E-Bike batteries are made using lithium, the same substance as your phone or laptop battery. This is currently the highest density energy source available and the lightest. There are some well known safety concerns when using lithium based batteries which are outlined below.
E-Bike Battery Physical storage and Safe handeling
Your battery is built with the utmost care for safety, strength and protection, however it is still susceptible to physical impact or puncture when not treated appropriately. Below are some recommended guidelines for physically caring for your battery.
Do not drop your battery. This may damage the cells. If a battery case or external shell shows sign of damage it is not safe to use and you will need to have the battery inspected to ensure safe usage.
- Do not compress, puncture, bend or otherwise force your battery into a different shape. This may cause internal connections to disconnect ruining a cell group, or worse short leading to fire.
Store your battery somewhere dry and weatherproof, ideally above 15 degrees celsius and out of the sun.
Store your battery at approx 60% charge during long periods of non-use eg. If you are going away on holiday. You should top it up every 4-6 months.
- Check your battery for damage periodically. Whenever possible it is well worth the effort to remove your battery from it’s housing or frame and physically inspect it to ensure it is not damaged in any way.
- Add padding to your battery. When a battery is subjected to movement or vibration, ensure adequate padding is added to prevent sudden jolts or other impacts effecting the battery in any way.
- Ensure adequate ventilation. When installing or storing the battery, try and ensure it is able to breath and circulate some air. This will help prevent overheating. In cases where this is not possible, ensure temperatures are closely monitored.
Charging and discharging your battery Safely
As your battery ages its capacity will reduce (and therefore your riding range). Your battery has many built in protections, however understanding these and not waiting for the protections to kick in will help prolong the safe use of your battery.
- Keep topping up the charge rather than fully depleting each time you ride. It is recommended to keep an ideal charging level for a battery between 20% and 80%.
- Only use a charger with the correct current and voltage or an adjustable charger with a correctly configured profile. Using the incorrect charger or charger settings is dangerous and could damage the battery or cause fire.
- Do not leave the battery on charge for extended periods. Generally speaking the battery should be removed from charge as soon as possible following a full charge, or the following day. Leaving the battery connected to the charger too long could damage the battery or cause a fire.
- Learn your batteries behaviour. Use the BMS Bluetooth (if equipped), or bike/charger display to observe the behaviour of your battery during charge/discharge. Learn how quickly it discharges, monitor temperature during use and keep an eye on cell balance where possible. Noticing any unusual changes to the battery over time is the best way to catch any issues early.
- Regen limits must be set. Using regen braking to recharge your battery is awesome, however limits must be programmed to the controller to prevent overcharging the battery. Do not exceed the current or voltage limits of the battery with regen braking.
Maximising E-Bike Battery Life
As your battery ages its capacity will reduce (and therefore your riding range).
Here are some tips on how to take good care of it to get the best life out of it.
Do not leave your battery charge less than 20% or greater than 80% for extended periods. Leaving your battery in this state for more than a few days can cause minor degradation to the cells.
Slow down the charge rate and/or lower the voltage if possible. Using a charger with adjustable current or voltage settings allows slower charge rates and lower full charge voltages. A recommended level is 4.1V->3.5V, Full->Empty. This will greatly increase the lifespan of your battery.
- Do not leave the battery on charge. Holding a battery at full voltage can slowly degrade cells.
- Do not charge or discharge when too hot or too cold. Generally speaking Lithium batteries will degrade faster when used in sub-zero temperatures or temperatures exceeding 45C. Usage in these conditions can still be done at lower outputs to avoid greater degradation.
- Reduce outputs. An easy way to reduce battery degradation is to simply reduce the rate of discharge. Sure it isn’t as fun, but either is having to replace your battery after only a few years. As always a good balance is key.
- Monitor temps. Continuing to discharge a battery that has exceeded around 55C can be both dangerous (due to thermal inertia) and can start to damage cells. If temps exceed 65C, stop using the battery as soon as possible to let it cool and do not charge it until temps have reduced below 55C.