Saturday, October 1, 2022

Should I Charge My E-Bike Battery After Every Ride? (Lithium-Ion)

The battery is often the most expensive part of your electric bike. So, naturally, you want to avoid repairing or replacing it too soon. To extend the life of your lithium-ion e-bike battery (which most e-bikes have), you should know how to properly charge it.

And probably one of your first questions is whether you should charge it after each ride.

Typically, you don’t need to charge an electric bike after every ride. However, if the battery charge falls below 40% then you should charge it to around 80%-85%. Or if you are planning a long-distance ride the next day, then you should charge it to a full 100% after your ride.

That’s a short answer to what seems to be a simple question. But there really is a lot more to consider when charging your e-bike battery if you want to extend its lifespan and avoid buying an expensive new one.

Read on to learn more about charging and maintaining your electric bike battery the right way before and after riding as well as how to preserve battery life and avoid having to buy a new battery pack.

Should I Charge My E-Bike Battery After Every Ride?

How Often Should I Charge My E-Bike Battery?

Generally, you should charge your electric bike battery frequently. Most e-bike batteries are lithium-ion and need regular charging, even though you don’t have to charge them after every single ride.

If you’ve ever left a car sitting around for weeks without driving it, you know that it might not work again without jump-starting the battery. This is similar to an electric bicycle, even though it has a different type of battery. The idea is that you have to keep it active in order to preserve battery life.

When Should I Charge My E-Bike?

So you’re probably wondering exactly when you should charge it. You should charge your battery when:

  • you’ll be riding it the same or next day
  • it gets lower than 30-40% of full battery capacity
  • it’s the night before a long-distance ride and you need to charge it to 100%
  • it’s been sitting idle for a few weeks but not longer than one month.
  • it’s either on or off the e-bike (both are fine as long as the battery is in a safe location)

Don’t assume that you’ll have enough charge to get you where you want to go without checking the battery level before each long ride. And never leave a nearly or completely drained battery sitting in storage (or without being used for several days).

If it will be sitting around for a while, it’s still a good idea to ride your bicycle a short distance occasionally. Or at least ride it enough to reduce the battery level to around 85% and so that it requires charging every now and then.

How Should I Charge My Battery?

Charging your electric bike battery is really easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. First, use the charger that came with the battery or e-bike only!
  2. Charge your battery in a room that’s between 60º and 70º Fahrenheit (F) if possible. Definitely avoid charging in freezing temperatures (below 32º F) or an ambient temperature above 100º F.
  3. Find a safe place to charge it, where it won’t be disturbed by kids, animals, or get anything spilled on it.
  4. Turn off the battery (but you can charge it either on or off your electric bike).
  5. Plug the charger into the battery and then into the wall making sure it’s fully inserted at both ends and you see an indicator light on the charger. This tells you that it is charging so there aren’t any surprises later.
  6. Once it’s plugged in, avoid letting your electric bike battery overheat by making sure not to cover the battery or charger and keeping it away from wet and/or flammable surfaces.
  7. Leave it charging until it reaches 80-90% (if you won’t be riding it soon), or until the light turns green on the charger (if you plan on riding it).
  8. Unplug the charger and store it in a safe area where it won’t get damaged.

One more thing… never leave your charger plugged in permanently, only while it is providing the necessary charge.

E-Bike Battery Charger
Look for the battery indicator lights to tell you that it’s charging

How Long Should I Charge My E-Bike Battery (Each Time)

Generally, you should charge your e-bike battery for 3-6 hours, depending on if it’s fully drained or still has a partial charge. After 1.5-2 hours, it should be 80% full but will slow down its charging rate over the final 20%. You should not leave it charging for longer than 12 hours.

In other words, don’t leave your e-bike battery plugged in indefinitely.

Charge it just long enough to reach the desired amount of juice to take you as far as you want to go on your next ride. Just don’t let your e-bike sit for long periods with a fully drained battery or less than 30% charge.

Can I Overcharge My E-Bike Battery?

You might overcharge your e-bike battery by keeping it plugged in when it’s already fully charged. However, many newer, more advanced lithium-ion batteries prevent overcharging automatically by cutting off the charge once it’s at 100%.

