This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.
Electric bike batteries run on the same lines as a smartphone equivalent. They need to be charged with due care and attention. Efficient charging will produce anything up to eight years of charge. It’s imperative to note that lifespan is best measured as the number of full charges, not in years.
How Long Should an E-Bike Battery Last?
An e-bike battery should last a minimum of three years, based on manufacturers’ own test results for use and their most efficient style of charging. However, no two riders use e-bikes the same way and there are many batteries in circulation which perform differently. So the number of years varies.
Charge cycles are used to try and offer consistency in lifespan. One charge cycle takes the battery from its discharged state (0%) up to a full charge (100%). 30% to 80% would be a half charge. 65% to 90% is a quarter charge and so on. The charge cycle is expressed in units, not as a percentage change.
The majority of good quality batteries will generate up to 1,000 charge cycles. E-bike batteries can easily be replaced and represent a significant saving for commuters compared to cars. They are generally considered to offer a lower environmental impact.
E-Bike Battery Lifespan
Careful charging is crucial to the performance of the battery. E-bikes are so much more expensive than analogue bikes so it’s vital that you consistently get the maximum benefit of ownership.
Most riders won’t let the battery level drop to zero so one full charge, which typically can take up to six hours for most batteries, might not be necessary. That’s a good thing, because the unmonitored overnight full charge, à la smartphone in the bedroom, is not recommended.
How Often Do Electric Bikes Need Charging?
Electric bikes need charging consistently and any indicator should not be allowed to regularly drop to 0%, or below one bar on the display. Manufacturers recommend enough charges to keep the battery level between 30% and 80%. In this range the charge is efficient and avoids overloading the unit.
How often you will need to charge depends on a range of other factors. Some are out of your control, but some are, quite literally, in your hands. They include:
- Do you ride pedal-assist or throttle control? Throttle control will drain the battery more.
- Is your pedalling style physically demanding or sedate? Sedate pedalling will drain the battery more if you use more assistance to compensate.
- What is the battery requirement for your typical journey? Just a boost up one hill, or only into a headwind, or consistent pedal assistance for the whole ride? More use will drain the battery more frequently.
If we rely on manufacturers figures, the battery range can run from 15-100 miles / 24-160 kilometres. You have to measure up all of the constraints, like those above, which influence the lifespan of one full charge. And don’t forget the battery works harder in the cold weather compared to warmer climes, so will use more of the charge.
Should I Charge my E-Bike After Each Ride?
Charging an e-bike after each ride may be habitual but ultimately is not necessary. Manufacturers suggest that keeping a charge of no less than 30% is acceptable. Providing that the next journey does not use more than this amount, you shouldn’t need to charge after every ride.
Some users of e-bikes recommend an alternate programme of charging to 30%, then 60%, then 30% and so on. Remember that an e-bike can be ridden in just the same way as a legacy bike if you have no battery charge.
Should I Keep My E-Bike Battery Topped Up?
Keeping the e-bike battery topped up is not necessary if you know your next journey to a power source you can use will not require a full charge. Manufacturers also do not recommend keeping the charge going when at 100% because this worsens the long-term performance of the battery.
How to Extend E-Bike Battery Life
As well as avoiding overcharging the e-bike battery there are other practical, day-to-day tips which can extend the battery lifespan. There is a cost attached to charging and of course, e-bikes can be ridden without pedal assistance or the throttle control. It’s up to you how frequently you choose to use the support offered.
E-Bike Battery Charging Tips [Top 8]
- Avoid battery overcharging when 100% reached by setting a timer on your phone.
- Store your battery in a cool, dry place when not in use to avoid humidity affecting performance.
- Only charge using the battery manufacturer’s equipment.
- Maintain a charge range between 30% and 80% – check your manufacturer’s recommended levels.
- Keep some charge in the battery when not in use – especially in the long term.
- Avoid frequently running the battery down to 0%.
- Never cover the charger or battery when charging.
- Remove the charger when washing the bike and avoid high pressure hoses around any electrical components on the bike.
E-Bike Battery Repair
You’ll notice when an e-bike battery is not performing as you’d expect. Your maximum range on a single charge will drop. Any pedal assistance or throttle control will stutter when asked to perform under a load – going uphill or carrying more cargo than usual. The assistance might cut out temporarily or the charging light will stay green and not red when the battery is plugged in to the charger.
Try some at-home tests before you give up the ghost and consign your e-bike battery to the garage. Try a longer, one-off charge. Give the battery and all contact points on it and the frame a thorough clean with water. Remember that the battery will be water-resistant, not waterproof. Some DIY and reconditioning research are important considerations.
Can You Recondition an E-Bike Battery?
Certain e-bike batteries can be reconditioned. Individual depleted cells can be replaced. Sometimes this can improve the performance of the battery. Check with your own manufacturer first. Their logo should be on the battery. A qualified technician should do this. Check your warranty beforehand.
Check the warranty offered by the repairer for their work. Don’t ever risk any performance boosts with your reconditioning. Please remember that specialist couriers are now required to transport lithium ion batteries which will increase the cost of the project. A quick overview suggests that batteries cost between £250 / $281 and £1,225 / £1,376 to recondition before postage.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace an E-Bike Battery?
It costs a minimum of £300 / $337 to replace a battery but the price increases as battery quality, range and characteristics improves. There is a wide range of competing products and well-known brands competing for your attention and cash. The production run on older batteries may have ended.
It’s worth researching and calculating the long term availability of a replacement battery. Planning ahead beyond the lifespan of your current unit is crucial to ensure a replacement can be sought.
Some e-bikes companies operating in the marketplace today will not exist in five years time. Batteries from brands from Bosch, Panasonic or Samsung are the more likely to offer replacement options for you and your bike manufacturer.
You could buy a replacement battery at the same time as you collect your new e-bike. This ensures your investment in the e-bike makes economic sense when the first battery runs out. Many riders do this anyway as a matter of course and keep the second charged up as a ‘spare’.
Three well known bike brands which operate in the e-bike sphere are Decathlon, Rad Power Bikes and Trek. You have a bicycle supermarket, specialist niche provider and international all-rounder right there. Replacement batteries are available for some or all of their range of models and can either be ordered directly or from a third party site. It makes sense to invest some time checking if you can replace the battery before you buy.