Helpful Tips

What is a Lithium Ion Battery and the Difference with Lead Acid Batteries?

Lithium ion batteries are commonly used in laptop PCs, cell phones, and electric cars. The cells are small in size and can be charged quickly. The battery also easily stores energy, meaning it doesn't lose power over time. It's also light-weight and has a long cycle life – it can be charged hundreds of times without losing any capacity. We also recommend investing in an electric bike equipped with high-quality lithium cells such as Samsung, Panasonic or LG cells.


How to Care for your Lithium Ion Battery so it Lasts Longer

You should typically expect a battery to last between 3 and 5 years if it is well maintained. (A lithium battery will slowly lose its capacity over time, even if it’s not used.) Below are three things you can do to ensure you get the longest usage out of your electric bike battery.

#1. Keep The Battery Cool

Environmental conditions are an important factor affecting lithium batteries. For example, leaving one in your car in the hot sun will guarantee you lessen the life of your battery. In fact, that would be the worst situation: keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures. It’s a good rule of thumb to store your bike out of the direct sunlight for long periods and when not in use, keep your battery in a cool place, preferably below 20°C (68°F)


#2. Store A Battery Partially Charged – But Not Too Low!

You’ll also notice in the above chart that storing a fully-charged battery has an impact on the recoverable capacity. Even more important, storing a fully depleted battery may be disastrous because, as we mentioned above, a lithium-ion battery will slowly discharge over time even when you’re not using it. If the voltage drops below a certain point this may cause irreparable cell damage, depending on the time it’s left sitting. Ideally, when storing the battery for a long period, ensure it has a charge between about 80% and 40% of a full charge. Some chargers have a lower ‘storage’ voltage setting, so just switch to this before charging it for storage. An easy alternative is to take the bike for a ride after you’ve charged it fully and before storing.

Also, don’t leave your battery on the charger for long periods of time, as storing it at or close to 100% will reduce the life of the battery. You can also check your battery every couple of months over winter. If you notice that the battery indicator has dropped too low, you can give it a quick charge to bring it back to the ideal storage voltage (this is unlikely to be needed if the battery was at 40% or above). If you don’t have a battery indicator, it’s probably a good idea to charge the battery for half an hour every few months. Again, try not to put the battery away fully charged (but it won’t be the end of the world if this happens.)

#3. Don’t Regularly Fully Discharge Your Battery

It’s amazing that we still see tech sites advising regular full discharge of your battery, even when this has been proven as detrimental. Study proves that regularly discharging lithium-ion batteries to 0% is harmful and partial discharges with regular top-ups are recommended to extend the recharge-cycle lifespan of the batteries.  The occasional full discharge on that extra long ride is no problem! It’s ok to top up lithium batteries regularly and, as the chart below shows, it’s best to operate them in the top half of their discharge cycle; lithium batteries don’t have a ‘memory effect’ that some other battery chemistries have. If you are doing short rides on a regular basis, it is slightly better to charge it every few rides rather than every ride (to avoid long periods at or close to 100% charge, as discussed above).

As an extra note for the winter season, make sure your battery is above freezing before charging, otherwise you could harm the cells. It is no problem to ride the bike in below-freezing conditions (it doesn’t harm the battery), just make sure you let the battery warm up before charging. When you are riding in very cold weather, you will notice a drop in power and range; this is normal and expected.  You can help avoid this by bringing the battery inside whenever you aren’t riding to keep the temperature of the battery up. That way you will get that extra bit of power!

Correct maintenance and storage of your battery as detailed above will significantly increase its lifespan. A well-maintained lithium battery will last between three to five years, whereas a poorly maintained battery can be badly damaged over just one season or sooner. For more detailed, scientific information on batteries and how to care for them, check out the excellent online resource at Battery University.



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There are many reasons:

  • Get where you need to go faster and easier than on a regular bike. Depending on how you ride, you can travel without significant effort at up to 32km/h on the throttle and even higher speed with your electric pedal assist.
  • Climbing hills is a breeze... and we aren’t talking about the breeze from huffing and puffing.
  • No sweat. Even though you can ride much faster, you won’t feel like you have to shower once you are there.
  • Safer. That might seem counter-intuitive since you can go faster than on a regular bike, but you also get an easier start from stopped positions, allowing you to get through an intersection steadier and quicker. When climbing steep hills with cars nearby, you can focus more energy on controlling the bike instead of propelling the bike.
  • Easier on those joints. Use the electric assist to ease the pressure on your knees and hips.
  • Staying together. You may have a riding partner who rides at a different pace. An e-bike can even out the pace for both of you.
  • Ditch the car. An electric bike's convenience, ease, and speed make it an alternative to an automobile more often than a regular bike. A study by Portland State University shows that e-bike owners ride more frequently and farther than when they rely on traditional bikes. This was the case for all age groups.
  • It’s FUN!!! Just try one, and you’ll see. Or catch a friend returning from their first test ride with a big smile.

In British Columbia, as long as the e-bike has a motor size of 500 watts or less and is programmed so that it can’t go more than 32km/h without pedalling, there is no need for a license. 

As best as we can determine, e-bikes don’t get stolen more frequently than non-electric bikes. That’s most likely because people tend to lock them up better and because a bike thief needs to get a charger and a battery key to make the bike truly saleable.

The best ways to protect your bike from theft are:

  • Get a high-quality bike lock. Cable locks are way too easy to cut. High-quality chains, u-bolts, and folding locks are better.
  • If you are parking your bike in your garage, lock your garage. It’s probably the #1 location we’ve seen bikes get stolen from.
  • When in public, lock your e-bike in a visible location with at least two locks.

No insurance is required to ride an e-bike in British Columbia.