Still, if your battery is damaged or old, it might fail to cut off the charge, which could be potentially hazardous. Further, this could reduce its lifespan and damage it further.

Unfortunately, once your electric bike battery is damaged, you may be able to repair it but will more likely have to buy a new one.

Can I Leave My E-Bike Battery On Charge Overnight?

If your e-bike is using the battery pack that came with it, then it’s typically safe to leave the battery plugged in overnight. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s charging recommendations. But do remove it from its charger in the morning.

Batteries do get hot, and you’ll most likely feel this when you remove them. So, follow the “How Should I Charge My Battery” instructions above, starting with using the correct charger!

Read my complete article on safely charging your battery overnight.

How Long Does it Take to Charge a 48-volt battery?

A flat 48 Volt battery will most likely take 3.5 to 4 hours to charge fully if it’s in good condition. A 48V 15Ah battery will take slightly longer than a 36V 10Ah battery due to its larger capacity.

Battery placement on the RadMini E-Bike is directly under the seat
The Battery on the RadMini from Rad Power Bikes is directly under the seat and can be removed.

How Do I Make My E-Bike Battery Last Longer?

The truth is, all batteries eventually deteriorate to the point which they can no longer be used. But because they can cost hundreds of dollars, you’ll want to avoid replacing them as long as possible.

A lithium battery tends to last around 1000 charges, which is quite a bit longer than a lead-acid or nickel battery, which may last only 300 to 500 charges. Thankfully, most electric bikes now have lithium-ion batteries.

So how can you preserve and extend the life of lithium batteries? Proper maintenance and care will keep your battery healthy as well as how you ride your e-bike on a daily basis.

Here’s what you can do to make your battery last longer:

  • Store the battery pack (or e-bike with the battery attached) in a cool, dry location preferably between 60º F and 70º F, give or take 5º F-7º F
  • Don’t use a battery or charger that’s not interchangeable for your e-bike!
  • Don’t leave the battery in direct sunlight while charging
  • Always keep the battery partially charged at a minimum of 30%-40%
  • Pedal consistently while riding
  • Ride at a consistent speed instead of stopping and going quickly
  • Avoid climbing hills or riding on rough terrain
  • Don’t use pedal assistance or throttle unless it’s really needed
  • Don’t ride with unneccesary added weight (this make the baattery and motor work harder)
  • Learn how to use the mechanical gears to help reduce the need for the battery to work hard
  • Don’t let water get inside the battery (avoid jet washing your e-bike)

Just know that all batteries are not created equal. How long their lifespan is, as well as their range, will depend in part on the battery management system, the number of cells, its voltage (V), and the capacity or Amp-hours (Ah).

Generally speaking, the higher the Volts and Amp-hours, the stronger the battery. Thus, it’s important to know what these are before purchasing a new one or a new electric bike.

Can I Repair My E-Bike Battery?

Generally, an electric bike battery can be repaired or refurbished by a qualified battery technician. You’ll save money over buying a new one and the battery may work better and last longer than before.

Rebuilding a battery may require replacing battery cells. So you do need to make sure the person working on your battery is using high-quality hardware and has good workmanship.

Keep in mind, however, that if your battery is too old, damaged, or defective, it may not be able to be fitted with new parts.

Is it safe to charge your e-bike with a generator?

How Should I Charge My Electric Bike Battery the First Time?

Charging E-Bike for the First Time right out of the box
How to charge your e-bike for the first time right out of the box

You should always charge your battery to 100% the first time. Charging it fully will take it out of the “computer” sleep mode it was put into before shipping to the manufacturer’s warehouse or to your door.

Charging a lithium battery fully is a way of telling it to wake up and begin its work. Battery cells will then know to charge when needed but also to stop charging when full. It’ll also ensure that each battery cell has received the proper charge… and that will work to your advantage.

Further, by starting your first ride with a fully charged battery, you’ll be better able to assess its range, which will give you an idea of how much charge is needed for a particular length of ride.

Conclusion

Although there is no need to charge your e-bike after every ride, you may have a reason to do so if you’re riding every day.

Charging your e-bike after every ride isn’t generally recommended though. So, if you don’t ride it every day or very far on each ride, you should follow the guidance in this article to preserve your battery’s life for as long as possible.

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