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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who else here rides an electric: bike, scooter, or motorcycle?

I started riding an electric bike about 10 years ago. It was an old Currie Ezip that I modded with different drive gear, lower gearing, and then added 12V to the 24V battery. I eventually fried the controller (and I think the motor, too) and ended up getting rid of it and going single-speed/fixie for a few years. I then bought an electric scooter (seated) and ran that a couple of years until maintaining it took more than the riding it. I then bought an Izip for cheap ($150) and a cheap 36V, 10A Li-Ion battery and an eBay controller and have been riding that for about a year. I tried commuting to work but did not feel safe riding on main roads. So I looked into electric motorcycles and decided to get my motorcycle endorsement. I took an MSF class and got my endorsement last month.

I also bought a used Zero S ZF11.4 and have been commuting to work with it a couple times a week. I think it is an excellent starter bike that I can also grow into. I've been experimenting with the Custom settings and figuring out how to charge it. It would be cool to find others and compare notes.

BC
 

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I don't but pretty sure there are couple others here that do. I think this is a trend that will take off soon. But when you say, learning how to charge it, does that mean you have never charged it until just recently? If so, how many miles have you gone on whatever charge it had? I'm curious because range is the downside I see in these. Speed darn sure isn't and I can se that as the hook that draws more in to this type of motorcycling. Do you have 3 phase charging capability or staying with 120v?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, I've charged the Zero plenty of times. It has a J1772 adapter that takes 120V or 240V. Max current is 16 Amps, though. I've read that Li-ion batteries don't like max charging and last longer at 20-80% or 10-90%. So I was curious if others do that and if so, how's their battery life. Zero has a technical bulletin that recommends disconnecting the charger when the battery is full. Previously, they said it was OK to keep it connected to the charger. My Zero high voltage battery still seems to have good capacity.

I recently bought a Kia Soul EV for my daughter who is learning to drive. It turns out the battery State of Health (SoH--kind of like the battery capacity) is about 59%. Kia has a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty on the electrical drive system and will replace the battery if SoH goes below 70%, so it is at the dealer now and they will replace the battery system. When I get it back, I want to maximize battery life so will probably do the 20-80% discharge range.

BC
 

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On my boat, the solar panels are on all the time during the summer months. The fancy regulator takes care of things. At the dock the solar panels are off and the shore power is plugged in. Another fancy regulator looks after the batteries. No unplugging of the power source. That is what the regulators are for, just like when we are riding, or driving a cage.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On my boat, the solar panels are on all the time during the summer months. The fancy regulator takes care of things. At the dock the solar panels are off and the shore power is plugged in. Another fancy regulator looks after the batteries. No unplugging of the power source. That is what the regulators are for, just like when we are riding, or driving a cage.

UK
What type of batteries are those? Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)? Deep cycle? SLA can be trickle charged, of course. Lots of people have Battery Tenders on their SLA batteries. But SLAs don't work as well for electric vehicles. My Ezip and scooter used SLAs and the batteries did not last long. They are cheap and rechargeable but have low power density and other drawbacks.

Lithium ion batteries are preferred for electric vehicles nowadays. There are different chemistries. I thought LiFePO4 was going to dominate (even bought stock in A123 Systems) but EV manufacturers seem to prize energy density above all else and have sophisticated Battery Management Systems (BMS) in their packs. Those BMS can monitor and balance each cell in a pack and provide battery health. But as manufacturers learn more about Li-ion, they are recommending disconnecting power when the charge is complete and not even charging to 100% unless a long trip is planned.

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  • I wonder if you could incorporate the regulator Uncle K was talking about on your system or does it already have one? Seems like something you could do it with your bike by adding a solar panel so while it's just sitting there during the day while you are at work or otherwise out and about with it, it would be getting charged. Obviously not as fast as 120/240v source but getting a charge non the less.
  • I can never remember about these new lithium type batteries. The type you have aren't the ones that so easily burst into flames is it?
 

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The boat has three Lead acid batteries. Two are 6 volt deep cycle, wyred together for 12 volts. The other battery is smaller for engine starting. A fancy control unit sends the charge to where it is needed. the two wyred together batteries are considered one unit. What I did not think about, was the different types of batteries used in E bikes. They may not be happy plugged in all the time. But I leave my phone plugged in all night. It is a few years old and seems happy.

I will not use other types of batteries in the boat, as the current system works fine. I check the fluid level each spring.

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I don't know. I've had 3 batteries in my Mac swell up causing function loss and it was plugged in all the time. I'm experimenting now with the 4th battery by leaving it unplugged most of the time and only when I'm actually using it do I plug it in. We shall see if I can get more than a couple years out of this one. So I'm not sure if it's the type of battery or the being plugged in. I don't even know what type it is. I just know I'm getting tired of replacing the things for whatever reason. Will e-bikes be the same???
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Many Li-ion batteries use cobalt which can have thermal runaway. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO) is a safe battery chemistry but it is not as energy dense. I think most Li-ion e-bikes would behave similarly. It is now recommended to disconnect from the charger and not let them trickle charge. Zero Motorcycles originally said it was fine to leave connected and the BMS would take care of balancing and topping off, but as of 2017 they now recommend disconnecting the charger when complete and even leaving the battery ~60% charged for extended storage periods.

The guy I bought the Zero from knew about this and mostly charged to 90% and disconnected when finished. He took good care of the bike and it still has most of its capacity. Contrast that to my electric car (Kia Soul EV). I think it was run hard at highway speed and maybe fast charged often. Its State of Health is 59%. Kia guarantees the battery for 10 years/100,000 miles SoH > 70%. They will be replacing the main drive battery pack. After that, I am going to be careful charging and running the car to maximize battery life. It is actually for my daughter but I hope she can take care of it since she doesn't have to worry as much about normal car maintenance.

Many of the Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) have charge timers that can limit charge operation to specific times or charge levels. Tesla gives the option to charge to a certain percentage (85-90% seems common). I have also seen laptops that maintain normal operation around 60% capacity and only charge to 100% when necessary. I am also trying to run my mobile phone between 30-90% State of Charge. It is not good to let them get below a critical voltage.
 

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It is not good to let them get below a critical voltage.
That must be for E-bikes??? Or the Mac repair guy is full of BS. He told me to let the Mac shut off due to low voltage a few times now and then. Battery maintenance is going to be an interesting subject in the near future. Almost wondering if . the admins should make a subforum here, for just battery discussion. But I think we need to let the dust settle before making further changes though.
 
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