Check with your insurance company; you may want to get a rider added to your homeowners/renters insurance for theft protection. You can check with big banks and  BikeHub insurers.

As one of our customers told us, "E-bikes might be heavy to lift, but they are heavenly to ride."

Electric bikes are typically heavier than regular bikes. But the weight of any bicycle (electrical or non-electrical) is felt the most when climbing hills. The electric assist on an e-bike makes up for the additional weight many times over. Where weight does matter is if you need to lift the bike. That's one of the many reasons why e-bikes are favoured over electric scooters, which often weigh 150 pounds or more.

Yes, it’s available, and the concept doesn’t work well. A few models of electric bikes include a feature to recharge the battery, usually while you are braking. In those cases, the battery range can be extended by 5-10% while adding several hundred dollars to the cost. However, due to the design of the motors that provide regeneration, you'll often find the bike harder to pedal if you use the bike with the power off.

The biggest factor contributing to your range is whether you pedal or use a throttle without pedalling and what level of assistance you use. Thunder E-bike is a strong proponent of the synergy resulting from combining human pedal power with electric power, so we’ll tell you the expected range when you do both. With relaxed pedalling, expect 40-75 km on a single charge. In some cases, you’ll go even farther. We have bikes that are getting 120km or 300km on a single charge. The battery capacity, the hills, the wind, and your size impact the range. Many electric bikes pedal easily as regular bikes. So you can extend the range even further by using little or no power on level surfaces and downhill.

A lithium-ion e-bike battery that is fully depleted will take 4 to 6 hours to recharge. Batteries that still have a partial charge when you start charging will take less.

Most e-bike batteries sold by Richmond E-bike are made by big brands like Samsung, LG, Panasonic, etc., and can deliver up to 800 charge cycles. Recharging the battery when it is only 50% depleted counts as only 1/2 of one charge cycle. If you usually use your e-bike in pedal-assist mode, combining pedal and electric power, you can expect to go 8,000-15,000 km before replacing your battery. That is a lot of kilometres on a bicycle.

Depending on the battery's capacity, it will usually take 500-800 watt hours (0.4 - 0.8 kilowatt hours) to charge the battery. Assuming a rate of $0.10/kWh, it will cost you 5-8 cents for a charge that lasts 20-80+ km.

Several states are adopting this system of classifying electric bikes to regulate electric bikes. The classifications are as follows:

  • Class 1 - is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedalling (thus no throttle) and ceases to assist when the bicycle reaches the speed of 32 km/h per hour.
  • Class 2 - is a bicycle equipped with a throttle that can propel the bike up to a maximum of 32 km/h with the rider pedalling, and may also have the ability to achieve up to 32 km/h with the rider assisting, without the use of a throttle.
  • Class 3 - also known as a "speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle," is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedalling and ceases to assist when the bicycle reaches the speed of 45 km per hour.

They both have their benefits. Hub motors tend to be a little easier to operate if you are a less experienced cyclist because they require less shifting of gears. Mid-drives tend to get a little better range for equivalent battery capacity because shifting will improve efficiency. While theoretically, you get better hill climbing with a mid-drive, you'll usually find both types will climb just about any hill.

Check out Blog Post - COMPARISON OF HUB MOTORS VS MID DRIVE MOTORS for more details information.

With a torque sensor, the power delivered is increased proportionately to the amount of pedal force the rider is applying. So as you pedal harder, the motor automatically delivers more assistance. As you reduce pressure, you get a little less assistance. It’s essentially amplifying whatever power you are applying to the pedals. You have multiple levels of pedal assist, each representing a higher or lower amplification of your power. A torque sensor can feel more like riding a conventional bicycle than a cadence sensor. It also tends to deliver power smoother.

A cadence sensor, perhaps more appropriately called a crank sensor, delivers a uniform amount of assistance at each assist level, regardless of the pressure you apply. It is activated just by getting the crank turning. Because a cadence sensor is not reading your pedal pressure, the power delivery is not quite as smooth or “bike-like.” But it’s fairly easy to adapt your use of the controls to smooth out the power delivery. Some people prefer a cadence sensor because it provides a great power sensation without applying much pedal pressure.

The best way to know which pedal assist type is right for you is to try them both.

If you are pedalling, you can go as fast as you can pedal it. However, most bikes stop providing electric assist while pedalling at a certain speed set by the display.

Yes. And it is easy to switch back and forth. For example, you might want to use the power only when going up hills.

Look at an e-bike as comprising two parts – mechanical and electric.

  • Mechanical parts are the same parts that you’ll see on non-electric bikes. Servicing mechanical parts can be performed at any bike shop.

You might find that your bike parts might wear a little faster than on a non-electric bike – especially brake pads, chains, cogs, and tires. But that’s because most people put many more miles on their e-bikes.

There is some basic maintenance that you can do on your own, like keeping your tires properly inflated and lubricating your chain.

  • The electrical parts don’t require any maintenance. If you run into a problem with an electrical part, please contact our service center, we are open 6 days a week.

While not really a maintenance task, you want to ensure that the battery keeps some charge in it. If you don’t, it might discharge to a point so low that you can’t charge it anymore, thus killing your battery – an expensive mistake to make.

Richmond EBike Service has a complete mechanical and electrical work service department, with expertise in servicing electrical parts from many different e-bike brands.

The motor and battery are sufficiently sealed to be protected from the rain. However, if you are carrying your bike in the back of a car and rain is in the forecast, you place the battery inside the car and cover all exposed connections. Driving 100km/h in a downpour with the battery exposed is like pressure-washing your battery. That's a lot different than riding your bike in the rain.

Richmond E-bike is proud to offer electrical diagnostics and troubleshooting of all makes and models of electric bikes. Our professional technicians are trained to repair electrical failures relating to a wide variety of ordinary as well as more complex issues.

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