Motors get all the attention, but in reality, the battery is likely the most important component on any e-bike.
After all, an electric bike wouldn’t be electric if it wasn’t for its battery.
Not only does it keep the motor purring along, but it also powers your console, lights, and any other advanced features you might find on your electric ride.
The battery also happens to be one of the most expensive parts to replace – and given the rather sizable investment a lot of e-bikes require in the first place, we should strive to get the most life out of our batteries as we can.
Luckily, there are a few strategies we can utilize to help prolong the life of our e-bike batteries as much as possible.
And no, we’re not talking about anything too complicated here, just a few simple changes can make a world of difference.
So, if you’re like me and you’re not looking forward to buying a new battery anytime soon, check out the following tips to make sure you get the most out of your e-bike battery.
Extending Your E-Bike’s Life Span
By the way, this article is geared towards ensuring your battery lasts as long as possible with regards to charges or cycles, not with regards to extending the range you can get on your bike with any given charge.
In other words, I’m talking about caring for and maintaining the battery properly, as opposed to using less motor assistance, keeping the tires inflated properly, and so on.
That stuff’s important too, but that’s an article idea for another day.
1. Always Use Correct Charger
This seems like a pretty obvious one, but it’s still worth mentioning just to make sure – you should only use the charger/charging cord that comes with your e-bike.
Using another brand’s or a generic cord could damage your battery.
E-bike batteries come in different voltages and if you try to charge say, a 36- or 48-volt battery with a 52-volt charger, you’re asking for trouble.
If you’ve lost your charger, do the smart thing and order another through the brand themselves.
2. Plug Cord Into Battery First
This one isn’t quite as self-explanatory as the first tip, but it makes sense when you think about it.
Basically, it’s best practice to plug your charging cord into the battery before you plug the power cord into the outlet because you want to make sure you have a secure connection for the electricity to travel before it starts coming through.
Honestly, with modern day e-bike batteries it’s unlikely you’d do any harm, but technically, electrical arcing could occur if you have the cord plugged in the wall before inserting it into the battery.
And that could damage your battery.
Better to be safe than sorry.
3. Charge After Every Ride
Believe it or not, batteries are pretty finicky when it comes to their charging schedules… well, I guess they aren’t, but if we want to prolong their life as much as possible, we should be particular about how and when we charge ’em.
We should avoid draining the battery completely because this is harmful for lithium ion batteries and can effect their ability to hold a charge.
The proper drainage level will vary a little depending on who you ask, but most agree we shouldn’t let our battery levels get below 20%.
Instead, it’s better to re-charge after each ride, even short ones, to make sure the battery level doesn’t get too low.
4. But Wait Till It Cools Down
It’s great to charge your battery after every use, but if it was a longer ride and your battery is still warm, it’s best practice to wait until it cools down before charging.
You know, just to make sure it doesn’t get too hot while charging and overheat.
If your battery feels warm after a ride, give it a good half hour or so before plugging it in.
Or you could always try charging before you ride, as long as you aren’t regularly storing your battery in a drained condition.
#5. Don’t Drain Your Battery Completely
I mentioned this earlier in #3, but it’s an important one, so I’ll go over it again – it’s a bad idea to drain your battery completely on any given ride.
Doing so stresses the battery and if you do it on the reg, could damage it and seriously effect its ability to hold a charge.
Sure, things happen and sometimes you find yourself in a situation where your battery’s gonna die on ya.
Maybe you forgot to charge or you end up riding longer than you expect, this is ok.
Draining the battery completely here and there won’t do too much harm, but it’s best practice to charge it up again before it drops below 20%.
In other words, make sure you’re keeping a close eye on your battery levels!
#6 Unplug Immediately After Charging
It’s important to unplug you batteries once they get a full charge to make sure they don’t get too full and cause problems.
These days, chargers have sensors to detect when the battery is fully charged and they stop charging automatically (hence the green light), but I’ve read too many stories about batteries blowing up or catching fire to trust in ’em completely.
Unplugging the battery from the charger and unplugging the charger from the outlet after each charge is best practice.
And don’t let your batteries charge over night – do it during the day when you’re around and can unplug after its finished.
#7 Store With 30 – 80% Charge
Depending on where you live and how you use your e-bike, you might find that there are months at a time where you don’t ride at all.
