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How long do electric bike batteries last ?

Woman riding an electric bike

Batteries are an integral part of electric bikes. And without a battery, an electric bike is just an analogue bike, so it’s vital when choosing an e-bike that you understand the importance of choosing a high-quality battery (and bike). Electric bike batteries generally come with guarantees that mean they will last around 500 charges, or a couple of years. This of course is just a guideline – and there are things you can do to extend the lifespan or at least maximise your battery’s capabilities. In this article, we’ll cover everything from how to maximise your battery’s lifespan to safety tips and charging best practices.

Battery Types and Lifespan

Overview of E-Bike Battery Types

First up, let's explore the main types of batteries you'll find on an e-bike. 

The Three Most Common Battery Types for E-Bikes

Lithium-ion – sometimes just shortened to lithium batteries – are the most common type seen on modern e-bikes, but in previous years you might have also seen lead acid batteries like those in cars, or even nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride. Nowadays, however, lithium-ion is the battery of choice for most e-bike manufacturers, and they typically come in one of three places: as frame-mounted, frame-integrated or under the rear rack.

There are benefits to all, but frame-integrated looks the most sleek and less like an obvious e-bike. Many manufacturers still make their frame-integrated batteries removable via the down tube, although some require the removal of the bottom bracket to gain access.

Frame-mounted batteries typically sit above the down tube and are easily spotted from afar. They are generally seen on cheaper or older models of e-bike, but still serve a purpose as they are easily removable.

Finally, batteries that sit under or as part of a rear rack are generally seen on city e-bikes. They are not as easy to remove, but many come with locks to keep them secure from thieves.

What Determines an E-Bike Battery's Lifespan?

There are a few things that determine an e-bike battery’s lifespan. These include the amount you ride, the type of terrain and weather you ride in. The lifespan can also be affected by the way you store the battery, and how you charge or drain it.

Average Lifespan for E-Bike Batteries

The lifespan of an e-bike battery depends on the manufacturer. Some will list their guarantees in charge cycles, like Shimano who suggests 1,000 cycles for some of their batteries. Others use years – you’ll often find they are guaranteed for at least a couple of years with some caveats.

Maximizing Your E-Bike Battery Life

3 Key Practices to Extend Battery Life Optimal Charging and Storage Conditions

The optimum operating temperature of a lithium-ion battery is around room temperature. That’s why it’s recommended to keep your batteries inside when they’re not in use. With that in mind, it’s important not to let them get too hot, either. Avoid direct sunlight.

When charging, make sure you remove the battery once it has fully charged. Additionally, in terms of fire safety, keep your battery charging in a room with a closed door that doesn’t block an exit in the event of a fire.

The Importance of Maintaining Charge Levels

If you can’t avoid longer periods of leaving the battery in storage, then make sure you check your manufacturer’s instructions on the level of charge they recommend keeping in the battery. Most agree around 30-60% of charge is ideal.

Avoiding Full Discharges: Why It Matters

If you continually discharge a lithium-ion battery fully over hundred of charge cycles, it will reduce the battery’s ability to hold a charge. This means that the overall capacity of the battery will be reduced, and thus your range and life expectancy of the battery will be reduced.

Additional Tips for Battery Care

By now you have an excellent grasp of the different types of e-bike battery, and how to optimize it... but here are a few more tips from our experts. 

Temperature Considerations: Storage and Use

Batteries like to operate at room temperature and above. Make sure you store them in operating temperatures, and avoid very hot or very cold environments. During use, the battery may suffer in extreme temperatures, so bear it in mind when planning your routes in cold weather.

Charging Etiquette: Best Practices

When charging your e-bike battery, it’s best to do so with a manufacturer approved charger. It’s also important to remember to remove the battery from charging once it has reached full charge. This prevents over-charging, which can cause problems on cheaper batteries. Never leave your e-bike to charge unattended or overnight.

