Electric Bike Charging(Safety, How to, and Ultimate Guide)

Electric Charge is fuel for electric bikes. And before hitting the roads it is very important to have your electric bike properly charged to avoid unnecessary breakups. This post covers all you need to know about Electric Bike Charging – and how to get the most from a charge.

An Info graphic on Electric Bike Charging

EBIKE BATTERY

Electric Charge is fuel for electric bikes. And before hitting the roads it is very important to have your electric bike properly charged to avoid unnecessary breakups. This post covers all you need to know about Electric Bike Charging – and how to get the most from a charge.

The most important equipment in an Electric Bike after its motor is electric bike’s battery. The more you take care of the battery the more miles you can run on roads. Whether you are going for an early morning commute to work or just want to go on a leisure trip – you need to ensure that your electric bike’s power systems are working well!

The most important equipment in an Electric Bike after its motor is electric bike’s battery. The more you take care of the battery the more miles you can run on roads. Whether you are going for an early morning commute to work or just want to go on a leisure trip – you need to ensure that your electric bike’s power systems are working well!

A prototype of Bosch Batteries in Electric Bikes
A prototype of Bosch Battery for an E-Bike

The more you know your battery and simple physics involved in its charging you will be always have a satisfactory experience with your battery and your electric bike. We will start from the very basics. Starting from the moment you bring your electric bike home or it gets delivered to you or you have converted your regular bike into an electric one.

Electric Bike Charging Tips for Long Battery

An electric bike’s battery is the powerhouse of the bike. Most of the parts derive their required electrical energy from the battery. And hence it is in use the most as compared to other parts.

An equipment that requires frequent change or replacements is the battery of the bike. Because it is used mostly it is more prone to damages. There are some important tips you need to look for to maintain your bike’s battery. These tips will optimize the performance, health and lifespan of the battery.

Charge Your New Electric Bike Battery for 12 Hours Long

Charge the battery for 12 hours long when you purchase your new electric bike. If you have ordered it online then most probably the bike must have been delivered in hibernate mode . In most cases the battery is not delivered with the bike’s package. which means you need to install it along with other parts.

Check the battery level by pushing the energy level check button. The LED’s of the will not light up if the battery is not charged.

In both the cases a long initial charge enhances the battery’s performance and ensures that electric current reaches all electrical equipment of the bike.

All Circuit Diagram of an Electric Bike
All Circuit Diagram of an Electric Bike

So basically a long charge is not just important for the battery – it is important for the overall bikes working.

Charge Your Ebike’s Battery Regularly

Lithium ion batteries last longer with regular use and, therefore, regular charging. Do not let your battery sit idle for a long time. This can serve as an excuse to use your electric bike regularly. So get out and ride the bike at least once a week. Discharge some of the battery and then keep it on charge.

We will talk more about “How to Charge Electric Bike” later in the post – which will cover some important Electric Bike Charging discussions.

Do not discharge the battery completely before charging

There is a wrong misconception that you need to drain out your battery before putting it to charge. You do not need to let your bike’s battery discharge completely. Charging after a complete drain puts a lot of pressure on your battery’s cells. Studies suggest that appropriate time to charge your bikes battery is between 30 to 50 percent of the charge still remaining.

On the contrary – it is not advisable to charge the battery on just 10 to 20 percent of charge loss. Let it at least go down to 50 percent before again putting it back to charge.

Charging full is necessary
Do not stop charging until full

A full discharge is actually needed occasionally. Once after every 30 to 40 charges – let the battery discharge completely and then put it to charge. A complete discharge will ensure that your battery and bikes parts have no static charge left.

Do Not Charge in Extreme Temperatures

Charging and even using your Ebike’s battery in temperature extremes will harm the equipment. Keep this in mind before selecting a charging point.

Moderate temperature are always better. The most appropriate temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit when you put your bike to charge.

If not then at least the temperatures should be warmer than freezing and not hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit at the extremes.

If you are riding in icy temperatures then pedaling is a better option for your battery and even for your body. Pedaling will keep your body warm and not using the battery in cold weathers will protect your battery’s health.

Do not charge in Temperature Extremes
Charging in extreme temperatures will harm your bike!

Do Not Overcharge Your Electric Bike Battery

Never leave the battery on charge after it has been fully charged. Overcharging the battery will deter its performance and it will not retain electrical power. Your battery’s charge holding capacity will be reduced to 95 to 90 percent. Minor discharges and overcharging will create a series of poor charging cycles. You can use timers to remind you when to take the battery off the charger.

Overcharging will also harm the charger. There is an increased risk of overheating internal circuits.

When charging the battery, make sure it is in a dry location. Also be sure that the battery is not in a place where it cause a fire or catch one.

