All electric bikes use battery packs that power the motor during every ride. Most e-bikes have a system that allows you to choose how much power should go to the motor. Using the motor will provide a smoother ride with less effort on your end, but it will make your e-bike battery lose charge quicker. Thus, you will need to charge the battery more frequently, which can reduce the lifespan of your battery.
Now, we understand that an electric bike is an investment that you want to get the most out of, and its battery impacts its consumer value significantly. Thus, this article will evaluate the question “how long does a battery last on an electric bike?” and determine an answer that you can find some comfort in knowing.
How Long Does a Battery Last on an Electric Bike?
“How long does a battery last on an electric bike?” is a common question among new and potential e-bike owners.
In order to answer that question, there are a few factors to consider, such as the capacity of the electric bike battery, the type of motor, the battery usage, and so on. Therefore, there is no definitive answer to this question.
That said, the bike manufacturer will provide a rough estimate of every battery pack’s expected lifespan. That figure should serve as only a reference, as there are ways to prolong that period by adhering to good battery handling practices.
With all that said, let’s begin to understand how long electric bikes’ batteries last.
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1. Understanding the Battery on Electric Bikes
In the United States, most electric bikes have Lithium-Ion batteries. These batteries are small, slim, and lightweight. Therefore, you can always carry an additional one with you if you’re planning to take a long riding trip in one day.
In addition to that, Lithium-Ion batteries typically last longer than lead-acid batteries, which is why they’re more common in most parts of the world.
There’s a further development of Lithium-Ion batteries known as Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. These batteries are present on electric bikes in the UK and other countries in Europe, but only a small percentage.
LiPo batteries are relatively more expensive, but they have a slow-discharge rate when idle. That is to say that it won’t lose much battery capacity when you’re not using it for some time.
Read How to Repair Electric Bike Battery
2. Cycle Count Determines Lifespan
Every electric bike battery has a specific cycle count that it’s expected to provide. Cycle count is the total number of charge cycles your battery performs before it begins to deteriorate completely. You can check the cycle count for your bike’s battery from the specifications sheet for your exact model.
A greater cycle count will result in a longer-lasting battery. Electric bike batteries typically go up to 500 charge cycles before a significant reduction in maximum charge capacity. Therefore, after that point, you can expect the battery to charge up to only 80% of the design capacity.
For example, if your Li-Ion battery’s design capacity was 6,000 mAh, then it would charge only to a maximum of 4800 mAh. That said, 80% is only a ballpark figure. The maximum charge capacity for your electric bike battery could be lower or greater after this point.
Some e-bike batteries also have 1200 charge cycles. In that case, your battery will last more than twice as long as one with 500 charge cycles.
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3. The Pedal-Assist System Affects Battery Life
On average, electric bikes provide a mileage of around 22 miles to 50 miles on a single charge. You can achieve a figure within this average figure through relaxed pedaling for most of your time riding your bike.
Now, electric bikes have different pedal-assist systems (PAS), which affects how much power is supplied to the motor. If your bike has a pedal assist, you will be using a combination of pedaling force and battery power.
In that case, you can get more mileage and less battery usage (i.e., fewer charge cycles being used).
However, if you’re using a throttle system, you will be using more battery power as you won’t be supporting your cycling by pedaling.
4. The Sensor Can affect Battery Life
Most PAS bikes in Canada and other North American countries use a torque sensor on the bikes instead of a cadence sensor. The torque sensor provides more power to the motor if you pedal with more force and vice versa.
Therefore, by pedaling lightly, you can increase the mileage on your electric bike, which, in turn, can increase the lifespan of your battery life (as you’ll see in the calculation below).
Cadence sensors operate only as a switch, so you can’t adjust the mileage via your pedaling force.
Calculating the Lifespan of an Electric Bike Battery
In order to determine how long your electric battery will last, you will have to do a bit of calculation. Let’s try and do that using the following approximations.
Let’s go with the example of a Li-Ion battery with 500 cycles. If your battery provides you with an average of 22 miles or 50 miles per charge, you will be able to travel a total of 11,000 miles or 25,000 miles, respectively.
With that figure in mind, you can divide the total miles it provides by the number of miles you ride per day.
If, for example, you travel at an average of 10 miles a day, your battery should last you about 11,000/(10×365), which will equal about three years of use, with an average of 22 miles per charge and after 500 cycles.
If you travel longer distances than 10 miles every day with your electric bike, you can expect the battery to give up faster.
What to Keep in Mind
You should note that these calculations are only rough estimates to provide you with an idea of long your battery should typically last.
There are many other factors that can affect the battery life of your electric bike. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure you handle the battery with care to help it last longer.
Lithium-Ion batteries can even get damaged earlier than expected due to a manufacturing defect. Li-Ion batteries can begin swelling and eventually become unusable. In that case, you must dispose of your swollen battery immediately by contacting your local battery disposal services and replace it with a new one.
If you have a warranty policy on your electric bike, you can contact your bike manufacturer to have the battery replaced. If not, you can purchase a new one that’s compatible with your specific bike model. Li-Ion batteries are typically inexpensive.
Check out, Can You Pedal an Electric Bike With a Dead Battery? and How to Determine E-Bike Battery Amp Hours.
How Much Electricity Does An Electric Bike Use?
Bike riders who are looking to invest in electric bikes often must consider the cost of various aspects of owning and maintaining one. Here’s one common concern: “how much electricity does an electric bike use?” Considering you must consistently keep charging your battery to power the motor and stay in good condition overall, you will have to pay a little more on utility bills, namely your power bill.
However, the cost is not much. Here’s a rough calculation to help you put things into perspective.
