Winter Battery Care – Electric Bikes

With replacement costs for some lithium ion batteries approaching $1,000, it makes sense to invest a bit of time caring for them!  Once you’ve parked your bike for the Canadian winter, it most likely will sit until the snow melts in spring.  A few easy actions now will ensure that your battery is rearing to go then, and for years to come.  I’ve tried to keep this article as simple as possible.  For further information on lithium ion battery care, check out the link at the bottom of this post.

A lithium ion battery will slowly discharge over time as it sits in storage.  If a battery is allowed to fully discharge, this will stress the cells in the battery, potentially irreparably damaging it.   At the least, you will reduce the capacity and life of the battery.  During normal riding, most electric bike batteries have a battery management system (BMS) which switches off the electrical system when the voltage drops to a certain point i.e. the battery is not allowed to fully discharge and the cells are protected.   However, the BMS will not prevent a battery from slowly discharging as it sits in storage.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that your battery retains some charge over the winter months.  Unfortunately, it is not ideal to put your battery in storage with 100% charge as this can also put some stress on the cells.  The following actions are therefore recommended for battery care:

·         Store your battery with a partial charge, ideally 40-80%.  While charging, you can check the number of green lights on the battery indicator … aim for two-three lights (four lights is fully charged).  With the latest Wisper charger, switch the output switch on the back of the charger to ‘39V’ for the perfect storage charge.  If you have a multi-meter, its easy to check the output voltage on the battery terminals to make sure you’re somewhere between about 36V and 39V after charging;

·         Depending on how fully charged the battery was initially, it will normally take about 1-2 hours to give the recommended partial charge;

·         If you end up charging your battery to 100% (the green light on the charging unit comes on), go for a ride to discharge it partially before storing the battery;

·         Check your battery every couple of months of storage and give it a top up if the battery indicator has dropped to one light (or the measured voltage has dropped below about 34V).  If you don’t have a battery indicator, it’s probably a good idea to charge the battery for about an hour every couple of months.  Again, be careful not to put the battery away fully charged;

·         Ideally, the battery should be stored in a cool place.  Significantly elevated temperatures over prolonged periods can reduce battery capacity.  Also avoid freezing the battery.

Correct storage of your battery as detailed above will significantly increase the lifespan of your battery.  A well maintained lithium battery will last up to five years, whereas a poorly maintained battery can be badly damaged over just one winter!

For more detailed information on batteries and how to care for them, check out the excellent online resource at the following link:

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

www.voltagebikes.ca

 

 

2011 Wisper Electric Bike Range Has Arrived!

The 2011 Wisper electric bikes are now in the country!!  The core of the 2011 ebikes is the same, with the 350W Japanese motor and high quality purpose-built frame. However, there are a number of great upgrades including:

·         new 15.5Ah batteries on the 705 and 905 bikes (a 10% increase in capacity);

·         6 levels of pedal assist, including a ‘zero’ level;

·         a new manifold-style front connection box;

·         front and rear lights switchable from the pedal assist panel;

·         1.75″ kevlar reinforced electric-bike specific tire;

·         a re-designed dropout; and

·         a new chain guard and crank spider.

Best of all, the prices have dropped slightly from the 2010 prices!!

Check the bikes out at www.voltagebikes.ca/wisper-electric-bikes

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www.voltagebikes.ca

Wisper Electric Bikes Now Available in Alberta!

We???ve got two great new Wisper dealers in Alberta, with more in the pipeline.?? Check out Red Bike in an excellent central location in Edmonton.?? Cliff, Bruce & Co will sort you out for all your biking needs. www.redbike.ca

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In Calgary, we???re pleased to welcome Green City Motors who have been selling quality ebikes for a number of years now.?? Ryan and Mike certainly know their stuff when it comes to electric bicycles, and have been great advocates promoting the benefits of electric vehicles.?? With the Calgary Stampede happening in a week or two, its time to save a horse, ride an ebike!?? www.greencitymotors.com

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Our summer tour across Canada is going extremely well as evidenced by the ever growing number of dealers listed on our website.?? Next we???ll be passing through Lethbridge and Medicine hat and on into Saskatchewan.?? Check out the ???Where Are We???? page on our website for the latest on our location ?????www.voltagebikes.ca

Summer Hope and Ebike Batteries

We’ve now been through Vancouver and are heading on east up the Fraser River valley.  There are now a number of new Wisper dealers along the way (check out the dealers page on our website), with more in the pipeline!

Here’s a link to an interesting article on why large capacity batteries are better value, for you and the planet!

http://ebikes.posterous.com/why-big-batteries-in-electric-bikes-are-bette

The long and the short of it is that a large capacity battery will last much longer than a smaller capacity battery (by a factor larger than the difference in capacity).  For example, a 40% bigger capacity battery will actually last more than 40% longer.  One way of measuring a battery life is by the total kilometres travelled (or total number of discharges).  Not only will you go further per charge with a big battery, the battery will also be ‘working’ less than a smaller battery, which means it will achieve more total discharges.  Our Wisper 37V 14Ah batteries are some of the biggest on the market.

Well it’s the first official day of summer today … yeah right!  This picture is of Mike enjoying the summer weather next to the Fraser River in the aptly-named town of Hope.

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