E Bike Battery Blast
You will not want your battery like this!

Do Not Charge in Extreme Temperatures

Charging and even using your Ebike’s battery in temperature extremes will harm the equipment. Keep this in mind before selecting a charging point.

Moderate temperature are always better. The most appropriate temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit when you put your bike to charge.

If not then at least the temperatures should be warmer than freezing and not hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit at the extremes.

If you are riding in icy temperatures then pedaling is a better option for your battery and even for your body. Pedaling will keep your body warm and not using the battery in cold weathers will protect your battery’s health.

Don’t Store an Empty Battery

Make sure that you don’t store the battery empty if you are not using your bike for a longer period of time. At least a 40-to-70 percent charge is recommended whenever you undock it out of the bike.

Check every month to see if at least one LED is still blinking. Charge when needed, at least every 3 months. Failing to do so could void the warranty.

Batteries have clear indication to charge them once every three months atleast
You can see Battery LED indicators too

Secondly when you remove the battery to store it, make sure it is in a safe, climate-controlled space.

Putting an empty battery on charge again – creates a lot of unwelcome pressure on the battery. This will again deteriorate your battery’s health.

After these tips let us take the next most important section on Electric Bike Charging. How to charge your E-bike?

How to Charge Electric Bike

If you think plugging in your bike for a battery recharge is what you have to do – then you are wrong. The more smartly you know your battery and about Electric Bike Charging – the better you will be able to utilize your ebike battery. Electric Bike Battery Charging is a whole science dedicated to discuss about E-Bike batteries and their optimum utilization. In this topic “How to charge Electric Bike” we are going to do the same. Making you more aware about your ebike’s battery.

Understanding how to charge electric bike battery

Position of an “EBIKE BATTERY”

An ebike battery can be hidden or completely open to the eyes. It can be fitted on the frame or the rack. But while charging shall your battery be mounted or unmounted? The batteries can be charged on or off the bikes. And here we are talking about all kinds of batteries and all brand batteries.

However more ideal position to charge a battery is to isolate it from the bike and keep it on charge. All of the battery types can be very easily removed for indoor charging. If you charge the battery while it is still mounted on the bike – then you will require a longer charging time. The current is absorbed by other bike’s parts too – and hence battery gets a lesser share.

Electric Bike Charger

Make sure you charger has as integrated adapter. Most modern chargers do have adapters. If not is it always advisable to have an adapter along with your charger in case your charging points differ a lot.

Electric Bike Charger
An Electric Bike Charger

Plug the charger into the battery before you switching on the mains. Inserting the charger into live mains – may harm the device. Similarly switch off the mains before unplugging the charger from the battery.

Do not cover the battery or charger whilst charging and only use the charger supplied. Buy an original charger if you have lost one. A duplicate charger will harm the battery. And replacing a battery is far costlier than buying a new original charger.

E-Bike Battery Indicator

Most bikes generally show remaining battery by led light indicators. Your bike will have 5 led lights – each one signifying 20% of the charge. If the lights are more or less – divide it by 100 to calculate how much percentage of battery is charged or to identify how much battery is left.

Some modern high end bikes have display panel to show exact battery statistics. The display also shows the temperature to ensure whether using your bike on power assist mode is recommended or not.

A Battery Indicator
Battery Indicator

When to Charge the Battery

Lithium ion batteries have no memory. And hence they can be charged at any time. If you recharge the battery several times a day then also it is not much of an issue. In fact Lithium batteries (and indeed any type of rechargeable battery) do not like to be left discharged. It is good practice to recharge as soon as is reasonably possible after the battery goes flat. Charging your bike after every ride is a recommended practice and not only when your battery drains out.

But the same is not true when we talk about other batteries. There are batteries which work best when recharged during night hours. Some say that the reason for this is – batteries get optimum voltage and current during night. During the day several appliances work simultaneously – all sucking power. At night the voltage consumption ration is a bit relaxed. So if you have other kind of EBike battery – then possibly charge during night hours.

Some Precautions to Handle your EBike Battery

An E-Bike battery is an electronic device. Handle it with utmost care. If the battery blasts then there are chances of some serious hazards.

DO NOT:

  • Dismantle, Pierce or crush the battery when you want to dispose it of. Return it to the manufacturer. Sometimes they accept battery returns and dispose or recycle the batteries.
  • Immerse the battery in any kind of liquids. In fact charge in dry areas of your house. Do not keep the charger or the battery open especially when riding in rainy seasons. Doing so can short circuit your battery.
  • Short circuit the battery connections yourself. You are no expert in battery’s inbuilt structure. And an E-Bike’s battery is not like a pencil cell of your remote.
  • Leave unattended whilst charging or sleep near a battery that is charging. Keep an alarm to notify when the battery gets full charged. And most importantly keep battery away from children!
Electric Bike Safety is a must
A shocking EBike Blast!

