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How To Keep My E-Bike Battery In Top Form

 

Extending your e-bike's battery life for years of sweet, sweet riding.


The single biggest worry of any electric vehicle is how to care for your battery so it lasts the full life of the vehicle.

Well, this is a huge topic with differing opinions, but here are a few things you can do to take care of your battery.


First thing to know....


First off, your battery is usually in one of three states.

1.      Charging.

2.      Discharging (as you are rippin’ it up).

3.      At rest or in storage.

Any of these states can damage or help your battery depending on what you do.

So here are some of the things WE do to maintain our battery life in our rental fleet.


Charging


A few simple things that should go without saying.

·       Only use the charger that is meant for your bike.

·       Use good quality extension cords (if you use them) and leave the grounds on. By that I mean if it’s a 3-prong cable, don’t break it down to 2.

·       Make sure your charger is secured properly to the battery, so it doesn’t arc or short.

·       Make sure it is in a dry place. Not too hot. Not too cold.

·       Always charge for the recommended times given by the manufacturer. Chargers are smart and shut off, but some are smarter than others. If your charger has a time limit or warning, take it seriously. Set an alarm on your phone. Whatever.

·       USE CLEAN POWER. Many generators provide unstable power that can strain the charger and, in turn, your battery.


Discharging


This is the fun part. Riding the thing.

·       Keep an eye on temperature warnings if you’re riding the bike hard. Overheated batteries are not happy batteries.

·       Be aware of recommended operating temperatures. If it’s -40 or +130 you might want to skip your ride. Many bikes, like our Talarias, won’t operate if they’re too cold anyway. They just give an error message.

·       If you have a big crash, check that the battery compartment is secure, and the connection is clean. It only takes a second but will prevent you from cooking the battery (or your thighs) when you hit the throttle!


Resting/Storing Your Battery


This is the thing people often overlook that makes the biggest difference. Especially if you’ve put it away for the season.


·       Store at 50%-60% capacity. DO NOT STORE FULLY CHARGED OR FULLY DISCHARGED. I’ve actually had RC car batteries swell and break from being stored with a full charge. I rarely charge my bike until a few hours before I ride it unless I have it plugged in overnight to balance. Our rental bikes get plugged in the morning of the ride with an extra hour to sit and cool down before they are ridden. All our batteries (some 3 years old) will still charge to 97% capacity because they’ve been cared for.


·       Store in a cool dry place. Basement if you’ve got it. Hall closet. Whatever. Don’t store it out in the cold or next to your furnace. ‘Nuff said.


·       I like to fully cycle and then balance my batteries every spring and fall (at least). This means I fully charge them, run them right down to about 10% then fully charge again and finish balancing.* Different bikes have different balancing features so I won’t go too far into it but here is the short version of what balancing is. Your battery has a bunch of cells, like a whole bunch of aa batteries in a case. Some charge/discharge faster than others. When the voltage gets higher or lower in some they become “out of balance”. This puts a lot of strain on individual cells and eventually, some burn out. That sucks. Avoid it.

 

One interesting note. My wife’s car is a Hyundai Ioniq 5. It was suggested that the car only be charged to 70% unless we are going on a road trip. Less strain. This setting is so important that is built right into the car’s menu. So, we run it down to about 40% and then charge back to 70%. The battery is nice and neutral all the time.

Love your battery and it’ll take you places.

Cheers.

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