Reduced eBike range in *really* cold weather?

sammcneill

Active Member
Region
New Zealand
Hi Team,

Winter has hit in my part of the world and it's cold by our standards:

1655935191506.png


That's 10am.

IT's been cold all week and I'm anecdotally observing the range on my SC2 seems to be dropping faster than I'd expect. I'm half wondering if this is simply psychosomatic and self-fulfilling, or whether cold weather like this really does reduce the chemical efficiency of the batteries... I'm the village idiot when it comes to this type of thing, so I'm curious if others know more on this and can confirm you're likely to see "x%" reduction in cold weather?

Cheers!
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
it is well known that subfreezing temps reduce battery performance significantly on an ebike.

If you charge a li ion pack at or below freezing, you will permanently damage the battery. In your locale, you have to take that pack inside, warm it up and then you can charge it. Using it below freezing won't hurt it. it'll just suck performancewise. You can try keeping it warm with say electric clothing warmers and a blanket, or similar.
 

sammcneill

Active Member
Region
New Zealand
Yes, I also just found this:


Protecting the battery​

The battery is the most sensitive component of the eBike. It can lose capacity at low temperatures, which in turn can limit the bike's range. During winter use with temperatures below zero you are advised to remove the battery, store it at room temperature and replace it on the bike shortly before your next journey. When you return, you should ideally store the battery indoors at temperatures between 10° and 20°C. The same applies to charging the battery: the lithium-ion cells should be charged at room temperature.

My garage sits around 12 degrees in winter (attached to the house internally) and that's where I charge it. So I'm not charging in sub zero temperatures, but riding it this morning again, even briefly, after a full charge it was not showing the range I'd anticipate and it dropped "fast" - nothing that gives me range anxiety (SC2 with 2x500wh) but just curious to see it in action....
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
We have an entirely different issue with climate here. this is my 10-day forecast. For my USA neighbors this peaks to 108 Fahrenheit on Monday.
ScrnShot098.jpg


Here, I have to move the batteries inside but so they don't get too hot. Yesterday after my 15 mile/24km ride home my battery was 100 fahrenheit, which was the same as the outside temperature.
 

sammcneill

Active Member
Region
New Zealand
Wow! That's hot. My Specialized Turbo Levo can regularly get up to 60 degrees Celcius after a ride according to the app. Not sure if that's the battery or the motor....
 

Jay Kay

Well-Known Member
Region
New Zealand
Hi Sam, I notice around a 20% decrease in range between summer and winter.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Pretty sure you'll noticed performance/mileage on a charge drop when it gets chilly - and it doesn't have to be below freezing either. I notice it starting at 45-50f degrees and it just keeps getting worse as the temps drop further.
 

sammcneill

Active Member
Region
New Zealand
Hi Sam, I notice around a 20% decrease in range between summer and winter.
Yes, that's the number I likely would have landed on as well - in that vicinity. Not sure why I perhaps didn't detect this as much last winter, but really have noticed it a bit more the last few weeks.

Pleased it's not just a rapid degradation of the batteries themselves. Interestingly, yesterday was a bit warmer and the battery range did seem "better" for the family ride of around 37km return. Ended up being me on my SC2, my wife on her new MultiCharger Mixte with 10yr son on the back, and Miss 13yrs rode my Specialized eMTB Turbo Levo - a very electrifying experience!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Sam, I ride my e-bikes all year round and trust me Polish winters are harsh. The reduction in the range is significant. On the other hand, the battery generates heat because of the internal resistance, so I have never got any of my batteries below the freezing point even if I had pretty long rides during a severe frost. (My Specialized e-bikes report both the battery and motor temperature).

 

sammcneill

Active Member
Region
New Zealand
Sam, I ride my e-bikes all year round and trust me Polish winters are harsh. The reduction in the range is significant. On the other hand, the battery generates heat because of the internal resistance, so I have never got any of my batteries below the freezing point even if I had pretty long rides during a severe frost. (My Specialized e-bikes report both the battery and motor temperature).

wow - that looks seriously cold indeed! I doubt NZ will get anything comparable to that, except in a once in ten years snow storm.

With 1000wh in the SC2 I'm not going to run out anytime soon, just slightly more frequent charging expectations I suspect.

Thanks for the replies and insights team!