You can expect your battery to take about 0.5 kilowatt-hours to 0.8 kilowatt-hours to charge the battery. The exact figure will depend on the capacity of your electric bike battery. Thus, if we were to assume that you spend $0.10 per kilowatt-hour, you will end up spending about 5 cents to 8 cents for a full charge (or the average mileage of your bike).
Thus, charging the battery is not a cost that you should be concerned about. Instead, you will end up spending more money on maintenance on an electric bike as it has more components that can get damaged over time.
Electric Bike Battery Care Tips to Prolong Lifespan
While every electric bike battery is subject to wear and tear over time, there are some electric bike battery care tips to prolong the electric bike battery lifespan.
With proper care, you can make your battery last a whole year longer than expected. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Avoid Overcharging Your Electric Bike Battery
One of the best electric bike battery charging tips you should know is to avoid overcharging your electric bike battery. That is to say that you must unplug the charger from the wall as soon as the battery is charged.
If you leave the battery charging for a day or two after full charge, your battery will be in a discharge and charge cycle. The battery will be charged by the charger, discharge to about 95%, and then recharge again.
If this continues for a long time, it can create bad charging cycles. Consequently, the e-bike battery may not provide the same mileage at full charge because its maximum charge capacity may deplete.
A worse result is that the battery may need replacement sooner than expected.
2. Don’t Let the Battery Get Too Hot or Too Cold
You may shorten the lifespan of your e-bike battery by letting it get too hot or too cold. Therefore, it’s best that you do not ride in freezing temperatures, such as those in German winters. You should do the same about riding when it’s above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
All Li-Ion batteries need to stay at an acceptable temperature to function properly and prevent permanent damage. It’s best to keep a Li-Ion battery above 50 F(10 C) and below 113 F (45 C). Again, these are extreme temperatures, so make sure to keep your battery in the middle of this range.
To get the most out of your battery, you should make sure that the battery gets proper ventilation whenever you’re riding.
In most cases, electric bike manufacturers take protective measures to prevent overheating of the battery. That said, there are some bikes with batteries that come in plastic cases or bags, which can be harmful during the summer. In that case, try removing all extraneous covering to allow for adequate air circulation.
The same tip about moderate temperature also applies to charging your battery. You should charge your bike battery in temperatures between 60 and 70 F.
Moreover, you must not leave your bike stationary directly in the sun for several hours a day, especially during the summer season. Exposure to excessive heat can damage your electric bike battery.
3. Avoid Draining Your E-Bike Battery Before Storing It
There is no one reason why you may not use your electric bike for a significant amount of time. If you’re storing your bike without using it for some time, make sure that your battery has some power in it.
You should aim to store the battery with about 40% to 70% of charge in it. Leaving the cells without any power in them for a long time can damage their ability to hold charge effectively.
4. Charge Your Electric Bike Battery Whenever the Charge Is Low
A regularly-used battery is a healthy battery. You should use and, consequently, charge your electric bike battery as much it needs to so that it can hold charge effectively and has a better lifespan. You should not leave your battery idle for a long time will weaken its effectiveness over time.
You could recharge your bike battery every time after using it. That said, if you don’t use your bike much in a single day, you could charge it when the battery is somewhere between 30 and 60 percent.
In some cases, you will have to assume how much battery charge is left, as some batteries do not show the exact percentage of charge remaining.
You can make a note of the total amount of mileage your bike gives on a full charge. After that, calculate how much battery is left by factoring in on how much distance you traveled.
For example, if you can travel 50 miles on your electric bike after a full charge, the battery charge percentage will be 60% after you travel 20 miles and 30% after covering a distance of 35 miles. Thus, you can use an approximate calculation like this one to determine the remaining battery charge percentage.
You should note, however, that the amount of pedaling force you apply will also alter the amount of battery power you use. Relaxed pedaling will cause the battery to supply less power to the motor, providing you with more mileage as a result.
You must also know that you should not wait to charge your battery after it discharges completely, i.e., reaches 0%. It will take longer to fully charge the battery if you charge it when it has no power left. This also means that you will not be charging the battery as frequently as you may need to.
Consider this example: your e-bike battery provides you with 60 miles of mileage on a single charge. Now, if you travel only 8 to 10 miles a day, you will be charging the battery once every 7/8 days or 6 days, respectfully. This charging frequency is not ideal if you want to keep your battery in good condition for a long time.
Moreover, it’s good to leave your battery with some power in it as it helps the cells retain their cycles for more times than otherwise.
5. Consider Charging Your Electric Bike Battery for Hours After 100% on the First Charge
When you purchase a new electric bike or battery, you should consider charging your electric bike battery for a few hours after it reaches 100%. You should do this on the first charge only.
The extra bit of charge time can help the current flow through the cells more effectively, which can ensure that the battery runs correctly from the start.
You can follow these electric bike battery care tips and make sure that your battery doesn’t give up on you earlier than expected. This way, you can save a bit of money on battery replacement costs.
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Last Words on Your Electric Bike Battery Life
Now that you have gone through this detailed guide, you should know that the answer to the question, “how long does a battery last on an electric bike?” is that the lifespan depends on the specifications of the battery, how often you use it, and how much care you take of it. With all that said, you should expect your e-bike battery to provide you with around 3 years of usage.
If you do consider an electric battery bike replacement, make sure to get one that’s compatible with your bike’s motor. Supplying an excessive amount of power to the motor can damage it quicker, which will increase repair costs. You can also look into upgrading your battery from a 36V one to a 48V battery. It will provide more power to the battery, resulting in a faster bike.
That said, you should first confirm if your bike can support that change before purchasing one. Regardless of what battery you get, taking care of it will help it last longer, as is the case with most things. Happy biking!
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.