As we all know by now the electric bike is more than a mere passing fad. More and more electric bikes are being sold and with each passing month a new development is made. The impact of this on the cycle workshop is that it is now not uncommon for an electric bike to be wheeled through the workshop doors with some kind of problem.
In this article I’d like to share with you some basic workshop ‘best practices’ and some hints and tips on battery care. It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t exhaustive and we have a dedicated four day Cytech Technical e-bike course which covers the subject in depth.
From new, an e-bike will often be shipped with a battery in a ‘hibernation’ mode. Shimano for instance ships its STEPS batteries with a 30% charge inside them. In this state the battery can take up to 5 years to fully run out of charge and become unusable. This means that the distributors have plenty of time to receive the batteries, store them and ship them to shops without the batteries losing all charge.
As soon as the battery is charged however, the battery awakens from this hibernation mode and the time to it becoming unusable is much shorter – perhaps only a year and a half in some cases, so regular monitoring of the battery is then required. It makes sense therefore, that when the shop builds an electric bike from new and charges the battery to 100% before putting the bike on display, that some sort of reference is taken as to the date of which it was charged so that regular top up charges can be performed to stop the battery from becoming unusable. A swing ticket hung from the bike or battery or a log placed in the workshop planner as to when the battery was last charged is a good idea. Charging up the display e-bike is something that’s easily forgotten in a busy shop environment.
It may also be worthwhile sticking a sticker on the battery with the date of last charge written on, with spaces for the customer to document further charges. This could be particularly useful if the e-bike is used infrequently as a reminder to top the battery up every 3-4 months or so. This gets the customer into the habit of keeping the battery in good health and as an ideal the battery should be stored with at least 70-80% charge.