain.

Do Not Let Your Battery Drain

Routinely allowing your battery to fully drain has been proven to have a detrimental effect on the overall life of the battery. Allowing it to do so may cause the battery to only last between 300-500 charges, while ensuring to charge the battery after 10% has been drained will offer the most recharges, between 3,750 and 4,700.

For those who take their bike out for short rides, a good rule of thumb would be to charge the bike after every few rides rather than after every single ride.

Do Not Let Your Battery Freeze

Prior to placing your bike into storage for the cold winter months, it is important to ensure the battery is above the freezing level before you charge it. If it is not, the cells could become damaged. However, you will still be able to ride the bike in below-freezing conditions without harming the battery, so long as you allow the bike to warm up prior to riding it. If you notice a decrease in the power of your bike during these colder rides do not panic, this is completely normal. However, it can be avoided by placing the battery inside your house when the bike is not being ridden. Doing so can ensure an extra bit of power during winter rides.

Not all batteries used for electric bikes are lithium based. Here we will discuss the other batteries typically used and their proper care.

Lead Acid Batteries

Commonly referred to as Pb, PBA, and SVRLA, lead-acid batteries are the most common batteries seen in electric bikes today and unfortunately, they are also in need of the most diligent care. While they will not exert much power if they reach near freezing temperatures, their life will also see a drastic reduction if they reach high temperatures.

Because these batteries self-discharge they will need to be charged at least every three months to ensure they keep in shape, although more often would be a good idea.

The batteries are not considered to be a fire risk, although owners will still want to use caution as they can become white hot in a matter of seconds if shorted.

It is best to store this type of battery in a cool, dry environment. In fact, the refrigerator is a great storage option if you are not planning on riding your bike for a long period of time. If you choose to do this, make sure you charge the battery on a monthly basis.

This type of battery will last between one and three years, typically around 300 cycles of use.

Nickel Metal Hydrate

While this type of battery used to the most popular choice, this is not the case anymore, although you may still find some electric bikes using this type of battery. While the battery will not work at all in below freezing conditions, it is more capable of withstanding higher temperatures than the lead-acid type.

Because these batteries are self-discharging, it is a good idea to charge them every month, although they will work fine charging every three months.

This type of battery will last around 500 charging cycles and can be put to use for up to 10 years.

Ni Cad

While this type of battery is used in the United States, it is more commonly found in bikes from Japan and Europe. These batteries contain cadmium, which is extremely toxic, causing the use of them to be banned in a number of countries.

However, if you are the owner of an older model bike from Japan, it may contain a Ni Cad battery. If this is the case, you may want to look into having it replaced with a newer type of battery, possibly a Nickel Metal or Lithium. Because of its toxic nature, you will not be able to throw the battery away. Instead, find a recycling plant nearby that will take it for disposal.

If you are diligent in the care and storage of your bike and its battery you can expect the battery to have a longer life, typically between three and five years. However, those who do not care for the battery may see it die within just one season of use.

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