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Short answer for “How long do E-bike batteries last?” is between 2 to 4 years when well-maintained. While some may last longer or even shorter, the average life of a battery ranges between 2- 4 years.
Batteries constitute as one of the most essential elements of an Electric bike. For the reason that it is what powers the motor. The output efficiency of your E-bike substantially depends on your battery. Technically speaking, a battery in your bike adds up to one third of the value of your bike on average. Therefore it is important to find a good quality battery and then even taking care of it.
Since lithium-based batteries are the most commonly used battery we have focused on them for the purposes of this article.
Most of the bikes in the market run on lithium-based batteries these days and this development is a recent one. It is a surprising fact that the Lithium based batteries have been around since 1912. It’s only in the last fifteen years that they caught attention and became widely used in consumer application. One reason why lithium-based batteries weren’t used was the consumer’s purchasing power. Lithium based batteries are expensive but long-term fundamental analysis suggests that they are more cost-effective. If your usage is spanned over a longer duration of time. Lithium-based batteries can be divided into two parts namely. The “lithium-ion” batteries and “lithium-polymer” batteries. The only point of difference between the former and the latter is the type of electrolyte used.
Apart from the aforesaid, there isn’t a significant difference in the both. Although Li-Polymer offers a slight increase in energy density. It is 10-30% more expensive, and manufacturers have yet to decide which is better. Additionally there is a wide variety of lithium chemistry variations available in the market. The single most important factor to determine the best utility and life cycle in a battery depends upon how well it is maintained. For example if you store your battery in a dry location that is protected from temperature fluctuations, it will last longer.
Calculated in Charge Cycles
It is relevant to note at this juncture that battery life is calculated in charge cycles. Meaning that depending on the number of full charges (from 0% to 100%) batteries can start to diminish before their capacity and stop functioning. Life of battery also significantly varies depending upon the battery type. Each battery type has its own life-span and the most commonly used batteries in E-bikes are lithium based, nickel based and lead based batteries. While nickel and lead based batteries last for 500 and 300 cycles. Lithium based batteries can hold up to 1000 charge cycles or more. This being the reason why they have become the most commonly used ones by the manufacturers.
Riding electric bikes is a lot of fun and can get you to places you never imagined. As long as the battery is charged properly and you are fully aware of how your riding affects the charge, you can avoid being stuck pushing an E-bike home with a dead battery.
Breaking the general perception
You must be wondering what happens to a battery after it reaches its maximum charge cycles. Will a lithium battery continue to function if it has consumed 1000 charge cycles, or will it just die out? The maximum number of charge cycles specified by the battery manufacturer corresponds to the number of charging cycles that a battery can theoretically undergo without losing too much efficiency. Meaning that a battery will not entirely die and stop functioning but will merely be overworked. For example, an over-worked battery would take longer to charge and may not provide the needed output.
After a number of cycles the performance will deteriorate and will start to retain its charge for shorter periods of time. It is up to you to determine whether a replacement is necessary or whether you can get by with what you have. Batteries wear out even when they are not being used. The energy stored in a battery starts escaping gradually and the process is called “self-discharging”. If the battery is left completely discharged for an extended period of time, irreversible damage can occur. This is a result of chemical reactions occurring within the battery. Review the user manual if you are not going to use the E-bike for an extended period of time. Recommendations vary according to battery type.
Proper care of the battery
Despite the quality of the battery or type of the battery. The life of the battery will depend on the care of the battery. With proper care any battery can have a prolonged life. The term proper care doesn’t suggest servicing batteries or paying extra to extend battery life. You just need to be conscious of what you have and take the proper steps to take care of it. Putting these practices into play will help ensure your battery will go a long way. Things like storing, cleaning and charging your batteries the right way, pay off substantially.
12 hours charge for the new battery
When you first purchase an electric bike, fully charge the battery for up to 12 hours. This first initial charge will help ensures that energy flows through all of the cells and helps condition the battery immediately.
