Maintenance for your battery pack
Electric bike batteries can be more than 40% of the cost of your EV. Care for your ebike battery is an essential part of regular maintenance. Extending the life of your battery by a year could be a huge saving in the running cost of the vehicle.
These notes are to help you get the best performance from your batteries and extend their useable life.
Managing the battery
Getting the best from your battery
To get the best from your battery pack you need to protect it from impact and vibration. Literally handle them like eggs. Keep your batteries as cool as possible. Charge the battery pack as often as you can, and keep it fully charged as much as possible. All the above points are important while you also you need to ensure that your do not overcharge as this is a major factor in limiting battery life.
It sounds complex but a few useful tips and getting into a routine will make battery maintenance second nature.
Charging the battery
Remove the battery pack from the bike as little as possible. When charging the battery pack, follow the instructions that came with the charger, and turn the power off and remove the cord from the battery when the “battery charged” light comes on. Over-charging reduces battery capacity and shortens battery life.
Charge the battery pack immediately after each ride, the more you keep it “topped up” the better. If practical, take the charger with you and recharge the battery pack at your destination.
It does not matter if the pack is not fully charged, but it is good practice to keep it as ‘full’ as possible.
There is a myth that it is good for the batteries to be ‘fully discharged’ form time to time. This is incorrect. This concept comes from the early days of Nickel Cadmium batteries that required full discharging to help them maintain there capacity. The batteries in your power pack are not of this type. All modern batteries (including Lithium based batteries) are better off being topped up as often as possible, but remove from the charger once it is fully charged as over charging can cause over-heating.
Getting maximum performance from your Power Pack
A ‘smart’ charger is supplied with the battery. Smart chargers reduce the current supplied to the pack as it approaches full. In addition, most Li-ION and NiMe batteries have protective circuitry inside which offers some protection to the battery from excessive or rapid discharge. Good battery maintenance, however, will extend the life of your battery.
Minimize power drain
Use as little power as possible, when riding the bike. It is far better to start off by pedaling and have the bike rolling before engaging the motor. Pulling away from stationary without pedalling uses an enormous amount of power.
Note that this is not an option if a pedal sensor system is enable. Electric bicycles with pedal sensors supply power a few seconds after you begin to pedal.
Charge the Power Pack as often as possible. Think of it as a water reservoir that will supply maximum pressure only when it is full.
Do not let the battery pack go flat. This is the worst thing you can do to your battery.
When the charger indicates the Power Pack is fully charged, switch off the charger as soon as you are able (see charging instructions below).
Over charging the batteries will cause overheating and, shorten the life of the Power Pack.
Many riders put their battery on charge and leave it overnight or forget to remove the charger for several days. A useful tip is to use an electric timer that will switch off after a pre set time. 8 hours is the maximum an ebike battery should be charged for.
How to extend battery life
First we should point out that batteries consist of multiple battery cells which are wired together to create the required voltage and power. Proper maintenance will extend the life and charge of your battery.
Battery care process
- 4. After turning off the power, wait at least 20 minutes before turning the charger on again.
- 5. Finally, connect the charger and go through the charging regime once a week when not using the bike. You actually need do this only once a month, but a weekly routine is easier to keep track of.
Riding your ebike
Plan your trip. You don’t want to run out of charge before you get home! Be aware that gauges presently available are inaccurate.
Accurate battery guage
Until you have an accurate battery gauge fitted to your bike you will need to rely on experience to know just how far you can go on one charge.
Obviously the more you pedal, and by turning the power ‘off’ when rolling down hills, then the greater the travel distance will be. Hilly terrain and heavy rider can reduce distance.
If you can, carry an extra battery pack or a charger with you so you can restore battery energy to extend your trip and battery life.
When riding the bike, use only as much power as you need. Overpowering the motor causes excessive battery drain and more heat.