Make your electric bike battery go farther and last longer
Sport and Outdoors
There's a lot to know about e-bike batteries.
If I'm going to make it over a mountain to the beach and make it back on the same charge, I'm going to have to use every trick in the book.
Like I have two journeys ahead of me.
E-bikes come in a variety of types.
All with different features and strengths.
For this lengthy trip, vintage electric was kind enough to lend me this week tracker e bike.
It's a huge step up from the bike I normally ride but a batteries a battery and the same best practices can extend the rage and life cycle of any bike battery.
I'll be going over some pretty significant hills making my way from the San Fernando Valley all the way to the beach.
This bike also has what's called Race mode, which enables it to go 36 miles per hour.
And it kind of terrifies me, but I'm not going to not try it.
So stick around to the end of the video for that.
There's a lot more to getting the most out of your battery from the way you ride your bike.
I had to start preparing for this trip a day in advance.
Here's what I did.
First, we all die in some point.
An e-bike batteries are no different, but your battery can live a long full life.
If you charge it correctly.
You shouldn't always charge 100% after every ride.
I'll spare you the technical babble about how electrolytes oxidize and cosplaying.
Mostly because I don't even understand what I just said.
But I do know that by fully charging you increase the rate of degrades over time.
Your charger may already prevent itself from fully charging the battery so it's important to read the bikes manual for proper charging instructions.
With that said, you should fully charge your battery every few weeks to balance themselves.
Think of it as giving your battery exercise so it's muscles don't get atrophy.
And again, batteries and their charges vary from brand to brand so consult your manual.
Next, make sure your bike is in tip top shape.
Some basic maintenance that you should do on any bike electric or not will go a long way towards extending the battery's range.
Before you drive, make sure you inflate your tires to the recommended pressure level indicated on the side.
And lubricate your bikes chain every few weeks.
Now that I'm all charged up and ready to go, how far I'm making on this trip is going to depend on how much pedal assist I use.
When I'm not going uphill.
I'm gonna keep it at around a level of two or three because that's how I normally ride e bikes.
Plus, I'm not athletic enough to make it the length of a trip like this with little to no assists, and that's why I love riding a bike.
I'm about to ride up hill to the Santa Monica Mountains, which is about a 500 foot climb over a couple of miles.
I'm gonna be raising the assist to about a four or five to make it easier to pedal uphill, but I assure you, it's still going to require an effort on my part.
This climb will pay off though because as soon as I get to the top, it's pretty much all downhill to the beach and that's where my battery will actually see some return.
All right, I made it to the top of the hard works done.
Now it's time for an all the payoffs.
Mini E5, this one included what's called regenerative braking.
What that means is when you come to a slow and steady stop, the friction creates energy that charges the battery.
Keep in mind though, I still have to go over that same mountain pass to go home.
So hopefully I can calculate this well enough to not get stranded too far from my apartment with a dead bike.
Alright, after about 17 miles, I've made it to the beach about 4 and a 5 bars of battery left on the indicator.
I am starting to notice a slight dip in performance.
It just doesn't get up to speed as quickly.
So I'm gonna start heading back down and hopefully I can make it close without the battery dying.
I made it back to the top which was actually slightly more uphill but on the way there that's because I was I was starting from about ocean level.
Now batteries are their most efficient when they're fully charged.
After the voltage starts to drop, the performance starts to give a little.
As I was coming back up this hill, I realized that the battery indicator was at four bars, and then three, and then two.
That's because the battery indicator is not a measurement of how much further you can get on that battery, but the state of charge.
So as your battery's starting to lose power, that battery indicator will drop faster and faster
Well, I'm just about home.
The battery indicator shows it at about two bars left, which again doesn't have anything to do with how much further I can go on this battery.
You should try to avoid fully discharging your battery before every charge.
But once every couple months, go ahead and do that just like you would balance the battery by charging it fully.
Huge thanks to Joseph Kaminsky who gave me a lot of great battery tips and has written some really excellent articles on cnet.com what battery tips that I miss dropped down in the comments now, I promise you race mode.
So here we go.
Wish me luck.
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