And taking all these precautionary steps – is not very difficult. It does not take long hours to charge an electric bike battery.

How long does it take to charge an e-bike battery

A fully drained battery takes around 3.5 to 6 hours to recharge. A lithium ion branded battery will take around 3.5 to 4 hours. The upper 6 hour limit is for other mediocre batteries.

And if the battery still persists some charge then it will reach 100 percent faster. Secondly we already talked about progressive charging. The last 10 percent takes around an hour to charge, whereas the initial 90 percent can be completed in just 2 to 3 hours. And if you are in a hurry then you don’t need to reach 100 percent in every charge.

If you take care of your battery it can last long and you can derive a lot of charges from it.

How Many Charges Can I Get Out of a Battery 

Remember the 500 full charge rule for lithium ion batteries. A decent battery will perform very well till 500 charges. And 500 is a pretty decent number. If you use your bike twice a week and your one ride consists of one full charge – then the battery can last you a whole 250 weeks! If you regularly use your electric bike then you will need to replace your battery soon.

lithium ion battery charge cycles
lithium ion battery charge cycles

Now the second calculation. If you mix your pedal and electric modes than you cane expect to go 10,000 to 30,000 miles a battery replacement. This is a big number!

After 500 full charges you do not need to dispose off the battery. It still will be able to retain 80 percent of the charge. And in such cases – use this battery as an extra.

Some modern batteries claim to up to a 1000 full charges. So if you are a regular commuter on electric bikes than search for a battery providing 800 to 1000 charge cycles.

Electric Bike Charging Station

Assess and Locate Charging Stations

Assessing electric bike charging stations is very important. You are going for your regular routine short trip biking, or carrying your bike on a recreational trip. Even if all the led’s in your battery displays green, keep a charging station or a charging point always in your mind.

You need to know where you’ll find your power, and how long it will take to put the power into your electric bike. And this will help you to fill the batteries of your electric bike as quickly as possible. The faster you charge, the sooner you are back out there on the road or the trail enjoying yourself.

e bike charging station
e bike charging station

Luckily refueling of electric vehicles has become very easy. Due to heavy demands and a modern curve of inclination towards purchase of these vehicles there is an increase in charging stations too. You will locate an electric charging station near in your local vicinity easily.

Commonly you will find charging stations at universities, hospitals, airports, businesses, parks, popular mass transit stops, hotels, etc. This has made riding an electric bike very convenient. And convenience commuting is the need of the hour.

These charging stations also serve as an advertisement platform for electric bikes. Drawing peoples attention who have no idea what an electric bike is – to the productivity of riding an electric bike.

The problem arises if you leave your area and enter some remote zone. This is a very common happening because mostly electric bikes are used over mountains and beaches and other leisure places. Read along to know all about Electric Bike Charging Stations.

Generally charging stations are divided in two power outlets. A 110V which is the power requirement for all American Electrical Vehicles to work. And a 220V outlet which is mostly designed for European Countries. So if you are in States and have purchased a US manufactured electric bike then you just need to find a station and plug your bike in. If you are not then make sure to carry an adapter.

An Electric Bike Charging Point is Also an Option

Another positive about electric bikes is that they require 110V charging points. A 110V electrical supply point is a fixed standard charging point because most of the electrical devices work on 110V. Your mobiles charge on a 110V socket! So even if you miss an electric charging station you can always get a charging point!

A 110v outlet
A 110v outlet

Other electric vehicles require 220V to be charged. For them electric charging stations are actual fuel stations. If a charging station is missed you have no other option to carry on – because these vehicles will not accept the 110V power plugs!

Carry Adapters and Chargers

Adapters are used to control the flow of electrical charge in your electronic device. Some modern bikes have integrated adapters but GENERALLY ELECTRIC BIKES DO NOT COME WITH ADAPTERS. Buy one if you driving zones are not limited to your local neighborhoods.

The same is with your electric bike charger. If your bike needs an external charger then carrying it along with the bike is your first fundamental responsibility as an electric bike rider. Never forget it at home or at your work place. Remember – NOWADAYS FINDING AN ELECTRIC POINT IS EASIER THAN FINDING A CHARGER!

An Adapter Charger - Can be used while charging E Bikes
An Adapter Charger – Can be used to charge E Bikes

Understanding How a Charge Cycle Works

Any lithium battery – gets charged in two phases. They are regarded as bulk charging phase and trickle charging phase.

Bulk Charging phase is where constantly the battery soaks up the current and 80% to 90% of the battery gets charged in some minutes.

