How To Remove, Charge And Replace An Electric Bike Battery
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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How To Remove, Charge And Replace An Electric Bike Battery
So you’re thinking of getting an electric bike and wanting to know all the basics of maintenance and care, especially of the e-bike battery?
Well, if so then you’re at the right place.
Knowing the right way to remove, charge, and when to replace electric bike batteries is a super handy bit of knowledge to have, especially when it comes to caring for electric bikes.
You can prolong the life of your e-bike just but knowing what to do with the battery pack.
In this guide, I will run through all and dos and don’ts for looking after your battery management system. As just like any battery, it needs to be replaced after some time.
Here’s everything you need to know about electric bike batteries, so you’ll be a pro in the field in no time.
Let’s jump in, gang!
How To Remove An Electric Bike Battery:
If your bike specifically requires you to remove the battery when charging, then you need to know how to remove the battery safely without damaging the bike or battery.
So first things first, you’ll want to insert the key and turn it counterclockwise; this should unlock the casing around the battery.
This feature is super handy as it helps prevent bike thefts and battery thefts. Many thieves will take the battery if they cannot take the whole bike.
Then you’ll want to lift and carefully remove the battery from the bracket.
In order to install the battery in the first place or when it needs replacing, you should turn the key clockwise until it stops, push the battery pack downwards until you hear a click, then remove the key and store it.
You shouldn’t leave the battery in your electric battery in your bike for both security and maintaining a good battery condition. Store it at fully charged or completely dead.
It’s best that your electric bike runs at around 60% battery for optimum battery health.
How To Charge An Electric Bike Battery:
Charging electric bike batteries differs from brand to brand, manufacturer to manufacturer. So as a general rule of thumb, electric bike batteries come with a set of specific instructions for that brand.
When you buy an electric bike, it tends to come with a battery pack that contains the electric bike’s battery inside; it will also tend to go with a slot so you can connect the charger to the bike battery on the bike.
While others may require that you altogether remove the battery for charging, I personally prefer this design as it also acts as a security feature so you can remove the battery when storing it in a public place.
Most electric bike batteries will have a bay that can be placed in a variety of places, depending on the design on the bike– generally in the middle of the bike or behind the seat.
It will also come with a charger, one end will connect to the mains outlet, and the other end will connect to the battery pack.
For electric bikes where you need to remove the battery pack from the bike, making sure the battery pack switch is turned off and connect the charger to the battery pack.
How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Bike Battery?
The time it takes for your battery to charge will depend on the size of the battery; most lithium batteries tend to take between 3.5-6 hours to charge fully.
Once the battery has been fully depleted, it will take this long, but if the lithium battery still has a partial charge, this shouldn’t take as long.
Some people may wonder whether you could overcharge your electric bike battery, and yes, you can. You should try not to overcharge your battery as this can shorten its lifespan and even cause it to overheat.
However, in newer models, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this as most modern batteries are built with a smart charging function which makes it impossible to overcharge them.
You also don’t need to wait for the battery to drain fully; some manufacturers suggest that charging e-bike batteries before they run out helps the battery cells retain their life for longer.
So it would be best to recharge your electric bike battery after every use.
Can You Stop Charging The Battery Before It’s Been Fully Charged?
With a lithium battery, yes, you can unplug your battery before it has been fully charged. Lithium batteries are the most commonly used battery found in an e-bike.
It does not harm the battery to pull the plug early.
Batteries tend to charge in two cycles. The first cycle charges the battery 80-90% of the way, and this is when the e-bike battery charges the fastest, so if you unplug your battery slightly early, it won’t do too much harm.
Do Electric Bikes Charge When You Pedal?
No, not all electric bike batteries recharge when pedaling. We’ve all seen it in a kid’s movie where the villain’s sidekick is pedaling on a bike to generate power, but in this case, it is not true.
Some manufacturers advertise that their bikes regenerate whilst braking or going downhill, but this is not the case in most electric bikes.
With electric bikes that do regenerate when cycling despite being a cool feature, it is very inefficient, there are actually much better ways to get the range out of the battery without recharging it when you pedal.
How Long Does An Electric Bike Battery Charge Last?
Again this all depends on the brand of electric bikes and the type of e-bike you’re using. Most e-bike batteries tend to last around 50 miles.
With relaxed pedaling, you should expect between 22-50 miles on a single charge for most electric bikes, whereas other lithium-ion batteries will see you through 80+ miles on a single charge.
The range may also be determined by the battery capacity, hills, wind, and the size of the rider, but you should expect your electric bike runs around 25-50 miles before giving in.
How Much Does It Cost To Charge Electric Bike Batteries?
The cost per charge is pretty easy to calculate, just a teensy weensy bit of maths– don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.
You need to find the battery voltage and amp hour rating of your electric bike; these numbers will help you work out the watt-hours. Then check your local electricity prices and divide the watt-hours by the electricity prices to get your final price– simple!