Keeping it Cool
It is highly advisable to store your batteries in a cool and a dry place. Environmental conditions have a significant impact on the performance of lithium batteries. For instance, leaving one in your car in the hot sun will guarantee that your battery’s life will be shortened. Indeed, that is the worst-case scenario: maintaining a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your bike out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Try to keep your battery cool, preferably below 20°C (68°F) when not in use.
Find the right threshold to charge
Storing a completely depleted battery can have a very negitive effect on the life of the battery. As previously stated, a lithium-ion battery slowly discharges over time even when not in use. If the voltage drops below a certain point and for a long duration, battery damage maybe result in irreversible cell damage. When storing the battery for an extended period of time, it is ideal to keep it between about 80% and 40% of a full charge. Certain chargers have a lower ‘storage’ voltage setting and you can conveniently select this before charging the battery for storage. The easiest alternative would be to take your bike for a quick ride after it has been fully charged and before you plan on storing it.
Avoid charging for prolonged times
Additionally, avoid leaving your battery on the charger for extended periods of time, as storing it at or near 100% will shorten the battery’s life. Although some sockets have the potential to cut-off the current when a battery reaches a 100 percent charge but it is advisable to remove the battery from charge, as and when it reaches 100 percent charge.
You can check your battery every couple of months during the winter. If you notice that the battery indicator has dropped below the recommended storage voltage, you can quickly recharge it to restore it to the optimal storage voltage (this is unlikely to be needed if the battery was at 40 percent or above). If your battery does not have a battery indicator, it is probably prudent to charge it for half an hour every few months. Again, avoid storing the battery fully charged (though it will not be the end of the world if this occurs.)
Don’t regularly fully discharge your battery
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet related to fully discharging your batteries when it has proved to be detrimental in several cases. In fact, the truth is if you partially discharge your batteries and regularly top them up it will prove to be extremely beneficial for your batteries.
However, the occasional full-discharge on a long ride is not a problem, it is okay to top lithium batteries regularly. The best case scenario is to operate them in the top half of their discharge cycle, as lithium batteries don’t have a “memory effect”, like many other battery setups. If you are someone who does short rides on a regular basis, it is proven to be better for you to charge your E-bike every few rides, rather than charging them on each ride and using on 100 percent. This is done to avoid long periods at or close to 100 percent charge, as is discussed above.
Tip for the Winters
Additionally, during the winter season, ensure that your battery is above freezing before charging, or you risk damaging the cells. It is acceptable to ride the bike in sub-freezing temperatures (it will not harm the battery), but allow the battery to warm up before charging. When riding in extreme cold temperatures, you will notice a decrease in power and range; this is natural and expected. Avoid this by bringing the battery inside whenever you are not riding to maintain the battery’s temperature. That way, you’ll gain an extra bit of strength!
Remove the E-bikes battery in transit
Don’t forget to unplug your bike’s battery during transit. The constant harsh vibrations generated by your car are detrimental to the battery’s internal components. Remove the battery during transportation to reduce the weight and manageability of your E-bike.
Clean with caution
Always keep in mind that water and electricity don’t go well together and therefore it is highly advisable to remove the batteries before cleaning or doing any other work on your bike. DO NOT use steam pressure washer when cleaning the battery or even your E-bike. Please keep in mind that you should not be immersing the battery completely in water as it may increase the risk of battery related accidents such as short-circuits in your E-bike. If you plan on cleaning your battery it is sufficient if you wipe it off with help of a damp cloth.
Avoid fast charging your E-bike battery
Many E-bike owners make the mistake of purchasing only a fast battery charger, and while this does save time, it comes with a slew of disadvantages. Apart from their higher price tag, fast E-bike chargers also come with a risk of electrocution. Due to the high surge of electricity that passes through it in a short period of time, these chargers frequently require cooling via a heat sink.
