Modern, high-performance electric bicycles use lithium-ion batteries. EBike batteries are precision devices that require care and handling to deliver the best possible performance and a long lifespan.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Temperature can affect both the battery life on a single charge, as well as the overall battery health over its entire lifespan. You should charge and store your eBike battery at normal indoor room temperatures, which may mean removing the battery from the bike - especially if you park outdoors in Winter, or store your eBike in an unheated garage or basement.
On very cold days, you’ll notice that eBike batteries provide reduced range. You can minimize this effect by storing your battery in a climate-controlled environment.
Extreme hot temperatures can permanently damage eBike batteries. Never store your eBike battery in the trunk of a hot car (think Arizona in the Summer, for example) or charge your battery in such conditions.
Looking for an easy rule of thumb? If the temperature is comfortable for humans, it’s comfortable for your eBike battery. Outside those ranges, consider moving your eBike battery to a more comfortable location to keep it healthy.
Keep it dry
As with any electronic device, avoid exposing your eBike battery to wet and moisture. Electric bicycles and batteries may have separate IP (“ingress protection”) against water and dust. Check with your specific brand for their IP rating and make sure to use your eBike only in matching conditions.
Store and charge the battery in a dry location. Damp, high humidity, and water aren’t good for electrical components and could be unsafe.
Keep it clean
If your ride includes wet, dirt, and grit, make sure that debris doesn’t accumulate on the electrical connections between the battery and bike. If it’s contaminated, clean this connection before installing the battery. Dialectic grease (you can get this from the auto parts store) repels moisture and can be used to protect electrical components from corrosion in extreme conditions.
When to replace your ebike battery
Have you noticed that the battery life of your iPhone or Android device changes over time? Every battery has a lifespan. As it ages, you’ll notice that your battery doesn’t run for as long, compared to when it was new.
On an eBike, you’ll primarily notice this with reduced riding range. When fully charged, the battery will still power the bike, but range is reduced. When the loss of range is no longer tolerable, it may be time for a new battery.
Casual eBike riders may find that the original battery on their bike lasts for the life of the owner. Batteries which are charged daily, like those on bikes being used for bike commuting or delivery services, would need more frequent replacement.
Battery lifespan is measured in charging cycles. One complete charge and discharge = one charging cycle. Drain your battery to 50% and then re-charge? That’s half a charging cycle. Repeat it twice, and you’ve used one charging cycle. Easy.
EBike batteries are typically rated in terms of capacity after a specific number of cycles. For example, a battery might be warrantied to retain 80% of the original capacity after 500 charging cycles.
Caring for your battery when you aren’t riding
Some riders may not use their eBikes for longer periods of time - in cold winters for example. In these circumstances you should first charge the battery and then store it in a climate-controlled area. Doing so can help ensure the battery is ready and healthy when you resume riding in the Spring.