Big batteries are the backbone of key parts of modern life. Just like your phone’s battery, your e-bike’s battery needs special care and attention to operate at maximum efficiency. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know to keep your e-bike’s battery in tip-top shape.
It’s okay to partially charge your e-bike’s battery. In fact, a battery works best when it operates between 20-80% of its capacity. It’s a good idea to take it off the charger before it reaches full charge, at around 80%. Using this method, you can extend the life-cycle of the battery.
While this can make your battery last longer in theory, it can be complicated to pull this off successfully in real-world conditions.
In general, your goal with charging your e-bike battery should be to keep at least 20% power in the battery at all times. Ideally, this includes the time you spend charging your bike back up when your ride is over.
This means if your daily cycling journey will use 70% of your bike’s battery, it’s a good idea to charge it to at least 90%. Going under 20% charge won’t instantly ruin your battery, but it will reduce your battery’s overall lifespan by a little bit.
Going all the way to 1% or 0%, on the other hand, is something you should avoid doing when possible. Your bike and battery will work together to keep just enough power in the tank so that your battery can be charged up again.
This little bit of reserve power will dwindle away over time, however, and it’ll get rapidly eaten up by extreme temperature fluctuations. If you allow your battery to truly run out of power, it’ll stop working altogether.
When And How Should I Charge My Battery?
While there are a few rules of thumb that can extend the life of your e-bike’s battery, it’s important to note that your e-bike is a tool that you use for fun and transportation. It’s totally okay to break these rules and charge your e-bike battery in a way that’s more convenient for your schedule, living situation, and riding style.
Sure, you’ll have to replace your battery a little bit sooner, but it’s much better to ride your bike the way you want and burn through a battery every so often than it is to painstakingly plan out every little bit of charge without getting an opportunity to enjoy your bike.
When caring for your battery, the most important thing is to make sure your battery always has some amount of charge. Never store your battery when it’s almost empty. Instead, try to make sure that your battery is charged to about 80%. Your battery will gradually lose charge over time, so storing a battery at 20% charge and taking a long break from riding your bike might totally ruin your battery.
If you can, try to charge and store your battery in a temperature-controlled environment. Manufacturers tend to recommend a range of about 30 to 85F, or 0 to 30C. This doesn’t mean you can’t ride your bike on hot or cold days.
It’s most important that you stick to this range of temperatures when you’re charging your battery and when it’s sitting idle in between rides.
As for when to charge your battery, it’s probably most practical to charge your battery up fairly soon after you’re done riding. Ideally, you’d set a timer, charge your battery to somewhere between 50 and 80%, then pull it off of the charger. When your next ride rolls around, plan out your route and top off your battery as necessary right before you leave.
Should I Fully Charge My Battery After Each Ride?
No, you shouldn’t fully charge your e-bike’s battery after every single ride. Battery manufacturers recommend that you charge your battery to between 50 and 80% to reduce strain on the battery.
While it’s a good idea to get your battery to somewhere in this range after every ride, charging it above 80% will strain the battery and potentially reduce its lifespan. It’s totally fine to charge your battery to 100% before a long ride. It’s not a good idea to charge it up all the way every time.
Can I Leave My Battery Charging Overnight?
No, it’s not a good idea to leave your battery plugged into a wall for long periods of time. Your battery slowly loses charge over time. This means that when you leave your battery plugged in, it will continually go through a cycle of losing a little bit of power and then getting recharged. This means that you’ll steadily tax your battery’s limited number of charge cycles while it’s plugged in.
Some modern batteries and chargers have built-in functionality that will help to combat this issue, but it’s not perfect. If you can, set a timer and unplug your battery when it’s done charging.
As mentioned above, the other issue you’ll run into is charging your battery past 80%. Each time you do this, you’ll reduce the lifespan of your battery a little more. Some chargers can shut themselves off at a threshold below 100%. If you’ve got one of these chargers, you’ll have a lot more wiggle room when it comes to leaving your bike’s battery plugged in.
Finally, while both batteries and chargers have fail-safes that try to prevent them from charging past 100%, these fail-safes aren’t perfect. Leaving your bike on a charger overnight is totally fine to do once in a while, especially when you’re going on a long ride in the morning. Leaving your bike on the charger for days at a time isn’t the best idea.
While it’s not likely that your battery and charger’s built-in safety features will both fail, you’re tempting fate. It’s best to pull your battery off of the charger as soon as you can to avoid the (very small) risk of a major mishap.