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Preparing your Electric Bicycle (bike) for use in the Spring
Last updated 2009.12.11
We don't sell electric bicycles. We continue to provide unbiased information about the electric bike because we feel they are a superior urban transportation solution for many applications, notably commuting. For a list of electric bike suppliers (complete bikes, kits and components), please see the listing at the bottom of the Electric Bikes Links page or the advertisements to the right. (We do sell Soneil battery chargers, some of which are ideal as chargers for electric bike batteries as they are small, lightweight, intelligent and affordable.)
As people are taking their electric bikes out of winter storage, some find that their batteries are not performing as well as they remember from the previous fall. There are several possible explanations.
1) It could be the battery for your electric bicycle is ‘lazy’ after the winter hibernation. Try cycling the battery pack (discharge and recharge) a few times to see if the capacity improves. This is particularly problematic with lead-acid batteries which are being asked to perform to more than 60% of their nominal capacity, and especially if they are still cold (less than room temperature).
2) It could be that the battery for your electric bike has reached the later stages of life, or experienced a cell failure. You need a voltmeter to start the diagnosis for this issue, know the expected voltage readings for your fully charged battery pack and do some capacity testing (likely via riding). This condition is frequently accelerated by battery abuse by owners, who neglect to recharge their batteries when appropriate.
3) It could be that your charger is killing your bike batteries via undercharging or overcharging. In this case, buying a new battery will simply result in the new pack being abused by the charger as well. Use a voltmeter to ensure that your electric bike charger is performing as it should through the course of the charging cycle. (Bulk charge, finishing charge, maintenance charge stages.) In order to provide the lowest possible purchase price, many electric bicycles are originally supplied with low quality chargers (some not even UL or CSA approved), which negatively affect the life of the batteries. If your testing indicates the charger is the fundamental problem, we recommend the Soneil line of lightweight, small, intelligent and affordable chargers for use with electric bikes and other small EVs.
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