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Guide to Electric Bike Batteries

Guide To Electric Bike Batteries

In the way it works, an electric bike battery is not unlike the battery in your laptop or cellphone. They use the same technology, but it is applied differently. In this guide to electric bike batteries, we will go through the different types, how to look after them, and get the most out of them.


Get To Grips With The Basics Of Electric Bike Batteries


Older electric bikes used lead-acid batteries, but manufacturers moved on to lithium-ion batteries for their significant advantages. Lithium-ion batteries can store more electricity in a lighter package than lead-acid ones.


You will notice that electric bike manufacturers either mount their batteries internally or externally. The different option has their advantages and disadvantages. For example, internally mounted batteries are better protected from the weather and damage. They also allow the bike frame designers to create a more sleek-looking frame. On the other hand, externally mounted batteries are easy to remove for charging or replacement.


Learn About Electric Bike Capacity


Electric bike batteries have different capacities, which is indicated in Watt-hours (Wh). The battery's capacity will govern how far you can ride assisted before you need to recharge it.


The higher the Watt-hours a battery has, the further you can ride using the motor. Typically, electric bike batteries are rated between 300 to 700Wh. The higher the number is, the longer your range will be. Paying attention to the numbers is very important to determine how far you can ride between charges.


You can look at the motor and battery combo to get an idea of how long your battery will last. Still, many factors affect your electric bike's range. For example, if you are heavy or need to carry lots of stuff with you, your electric bike's motor needs to work harder. This extra effort draws more power from the battery, making it run out of juice quicker.


How you ride your electric bike also makes a difference in how far it will take you on a single charge. If you constantly ride using high assistance levels, ride fast, and brake hard, you are being very inefficient. These actions reduce your range significantly.


One of the things about electric bike batteries that isn't obvious is that they don't empty in a linear fashion. As your battery runs out of power, the rate it depletes speeds up. Therefore, your battery will run out more quickly towards the end of your ride.


How Heavy Are. Electric Bike Batteries?


A typical electric bike battery weighs somewhere between 2 and 3 kg. Batteries with a higher capacity give you more range, but they are heavier. This weight is something to consider if the range is a priority for you. Some electric bike riders like to carry a spare battery with them. The extra weight of the battery in a backpack raises your center of gravity, affecting your ride. You may not be too bothered about this if you are riding smooth surfaces. But if you ride an electric mountain bike on steep and technical trails, the top-heavy feeling may be annoying.


Also, the extra weight will negatively affect the range of the battery you are currently using. Therefore, you may want to carry a smaller and much lighter one as your range extender.


How To Charge An Electric Bike's Battery


Depending on the electric bike's battery, you can charge it between 500 and 1,000 times. This means that they have a pretty long lifespan, especially when you compare them to the other components on your bike. 

Most electric bike batteries take about 2 hours to charge up to 50%. But this depends on their capacity and their manufacturer. Knowing this is useful, as you can plan mid-ride charges if you are out for the day. Having said this, you can charge some expensive high-end electric bike batteries to 80% in 2 hours.


Are Electric Bike Batteries Waterproof?


As with the motor on your electric bike, its battery will have an IP rating. IP stands for ingress protection, and it indicates protection from moisture and dust particles.


A battery with a high IP rating is more protected from the elements. But most modern electric bikes are okay for you to ride in wet weather. However, some electric bikes have better protection than others, so it is worth checking the user manual to be safe.


How To Look After Your Electric Bike Battery


Electric bike batteries don't come cheap, so you would be wise to look after the one you have. If you take care of your battery, you will extend its lifespan and ride further for longer.


Charge Your Battery Properly Before You Ride


When your new electric bike arrives, you will be tempted to put the battery on it and ride away. But, you should check the user manual first to ensure that you follow the proper procedure before riding. By paying close attention to the charging instructions, you will prolong your battery's life.


Develop Good Charging Habits


As an electric bike owner, you will benefit by picking up good habits when it comes to charging your bike's battery. For example, clean your bike and plug it into its charger when you get home from your ride. This way, you know your bike will be ready to go in the following morning.


Keep It Clean, But With Care


Keeping your electric bike clean is essential for the condition of its components. But, you need to clean it in a specific way to not do irreparable damage to the electrical components.


The golden rule for washing an electric bike is to avoid using a pressure washer. Pressure washers force water into the delicate workings of the motor and battery. So, instead, remove the battery, and use a cloth to wipe it clean. Also, while you have it in your hand, check to see if the connectors are in good condition and clean.


You need to be careful when you put the battery back onto your bike. Damaging your battery or bike because you have been heavy-handed is frustrating and inconvenient.


Store Your Electric Bike Properly

If you don't ride your electric bike for a while and let the battery discharge naturally, you will shorten its life span. It is best practice to keep your battery 30 to 60% charged when storing it. Charging to this level balances the battery's cells, keeping them happy and not stressed by being too full or empty for extended periods.

You also need to think about where you store your electric bike's battery. It is best to keep it in a warm, dry place, indoors. Batteries don't like being left in freezing conditions, so don't leave them in a garage or shed if you can help it. 

How To Make An Electric Bike Battery Go Further

One of the most important elements of an electric bike is its range. As we mentioned earlier, the range is affected by several factors. But there are some tricks you can use to maximize your battery's range.

Manage Your Assitance Levels

Higher assistance levels call for more power from the battery, causing it to run out of energy quickly. You can extend your range by being intelligent about which assistance levels you use at any time.

When you ride on flat terrain, you should not need to use a high assistance level. In this case, use Eco mode, as it doesn't use as much power.

Electric bikes make using the higher assistance levels very tempting. But, you need to think about how hard you are working before you choose them. If you genuinely feel tired, choose a higher level. But if you are just being lazy, keep going and save some battery power for when you need it.

Riding downhill requires no assistance at all. You can often switch the bike off completely, but keeping it in Eco mode will give you some help when you need it.

On long rides, your assistance level should feel like "just enough." This feeling will make your pedaling more manageable while slowing down your battery usage, allowing you to complete your ride.

During these longer rides, you should avoid using turbo mode as much as possible. However, if you come up to a steep climb, use it sparingly, so you don't run out of charge.

Perfect Your Cadence And Gear Selection

Making your cadence and gear selection work in harmony is an essential skill to extend your bike's range.

Electric bikes work best when the rider uses a high cadence. This sees the rider using an easier gear and pedaling faster than they would on a regular bike. Getting to the point where you ride as efficiently as possible takes time to master. But, when you do, you will be surprised how much further you can ride on a single charge.

Develop Smooth Riding Habits

Like a car driver trying to save fuel, you can adopt similar habits to extend your battery's range. For example, braking smoothly as you approach a junction or traffic lights. Along with smooth acceleration, this will extend your range significantly.

If you slow down smoothly, you may not even need to stop at all. This will mean that you are already moving when the traffic sets off again. Therefore, your motor has less work to do, preserving battery power.

Final Thoughts

Now you know a lot about electric bike batteries. You have enough information to extend its life and extend its range. This will save you money and inconvenience in the future.

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