Electric Bicycle Batteries
One of the most important components of electric bikes is their batteries. The exact battery is strictly specific for each bicycle due to their chemistry, capacity, shape, and size.
Electric Bicycle Battery Types:
- Lead Acid: These are mainly used in the older generation e-bikes. They have a relatively short life cycle (up to 300 cycles), and they are heavy, which reflects the bike’s weight and performance. Also, they need to be used and stored in a specific way and refilled periodically. The biggest advantage of Lead Acid batteries is that it generally remains the cheapest option to drive an electric bicycle.
- Ni-Cd: These as well are being used in old generation e-bikes, though they have a longer life cycle than lead-acid batteries – up to 500 cycles on average. Ni-Cd batteries are lighter than their lead-acid counterparties but heavier than the lithium-ion (or also known as lithium-polymer). Just like lead acid, ni-cd batteries also need periodic refilling due to their higher self-discharge rate.
- Li-Po: This type of rechargeable battery is designed to fit the newer generations electric bikes. Lithium-polymer batteries for electric bicycles are lighter and more compact than the previous two types of rechargeable batteries. This is mainly due to the fact that polymer cells have a higher energy density than their lead or nickel cadmium counterparties. In addition, each Li-Po element has a nominal voltage of 3.7V, which allows the battery pack to be composed of fewer cells. The life cycle of this type of battery is greater than lead-acid batteries and are very close to design of the cadmium ones. Unlike the other battery types, they do not lose their charge when they are being kept stored for a longer period of time.
- Li-Ion: Just like Li-Po, Li-ion battery is mainly used in modern electric bicycles. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and compact than nickel-cadmium and lead. Li-ion batteries have low self-discharge, and they have the longest lifecycle compared to the previous types. With proper maintenance, they can reach up to 1000 cycles. However, the price remains their biggest disadvantage and can be 2-3 times more expensive than lead-acid.
Always use the charger as well as the adapter (if any), supplied with your battery. It will avoid overcharging and protects the battery against damage due to short circuits. If your bike uses a lead acid battery, but later you decide to replace it with Li-Ion battery, you will not be able to use the old charger and you must buy a Li-Ion charger. There are slow and fast chargers for electric bikes depending on the need of the owner. All of the aforementioned battery types are easily removable for indoor charging. Note, that e-bike battery charging works the same way as your mobile phone or laptop. The electric bike battery does not have to be completely discharged before you recharge it. A Lithium battery has no “memory effect” and therefore can be charged at any time. It is perfectly acceptable to recharge the battery after a short ride so that the battery is fully charged before the next ride. Let your battery cool before charging it. Also, it is recommended you do not use it directly after recharging it.
Keep your battery in a cool and dry place (preferably between 0 and 20°). Avoid elevated temperatures and do not leave the battery near a heat source.
Before cleaning (as well as before doing any work on your e-bike) always remove the battery. Never use a steam pressure washer when cleaning the battery (or your e-bike). Try to keep it away from solid watering or sinking. Wiping it off with a damp cloth is sufficient.