Buying an electric bike is no short of an investment. This is why many prospective buyers wonder if the bike will last them long enough to justify the money they’ll be spending on it. This is why many people search how long e-bike batteries last.
Electric bikes have taken the world of commuting by storm. The USA e-bike industry analysts estimate a boom in the e-bike market in the coming decade. In fact, nearly 12 million e-bikes are expected to be sold in the US alone.
How Long Will Your Electric Bike Battery Last?
The duration of how long an electric bike battery can last is referred to as the e-bike’s battery life. Battery life represents your battery’s time before either needing a repair or a change.
Your electric bike’s battery life will depend on:
- The type of the electric bike battery you have. This would include your e-bike battery’s capacity or size. It also includes your e-bike battery’s chemical composition and quality.
- How you ride and use your electric bike. While some riding practices reduce your e-bike range and damage the battery life, others can improve range and extend battery life.
- How you treat and take care of your electric bike’s battery. This would include when and how often you charge it and which charging source you use and its voltage.
To learn more about the factors that determine your electric bike’s battery life, keep reading below.
Factors Determining your Electric Bike’s Battery Life
1. Battery Type
Different electric bikes come with different types of batteries. These batteries differ in terms of their battery cell chemistry, size and capacity.
Battery Cell Chemistry
The most common electric bike batteries could have either of the three chemical compositions:
- Lithium-ion batteries. Newer models of e-bikes mostly come with this type of battery. Lithium batteries are considered to be the best type of batteries in the market. These batteries optimize energy, giving the e-bike a great range and high battery life. These batteries can be molded into different sizes and shapes. This makes them a great fit for nearly all kinds of e-bikes sizes and shapes. These batteries have an average lifespan of 5-10 years or nearly 1000-2000 charging cycles. The newest lithium-ion batteries can even last up to 20 years!
- Nickel batteries. The two kinds of nickel batteries are the Nickel-Cadmium battery and the Nickel-Metal hydride. These batteries are less efficient than lithium-ion batteries. They have a lower voltage and have lower capacities hence offering lesser power. These batteries are less expensive than the lithium-ion batteries. They have a battery life of 2-7 years and nearly 500-1000 charging cycles.
- Lead batteries. These are the least efficient. Their capacities are low and they require frequent recharging. Nearly no new e-bikes come with a lead battery anymore. These batteries are much cheaper than the other two. Their lifespan is nearly 1-5 years and offers almost 300-500 charging cycles.
Battery Size and Capacity
The battery capacity refers to how much charge a battery can store. The bigger the battery size, the more charge storing capacity it has.
The capacity of the battery is reduced every battery discharge. This reduces the battery lifespan.
Hence, the bigger the battery, the more its capacity is and the longer its lifespan.
The table below shows different types of lithium-ion batteries, their weights, voltages, capacities, and lifespans.
|E-bike Battery||Weight (lbs.)||Voltage (V)||Capacity (Ah)||Lifespan (years)|
2. Electric Bike Usage
- The heavier the e-bike, the more stress it puts on the e-bike’s battery. If the rider is bulky and is also carrying cargo, that stress increases.
- Increased stress on the battery reduces battery range, which further lowers the battery’s total lifespan.
- Riding frequently at high speeds and accelerations for prolonged times puts stress on the battery. This frequent stress negatively affects the battery’s lifespan.
- Frequently riding on harsh terrains means more battery power being used to keep it moving. The battery liquid often heats up. This also reduces the total battery life.
- Going up steep slopes on higher gears results in quick battery drainage. This also affects battery life.
- The battery drains quickly if the e-bike is ridden with maximum use of pedal-assistance. Every battery discharge lowers the overall bike capacity and hence reduces its life.
- Biking in harsh temperatures is also bad.
- Ring the e-bike in extremely frigid temperatures would put stress on the cold battery. On the other hand, if the weather is too hot, the battery liquid would heat up too quickly.
- Both these practices would negatively affect the battery and reduce its total life span.
- If the battery is exposed to mud, rocks, or sun, the battery’s condition deteriorates. This results in the battery aging before time.
- If the e-bike is ridden too roughly, the battery could get damaged. Minor damage could reduce the battery life. Major damage could all together just kill the battery.
- Water damage could also negatively affect the battery’s lifespan.
3. Battery Charging and Discharging
- Every time any battery is fully discharged, its total capacity decreases. The reduced capacity results in reducing the battery’s lifespan.
- Anytime the battery’s charging either goes below 20% or exceeds 90%, the lifespan is reduced. This is called the optimal battery charging range. The longer the battery stays connected to the charging source, the quicker the battery cells degrade. This hence reduces the battery’s lifespan.
- Charging the battery while the battery’s temperature is either too high or too low is bad. Not letting the battery cool down or warm-up reduces the total battery life.
- Not using the manufacturer provided battery charging source is a bad idea. The manufacturer-provided charging cord is specifically designed for the e-bike. Its charging rate and voltage is designed to meet the e-bike’s needs. An outsourced charger could expose the battery to a higher voltage or charging rate. This could damage the battery and reduce its total lifespan.
