Did you know there are some simple methods for increasing your e-bike’s battery range in cold weather? By using an e-bike battery warmer or cover, you can squeeze extra miles from your e-bike. E-bikes mostly use lithium-ion batteries (specifically LiPO) which suffer from significant range decreases in cold weather, especially in freezing temperatures.
Using an e-bike battery warmer or cover can extend the range of your e-bike in cold weather. Your battery range decreases a lot in the cold. A cover works on the same principle as a wetsuit- in fact, they’re also made from the same neoprene material. It’s a simple, cost-effective method to increase range.
Keeping your Battery Indoors
One extremely simple (and free!) method is to keep your battery indoors before you need to use it, which keeps it at room temperature for at least a portion of your journey. Of course, the battery will gradually get cold as you ride but it partially mitigates the problem by starting from a warmer battery. Try to keep the battery in the warmest room, ideally a room that you are heating anyway.
If you’re commuting in the morning, keep it inside overnight after you finish charging it. After you arrive at work, do the same there. Remove the battery and store it indoors as long as possible, and re-attach to the e-bike only when you’re ready to set off again.
If you combine this with a battery cover method below, you can go a long way (pun intended) to fixing the cold weather battery range issue.
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You can purchase neoprene battery covers (Amazon link) that work on the same principle as swimming in the sea using a wetsuit. The neoprene material is a good insulator, which traps in the heat of the battery and helps keep the cold out. If you use this and keep your battery indoors before use, you can really squeeze extra miles from the battery.
If you are in a jam in cold weather, you could even try to wrap your battery with a cloth or towel as emergency insulation! Just make sure that it’s securely wrapped before setting off.
Why use a battery warmer?
If you’re really concerned about running out of battery before reaching your destination, there is the possibility to use a battery warmer. A battery warmer uses a low voltage current to generate heat, thereby keeping the battery warm during very cold weather. A typical warmer used by some e-bike enthusiasts is are warming pads used to keep pet snakes (Amazon link) at the ideal temperature. However, you then have the challenge of supplying power to the warming pad- draining energy, which is the opposite of what we want to achieve!
A simpler option is to use a hand warmer – used by outdoor hikers or military in cold weather. If you put one of these inside an insulated bag alongside your battery, this is a sure-fire way to keep the battery much warmer than leaving it exposed. There are various types of hand warmers available, from battery-charged versions (which you charge before leaving home), to disposable pads, to warmers that burn a special smokeless material very slowly and generate heat while doing so.
There are multiple options available to help keep your battery warmer during harsh winter conditions. Step one should be to always keep your battery indoors at room temperature, ideally in a warm, well-heated room. Step two is to consider getting a battery cover, which will partially be insulated and greatly reduce the rate at which the battery cools off during the ride- as the battery generates some heat during use, some of this heat will be trapped inside. Step three is to get some kind of battery warmer and to put this in a bag or cover as you ride. This will keep the battery much warmer for longer, even in very cold weather.
I hope you found this article useful! Happy riding!