An electric bike is a bicycle with an electric motor that aids propulsion. Year after year, electric bikes are getting increasingly popular for various reasons and if you are among those thinking of getting one, I’m sure a big question on your mind is ‘how do you charge an electric bike?’.
This is a really common and important question, that’s why we have dedicated this article to answering just that.
Everything that runs on electricity requires charging, and e-bikes are no different.
- How Do You Charge An Electric Bike
- Types Of E-Bike Batteries
- How To Charge Electric Bike At Home
- How To Charge Electric Bike Battery
- Where To Charge Your E-bike
- How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Bike Battery?
- Simple Ways To Improve Battery Life
- When To Charge Your Electric Bike
- Tips When Charging Your E-bike
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Can You Charge E-Bike At Electric Car Charging Stations?
- How To Charge Electric Bike Battery Without Charger
How Do You Charge An Electric Bike
So let’s get into it; to charge an electric bike, you will need to charge the electric bike battery. Remove the battery pack from the bike, ensure the battery pack switch is turned off, connect your charger to the battery pack, plug in the charger that came with your bike into a mains outlet and turn on the plug to begin charging.
Here’s a short video showing how to charge a civibike (now Revibikes).
Types Of E-Bike Batteries
It’s possible that you will only come across bikes with lithium-ion batteries; this is because they are the most efficient batteries on the market. Other types of batteries are lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries. These other battery types are heavier than lithium-ion batteries and they also don’t have as much battery capacity.
Lithium-ion batteries are suited for higher capacity and low power applications. The perfect marriage of weight and capacity is a Lithium-ion battery. They are more durable and will last longer than all other battery types. The main benefit of lithium-ion batteries is that they have the largest capacity of all battery types.
The charging equipment is included. This means that it would come with the electric bike you buy and you won’t have to purchase it separately. It would also come with instructions on how to use the charging equipment to charge the bike.
The types of items you should expect to see are;
- A battery pack that contains the bike battery.
- Battery Bay to connect the battery to the bike.
- Charger consisting of the power supply with two ports
- Two cables to connect to the power supply.
How To Charge Electric Bike At Home
Charging your electric bike at home is really simple; all you need to do is;
- Unmount the battery from your e-bike
- Plug the power cable into the power outlet
- Connect the charger to the slot on the battery.
You will know it’s charging when you see an LED light come on and start blinking, and you will know it’s done charging when the light is green. When it’s done charging, connect the battery back to your bike, and you are good to go.
Related post: How far can you go on an electric bike?
How To Charge Electric Bike Battery
There are slight differences and nuances when it comes to charging e-bike batteries; these differences mostly depend on the type of battery and the battery’s manufacturer. That being said, there are general guidelines one should follow when charging an e-bike battery to enable you to get the most out of it.
When you purchase an electric bike, a battery pack containing the electric bike’s battery will be included. The bike will also come with a port on the bike, where you can slot the charger into in order to connect the battery to the electric bike. The port may be located in a number of places, the particular location will depend on the particular e-bike that you purchase; most times, it’s placed around the middle of the bike, underneath the seat.
Electric bikes will usually come with a charger consisting of a two-cable power supply port. One end is connected to the battery, while the other is connected to the cable connecting the mains.
Where To Charge Your E-bike
One of the best things about electric bikes is they can be charged almost anywhere. E-bikes use three-pin plugs which are compatible with regular wall sockets, this means that you can always charge your bike on the go and you wouldn’t run out of places to charge your electric bike battery.
If you live in more remote areas, I would advise that you leave the house with an extra battery to avoid unforeseen issues.
Some places where you will probably be able to charge your electric bike battery are; bike shops, coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, fire stations, parks, and basically anywhere you can think of that has accessible sockets. However, to charge your battery in these places, you’ll need to get permission from those in charge of the property first.
You can also charge your e-bike in an e-bike charging station; these aren’t common everywhere, but if you do your research, you’ll find that there may be one in your area.
How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Bike Battery?
If you just purchased a new e-bike, it’s very important that it’s fully charged before taking it on it’s first ride. This may take 12 or more hours to complete, but that’s just because it is the initial charge. After this initial charge, most electric bike batteries take 2-6 hours to charge fully.
An important thing to note when picking an electric bike to buy is the recharge rate. If the charging time for the battery takes 2 hours and has a 40-mile range, then it has a recharging rate of 20 miles per hour. If it takes 4 hours to charge and has a 100-mile range, then it has a recharging rate of 25 miles per hour. At the same price, the bike with a higher recharging rate is the better option.
Related post: Can you ride an eBike without the battery?
Simple Ways To Improve Battery Life
As an electric bike owner, ‘how to improve the life of the battery’ is another question that should be on your mind. Because these things don’t come cheap, electric bike owners want to get the most out of the bike for the money they paid and for as long as possible.
These are common and easy ways to ensure your battery stays in optimum condition:
- Charge the battery on a regular basis; don’t let it get drained fully
- Don’t charge the battery for more than 12 hours because overcharging is detrimental to the battery life.
- Do not let the battery get too hot or too cold.
- Do not store your battery when it is fully drained; charge it before storing.
- Store the battery on a hard and flat surface.
- Make sure the battery is clean and dry at all times.
Related post: Find out how fast electric bikes go
When To Charge Your Electric Bike
Deciding when to charge your electric bike battery can seem like a daunting task. Still, it’s a task you need to take seriously because when and how often the battery is charged is one of the major determinants of the battery’s overall health.
