The ebike battery is what determines the cost, weight and range of an electric bike. Because of this it’s important that you learn about the various types of batteries and how they can change your entire riding experience. Currently, there are four types of batteries that are suitable for electric bikes. These choices include: lithium ion, ithium polymer, NiCad and NiMH. Learning how these batteries work and how to care for them can provide you with a more dependable battery and save you from having to replace your battery more than once a year.
Ebike Battery Basics: Options and Power
For many years, lead acid batteries were the standard power supply for electric vehicles, because they’re low cost. Approximately seventy percent of all electric bikes sold all over the world still use this type of battery pack. But because these batteries are very heavy, causing the ebike to go slower and in turn decreases the range per charge, they are slowly being phased out. While these batteries are the least expensive, they are also the heaviest.
NiCad is a type of battery that has a reputation for a good cycle life and are commonly used in a variety of cordless tools and certain toys that require a large current. However, for ebikes, they have been replaced by lithium or NiMH batteries because they don’t pack the type of power needed for longer commutes. Also a heavier battery, they’re still a better option than lead.
NiMH batteries are smaller than NiCads, but they feature much higher energy density and are better for the environment. They’re also the go-to battery type for digital cameras. This type of ebike battery is approximately twenty percent lighter than NiCads and features similar charge and discharge characteristics.
Electronics that feature plug-in chargers are typically powered with lithium batteries. Lithium batteries have the ability to store around three times the energy of NiCads and NiMhs.
Lithium polymer, also referred to as LiPo, is considered the lightest battery option. The cells in this type of battery are able to handle impressively high discharge currents and because of this they are often found in electric remote control cars and airplanes.
Lithium manganese are the most common type of lithium batteries used in ebikes, but they’re heavier than LiPos, however, they are also much safer.
The battery packs used in electric bikes are made up of individual cells that connect to each other. As current is drawn from these packs, voltage slowly decreases until the cells eventually go flat. The amount of time an ebike battery lasts depends on its amp hours. A battery that can deliver an amp four one hour means it features a 1AH capacity. Most ebike models feature battery packs that offer about ten amp hours.
Replacing your Electric Bike Battery
Batteries don’t last forever, so there will come a time when you need to replace your ebike battery. Most people can tell when their battery needs to be replaced because there’s a significant difference in the type of mileage they’re getting, even when the battery has been fully charged.
If you own a factory made ebike, then you should purchase the same type of battery used in that model. Often, manufacturers will include an extra battery pack as part of the electric bike package. If you have trouble locating the same type of battery, contact the manufacturer.
You should also use the same type of battery that comes in an electric bike conversion kit. However, if the manufacturer has gone out of business, then finding the exact type of battery you need can be challenging.
We recommend using the same type of battery as the manufacturer because some companies will void an ebike warranty if you use an unapproved replacement. So before you decide to try out a different type of battery be sure to check the warranty. Some cyclists will choose to upgrade their battery from a NiCad to a lithium because it provides a longer charge and is much lighter, however, strict warranties will not cover the cost of repairs if they discover you have been using the wrong type of battery. If you’ve decided to upgrade and use a different type of battery you first need to ensure that it’s compatible with your bike.
Tips that can extend the Life of Your Electric Bike Battery
Once you have purchased an electric bike, it’s important that you follow these necessary steps to ensure that your ebike is running at its best and this includes proper battery care. Caring for your battery the right way will extend battery life while boosting the speed and power of your ebike.
Before you take your bike out on the road thoroughly read the user’s manual. That’s where you’ll find important information regarding bike and battery care and how to contact the manufacturer should you need replacement parts or repairs.
When charging your bike, never use an unapproved charger. Only use the charger that’s been supplied by the manufacturer. Using the wrong type of charger may affect your mileage and can even result in an explosion or fire.
Always wait to charge your bike until it’s out of juice. Some batteries suffer from what is called memory discharge. This occurs when the user recharges the electric bike before the battery is out of juice and results in only partial charges. This is a defect that is not very common among the types of ebike batteries used today.
Very cold or hot temperatures can negatively affect battery performance and can even shorten its lifespan. Instead of charging your bike outdoors, charge it in a room with regulated temperatures. The battery should never be exposed to temperatures that are hotter than 104 degrees.
If you don’t ride your ebike year-round, then you should store your battery with a full charge. After a few months check the battery and recharge if necessary.
Store your electric bike, the battery and charger in a warm, dry location. Avoid humidity at all costs.
Following these ebike battery tips can extend battery life and allow you to enjoy longer rides or daily commutes reliably.