For those who are new to electric bicycles or considering getting one, it can seem daunting when deciding when to charge your battery and keep it in good health. I’ve done some research to help you to charge your e-bike correctly and help maintain it’s health for as long as possible.
Charge your e-bike battery as often as needed, ideally not letting it drop below 20-30% charge, extending the battery health. Charging overnight is fine. Charging during the workday can save money. When storing it for longer periods, keep the charge between 30-60% and ideally store between 32-68ºF / 0-20ºC.
There is a surprising amount that you can do to extend the workable lifetime of your electric bike battery. Since a replacement battery can be a considerable cost, read on for many useful tips you can do immediately to extend the useful life of your electric bike battery.
So as you can see you can charge your bike battery almost whenever you like. Generally, I like to charge it at work as this way you save electricity costs.
A big priority for me is to extend the battery life since this is a major cost if you need to replace it. Therefore I generally charge my battery on it drops to 30 to 40%, as going below this amount counts more towards a full deep discharge of the battery.
Can I charge my e-bike battery overnight?
Yes, charging your e-bike overnight is perfectly fine, especially since many of us are on busy schedules and only have time to charge at night.
It creates less stress on the battery if you don’t charge to 100%, since that brings it closer to a full charge cycle – a charge cycle is charging the battery fully from 0 to 100%. So if you don’t need the full battery range each day – consider charging to about 85% and then stopping.
How can you make sure it doesn’t charge to 100% you might ask? First, make a note of how long it takes the battery to charge to get to 100%. Do this by writing a note when you start charging the battery and then make another note when it reaches 100%.
Next, invest in an electric socket timer – commonly used to turn on and off lights when on holidays. Use this to cut off the e-bike battery charger when it reaches approximately 85%.
Try to avoid using your e-bike directly after charging. Give it some minutes before using it, if possible.
How to charge my electric bike battery at home
There are two main battery setups on e-bikes – removable batteries and non-removable batteries. Most electric bicycles have removable batteries, although some sleek, stealthy e-bikes have batteries incorporated into the frame. These are not removable.
If you have removable batteries, it’s very easy to charge at home. Park your electric bike somewhere safe, remove the battery– normally with a key, and bring it into your home and charge it like you would with your smartphone or laptop. You charge the e-bike battery with a charger supplied with your e-bike.
If you have an electric bike with a non-removable battery, you must move your bike inside your home to charge it. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a charging point in your parking spot, you will have to move it quite close to an electric outlet. Some examples of electric bikes with non-removable batteries are the popular VanMoof S2 and X2 commuter e-bikes.
How and why to charge at work
Charging at work is often an ideal solution. You can extend the range for your return trip and save costs. Simply bring your charging cable to work and charge it up at your workstation like you would with your smartphone.
This is a particularly good idea if you’re worried that your e-bike doesn’t have enough range, especially in cold weather, to make it to and from your workplace. It’s obviously also a good time from the perspective that you know when you next need the bike, so you have eight or so hours to get the battery topped off again.
Charging my e-bike battery for the first time
When you get your e-bike for the first time, fully charge the battery as it may have been drained completely in the factory-distributor-retailer supply chain before you received it. This process could take many hours – perhaps up to 12 hours.
Consult your owner’s manual for the amount of time your particular battery will need.
However, you should not leave the battery in for more than this time, as it will eventually overcharge. See the other tips in this article about using a lamp timer socket to automatically prevent the power from flowing to the battery for too long, thereby avoiding damage.
How long does a battery last on an e-Bike?
On average, you can expect your lithium-ion battery – the most common type on modern e-bikes to last 3-5 years. Typically batteries are rated for 1000 or so full charge and discharge cycles. With proper care and storage, you can extend the useful life of your batteries, see below.
How do I make my e-bike battery last longer?
