Electric bike battery care in the Queensland summer

Your e-bike battery has a very important job. It is your ‘fuel tank’. The power that it helps provide is what makes riding an e-bike such a unique and pleasurable riding experience. It is also the single most expensive component on your electric bike so it pays to take good care of it.  With the soaring temperatures and sudden downpours of summer coming, we have put together a quick guide on how to take good care of your ebike battery to make sure you get the best out of it.

Temperature check – extreme heat equals no battery

Electric bike battery care - Tips from Electric Bikes Brisbane

Ebike batteries are made of lithium ion, the same material as your mobile phone and laptop. Have you ever left your iphone on the dash of your car in summer? It shuts down, right. That because the cells overheat and the system turns itself off.

E-bikes are the same. If you leave your bike parked somewhere in direct sunlight or where it gets really hot then you run the risk of your bike not turning on when you go to use it.

Bosch's guide is to store your bike in a dry environment avoiding direct sunlight at a room temperature of 15 - 20 degrees. As we know, and lucky for us, these are Queensland winter temperatures! The key here is long term storage should be in a dry place and not to let them overheat if you plan to use your bike immediately. 

Top tip 1

Avoid leaving your ebike where your battery is exposed to direct sunlight or stored somewhere where temperatures can get over 25 degrees celsius.

For example, if you ride across town for a meeting, park your bike somewhere cool and out of the sun. Take your battery with you if you have to. Or, if you ride to work park your bike under the building not out the front if you can. 

 

Can I ride my e-Bike in the rain?

Electric Bikes Brisbane

Yes, you can. Electric bike batteries are fully sealed units and e-Bikes have been used in wetter countries than ours (Europe!) for many years.

Where you do need to take care though is riding through deep water. Common sense should always prevail with fast running water (ie. don't risk it) and we also gets lots of standing water around Brisbane after storms.

If the water depth is above the hubs then you risk damaging your bike, no matter what sort of bike it is (it means corrosion in the hubs at some point). More importantly though you should avoid submerging your electrics - motor, motor controller or battery / battery cradle - in water for any length of time.

Top tip 2:

Avoid riding an e-bike through deep water and submerging your motor and / or battery cradle. 

 

Transporting e-bikes in the rain

It is always a good idea to remove the battery if you carry your ebike on the back or on top of the car while travelling. Firstly it means there is no risk of your ebike battery falling off or getting knocked in transit. Secondly, if it is raining, what many people do not realise that the wind and water is almost double the speed you are travelling by the time it travels over the car and wraps itself around the back. Even though the battery units are fully sealed you want to avoid water being forced into the battery in this situation.

Top tip 3:

Remove your battery while in transit if it is carried externally on your car.

Battery covers aren’t a bad idea on short trips but save yourself the hassle and expense of having to replace your ebike battery due to water damage or it accidentally falling off while moving. Put your battery safely inside the car while travelling.

 

Should I wash and clean my ebike and battery?

Muddy e-mountain bikes

Yes. Any bike, no matter what sort, appreciates being cleaned and will function better as a result. If you are a mountain biker then you will appreciate how muddy your bikes can get after even a short ride!

As with other bikes avoid using high pressure hoses and jet washes. Especially with e-bikes, though, do not spray water of any pressure on the battery or battery cradle and terminals. E-bikes and ebike batteries are best cleaned with a soft cloth or brush and a bucket of warm water. A gentle detergent or bike cleaner always helps too. 

We wash our e-bikes with the batteries in them and then take the battery out to wipe down with a soft cloth and to leave the cradle and terminals to dry.

Top tip 4:

Don’t use high pressure hoses when washing your e-bike. Also don't forget to wipe your terminal connections occasionally as well.

A soft damp cloth can help clean any build-up of grit or grease on your terminal connections. If there is grit it can interrupt contact and that means no power. If you live somewhere where things are prone to rust then wipe a (very!) small amount of grease or vaseline (too much and you accumulate dirt and grit again).

How to preserve the battery life on your electric bike

Our ebike batteries are made from lithium ion. This is currently the highest density energy source available and the lightest and there is all sorts of amazing chemistry and electronics at work to provide you with your extra oomph. As your battery ages and you use it more and more though its capacity will reduce (and therefore its range) so here are some tips to preserve its life. 

  • Only use the charger supplied with the bike or a replacement from the bike manufacturer. Using the incorrect charger is dangerous and could damage the battery or cause fire.
  • Do not drop your battery. This may damage the cells. If a battery case has been damaged, do not continue to use it unless the supplier has checked it or manufacturer and they have declared it safe to use.
  • It is recommended that you do not fully deplete the battery. If possible, just keep topping up the charge rather than fully depleting each time you ride. Bosch recommend an ideal charging level for a battery is between 30% and 60%. 
  • For optimum power and range keep the battery stored somewhere dry and weatherproof, above 15 degrees celsius.
  • During long periods of storage and non-use eg. If you are going away on holiday, keep the battery about 2/3 full and top up for two hours every eight to twelve weeks. 

TOP TIP 5

Never leave a battery completely depleted or drained or 100% full; the extremes stress the battery and can cause irreparable damage to the cells. If you aren't using it for a while store at approximately 2/3 full.

Summer is a great time to ride and it is great fun riding in the rain (and in the mud!) so don’t be put off by the fact that your bike is electric. Keep these tips in mind and you will be as right as rain, pun intended :)

You can book your bike in for a check up or service here

Electric Bikes Brisbane

 




Samantha Willis
Samantha Willis

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