How do I keep my e-bike battery warm?
Winter is a harsh and unforgiving season for e-bikes. It is, after all, mostly snow, ice, and sleet, and it can take hours to free a bike from its winter encasement. Batteries, of course, do not take kindly to freezing, especially those in the Li-ion category, which is particularly sensitive to extremely low temperatures. This is a concern because cold will weaken the internal components and could ultimately render the bike unusable.
That isn’t to state that e-bikers can’t get the most enjoyment out of riding their bikes during the season. In actuality, anyone with an electric bike can squeeze more miles from the battery. The requirement for this is to know how to keep it warm, and that is what this guide is for. Without further ado, let’s get started!
When does it get too cold for An E-Bike Battery?
Typically, Li-ion batteries comprise high-voltage cells. These cells power the motor and store the charge on the battery pack. In other words, they store and deliver energy. At a temperature of 0°F or lower, the cells change their charge capacity, resulting in a sharp decline. Some cells even lose capacity altogether.
It implies that for a biker riding in an environment with a temperature below 0°F, chances are that the bike won’t reach the full potential of its battery. The rider won’t get as much range as desired. Prolong usage under such conditions could lead to permanent damage.
That stated, riding or storing an electric bike with battery packs in sub-zero conditions is discouraged. But does that imply letting a bike sit inside a shed with the door closed for the entirety of winter? Not necessarily. There are multiple ways to get the most out of the coldest days.
Ways to Keep an E-Bike Battery Warm
The major solution to enjoy a prolonged ride, thanks to a top-functioning battery, is to keep it warm. Once this is in place, it doesn’t matter if the temperature is below zero. There are various methods for doing that.
Use a Battery Protective Cover
One good way to make sure a bike will perform well during extremely cold seasons is to always cover the battery pack with a protective cover. The ideal cover for an e-bike should not only be designed for cold but also to keep away moisture, sand and other unwanted elements. It acts as an insulator, trapping the heat generated from the battery within to keep it warm.
Have trouble purchasing a protective cover due to the blistering cold snowfall? There’s a make-shift approach to keeping the electric bike battery warm. Wrap a thick or any piece of clothing around it and store it in a warm place.
Another good tip to ensuring an e-bike battery stays warm from the winter ride is to store it properly. The ideal temperature should be within 50°F to 70°F. In this condition, the battery will stay warm without losing its storage capacity, which means longer rides.
When storing an e-bike battery, don’t place it close to a heat source. Such batteries, when exposed to extreme heat can suffer internal damage to its component. In extreme cases, they may explode.
Often Recharge the Battery
During cold months, e-bike batteries tend to discharge more rapidly, resulting in about only 80% of their initial range of motion. To avoid this problem, a battery charge is constantly required. Whereby the battery has been subjected to extreme cold, the biker must bring it back to room temperature, at least, two hours before plugging it in.
Maintaining a stable power charge will get any rider through the long winter ride. While cold temperatures may impede a battery’s optimum performance, hot temperatures may even have a greater impact on it. When charging the battery, keep it at 40% to 80%. Avoid constantly overcharging the battery to prevent loss of its maximum storage capacity.
Only when preparing for a riding trip that a rider should charge the battery up to 100%. Doing this provides the battery with 100% of storage capacity to cover additional miles.
To ensure safe and enjoyable rides, always carry an extra battery pack. If the existing battery gets depleted, a new one can take its place, by simply plugging it in. Similar to the current battery pack, keep the spare in a climate-controlled environment, ideally at room temperature. Avoid exposure to extreme temperature swings.
Use a Battery Warmer
While a battery protector is an indispensable item for keeping a cold battery in one place, there’s also a more convenient battery warmer. It generates heat, using a low voltage current to warm the battery which is good for battery life. They come in the form of hand warmers and warming pads.
When on a ride, keep the battery warmer close to the spare battery pack in a bag. As the current battery depletes, replace it with a spare and heat the depleted battery with the battery warmer. This provides an extra range.
Ideal E-Bike for Winter Riding
Riding in the snow has its challenges and this can be compounded if you are riding on a mountain trail. The ideal e-bike would have a front suspension fork with a good anti-locking feature and an excellent front wheel design. The shock dampers are designed to provide maximum comfort in an e-bike. An effective shock-absorbing feature ensures the bike feels solid and secure when riding over uneven or slippery terrain.
In this regard, fat e-bikes are well suited for winter riding. These bikes have wider front and rear tires for added traction and are a good companion for riders who love to explore snowy terrain.
There is no doubt that electric bikes are the future of biking. But to get the most out of it, it’s always important to know how to maintain an e-bike’s components, especially the battery pack. For beginners, a simple maintenance schedule is all that is required. As earlier discussed, store the battery in a shaded and insulated area to keep it in ideal conditions for optimum durability and performance.