The first thing to try to achieve is to store batteries in cooler temperatures, not above 30C if at all possible. This means do not keep your e-bike in a warm conservatory for example but ideally in a cold garage or basement. The ideal temperature and conditions to store your e-bike’s lithium-ion batteries is in a cool, dry place at 0-20ºC, and if you’re storing for long periods then leave it 30-60 percent charged. Fully charged or empty isn’t ideal for storage. Remember that a battery in storage will “self-discharge”, so make sure that you take it out and top off the battery every month or so if you have it in long term storage.
When washing your electric bike, don’t power wash the battery directly. Instead, take it off and use a damp cloth. Keep water away from the electric contact points on the underside of the battery, and the corresponding electric contact points on the bike frame too. Dry it thoroughly after washing just in case.
There are several things you can do to drain your battery less so that it lasts longer on your trips.
The first thing to do when starting with a new bike is to become familiar with the different power assistance levels on the handlebar controller. On most electric bikes there are different power levels, which on my bike range from 1 to 5, 5 being the maximum assist available.
This means there is a small assist at level one, an eco assist at level three, and more powerful assists at level four and five. Make sure the power mode you select is appropriate for the terrain you’re riding on. On a flat smooth road, the maximum level is use is level three. On slight downhills on a smooth surface I might use level 1 or 2, or even turn off the assist. Levels 4 and 5 are rarely used, only for when there is a headwind or going uphills in a hurry.
The next thing to become used to doing is to pedal smoothly. Doing so will allow the motor to operate smoothly as well since it assists based on the input from your pedaling. Try to avoid stamping down hard on the downstroke and letting up on the upstroke. Practice smooth pedaling as much as you can, so the battery discharge and motor operate smoothly.
The next thing you can prepare for your trips is to have the correct tires inflated to the correct pressure. Having underinflated tires increases rolling resistance, which requires more energy to keep the bike moving forward. This means you must pedal harder and the motor must work harder to keep the same speed. Having the correct tires means that the rolling resistance is less further reducing the energy needed to maintain your speed.
Another factor to keep in mind that affects your battery discharge rate is the number of uphill sections you cycle on. If there are a lot of hills on your commute there’s not much you can do about it, but you do need to keep in mind when you’re planning your route and looking at the range of your battery. A battery must discharge more going uphill so naturally, this will reduce the range of your battery. This is something to keep in mind when planning casual trips too.
Yet another factor to keep in mind is that when it is colder, lithium-ion batteries discharge at a quicker rate. Of course, there is not much you can do about this but it is important to keep in mind when planning trips especially if you are unsure that you have the range to make a full round trip.
Does Pedaling Charge an electric bike battery?
An electric bike does not charge while pedaling. Doing so would defeat the entire purpose of having a pedal-assist bike. The battery discharges in order to give you an extra boost when you need it, and charging while pedaling would create the opposite effect- it would add resistance while riding.
Can you use an e-bike without the battery?
You can absolutely use an electric bike without the battery. This could be because the battery is empty, you remove the battery, or you simply do not want to use pedal assist on a certain section of your ride.
The main downside of riding an e-bike without pedal assist is that you are pedaling a heavier than normal bike around. On downhill sections, this isn’t an issue, and it’s a good thing to keep in mind in case you’re worried that you don’t have the range to make it home with a charge left. If you’re worried that your range will not get you home, reduce your assist level and keep in mind the tips posted above.
What happens when an e-bike battery dies?
If your battery dies while on a trip, you can simply cycle at home as mentioned in the paragraph above.
If your e-bike battery is completely dead, meaning at the end of its life, you must replace the battery pack completely. It’s best to purchase a replacement from the same manufacturer, in order to ensure the best compatibility with the bike.
If you are familiar with electronics, it’s possible to assemble your own battery pack from the battery cells that you purchase yourself. This can reduce replacement costs. You can re-use the case and components from your existing battery pack.
There is a multitude of options for when you can charge your e-bike’s batteries– including at work, overnight, or when convenient at home. There are many ways that you can extend the useful working life of your e-bike’s battery too – such as storing the battery at the correct temperature, avoiding overcharging, and storing it when it’s 30-60% charged. With these tips, you can extend the lifetime of your battery and save unnecessary expenses.