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15 January 2021

Looking after your e-bike battery in winter

How cold weather affects e-bike batteries. How to store, maintain and charge your e-bike battery.

Shimano STEPS uses lithium ion (or Li-ion) batteries, this type of e-bike battery offers all-round best performance, is lightweight and has a long-life span. Lithium-ion batteries are used in a wide range of rechargeable devices we use every day including mobile phones and cameras. The battery is a vital part of your e-bike, looked after properly it will last for many, many years. However, one of the few things that does affect the performance of Li-ion batteries is cold weather so extra care needs to be taken in winter.

Follow these simple steps to help protect and prolong the performance of your e-bike battery.

Store your battery inside

If you normally keep your bike outside in a garage or shed during the winter months you must move the battery inside if temperatures are likely to drop below 10°C – even if the bike has to remain outside. This applies whether you are riding your bike daily or storing it for the winter period.

If you aren’t planning to ride your bike again before spring you should first charge it to around 70% full, and having done this, turn the power off and remove the battery from your bike. Find out how to do this for your bike here. The battery should be stored inside somewhere with a stable temperature of between 10°C and 20°C. To ensure your battery stays in the best condition, re-charge it to around 70% full every six months and charge it fully before your first ride after winter.

Riding your e-bike in cold weather

E-bikes aren’t just for summer, winter riding is great fun whether you are hitting the trails or commuting to work. With pedal assist you are always doing just enough work to keep your body warm and ensure you are maintaining your fitness right through the year. However, chilly temperatures whilst not unsafe can affect your battery’s range. Li-ion batteries discharge more quickly when cold so if you are riding your e-bike to work in winter weather you will need to charge your battery more frequently than in summer or warmer weather.

If the battery has been charged in a low temperature environment (5 °C or below), the maximum riding distance per full charge becomes shorter. This is only a temporary effect and if the battery is charged at room temperature, the maximum riding distance becomes normal again. Riding in the cold is fine and will do no lasting harm to the battery’s health but, in the unlikely case you even wanted to, you should not ride at temperatures below -10°C.

Charge your e-bike battery at room temperature

If you’ve been riding outside in cold weather then your battery should be brought inside at the end of your ride to enable safe charging. Charging your battery from cold can cause damage so if your battery has got very cold outside, either whilst stored or during a ride, remember to warm your battery to room temperature before charging. Allow this to happen slowly and naturally, don’t try and warm your battery faster by using a direct heat source. A battery that has been stored at room temperature will also perform better on your next cold ride.

With a little bit of extra care your e-bike and battery will keep you enjoying your cycling all the way through to spring. If you need any further help or advice on maintaining your e-bike in winter get in touch with your local Shimano Service Center