Handling and Transportation: Keeping Your Battery Safe

When handling or transporting your e-bike battery, make sure you avoid any shocks or vibrations to it. Try also not to drop or knock the battery as this can damage the internal structure and reduce its overall lifespan.

Practical Insights: Getting the Most from Your E-Bike Battery

Storing Your E-Bike and Battery: Dos and Don'ts

When your battery is not in use, take care to leave it in the manufacturer’s recommended discharge state. This varies depending on the manufacturer, but typically is between 30-60% charge.

Additionally, store it at room temperature where possible as avoiding extreme temperatures like cold or heat will help to prolong your battery’s lifespan.

Where possible, do not keep the battery charging once it is fully charged as this will lower the lifespan.

Buying a Spare Battery: When and Why

Buying a spare battery means you’ve always got a backup in case one fails. Additionally, it means you could carry your charged spare and use it as a ‘range extender’ after the first battery is drained. Second batteries can be expensive, however, so it might be more worthwhile for those planning e-bike tours or if their current battery is close to the end of its life.

Advanced Ebike Battery Care

Troubleshooting Common Battery Issues

Sometimes e-bike batteries don’t work as intended – but there are often ways around the issue. For example, if the range is greatly reduced, make sure your battery has been adequately charged, and then look at the terrain you’re riding. Are you taking in lots of hills or battling headwinds? These things greatly reduce battery. 

If your battery is charging slowly, make sure it is clean and undamaged. It’s worth inspecting your battery from time to time to make sure there is no damage, and that charging ports are clear of debris.

When to Consider Battery Replacement

All batteries have a natural lifespan, but there are things to look out for when it might be time to replace it.

If you find your battery is draining more rapidly than it used to, then it might be time for a replacement. If it’s under warranty, get in touch with the manufacturer to see if they have any specific advice.

Choosing the Right Replacement Battery

High Capacity vs. Light Weight

When it comes to e-bike batteries, you can usually go down two routes: higher capacity batteries or lighter weight ones. Which one suits you will depend on whether you want more range, or value a lighter e-bike to pedal.

The Case for Original Replacement Batteries

If you’re replacing your e-bike battery you should look for manufacturer approved replacements. This usually means buying a like for like replacement of the one that came with your e-bike. There may be options to change the capacity of the battery, but it is recommended that you stick with a reputable replacement.

Enhancing Your Ride: Tips and Techniques

How to Ride Further: Maximizing Battery Range

The easiest way to maximise your battery range is to be more selective about when you use the battery. Do you need to use the highest assist level all the time? Or can you switch it up and pedal slower on the flats so you can use the power on the hills?

Gear Shifting and Pedaling on an Electric Bike

Using the correct gearing and adequate pedaling cadence will also expand your battery’s range. By being more efficient on the bike you’re allowing the battery and motor to work with less tension. Think about how hard it is to grind at a slow cadence in a too-hard gear – now if you have a motor battling with that as well it’ll put extra strain on your battery life. Pedal quickly and lightly to improve range.

Preventative Measures Against Battery Fires

Lithium-ion battery fires seem to crop up in the news from time to time, but if you use a reputable battery and charger you are less likely to see issues. Additionally, make sure you charge your bike in a non-central room, and preferable with a fire door so that if a fire does break out you can try to isolate it and escape.

Security and Maintenance

Deterrents for Electric Bike Thieves

The best deterrent for electric bike thieves is to remove the battery when you lock your bike in a public place. The battery is generally the most valuable part on an e-bike so if you have an e-bike with a removable battery, make sure you do remove it when leaving the bike unattended.

Regular Maintenance Checks for E-Bike Longevity

Keeping on top of your e-bike maintenance will help it to run smoothly. Check your chain for wear regularly, as well as keeping the entire bike clean and debris free. Make sure your bearings, bottom brackets and other moving parts are kept greased, lubricated and working smoothly.


Find your dream e-bike

Head to the Upway online e-bike store today to find your perfect e-bike. 

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