- Leaving the battery discharged for long periods of time also reduces battery life.
How to Improve Your Electric Bike’s Battery Lifespan
An e- bike’s battery type, usage, and charging routine can affect the battery’s lifespan.
To know how to improve your e-bike’s battery life, continue reading below.
Read the Instructions Manual
The first thing to do when you buy an e-bike is to read the instruction manual. The manual contains vital information regarding your battery type, size, capacity and life. It will also inform you:
- How and when to charge your e-bike’s battery. Furthermore, you will also find guidelines for caring for your e-bike’s battery.
- How to store your battery and what temperature is ideal for your battery. It will also help you learn how to remove the battery, without damaging it.
- How a poorly handled battery could be dangerous for you.
Properly Charge your Electric Bike’s Battery
- Every electric bike battery comes with a limited number of charging cycles. To optimize on these cycles, learn how to charge your e-bike properly.
- Charge your e-bike to a full 100% the first time you charge it. This could take 7-12 hours, but allows electricity to run through the battery and gets it running.
- After that, every charging should be done close to the battery’s maximum charging capacity. This will ensure your battery does not discharge during a ride.
- The optimal charging range is 20% till 90%. Every time you recharge after a complete discharge, your battery’s capacity is reduced.
- If your battery’s charging drops below 20%, the reduced capacity will shorten the lifespan. Hence, make sure you charge it before it getws to that point.
- Overcharging the e-bike’s battery is bad as it reduces the e-bike’s battery capacity. Prolonged charging could also heat up your battery. Hence, to ensure your e-bike’s long life, stop charging beyond 90%.
- Avoid storing an empty battery. Even if you do not plan to ride it for a while, store it at a 20%-90% charge.
- Charge as frequently as you can. Firstly, it ensures your e-bike battery does not discharge below the 20% limit. Secondly, it keeps your battery fluid running and improves the battery’s life overall.
- Also, remember to turn off your e-bike after usage. Leaving it on would just keep draining the battery.
Always Use the Manufacturer Provided Charger
Nearly every battery or electrical appliance comes with its own charger. That charger is designed specifically for that particular battery for the following reasons:
- It controls the voltage and electricity the battery will be exposed to. This prevents overheating and slow charging. The charger allows the exact right voltage to flow into the battery, which maintains battery’s capacity and also improves its lifespan.
- Exposure to a high electricity surge can also kill your battery.
- A charger that is from another company could also be too slow. If the charger’s voltage is very low, charging your e-bike could take much longer.
Ride Your Electric Bike Responsibly
- Do not hit the throttle and accelerate for long periods. This puts stress on the battery and reduces life.
- If there is no hurry, try cruising at consistent speeds. This also helps avoid drastic brakes, which too in the long run affect the battery life.
- Reduce total weight on your e-bike. More weight puts more stress on the battery and lowers its total life. Hence, try not to carry heavy luggage and lose some weight if needed.
- Try not to depend completely on your pedal assistance, and pedal as often as you can. When you rely on battery assistance too often, battery charging goes down frequently. This means you have to recharge your battery more times. Every recharge reduces the battery’s capacity and consequently its lifespan. Moreover, overuse of the battery could overheat it and shorten the battery’s life.
- Choose riding routes with more regular, flatter terrains. Going up slopes put pressure and stress on the battery. Harsh terrains could result in mud and rocks damaging your battery. All this would shorten the battery life. Harsh terrains could also damage your battery enough to kill it.
- Keep an eye on the condition of your tires. Tires that are too old and worn out would put stress on the battery and shorten its life.
- Effective and timely gear shifting can also improve and maintain the efficiency of your battery. This could lengthen its life.
- Check the weather conditions before you hit the road. Riding your e-bike against harsh winds would put stress on your battery. This would reduce your e-bike battery’s capacity and lifespan.
- Refrain from riding your e-bike when it is too cold or too hot. Extreme temperatures could negatively affect your battery and shorten its life. Overheating could be detrimental for your battery.
Protect Your Electric Bike’s Battery
- Using fenders for your e-bike could protect your e-bike’s battery from mud and rocks.
- Do not let your e-bike get submerged in water. Water damage could kill your battery.
- Always remove the battery when loading the e-bike onto a car or rack. This will reduce the chances of the battery getting knocked out or damaged.
What to Do When Your Electric Bike’s Battery Life Reaches its Limit?
Like everything in the world, an electric bike’s battery does die eventually.
When this happens, you can try to take it to a repair shop. The repairer could carefully open your bike, fix some parts and add new battery fluid. Sometimes, this can bring your dead battery back to life.
Sometimes the battery is too worn out for this. Repairing it is either impossible or is even costlier than a new battery. In this case, you can go get a new battery and get back to e-biking.
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The battery of an electric bike is basically its heart. Neglecting best practices and maintenance could kill it, while care and attention could extend its lifespan.
An electric bike battery’s lifespan depends on three things. The battery’s type, how the e-bike is used, and how the battery is treated. If one takes care of their e-bike’s battery and rides responsibly, the battery life could increase. However, irresponsible riding practices and ignoring your battery’s needs could kill your battery quicker.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.