My E-Bike, New Battery – New Life

By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO

Moped First

My daughter worked for Shopko during her senior year of high school and needed transportation to get to work.  Rather than purchasing another automobile, we purchased a moped, a Honda Metropolitan to be exact.

She was able to transfer her employment to Eau-Claire when she went to UW-Eau-Claire so we trailered the moped back and forth between cities for her use.  When she wasn’t using the moped, I actually rode the moped around town and to work to save some gas as it got around 80 miles to the gallon.

Fast forward 5 years and Jill graduated from UW-Eau Claire a semester earlier but chose to work on campus until her friends graduated.  The moped came back to Appleton.

Now was time to sell the Metropolitan.  A buyer found us and we sold for $1000.

At that time, I was eyeing up a Ecotric Foldable E-Bike which I purchased for around $600 on Amazon.  This is a foldable E-Bike with mechanical brakes and Silverfish battery pack.  Assembly was pretty easy.  Fine tuning the mechanical disc brakes was the tricky part of the job.

Riding an E-Bike is a unique experience.  My Ecotric has three levels of pedal assist at 5, 15 and 20 miles per hour.  20 miles per hour is considered to be street legal in Wisconsin.  Imagine going up hills effortlessly as the 36 Volt 12.5 Ah battery and motor propels you onward.  Wind is no longer a major concern as you ride.  In times when I am lazy, I don’t have to pedal at all as I have a twist throttle where I can control my speed in parking lots and the like.  Of course, not pedaling depletes the battery faster.

I especially like the fenders which keeps dirt from my clothes when riding on wet terrain.  I added a sturdy Ibera rack so I could easily transfer my Ibera pack from bike to bike.

I often use the Ecotric instead of my car when I need to shop for small items.  I even have a cart if I need to haul some larger items.

Range Anxiety

I dutifully charge the battery after each ride and I was assured that I would always reach my destination, that is, until the end of last year.

I noticed that the bars showing my charge level started dropping earlier and earlier.  After five years of use, my battery was dying.  You can still pedal the bike after the battery dies, but it is very heavy and slow going.

One time I was hauling some groceries in the cart when the battery died about half a mile from home.  The added weight of the cart and the bike made me a sweaty mess by the time I got home.

It was time to find a solution to my battery problem.

Early Research

I tried several avenues of research to find a new battery.  At first I thought I could replace the battery inside the case with something like this:

But I could not find the battery with the right size to fit the case and capacity: 36 Volts and between 12 and 17 amp hours.  I even entertained the thought that I could upgrade to a 48 volt system, but that would require the replacement of the controller.

In the end, I did replace the whole battery pack, case and all.

The over $200 cost gave me pause, but it is a perfect replacement for the original battery.

What happened to the old battery?  While it isn’t good enough to propel the e-bike, I was able to wire it up to lighting the stairs to the basement.  I used a buck converter to bring the 40 volts down to 4.9 volts to power the lights.

Now my range anxiety is gone as I ride my Ecotric to and from destinations again.  Plenty of battery life after the ride.