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Battery Shelf Life, Self-discharge, and Expiration

It’s no secret that batteries don’t last forever. But how long do they actually last? And what can you do to make them last as long as possible? In this blog post, we’ll discuss battery expiration, self-discharge, and shelf life.

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Three main things affect how long a battery will last in storage:

  1. expiration
  2. self-discharge
  3. shelf life

Let’s take a look at each of these factors individually.

Battery expiration

Do batteries expire?

Yes, batteries have a finite lifespan and will eventually expire. The good news is that most batteries last for several years before they need to be replaced. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the expiration date printed on the battery and replace it when necessary.

If you’re not sure whether or not your battery has expired, there are a few ways to tell: if the battery doesn’t hold a charge as long as it used to, or if it’s starting to swell up, then it’s probably time for a replacement. In addition, if your light electric vehicle isn’t performing as well as it used to, the culprit might be an old battery.

When a battery expires, it means that the chemical reactions inside the battery can no longer produce enough power to be used effectively. This doesn’t mean that you need to replace your battery immediately – most expired batteries will still work, but they won’t be as efficient as they once were.

Expiration date

You can check the expiration date of your battery by looking for a sticker or label on the side of the battery. The expiration date will be listed in months and years. For example, if the expiration date says “12/25,” that means the battery will expire in December of 2025.

After the expiration date, a manufacturer can not guarantee its full charge. As a rule of thumb, when your battery’s total self-discharge is over 20 percent, you can consider the battery expired.


Lithium battery expiration

Once a battery expires, you’ll notice that it takes longer to charge and that the range is reduced. If you’re using a light electric vehicle with a lead-acid battery, you may also notice that the bike is heavier because lead-acid batteries are significantly heavier than lithium-ion batteries.

If you’re using a light electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery, you’ll still be able to use the bike after the expiration date – but again, it won’t be as efficient as it once was.

Causes of battery expiration

  1. Self-discharge
  2. Shelf life
  3. Capacity loss
  4. Chemical degradation
  5. Physical damage

One of the main causes of battery expiration is self-discharge. This is when a battery loses its charge over time, even when it’s not in use.

Shelf life and capacity loss are also major contributing factors. The longer a battery sits on a shelf, the less charge it will have. Capacity loss is the decrease in a capacity that occurs over time.

Chemical degradation and physical damage can also lead to battery expiration. Chemical degradation is the breakdown of the chemicals in a battery. Physical damage is any damage that occurs to the physical structure of a battery.

When it comes to expiration, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and replace your battery sooner rather than later. Waiting too long to replace an expired battery can lead to decreased performance and a shorter lifespan of your light electric vehicle.

Battery self-discharge

What is self-discharge?

A minuscule amount of the chemical substances inside the batteries reacts even without any connections between the electrodes. Those internal reactions reduce the stored charge of the battery and thus decrease the capacity of the battery little by little. This phenomenon is called self-discharge.

For example, lithium-ion batteries will discharge faster in hot temperatures than in cold temperatures.

battery self-discharge
battery self-discharge

Self-discharge of different batteries types

Self-discharge rates vary depending on the type of battery and its construction. Lead-acid batteries have the highest self-discharge rate, followed by nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). Lithium-ion batteries have the lowest self-discharge rate.

Most lithium-ion batteries lose about five percent of their charge per month, while lead-acid batteries can lose up to 30 percent of their charge in the same time period.

This is why it’s important to check the charge level of your batteries regularly, and to top them off if they start to get low. If you let them discharge too much, they could be damaged beyond repair.

Effects of self-discharge on batteries 

  1. Decreased capacity
  2. Shortened lifespan
  3. Reduced efficiency

You can extend the life of your batteries by minimizing their exposure to self-discharge. Store them in a cool, dry place where they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Temperatures above 45°C cause batteries to discharge more quickly, while temperatures below -20°C can damage them. Humidity also affects battery life; high humidity speeds up self-discharge, while low humidity can cause batteries to freeze.

And finally, remember that batteries age whether they’re being used or not. The more you use them, the shorter their lifespan will be. So, if you don’t plan on using your light electric vehicle for an extended period of time, it’s best to remove the battery and store it separately.

Battery shelf life

Shelf life explanation

The shelf life of a battery is the amount of time that it can be stored without losing its performance. This varies depending on the type of battery, but for most lithium-ion batteries shelf life is around three years. After that time, the battery may not hold a charge as well or may not work at all.

Shelf life is affected by many factors, including temperature, humidity, and air pressure. For example, batteries stored in high humidity environments will have a shorter shelf life than those stored in low humidity environments.

discharged battery

You can extend the shelf life of batteries by storing them in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing your battery to extreme temperatures or moisture. If you need to store your battery for an extended period of time, consider taking it out of the light electric vehicle and putting it in a sealed container or bag.

Shelf life of different types of batteries

  1. Alkaline battery shelf life: up to ten years.
  2. Lithium-ion battery shelf life: two to three years.
  3. Lead-acid battery shelf life: three to five years.
  4. NiCad battery shelf life: one to two years.

Finally, it’s important to remember that not all batteries are created equal. Some batteries have a shorter shelf life than others, and some may require special care or handling. So, if you’re not sure how to store your particular battery, be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before putting it away.

In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of battery expiration, self-discharge, and shelf life. These are all factors that can lead to decreased capacity, shortened lifespan, and reduced efficiency.

To extend the life of your batteries, it’s important to keep them charged. You can do this by using a battery charger or by connecting the batteries to a power source. You should also avoid storing batteries in hot or humid environments. If you must store batteries for long periods of time, it’s best to keep them in a cool, dry place.

Tritek is a leading manufacturer of lithium batteries and battery accessories. We offer a wide selection of batteries for all your needs. Contact us today to find the right battery for you!

Thank you for reading! We hope this article was helpful in understanding battery expiration, self-discharge, and shelf life.

Read more:

  1. Lithium battery storage
  2. The Safety of Lithium-ion Batteries: Do You Need to Worry?
  3. Technical information of e-bike battery charge and discharge characteristics
  4. Important part components of an e-bike Battery
  5. Lithium Battery Lifespan: How Many Charging Cycles Can You Expect?

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Bluen Lee

Hello, I'm Bluen, I have over 25 years in the battery industry.
Throughout my career, I've developed a deep understanding of the battery market and kept up with the latest trends in R&D.
I'm excited to share my insights and knowledge with you through my blog.


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Tritek is your ODM partner for lev battery, and we pay close attention to your requirements.

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Shenzhen Tritek Limited is the most professional lev battery manufacturer in China. working with the world-leading companies for intelligent lev and electric drive systems.

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Tritek is your ODM partner for lev battery, and we pay close attention to your requirements.

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Tritek aim to be the world leading supplier of the lev battery

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