Due to this, you will be hard pressed to find chargers of this type that exceed 5-amps. Overcharging a battery reduces its life and makes it a potential fire hazard. If you’re a new E-bike owner, we recommend using a slow charger to keep your battery healthy and safe.
Avoid charging in extreme temperatures
Electric bikes, like their riders, prefer moderate temperatures. If you want to prolong the life of your battery pack, avoid using and charging it in extreme temperatures. While your battery pack is charging, the environment should not exceed 110F or freeze. Attempt to maintain a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the optimal charging temperature.
Bear in mind that you may choose to do all or none of the above. The e-bike will continue to operate normally, but the battery life will be reduced.
E-bike batteries CAN last as long as five years
Top the battery, keep it at a safe temperature, avoid dropping/knocking or damaging the battery. Keep the E-Bike in good condition overall, and keep the battery at about 60% capacity and inside when not in use for extended periods of time.
Bear in mind that if you take care of your E-Bike Battery, it will take care of you in return not just financially but otherwise as well. It will not leave you stranded in the woods during a hilly ride. Considering the fact that battery accounts towards one-third of the cost of entire bike, it is immensely important to keep these small things in mind to derive the best value for your money. The health of your bike’s battery will stay in top notch condition, if properly taken care of. It is probably a bad idea to cut costs on an E-bike battery, especially because it is one of the fundamental parts of an E-bike.
If properly taken care of, an E-bike battery can last as long as five years but if carelessly used it might even be depleted in one season. This would defeat the “cost-effective” argument that E-bike enthusiasts commonly have in their favor. Despite keeping your battery in a good condition, if you realize that it has started depleting, it is equally essential to get them replaced for the life of your motor.
Make sure to purchase ONLY from an authorized store so you can avail the best of the class warranty and service. Each manufacturer will provide a self-reading guide with your battery purchase, and to ensure that you are able to derive the best output, make sure to read those manuals and guides and make it a practice to follow the directions and guidelines. Skimping on quality and opting for a less expensive option will generally result in lower quality, a shorter battery life, and decreased performance.
Before purchasing a battery for your older E-bike or a new E-bike altogether, ensure you have your specific requirements and utility in mind. Prioritize your needs in a fashion that you think will best suit your purpose of purchase and accordingly go for the bike that fits well into your criterion. If you use E-bike for work or your grocery trip to the supermarket, you probably need a city bike with a decent battery life demanding low maintenance. But if you are making a purchase to satisfy your thirst for adventure, you need a strong, high power and torque driven E-bike, which automatically needs a bigger battery. You should know there is an E-bike for everyone, so make sure you make an informed choice and find the one for you.
R E F E R E N C E S
- 4 tips for taking care of your E-bike battery, John Peters, 2nd October, 2018, Accessible At: https://www.cyclevolta.com/4-tips-for-taking-care-your-ebike-battery/
- How to look after the life of your E-bike battery, Accessible At: https://www.cycle-revolution.net/content/how-to-look-after-the-life-of-your-ebike-battery.aspx
- 11 questions about the E-bike battery, 22nd September 2016, Accessible At: https://www.bosch-ebike.com/us/news/11-questions-about-the-ebike-battery
- 3 ways to prolong the life of our electric bike battery. 6th March, 2015, Accessible At: https://pedegoelectricbikes.ca/3-ways-to-prolong-your-electric-bike-battery/
- How long do E-bike batteries last?, Accessible At: https://ebikegeneration.com/blogs/news/how-long-do-ebike-batteries-last
- Electric Bikes Charging Tips for Long Battery Life, Accessible At: https://evelo.com/blogs/learn/5-electric-bike-charging-tips-for-long-battery-life
- How long do E-bike batteries last and how to increase life span, Accessible At: https://www.bikinguniverse.com/how-long-do-ebike-batteries-last/
- How long does the battery of my electric bike last?, Accessible At: https://www.energuide.be/en/questions-answers/how-long-does-the-battery-of-my-electric-bike-last/1782/