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How Long Does the Battery Last In an Electric Bike 

 September 19, 2021

By  Phil Borges

If you have an electric bike, it is important to know how long the battery will last and what you can do, if any, to make it last longer. It’s all part of the maintenance of the bike. Here’s all that and then some.

This depends on the type of batteries your electric bike runs on. If the bike has lead batteries, they last about 300 cycles, while nickel batteries last around 500 cycles. But most electric bikes have lithium batteries which last for 1,000 cycles (~2 years). But with good maintenance that can be extended.

Now, the time period of two years is a ballpark figure and it is contingent on a few factors other than maintenance. That’s why it can be a lot less or more than that. How to figure that out? Keep reading.

How Long Should an Electric Bike Battery Last

There is more than one answer to this question. That’s because the answer depends on the type of battery that is powering your electric bike. There are three types of batteries that are commonly used in an electric bike. Those are:

  • Lead Batteries: These are found on first-generation e-bikes and you can expect them to run for about 300 cycles according to the estimates of manufacturers. But it also varies based on the quality of the battery.
  • Nickel Batteries: These are expected to last for about 500 cycles.
  • Lithium Batteries: These are more commonly found in modern e-bikes and are good for about 1,000 charge cycles.

But how long they will last depends on the quality of the batteries. So, a good nickel battery could last longer than a bad lithium battery.

When we say lithium batteries, this also includes lithium-ion batteries which are found in many other everyday electronic devices like phones, laptops and computers. In an e-bike, these are usually placed in a casing and you will see that there are several batteries in there. And they are all wired together in a circuit which makes them look like a big, chunky battery.

Now, when you are looking at battery life, the power of the batteries is also a key factor. Typically, you will find batteries that are 24 volts, 36 volts or 48 volts. The power of the bike is also a factor in determining how long a battery cycle will last. In some countries like the UK, the government has a cap at 250 watts.

What You Need to Know About Battery Cycles

When the battery charge goes from 100 to zero percent, it is counted as one cycle. And it is not the best idea to let the battery go to zero because it affects the lifespan of the battery. Now, if you go from 100 to 50 percent and charge it back to full capacity, that is not a full cycle. That is also a good way to keep the battery going for a lot longer in terms of time because remember each battery has a finite number of cycles.

Now, how long each battery cycle lasts can also be controlled. This depends on the management system of the battery and how you ride and maintain the e-bike. While some bikes give you the option of prioritizing speed which impacts battery life. And if you pick battery life, the speed will be affected.

In any case, a single charge should be able to give you a travel range of 25-70 miles unless you are pushing the power capacity of the e-bike. If you do a good job with the maintenance of the battery, you can expect more mileage.

It is recommended that your e-bike’s battery be charged at least once a month no matter how often (or not) you ride it. But using the e-bike more often keeps the battery in use and hence healthy. And over time, the battery capacity will diminish no matter how well they are taken care of. Then, you must consult a retailer about safe ways to dispose of the battery.

Ideally, the battery should last for two to four years when it is maintained well. But if it dies in just a matter of months, you might have bought a bike whose battery has a manufacturing defect unless you have been very rough in your usage of the bike. That is why you must also remember to get at least a two-year guarantee from the manufacturer.

We keep talking about maintenance. That entails a few obvious factors. Battery life is affected by some standard factors like how much power you are exerting on the battery each time you ride the bike, how often the bike is being used and recharged and of course, environmental conditions.

If you take the bike out for a joy ride on those windy days, it is going to need more power to fight the wind which means the battery gets drained sooner than normal. If you are going up the hill, then too the battery will be drained sooner than it would on flat land. If you stick to regular weather conditions and flat surfaces, the battery might even last three to five years.

Now, as you would expect, at the end of that time period you will need new batteries. So, when you are purchasing the bike make sure you have the option of purchasing backup batteries because you don’t want to learn that the specific batteries for the housing of your e-bike are not available.

This would mean you will have to replace your e-bike. You don’t want to do that as long as the motor is in good condition, unlike many electronic devices that you have to replace when the battery gives up on you.

How to Extend Battery Life?

Now, the average lifespan of these batteries is about two years. But we did say that with good care you can extend it, right? Here’s what you can do to make that possible.

  • When you are done charging the battery, remove the charger. Overcharging is an actual problem with these batteries and kills the overall lifespan.
  • Try not to drain the battery to zero percent. Get it to a charger when it is down to 20 to 30 percent, maximum and get it juiced.
  • If your e-bike comes with a pedal-assist mode, try to use it as often as it can. This one gives both the battery and the motor a break and extends their lifespan by a little. In the same way, remember that full throttle puts extra pressure on both these components.
  • Then there’s also the matter of where you keep your bike. If it is running on lithium batteries, you might want to keep it out of direct sunlight, especially when you park it somewhere for a long time. The recommended parking temperature is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does a Battery Cost for an Electric Bike?

If you want a brand new, high-quality battery, be ready to shell out anywhere from $500 to $900. This depends on the battery brand and its capacity which typically ranges from 400 watt-hours to 700 watt-hours. This price increases as you want more watt-hours. The same is true for battery packs from well-known brands.

How Many Hours Does an Electric Bike Battery Last?

This depends on the voltage specifically of your e-bike. Take this for instance.

A battery with 500 watt-hours of energy and a load capacity of 250 watts can last for about two hours. A battery with the same energy but a load capacity of 500 watts can last for an hour and a battery with the same energy and a load capacity of 1,000 watts can last for about 30 minutes.

How Often Should You Charge Ebike Battery?

The least you can do is charge it at least once a month irrespective of the usage. And as a thumb rule, do not let the battery discharge completely. Get it to a charger when the battery still has 30 to 60 percent charge in it.

About the author

Hi, I'm Phil Borges.. thanks for reading.. My wife says I can't shut up about batteries so to save my marriage I've started this blog .. where I'd be ranting about batteries! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

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