What Causes Ebike Batteries to Die? [Problems & Solutions]

Last Update On: September 18, 2021 // Article Written By:
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Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are recently gaining popularity globally. They are just like a normal bicycle but with the inclusion of a motor that operates with batteries. Though most components of an e-bike can last long, they gradually wear down with time.

One of such prominent parts is the battery of the bike. So, if you’re wondering what causes ebike batteries to die, you will get more than one answer. Among the several reasons why ebike batteries die, exposure to water or moisture can drain the life of batteries.

So, this article will expose what causes ebike batteries to die, how long an e-bike battery can last, what to do when your ebike battery dies, and others. Read to the end to know more about electric bikes batteries.

How Long Do Electric Bike Batteries Last?

The worth of an e-bike battery is about one-third of the entire bicycle value. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance to maintain your battery once you’ve got a high-quality brand. Also, you can get any of the electric bikes under 500 bucks that come with good-quality batteries.

How Long Do Electric Bike Batteries Last

However, the calculation of an electric bike battery life is based on its charge cycles. This is an expression of the number of full charges they pass through before their efficiency diminishes to non-functionality. The charge cycle ranges from 0% to 100%.

A theoretical calculation assumes that an e-bike battery has the potential of hundreds of charge cycles. The practicality has several factors that can affect the charge cycles and how long a battery will last. Some of these factors include;

  • The quality or brand of the battery
  • Some physical conditions
  • Wind levels
  • Used assist modes
  • Weight on the bike
  • Maintenance culture

Usually, with all these factors kept constant, it takes 3 to 5 years for an electric bike battery to die with regular use.

What Causes eBike Batteries to Die?

There are several things that can cause ebike batteries to die. The efficiency and longevity of your bike battery depend on your general utility approach and maintenance culture.

What Causes Ebike Batteries to Die

Below are some of what causes ebike batteries to die:

1. When The Battery Capacity Wears Down

Every battery has a capacity that represents the output or efficiency you can get from it. Though nickel batteries are good, lithium batteries are better. This Is because the latter has more operational advantages over the former. While the former holds up to 500 charge cycles, the latter holds about 1000 cycles or even more. In general, the bigger the charge cycles of a battery, the higher its life expectancy.

However, there could be a deflation from the manufacturer’s estimates. So, you will ensure that you go for a battery with at least 2 years warranty. Also, if your battery discharges faster than expected, it’s a sign of an unforeseen manufacturing defect.

The capacity of every battery will gradually degrade over time. As you continually use your bike, the battery will keep on degrading on completing a full charge cycle. This is because the completion of a charge cycle reduces the capacity of the battery in bits. So, with time, when you recharge your battery after depletion, the battery holds about 80% or less energy capacity. This will automatically impact the period such capacity can last, which will invariably become shorter too.

2. Improper storage of the battery

The capacity and performance of an electric bike battery can be affected by some environmental conditions. Weather conditions such as temperature and moisture/water have an impact on the functionality of ebike batteries. When you leave your ebike under the sun for a long time, the capacity and lifespan of the battery will definitely lessen. Also, this applies to storing the batteries as well. Elevated temperatures quicken the loss of the batteries’ capacities. The best temperature for the storage of your ebike battery is at/below 20oC (68oF).

The table below represents the influence of temperature on the capacity of batteries after 3 months of storage.

Temperature 40% Charge 100% Charge
0oC 98% 94%
25oC 96% 80%
40oC 85% 65%
60oC 75% 60%

Furthermore, it is recommendable to store your bike battery on a long-term basis when it is partially charged and not empty. The best is when the battery has a full charge of 80% to 40%.

Similarly, water is part of what causes ebike batteries to die. Though you may not have stored the battery in a wet environment, using the bike under rain exposes the battery to moisture. When that happens, you should carefully wipe the battery with a cloth or towel. Also, you should wait for about 20 minutes after cleaning the wetness before storing or charging your battery. This waiting period will remove any dampness that could damage the battery or start up a fire.

3. Improper charging of the battery

The charging process of an e-bike battery has a great impact on its lifespan and capacity. Therefore, to promote your battery’s performance and longevity, you will need to check on some vital aspects of battery charging.

