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Have you heard of e-bike batteries going bad after only 2 years? Ever wondered why? Most e-bike batteries should last up to 5 years. Why is there such a discrepancies between the two? What is it that owners do differently in taking care of their e-bikes and batteries?
First easy place to start is the owners care manual. Most care manuals give enough information to confuse the average rider. The care manual seem to always be outdated or not enough relevant information. To ensure your e-bike’s battery endures and gets you to the 5 year estimation, we have compiled a detailed easy care guide below.
The Best Practices
These batteries mostly run on either a 36-volt or a 48-volt system, and depending on the type of bike that you own, and the usage, the care and the life of batteries vary.
Most e-bike batteries are Li-ion Batteries. Even though there are other materials like aluminum and nickel that constitute an electric bike’s battery. The name ‘Li-ion batteries’ has stuck when referring to electric bike batteries due to the tiny Lithium ions (less than 2% of the total battery bulk) that travel between the anode and cathode.
Also, with e-commerce getting a boom in recent years, a lot of people prefer getting their e-bikes online through trusted sellers. But with such purchases, you need to be more cautious while maintaining health since the batteries end up in warehouses and storage containers without proper care for long periods.
One thing you should remember is that Li-ion batteries have a shelf life of around 3 years, after which their ability to hold charge significantly decreases. The phenomenon occurs whether or not the battery is in use. This doesn’t mean to be scared to use your e-bike every day.
The following tips that we have collected from experts are a few general practices that will help you check your battery health and give it an extended life regardless of the e-bike battery type that you own.
· Charging Practices
Do not charge your battery to 100%, unless you intend to use your battery immediately after charging. If you cannot use it right after charging, it is best to charge your batteries up to 80% only. The way you do this is by keeping an active eye on the battery while charging. Specifically by watching the charge indicator and turning the charger off as soon as it reaches the 80% mark. Where charging is done up to 100% every time, a substantial degradation is observed with battery cell. This will add to the 2 year battery life.
At lower and higher battery percentages, there are many electrons at the positive and negative terminals, respectively. Whether your battery is at 100% or 0% charge, it is in a state of complete imbalance that causes damage.
Charging beyond 80% leads to “trickle charging”. In this state, electrons are forced to the already electron-crowded negative terminal that causes excessive heat generation.
· Temperature Tantrums
Exposing your batteries to high temperatures for long periods can promote chemical reactions within the battery’s cell. This causes capacity loss. Most e-bike owners are observed to make the mistake of leaving their bike’s batteries in the trunks of their vehicles or garages on a hot summer day, reducing the life of an otherwise healthy battery.
· Satiator Sage and Alternate Options
A Satiator is a universal charger for all kinds of e-bike batteries. If you happen to own one, you can custom up to 20 charging profiles for different batteries, but in case you don’t, you can use the charger that comes with your e-bike.
A simple way to judge if you are causing excessive wear and tear to your battery is by timing the discharge. If you drain your bike’s batteries within an hour, it is time to take a step back and reduce the aggressiveness with which you are using the battery. It is ideal if your battery usage gives it about 2-3 hours before draining the battery to 10%.
· High-Voltage Drama
Do not use high voltage while charging the battery. To quicken the charging and reduce the waiting time, electric bike owners often make the mistake of using a fast-charging option instead of a slow and stable one. Charge your batteries in a way that the charge is always less than 0.5C to extend their life cycle effectively.
· Battery Storage
If you are not planning on using your bike for a few months or a long period, it is best to keep these storage guidelines in mind.
- Don’t leave the battery on the bike. It is best to remove the battery from your electric bike for both safety and health purposes.
- Store your battery away from hazardous materials like acids etc., to avoid a chemical reaction.
- Instead of storing a fully charged or a completely discharged battery, try to store it at approximately half charging, i.e., between 50-60%.
- Store the battery at room temperature, away from moist or humid conditions.
· Traveling with Batteries
During traveling, if you intend to put your electric bike on the bike rack in the vehicle, it is best to remove the batteries and keep them stored inside. This ensures that they don’t detach on the long commute and make it easier for the rack clamps to sustain their hold on the bike.
· Your Battery Feels Those Chills
If you forget your battery out in the cold, it is best first to wait for it to reach room temperature before attempting to charge it. The Lithium ions slow down during chilly weather and find it hard to function, often causing the electrolytes to break down. So remember, charge your batteries at room temperature only; varying extreme temperatures can be harmful.
To make sure that your bike is ready for the next ride, keep these tips in mind and follow them after every ride:
- Clean your electric bike after every outing, but before you do so, remove the battery to ensure safety and preserve its health.
- Charge battery up to 80% and make sure it never completely drained out.
- Ensure battery is clipped and locked in place securely with no chances of detachment.
Extended Battery Range
Besides all the care tips given above, here are a few bonus points to keep in mind if you want to extend the range your battery has:
- Keeping tires inflated at the recommended pressure can increase a battery’s range up to 15%.
- Keep your battery covered with a nice custom-made battery cover. Even though this provides safety from winter chills, I honestly just added this tip because I love customized battery covers and the personality that they display.
- Keep your bike well-serviced and make appointments with a professional every few months to keep an eye on its health.
It might seem like a lot to keep in mind but be assured, once you make a habit of taking care of these easy steps, you will be able to save some bucks on getting a new battery every few years with a prolonged e-bike battery health. So be proactive and have a happy riding experience!