You bought an electric bike — and the dealership said the battery was the most important part to take care of.
That’s absolutely true. Without a battery, your electric bike is just a really heavy bike. You’d be surprised by the number of people who’ve destroyed $12,000 e-bikes because they never learned how to charge it for maximum longevity.
Fortunately, you did what any responsible electric bike owner would do in your shoes: You pulled out your phone, googled the matter, and stumbled upon our site. A warm welcome, and it’s great that you stopped by.
We’ve rounded up the most essential battery charging tips to make your e-bike’s battery last longer, without the B.S.
Read on and see for yourself.
1. Charge Your e-Bike in a Cool Spot
The number one thing that can kill a battery faster than anything else, battery engineer Natasha George writes in an article at SomEV, is charging it at too high a temperature.
Heat is a lithium ion battery’s worst enemy. Don’t charge your bike in the sun or anywhere where it’s exposed to direct sunlight. This is especially important in the heat of summer, which can cause irreparable damage to the battery in no time.
The tip: Charge your e-bike in a cool, room-temperature spot somewhere in the shade.
2. Slower Charging Is Better
When it comes to the speed of charging, there’s one thing you should know: Although faster charging is good for you as the e-bike’s owner because you don’t have to wait as long, slower charging is good for the battery — and is what maximizes its useful life.
Most experts I’ve read recommend a charging speed of 6–8 hours. For example, if your battery has a capacity of 20 Ah, a 3-Amp charger would charge it in (20 Ah / 3 Amps) = 6.6 hours. A 5-Amp charger would charge up the battery in just 4 hours. That’s less waiting time, but the battery will also wear out faster.
The tip: When buying a charger for your e-bike, choose one that provides a charge time between 6 and 8 hours.
3. Don’t Charge Your e-Bike Right After a Ride
One mistake many first-time bike owners make is to plug their bike in as soon as they’ve gotten to the office or home. Don’t do this; it will wear out your battery and cause capacity issues before you know it.
Your electric bike’s battery gets hot — very hot — when it’s in use. This is especially true on a hot day or after a steep or long uphill climb. And heat, as we’ve already touched on, is your bike’s battery’s worst enemy.
The tip: Wait 1 hour before charging the battery after riding to make sure it has cooled off.
4. Charge at 20%, Charge to 80%
Let’s talk about the golden rule of charging your e-bike’s battery. It goes like this: Charge your e-bike when the battery is depleted to 15–20%, and charge it to no more than 80–85% capacity.
Some recommend doing a full depletion and full charge once or twice per month to “recalibrate” the cycles on the battery. Sources differ on the effectiveness of this technique.
The tip: Charge at 15–20%, charge to 80–85%. Do a full charge only once or twice per month.
5. Unplug It as Soon as It’s Charged
If your battery charges in 7 hours and you sleep for give or take 7 hours a day, it’s perfectly fine to plug in your e-bike and leave it to charge overnight.
But if you plug it in early in the evening and keep it plugged in for a few hours after it’s already charged, your battery will wear out faster than anticipated and, sooner or later, you’ll have to buy a replacement.
The tip: Time the charging of your e-bike’s battery. Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget to unplug it from the outlet.
6. Store the Battery Properly When Not in Use
Never charge your electric bike’s battery to 100% if you’re about to go on vacation or store it for the winter. As a rule, a fully charged battery decays faster than a semi-charged battery during storage.
It sounds counterintuitive, but think of it this way: If you have to lift something really heavy, you’ll get more tired the longer you have to hold it before putting it down. The same applies to a battery in storage; it will strain if it has to hold a full charge and not be used for long periods of time.
The tip: If you’re not going to use your bike for a long time, charge it to not more than 30–40%.
- Charging your battery in the heat can destroy it faster than anything else.
- When it comes to battery longevity, slow charging is better than fast charging.
- Never plug your bike for charging immediately after a ride. Let it cool off first.
- Charge the battery at 20% and charge it to 80%. Charging to 100% should only be done once or twice per month.
- When the battery’s done charging, unplug the bike. Don’t leave it plugged into the grid.
- The battery will strain if it has to hold a full charge and not be used for long times.