You should charge your bike as often as is necessary; ideally, you should make sure it does not go below 30%. Charging overnight is good, and charging during the day can save you some money. There is no one period of the day that is the ‘right time’ to charge your e-bike battery.
Tips When Charging Your E-bike
- Don’t charge battery near or in water
It sounds pretty obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t know that they should keep the battery away from water at all times. Repeated contact with water will lead to buildup, and this would eventually lead to corrosion of the battery. Corrosion could lead to a short circuit, so if you think there is any chance that water might touch the battery when charging due to its location or some other factors. Then it’s best to cover the battery with a plastic bag or something else that will protect it.
- Charge It Fully The First Time
When charging the battery for the first time, make sure that it charges for at least 12 hours, this ensures that every single cell in the battery receives a charge. It’s best to do this overnight so that it’s ready to ride in the morning. In addition, charging your bike fully the first time will allow you to evaluate how long your battery can last while riding.
- Charge Your Electric Bike Battery Regularly But Not Too Much
You shouldn’t let your electric bike battery discharge completely before charging it. You should charge it when there’s still 30-60 % of the capacity remaining. Waiting for the battery to fully drain before charging it will have detrimental effects on the health of the battery and reduce its lifespan.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t overcharge the bike batteries. Don’t use like 5% of the battery capacity and then leave the battery plugged in overnight, charging it too much also does damage to the battery and you will have to replace it sooner.
- Batteries Should Be Kept Cool
I would advise you to store the battery at around room temperature. (40 – 80 degrees fahrenheit) You shouldn’t expose the battery to direct sunlight because it will drain much faster, and the battery will deteriorate quicker. Just like extreme heat is bad for batteries, extreme cold is also terrible for your battery. During the winter, it’s important to ensure the battery stays above the freezing point to protect it.
- Do Not Store An Empty Battery
Sometimes we have to store our e-bikes, either because we are going on a long trip and don’t want to bike during the trip or for some totally different reason. The battery mustn’t be stored at a 0% battery level when storing the electric bike. Always ensure that the battery is at 40-60% capacity when you want to store the electric bike.
Suggested post: Cost to charge an electric bike
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will An Electric Bike Recharge As You Ride?
Some electric bikes have a feature that allows you to recharge the battery while riding the bike. This recharge happens through braking, when you use the brakes, a brake sensor triggers the motor to go into ‘reverse mode’ and use the bike’s forward motion to charge the battery. This is called regenerative braking and is common in electric cars, but far less common in electric bikes.
It isn’t common because the technology can increase the cost of your electric bike by about $200, and it makes pedalling the bike much more difficult. A lot of riders find this extra expense unnecessary and say carrying a spare battery is much more economical.
2. How Often Should I Charge My E-Bike
There is no one correct answer for this question but it is good practice to charge the battery whenever it gets to 30%, this will ensure the battery never gets completely drained. In the long run, this practice will keep the battery healthy and will enable it to last longer.
Your riding style has a big impact on how often you will need to charge your electric bike. Electric bikes have electrical assistance to help you propel yourself. The amount of electrical assistance you use will affect how much of the battery gets drained.
If you heavily rely on electrical assistance, it will get drained faster, and you will have to charge it more often, but if you use less electrical assistance and do more pedaling, you will need to charge it far less often.
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3. How Should I Store My Bike And Battery For Long Periods Of Time
If you need to store your bike for a long period of time, during the winter months, for example, it is of utmost importance that the battery isn’t drained when you are storing it.
Ensure that you charge the battery, then store it in a cool place, not too hot and not too cold. Doing this whenever you are storing your bike battery will help you get the most out of it over the years.
4. Can I Charge My E-Bike Battery Overnight?
Yes, you can charge it overnight. You don’t need to worry about it overcharging when you charge it overnight. Most batteries use sophisticated battery management systems which stop the batteries from overcharging after they have reached full charge.
5. What Is The Battery Life Of An E-Bike Battery?
Although you will probably receive a two-year warranty, it doesn’t mean your battery will stop working after two years. An electric bike battery usually lasts for 500 – 800 charge cycles; typically 2-4 years, depending on how often you use it.
6. Can I Clean My Electric Bike Battery?
Definitely; in fact, not only can you clean the battery, but you should clean it. Clean the battery when you are cleaning the bike, but be sure not to submerge it with water. Just clean the surface of the battery with a soft dry cloth.
Related post: How much does an electric bike cost?
Can You Charge E-Bike At Electric Car Charging Stations?
Most electric bikes are charged by plugging into a standard 110V outlet. Electric vehicles use a 220V outlet, which is what you will find at an electric car charging station.
This 220V outlet can charge your bike, but you have to ensure that your bike’s battery is compatible with higher voltage outlets because if it’s not, it can cause severe damage to your battery and even fry it.
How To Charge Electric Bike Battery Without Charger
Although I would advise you to always have your charger with you when going on trips that you would need to recharge, it is possible that you may have forgotten your charger or you lost it. There are a couple of alternative ways to charge your battery without a charger.
They include charging through braking if your bike has regenerative braking, e-bike charging stations, solar panel charging and using a car to charge your bike. But it’s important to note that most of these alternatives are significantly more expensive than having your charger and using it.
Finally, check out this awesome video from EMBN on other ways to charge your eBike without your charger.
Alternative ways of charging your ebike battery without charger