Ebike batteries – Proper storage for increased life:
Each fall we receive a lot of questions about the best way to store and maintain e-bike batteries. In this blog post 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.
Deep cycle lead acid e-bike batteries:
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 than others, so it’s important to make sure you are taking care of them. The rate a battery discharges is dependent upon its chemical make-up. This is where the quality of the battery really stars to make a difference.
Not all e-bike battery packs are created equal! Like buying batteries for your home, we all know that those $1.00 store ones 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 e-bike 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.
Effects of Temperature:
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 e-bike, 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.
Recommended Storage Tips:
- When storing your e-bike or electric scooter for the winter, we suggest removing the batteries on e-bikes, electric scooters and electric bicycles equipped with removable battery packs and storing them inside. On e-bikes or electric scooters not equipped with a removable option, it is highly recommended to keep your e-bike or electric scooter stored indoors. If this is not possible, you should contact us and consider having us store it in a climate controlled storage facility. We offer this service and include monthly recharging in the monthly price.
- If your bike is equipped with a power breaker, you should turn this to the “Off” position between recharges as items such as controllers and alarm systems do draw a small amount of power from the batteries. Remember to turn the breaker switch on when you recharge each month. If your e-bike is not equipped with a breaker switch or if you require your alarm system to be active during storage a more frequent recharge will be required.
- You should always store and recharge in a well-ventilated, cool and dry location. You should never store your batteries or recharge your batteries in an area where the batteries are exposed to high heat sources like baseboard heaters or radiators. Never recharge your batteries unattended.
- You should recharge your battery packs fully prior to putting them in storage for any period of time and then recharge them once per month when not in use.
NOTE: You should never recharge them unattended. If at any time you notice your batteries getting hot to the touch or if they emit any odour, immediately stop charging your batteries. You should contact your local battery expert or Scooteretti. Either one of these issues may be an indication that your batteries require replacement.
- Always use a charger that is designed to work with your batteries. If you are unsure contact us and we would be glad to help.
- Recharging your e-bike, electric scooter or electric bicycle battery pack on a monthly basis should take no longer than an hour or two. Longer recharge times indicate a possible problem with your batteries and you should have an expert inspect them.
Following these simple battery storage tips will significantly increase the overall life. If you have any questions about e-bike batteries and how to properly store them, feel free to contact us and we would be pleased to help.