At Trivelo we have been riding and writing about eBikes for over 5 years now. During this time lucky enough to get to ride bikes from a range of manufacturers. As battery performance has improved so has the demand and flood of products. At the same time there has been a wealth of conversion kits for normal bikes to electric bikes. Especially true in the city centre bike delivery space. With this in mind you may be considering buying your first eBike but have concerns. This post is for you with key information before buying. We help you understand are eBike batteries safe. Should you buy and safety tips to help protect yourself and your family.
If you are considering an eBike check our guide to the best single speed eBikes available. Simple eBikes perfect for people looking to buy an electric bike.
How does an eBike work?
Before getting to the specific on batteries we walk through the components of an eBike. Any e-Bike uses a battery-powered motor to assist the rider. The key components that provide power on an eBike are:
- Power: An eBike is powered by a rechargeable battery. The battery supplies power to the electric motor. This is the key area of concern in terms of safety in terms of battery failure and resulting in fire.
- Sensor: A torque sensor on an eBike detects when you are pedalling and sends a signal to the motor. This signal provides information on the amount of pressure and cadence of your cycling.
- Motor: The motor can be located in the bottom bracket of the bike frame or in the rear wheel hub. It is triggered by the signal from the sensor or throttle. This signal then triggers the motor to provide additional power to assist you when pedalling. There is no risk in this without power as it is merely a rotating motor.
- Control Unit: An eBike has a control system that allows the rider to adjust the level of assistance provided by the motor. This will unlock the motor, provide feedback on range and allow you to set power level. With a throttle eBike it will also allow you to notify th motor of the power needed.
Electric bike sales have been increasing every since they were introduced. Read our article on ebike sales increases and the future for the industry with key figures from the industry contributing.
What are the types of eBike battery?
Electric bike batteries tend to utilise lithium ion batteries. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are a type of rechargeable battery that have in the most part replaced Lead acid batteries. They are suited to e-Bikes due to their high energy density, relatively low self-discharge rate, and long cycle life. Used in e-Bikes they tend to be one of three types:
- Internal – Internal Li_Ion rechargeable batteries built into the frame of bikes. Often in the down tube they are only accessible via a charging point allowing a cable to be connected.
- Removable – Removable batteries as the name would suggest are designed to clip into the frame. This can be a good theft deterent and also suited if you live in a flat and need to take the battery out to charge.
- After market – These are eBike conversion kits where you secure a battery to the frame of a conventional bike and can support multiple batteries allowing for extended range.
Are eBike batteries safe?
If you buy a pre-built eBike from a reputable manufacturer then eBike batteries are safe and I recommend them. I have become a convert to eBikes and they are suited to a great deal of types of eBikes and riders. Many mainstream manufacturers are actually using Bosch battery units. Equally Samsung are very popular. Bosch batteries have their own 2 year warranty and guarantee of safety. If you look after an eBike and follow our guidance on how to stay safe they will be perfectly safe.
If you buy an after-market conversion kit to convert your normal bike to an eBike these batteries are often imported with no warranty. I would not recommend doing this as you may be in breach of legal eBike types for your region and risk your own life and those around you.
A perfect example of a safe eBike is the MiRider One. Read our review of the MiRider One folding eBike. Perfect for anyone with limited space but looking for an e-Bike.
5 Safety tips to avoid eBike fires
Electric bike batteries are safe when used and maintained correctly. However, like any lithium-ion battery, there are potential risks if mishandled or if the battery is damaged. Here are five safety tips to stay safe when using e-bike batteries:
- Use the charger provided by the e-bike manufacturer and avoid using third-party chargers
- Charge the battery in a well-ventilated area with a stable and non-flammable surface
- Do not leave the battery unattended while charging
- Unplug the charger from the wall socket and disconnect it from the battery when charging is complete to prevent overcharging
- Avoid Extreme Temperatures
- Lithium-ion batteries can be sensitive to temperature extremes. Avoid exposing the battery to extremely hot or cold conditions, as this can affect its performance and safety.
- Store your e-bike in a cool, dry place when not in use. If you live in a very cold climate, consider removing the battery and storing it indoors during the winter.
- Inspect the Battery Regularly
- Inspect the battery and its connections for any visible damage, including cracks, dents, or loose wires. With internal batteries this is not always possible. With eBikes using internal batteries check the charging connection for a clean interface
- Look after the charging cable
- Ensure that the charging cable and connectors are in good condition and free of damage.
- Follow Manufacturer Guidelines
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for charging, storage, and maintenance of the e-bike battery. These guidelines are designed to maximize safety and battery lifespan.
- If the manufacturer provides specific instructions for long-term storage or winter storage, follow them to preserve the battery’s health.
Summary of are eBike Batteries Safe
If you ever suspect a problem with your e-bike battery. This can include unusual heat, swelling, or a significant decrease in performance. When this happens stop using it immediately and seek professional assistance from the manufacturer or a qualified e-bike technician. Avoid attempting to repair or tamper with the battery yourself, as this can be dangerous.
In general, e-bike batteries are designed with safety in mind, and the risk of battery-related incidents is relatively low when proper precautions are taken. Regular maintenance and adherence to safety guidelines will help ensure the safe and enjoyable use of your e-bike.