For example, the average cost per kWh in the states is roughly 13.45 cents per kWh. So if you have a 36V 10Ah battery, that is 0.36-kilowatt-hours. Divide 0.36 by 0.1345, and you have your answer!
It is as little as 5 cents to fully charge a 36V battery; that’s pretty impressive.
But how many miles per charge are there? On average, you should get between 20-100 miles per charge depending on the model and type of electric bike you have.
It’s super cheap to use an electric bike, and as little as $1 will see you for around 400 miles. $1?? You’ll be sure to be saving money on gas, that’s for sure.
For the full rundown of all the costs of owning an electric bike check out my guide of how much an electric bike costs here.
How To Look After Your E-Bike’s Battery:
We all want to prolong the battery life of our e-bikes, so the battery lasts for a longer period and lasts for years to come rather than giving up after a year.
How you look after your bike battery has a lot to do with how early the battery fails.
It is recommended that your battery stays between 0-40degrees celsius and 32-degrees Fahrenheit. Now while leaving a lithium battery indoors could be quite a fire hazard, you shouldn’t leave it outside in the shed either.
If you have a garage, then this is the ideal space to keep your bike battery as it reduces the risk of fire while remaining warmer than a shed. If you don’t have this option, keep your battery in an area with no temperature fluctuations.
Now electric bikes are water resistant but not waterproof, so it’s best to protect the battery from water damage and keep it in a location where there isn’t a risk of flooding or high humidity.
Now I know 2021 weather hasn’t been very favorable with the New York floods and wildfires, but try to store it best you can on a high surface to protect the battery life as well as you can.
Also, only use the charger that the manufacturer has supplied as it is specially designed for that battery. Using an off-brand charger increases the risk of fire along with damaging the battery.
When Should You Replace An Ebike Battery?
So how long does an electric bike battery last, and when is it time to replace the battery? For most electric bikes, you’ll begin to see battery issues around 3-5 years.
This is when you should get a new battery.
Most batteries will last you a minimum of 500 full charging cycles before the battery loses 80% more power; some batteries will even last for longer periods, like 1200 full cycles.
Lithium batteries are memoryless, meaning that you can charge the battery to 50%, and it will only count as half the charge.
Factors like how you ride the bike and the conditions you leave the battery you should expect electric bikes to last around 10,000 to 30,000 miles before needing a new battery.
How To Know When To Replace Your Ebike Battery:
Other than when it hits the end of the lifecycle of around 3-5 years, there are a few different factors to consider which cause the battery to fail. Here are the top causes:
If you own or looking to buy an electric mountain bike, then your battery may not last as long and may need replacement sooner due to the riding conditions and the damage caused to the batteries over time.
Since mountain biking consists of riding over rugged terrain, uneven surfaces, and extreme conditions, this can shorten the life of the battery and cause minor issues over time.
Extreme weather conditions and temperature can also detriment the performance of the battery, such as if you live in a cold climate.
But this can happen on electric road bikes, too, as a result of road bumps and vibrations over long trips.
This can cause cables to short or even cause damage to the battery casing; it can even cause terminals to come in contact with conductive surfaces, which can result in fire.
If you notice physical damage to the battery on your electric bike, then make sure you replace it immediately.
Unable To Charge:
If your battery stops charging or doesn’t charge up like it used to, then your bike will stop running earlier than expected.
If your battery cannot charge, this indicates that your battery is dead; a dead battery cannot receive any charge, let alone hold it.
If this happens, then go to a professional to take a look at the battery for diagnostics, but if the battery is completely dead, then it’ll need replacing.
Poor Battery Life:
Some electric bikes don’t offer as long battery life as others anyway, but if you find that your battery is not giving you the same amount of range that is used to, then this is a sign that the battery is aging.
Before you buy a battery, make sure to check the range and ensure it is appropriate for your needs.
If you commute more than 20 miles or do a 40-mile round trip a day, then I would recommend spending a little extra for a bike with a battery that can cater to that range.
If your battery looks inflated or swollen, then you should get rid of that battery immediately– in the appropriate manner, don’t just throw it in the trash.
Swelling in the battery can occur as a result of a chemical reaction that causes gas; leaving your bike to operate with a swollen battery can be very dangerous!
If you’re riding along and smell almost an unpleasant rotten egg smell, then the common occurrence of this is because your battery has mixed with water and sulfuric acid.
If you notice this smell get it checked out immediately as if not, this may damage other parts of your electric bike, and it can even be quite dangerous as it can even cause smoke.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about bike batteries, how to remove, charge them, and when to replace them.
Taking proper care of your ebike will prolong the life of your electric bikes. Lithium-ion batteries are the best of them all, so keep an eye out for these kinds of batteries before you buy.
Another factor to consider is the battery range per charge; based on what you’ll be using the electric bike for, it is recommended you charge your battery after every ride but try to avoid leaving it on for hours on end and overcharging the battery as this can cause damage.
Enjoy riding your e-bike!