I know this is disappointing, but that’s life for ya.
Anyway, if you’ll be going extended periods without riding, it’s important to store your battery correctly.
And that largely means not charging it up completely, but instead keeping it partially drained on the off months.
Storing your battery with a 100% charge is actually bad for it and can decrease its capacity to hold a charge – I think it has something to do with the chemical reactions that occur in a battery.
The optimal charge level will vary a little depending on brands and manufacturers, but generally speaking, you’ll want to keep the charge level somewhere between 30 – 80%.
#8 Store in Heated Area
Storing the battery with a partial charge is important, but it’s also important to try and store it somewhere where it isn’t too cold.
Because extreme cold is bad for batteries too and can reduce their ability to hold a charge.
This doesn’t mean you have to store your bike inside your house, but if your garage or shed isn’t climate controlled, it’s a good idea to pop that battery out, give it a partial charge, and store it inside where it’ll be at room temp.
#9 Keep An Eye On Things
It’s a good idea to pay attention to how your battery’s holding up during and after rides – and if something looks off, stop using it and contact your manufacturer for guidance.
Things to look for include the battery:
- Getting overly warm after use
- Warping or cracking
- Leaking any fluids
- Smelling bad
- Not connecting well to the bike
If you notice any of the above, it’s a sign something isn’t working properly and it needs to be addressed.
#10 Read Your User’s Manual
I understand – you get a new e-bike and you’re excited to put it together and hit the road as soon as possible, but it’s really important to read that manual and know exactly what the manufacturer wants you to do to care for your e-bike.
The manual will tell you everything you need to know about necessary maintenance for your bike and this includes taking care of the battery.
They will also disclose the proper channels for contacting them in the case that something malfunctions.
When in doubt, also refer to your manual before looking else where.
FAQ Regarding E-Bike Batteries
How Long Will My Battery Last?
This depends on the brand and quality of your battery, how often you ride, and how well you take care of your battery, but most quality batteries should last somewhere between 3 – 5 years.
In terms of charging cycles, you might get upwards of 1000 charges out of a well-maintained battery, but know that its capacity to hold a charge will degrade over time.
This means the batter will drain faster and faster as time goes by and you’ll find yourself having to charge more often to maintain the optimal charge level.
How Much Does An E-Bike Battery Cost?
Again, this depends greatly on the brand and quality of the battery.
You can get cheap batteries starting off at around $250, while more expensive ones cost $500 – $800.
And considering your average quality e-bike costs around $2000, this means the battery alone represents about a third of the cost of the bike.
How Long Does It Take To Charge My Battery?
This depends on the size of the battery and the type of charger it comes with, but a lot of batteries can take upwards of 6-8 hrs to get fully charged from a completely drained state.
But remember, we shouldn’t be completely draining our batteries!
Where Do I Get My Battery Replaced?
You’re best bet is to contact your e-bike brand directly and order through them – this way you can ensure you get a battery that’ll be compatible with your e-bike.
And depending on the timing and your warranty, it might be covered.
What Kind of Warranty Does A Battery Come With?
This depends entirely on your brand, as different brands offer different guarantees on their components.
A lot of e-bikes come with simple 1 year warranties that cover all the main components (including the battery).
So, if anything malfunctions during that first year, you’re covered and the brand should be responsible for replacing your battery.
That said, some brands come with longer guarantees – EVELO offers a 4-year/20,000 mile warranty for their batteries and Aventon covers all their batteries for 2 years.
Brands usually stipulate that their batteries will hold a certain percentage of charge for a certain number of cycles as well (ex: “75% charge for 300 cycles”, etc).
Ok, there ya have it.
Looking at this list, it isn’t too difficult to maintain our e-bike batteries, we’re really making sure that we:
- Avoid draining our batteries completely
- Charge regularly
- Don’t store with a full charge
- Don’t keep battery plugged in after it’s fully charged
- Avoid storing in temperature extremes
Otherwise, it’s just a matter of keeping the battery clean and looking out for signs of damage.
And of course we need to be reading our user manuals for specific guidance from our manufacturers.
Do all this and you can expect your e-bike battery to last around 5 years or so… not bad.
I hope you found this guide helpful and if you have any guidance you’d like to share from your experiences, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you shortly.