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Lithium Batteries For Electric Bikes-Types, Changeability And Cycle Life
If you are reading this article, it means that you want to know more about e-bikes. Without any objection, the battery is the most important component of electric bikes, and it is also the most expensive one. After all, the battery is the sole deciding factor of how long the bike can be used without a recharge, how long it will last, and how much it will weigh, among other aspects. So, if you are considering purchasing an e-bike or already have one, then pay attention to the batteries as much as possible.
Today, we’ll dig in deeper regarding the battery types used for e-bikes. Let’s begin.
What Kind Of Batteries Are Used In Electric Bikes?
To select the best battery for your bike, you must know about the types of batteries available. From determining the efficiency of the battery to the distance you can travel with a single charge, multiple factors come into account while choosing a battery. Here are the characteristics that you should keep in mind:
- Voltage (more voltage= more speed)
- Capacity (Increase amps for a short period and vice versa)
- Discharge/Charge Cycle (when the battery discharges up to 10%, one cycle is said to finish)
- Weight (lightweight offers more speed)
- Total Battery Life (number of cycles and operating conditions)
Now, we’ll explore the types of the battery that are commonly used in electric bikes.
1: Lead Batteries (Gel)
It is the oldest battery type that common before Lithium-ion technology came around. Every year, the use of this battery type is declining rapidly. These batteries have low capacity and weigh a lot. Moreover, they charge slowly, which means that they require almost 8 to 10 hours to fully-charge. And the worst thing is that this battery has a very short life of about 150 to 200 cycles. So, you’ll end up replacing the batteries earlier than expected.
2: Lithium-ion Battery (Li-ion)
Lithium-ion is the most popular technology for electric bikes. It has the best total weight and capacity combination out of all other types. Moreover, these batteries don’t even have the “memory effect.” However, lithium-ion technology has sensitivity to extreme temperatures. But even this disadvantage can be overcome by using a Battery Management System inside the pack. By using this IC, the current drawn from the circuit can be controlled to ensure that the battery doesn’t suffer from overcharge or over-discharge. It also balances the voltage of the cells embedded in the battery pack. The overall lifecycle of the Li-ion battery is about 400, which is 2.5 times more than Lead Acid.
3: lithium polymer battery (Li-Po)
LiPo batteries are considered an upgrade of Lithium-ion technology in several aspects. However, this battery technology is incapable of operating e-bikes due to their lacking feature to withstand impacts and vibrations.
4: Lithium- Iron- Phosphate Battery (LiFePo4)
Relatively new to the market, this variant of lithium batteries is becoming popular over the time. It provides frost resistance and charge quickly. And what’s more beneficial is that it has an overall lifecycle of 1000. Being less susceptible to aging than the regular lithium-ion batteries, it holds potential. At the same time, Lithium Iron Phosphate has a low specific capacity and cost a lot.
Are Electric Bike Batteries Interchangeable?
It is a question that pops into every bike owner’s mind. As we all know now that the bike’s battery will only last up to a couple of years. Hence, you’ll need to replace the battery. Some consumers think that e-bikes battery is interchangeable if they have the same physical size and construction, power rating, capacity, etc.
Typically, you can get a replacement of the battery used in your e-bike from local dealers. However, as long as the bike company is manufacturing those batteries and selling them, you should stick to the original brand. Battery compatibility is the biggest question that arises when a rider thinks of interchanging the batteries. Checking out all specifications and matching them minutely will certainly be helpful for battery replacement.
How Long Do lithium batteries For Electric Bikes Last?
Answering this question is tougher than you might think. The battery life is calculated, accounting its charge and discharge cycles. Each battery that you will purchase will have a specific lifespan. Like we mentioned earlier, Lithium batteries have 1000 cycles, and lead batteries have 300.
Draining an e-bike battery depends on your riding habits. And don’t forget that batteries also suffer from self-discharge phenomenon. At the end of each charge-discharge cycle, a slight percentage of the battery’s capacity will decline. Once the number of cycles reaches the maximum limit, the batteries will die off.
Hence, it is suggested that you take some measures to extend the battery life of your e-bike.
?Don’t Discharge The Battery Below 20%
Deep discharge will negatively impact the battery, causing a significant reduction in capacity.
- Never Charge The Battery Immediately After A Ride
Let the battery cool down after use, as charging a heated battery can degrade the capacity faster than usual.
- Don’t Keep The Battery Fully-Charged
Even if you are keeping your e-bike in storage, don’t charge it completely. Full charge also increases the internal resistance in the battery that leads to heat generation and degradation.
- Prevent Using Your Bike in Extreme Temperature Conditions
Be it hot summer or frosty winters, avoid riding your bikes at extremely high or low temperatures. It will shorten the battery life.
Keep in mind that a battery wears out even if it is not being used. Hence, our job is to ensure that we don’t unintentionally pace up the process and bring the battery to its end sooner. An electric bike always comes with a manual on how to take care of the battery and bike. Refer to that guide and follow the instructions carefully to keep your e-bike battery in optimal state. From charging, storage, to cleaning, the more you take care of the battery, the longer it’ll last.