Greetings, fellow cyclists! Today, we’re going to delve into a topic that’s been plaguing the minds of many a new e-bike owner: should the battery remain on whilst charging?
As someone who’s traveled more miles than I can count on the back of an e-bike, I can attest to the importance of this question. After all, one wants to ensure that the battery maintains its capacity and range for as long as possible, rather than fizzling out in a matter of months.
So, in this post, we’ll take a closer look at whether the battery should be left on while charging — as well as a few other tips and tricks to keep that battery in top shape and peak capacity for the long haul.
It Comes Down to Your e-Bike’s Make and Model
The truth is, the answer to this question is not always cut and dry — and, ultimately, it comes down to the specific make and model of your e-bike. Some manufacturers recommend turning off the e-bike while charging, while others instruct you to leave it on.
These days, most e-bikes are fitted with lithium-ion batteries. But, as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and the same holds true for the wiring of power switches and battery chargers on e-bikes.
Some manufacturers wire their e-bikes in such a way that the battery can be charged while switched off, while others require the battery to be switched on to allow electricity to flow and charge the battery. As always, it’s best to refer to your the owner’s manual for your specific machine to determine the proper charging protocol for it.
You can leave the battery on the e-bike or remove it and charge it in a more convenient location. In most cases, it doesn’t matter if the battery is fitted on or removed from the electric bike for charging.
Pro tip: If you’ve lost the owner’s manual, simply google “Make Model Owner’s Manual,” replacing Make and Model with your e-bike. You stand a good chance of finding a downloadable manual from the manufacturer’s website, or a scanned manual whose pages you can flip through on an ad-supported website.
How to Charge Your e-Bike’s Battery Without Damaging It
Mind the temperature: In winter, don’t charge the battery below freezing temperatures. And in summer, avoid charging it when temperatures are too high. Lithium-ion batteries and extreme temperatures don’t get along, particularly during the charging process.
Don’t forget to keep safety in mind: Always charge in a dry location, away from humidity and flammable materials. This should be obvious, as moisture can cause damage to any electrical component. However, what’s less obvious is that an e-bike battery generates heat while charging, so make sure it’s not in close proximity to flammable liquids or objects to prevent fire hazards.
Avoid charging the battery immediately after a ride: Never charge the battery immediately after a ride. When you’re out on your e-bike, the battery gets warm. A warm battery should be given time to cool off before charging again, as charging it while it’s warm can cause damage and result in a permanent loss of capacity. As a rule of thumb, allow 30 to 45 minutes for the battery to cool down after a ride before charging it.
Use the right charger: Ideally, you should use the charger that came with your electric bike. However, if the charger breaks and you need to purchase a new one, make sure the new charger has the same specifications as the original. If that’s not possible, choose a charger that charges the battery at a slower rate. The faster the charge, the more stress on the battery — and the faster it will wear out.
The 20/80 rule: When in doubt, follow the 20/80 rule for charging a lithium-ion battery. This rule states that you should charge the battery when it’s 20% full, and charge it to 80% full. Allowing the battery to drain completely is not good for it, and neither is charging it to a hundred percent on every charge.
The Bottom Line
Whether the battery should remain on while charging is an important question. Ultimately, the answer comes down to the specific make and model of your e-bike. That’s why it’s so essential to consult your e-bike’s owner’s manual for the proper charging protocol for your machine.
We’ve also discussed some general tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure that you’re charging your e-bike’s battery safely and for the long haul. Simply mind the temperature, keep safety in mind, avoid charging the battery immediately after a ride, use the right charger, and follow the 20/80 rule.
By following these guidelines, you will be well on your way to maintaining the longevity and capacity of your e-bike’s battery.