First, ensure you are using the correct charger for your battery. Every battery has the manufacturer’s approved charger that corresponds to the brand and model of the battery. The use of the wrong charger can limit the performance of your bike. Also, using the wrong charger for a long time can destroy the battery.

Furthermore, even when you have the correct charger, you should test to ensure that it charges properly. By plugging the charger, watch if the indicator light is on or not. Where there’s no indicator light blinking, the charger could be faulty. Also, check for the voltage output using a voltmeter to ensure the charger produces up to the required voltage before using it.

When you have the right charger, ensure you charge your battery daily after each use to avoid it dipping below 30%. Normally, batteries charge faster, between 30% to 90%. It usually takes a long time for both the first 30% and the last 10% when charging a battery.

Also, it’s recommended to take your charger when the battery gets to 90%. Also, turning off your bike’s motor once the battery hits 30% helps prolong the battery’s lifespan. But, it’s a wrong practice and the easiest means of damaging your battery when you allow it to drain completely to 0% during usage.

Damaged or Broken Battery Management System (BMS)

The BMS of your ebike battery plays a vital role in maintaining the performance of your bike.

Some the BMS functions include:

  • Regulation of the battery’s cells balance for both charging and discharging processes.
  • BMS manages power transmission to the motor for the mobility of the bike without pedaling.
  • Controls the battery’s temperature to avoid overheating or reduction the battery’s quality.
  • Ensures that the charge powers the battery during the charging process.

When the BMS is damaged or broken, the overall outcome is the low capacity of the battery. Its operations will completely stop, which impacted negatively on the battery performance. Also, issues of fastly discharging batteries are caused by damaged BMS.

You can help protect your battery’s BMS from sudden damage by using the right charging techniques and proper storage procedures. Also, you will refrain from exerting heavy physical load, stress, and strain on your battery.

What to Do When My Electric Mountain Bike Battery Dies?

When your electric mountain bike battery dies, you can resolve the situation using the following steps:

  • First, allow both the bike and battery to cool.
  • Remove the battery from the bike and charge it properly.
  • Switch Off the battery pack, then switch it ON after waiting for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Where you have a spare battery, you can try using it.
  • Reconfirm the battery’s age to ensure it hasn’t expired.
  • Jump-start the BMS.

How Can I Make My Electric Bike Battery Last Longer?

Irrespective of the type of electric bike you have, the battery’s capacity will degrade with time. However, you can help to reduce the rate of its degradation and promote the longevity of your eBike’s battery.

Here are some of the ways you can make your electric bike battery last longer:

1. Ensure the battery is cool

High temperatures have great destructive effects on batteries. Leaving your bike under the sun where the temperature can be above 65°f can reduce the battery’s lifespan and performance.

2. Don’t store the battery when the charge is too low

It’s a very wrong practice to store your bike battery when the charge percentage is too low. The battery is likely to suffer complete power drainage, and it may be difficult to recharge or start it again. The recommended storage charge for batteries is between 80% to 40%.

3. Don’t always completely discharge your battery

Riding your bike until the battery completely drains affects the lifespan of the battery. The ideal low battery limit that you can get to is 30%. Once your battery hits this limit, you should turn off your bike’s motor and pedal. Besides damaging your battery, it’s always hard and will take a longer time to charge a completely drained battery.

Bottom Line

The joy of using an eBike lies in the functionality of its battery. Your ability to take care of your battery will prolong its efficiency and longevity. Ensure to maintain the right temperature and charge percentage when storing your battery on a short or long-term basis.

Also, using the correct charger and charging process will help to keep your battery safe and functional. You can now inculcate a good maintenance culture for your battery, having understood what causes eBike batteries to die. Now that you’ve seen what causes eBike batteries to die, we hope you’ll protect yours carefully.

David Brayton

About The Author - David Brayton

David is the owner and the main Author of this site Electricalwheel. Basically, he is a businessman and research writer. He had engineering degrees in Bachelors and Masters. Besides his business, he loves to do research on different aspects and share his findings with others.

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