Date Posted: April 21, 2014, 9 comments
Each fall we receive a lot of questions about the best way to store and maintain ebike batteries. In this Blog we will be focusing on deep cycle lead acid batteries only as they are by far the most popular type currently used in electric scooters. We will write a future blog on how to properly store a lithium battery, as there are some slight differences between them.
A deep cycle lead acid batteries is an electrochemical system. There are a few characteristics that one needs to be aware of with this type of scooter battery.
Temperature greatly affects both their performance and life. Taking a few minutes to properly store and maintain them will prevent damage and premature replacement.
All types, regardless of their chemical make-up, will self-discharge if left unused for a period of time. Some will have a lower discharge rate then others, so it’s important to make sure you are taking care of them. The rate a battery discharges is dependent upon it’s chemical make-up. This is where the quality of the battery really stars to make a difference.
Not all ebike battery packs are created equal! Like buying batteries for your home, we all know that those $1.00 store one’s never last nearly as long as those big brands. Although much cheaper, they really aren’t saving you any money. And this is not one place to cut corners, after all it’s the heart of the system.
Typically the average discharge rate of high quality deep cycle ebike battery is around 3 – 5% each month and on the low quality brands it can be 10% or more per month! So in order to ensure they stay in tip top shape you need to charge them at least once per month.
Temperature plays a critical role in the performance of a battery. At higher temperatures, the capacity generally increases and as the temperatures drop and so does the capacity. This is why riding your ebike, electric scooter or electric bicycle at 20C will give you better performance and range than say riding at 5C. Here is an example of how much capacity the batteries used in Scooteretti electric scooters have depending on their temperatures:
– 40C (104F) capacity reaches approximately 102%-108%
– 25C (77F) capacity reaches 100%
– 0 (32F) capacity reaches 85%
A general rule of thumb, for every 10°F increase in temperature there is a two to three fold increase in reaction rate. Therefore, storing ebike batteries in a very hot environment accelerates the self-discharge characteristic and storing them at a lower temperature decreases the self-discharge rate.
While keeping them in the cold may seem like a great idea in theory, one must absolutely make sure that they do not get too cold and freeze. In our climate here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, storing them in an unheated garage, garden shed or outdoors will most likely cause them to freeze and therefore result in permanent damage to the internal lead plates or the plastic casings.
So you must make sure that you store them where they won’t freeze. For most people this means storing them in their home or heated garage. Ideally a controlled environment of 10C would be ideal, but that is not practical for most people.
Following these simple battery storage tips will significantly increase the overall life. If you have any questions about ebike batteries and how to properly store them, feel free to contact us and we would be pleased to help.