How to Properly Maintain Your Electric Bicycle's Lithium Ion Battery
There are a number of factors that can affect the performance and lifespan of your e-bike's Lithium Ion Battery Pack. The following is a list of "Do's" and "Dont's" when it comes to keeping your battery pack running top notch for many years to come.
- Charge your battery pack often. As a general rule, Lithium Ion Batteries "Like" to be charged. It is a good idea to get in the habit of charging or "topping off" your battery after each and every ride.
- Store your battery in a climate controlled space. Ideally, your battery should be stored around room temperature. It is best to limit your battery's exposure to extremes in temperature either cold or hot. If you store your bike in your garage, chances are it will get very cold during the winter months. When your battery pack is exposed to these low temperatures, it will temporarily diminish its capacity for charge dramatically. This will result in an often significant reduction of range. On the other hand, extreme heat can damage the cells of your battery pack and potentially shorten the lifespan. So if you need to store your bike outside or in the garage, get in the habit of removing your battery to be stored separately inside your home.
- Take notice of Your chargers activity. In general, your battery should charge normally over a consistent duration of time. If your average charge time is around 3 hours, it should be fairly consistent. If you notice a significant reduction in charge time, or if the lights on your charger are blinking, or switching colors, consult your local dealer. A bad charger can be damaging to the life of your battery. Also, be aware of a charger that gets unusually hot. Many chargers have fans that if go out, can cause the unit to overheat.
Give your battery a "maintenance charge" if it is not in use for long periods. If you haven't, or plan not to use your battery for a number of months be sure to charge it fully before storage. You should also give it a charge at least once for every 3 months of storage to maintain a good charge in the battery.
Leave your battery at low charge for an extended period of time. As stated above, Lithium Battery packs prefer to be charged. If a battery is left uncharged for an extended period of time it has the potential for the charge to drop below a level where the charger can recharge it. This is the quickest way to end the life of your battery prematurely.
Charge your battery for unnecessary lengths of time. Many of the latest chargers have automatic shut off ability so this is becoming less of a factor. But for many chargers, they can continue to charge the battery even after the light has turned green. This is not a big factor for a few hours, but for a matter of days this could lead to overcharging and damage to battery cells.
Expose your battery to extreme temperatures: For reasoning mentioned above, it is ideal to store your battery in a climate controlled area. If your electric bike shuts down during use on a very hot day this could be because your battery management system has detected heat in your battery that is at a potentially damaging level. If you experience this, give the battery a few minutes to cool and power back on the bike. In most cases this will solve the issue.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you can expect to enjoy many years of riding from your battery pack. In fact, most current battery packs from major manufacturers are rated for 1000 to even 2000 cycles. Always consult your manufacturer's manual for specifics about the use and maintenance of your specific battery. Other then these few basic rules, e-biking for years should be nothing more then a breeze.