Then comes the trickle charging phase. Here is where the battery is more optimized to utilize more voltage. The recharging percentage decreases progressively. This means it will take longer time for your battery to go to 92 to 93 then what it took to go from 91 to 92.

Understanding Trickle Charging in E Bikes
Understanding Trickle Charging in your E Bike

The trickle charging phase is observed in the early charging percentages too. That is to say that it requires more time for your battery to reach 1 to 10 then what it required to complete other percentage statistics.

You need to keep this in mind while you are on the bike. If you require 150 battery charge to reach your destination that is 1.5 recharge cycles then do not let your bike go to zero before pulling the plug for a recharge point. As soon as it gets to 20 recharge the battery to its 80 and complete the journey. This will save your time.

But remember one important metric. As soon as you reach your destination – keep the bike on charge until it reaches the 100 mark. Because for that – it will need time.

How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Bike

Electric Bikes are one of the most cost effective mode of transport. In fact one of the main reasons why people prefer an electric bike over a diesel powered or gas powered motor bike is its low fuel cost. Electricity is cheap and you don’t need a power station to charge the bike.

And the answer to the question “how much does it cost to charge an electric bike” is – PRETTY LOW! We will provide an approximate calculation – highlighting your per mile cost in dollars. (We cannot give you exact amount because electricity rates differ in states.)

You can find the exact amount of cost of a single full charge by finding out the local electricity rates from your electricity provider. Check your recent bill or a simple Google search will do.

Generally – On-Peak cost of electricity = $0.21/kWh and Off-Peak cost of electricity = $0.054/kWh.

Usually an average lithium ion good quality battery takes around 400-500 watt hours (0.4 – 0.7 kilowatt hours) to charge the battery. Assuming $0.10/kWh as the rate of charge you are spending 4-5 cents to get your battery fully fuel packed. And an average medium quality bike’s battery gives a mileage of 25 to 35 miles.

So depending on this calculation a single cent is the cost of 5 miles on an electric bike! And this is when you are using your electricity provider for electric power. Now what if you use an alternate source for electric bike charging.

How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Bike
How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Bike – A Report

How much does it cost to charge an electric bike through SOLAR POWER? The question here is not to evaluate the cost but the feasibility of charging an electric bike via solar energy. An electric bike needs so little electrical energy for its charge that you can use solar panels on an Ebike’s trailer. So while you are riding on a bright sunny day your battery gets charged the longer you ride. This leads to a very important discussion. Is a self charging electric bike possible?

Self Charging Electric Bike

There are two methods – solar cells on the trailer and pedal movement converted into electrical energy – which shows how modern self charging electric bicycle models work.

Self Charging Electric Bike Motor

Sometimes people ask whether our electric bikes will recharge while pedaling. The answer is a definite “yes” you can muscular energy to charge your bike’s battery. There are some bikes which gets charged as you pedal your way. Let us look at how a self charging electric bike motor works.

The dynamo in these bikes work two ways – more like a motor and a generator. It delivers electrical power when required and gets charged when the pedals turn the axle around a solenoid. The solenoid converts all the physical energy into electrical energy. This energy then gets stored in the cells to be used later by the bike.

An actual electric bike dynamo
An actual electric bike dynamo

Although the idea is totally scientific and hence conceivable – the only negative is the “low 10% return on input”. Generating energy with a dynamo takes slightly more energy in than you get out.

A lot of muscular energy is required to produce a relatively low electric power. One needs to pedal 10km around the bike’s dynamo in return of 1km of charge.

A self charging electric bike
A bike claiming to be first full self charging electric bike

Solar Powered Electric Bikes

A solar panel is also popularly increasing. A solar panel bike has an array of solar cells in place of a trailer. A solar bike trailer is the second option to manufacture a Self Charging Electric Bike.

solar powered electric bike
Solar Powered Electric Bike

However the same problem arises here. A low return on input. You need a lot of sunlight to charge your bike to a small percentage. And taking the US weather as a factor – you don’t get adequate sunlight through out the year.

Second unaccounted risk is solar cells getting damaged. Solar cells are expensive – and you are taking these cells in the open. The movement of your bike, any sudden jerks or an unlucky collision will damage the cells. So you might end up losing more money than saving on electricity.

For these reasons the idea of a Self Charging Electric Bike is still not a complete economic reality. An easier way to charge an electric bike is to simply plug it into the wall. A typical charge takes around 4 hours and costs around 25 cents.

Electric Bike Range – How far you can go on an Electric Bike

How far can you go on an electric bike having a full charge? – is one of the most important question you need to answer before planning any trip. In fact you need to assess bike’s mileage before you buy the bike itself. In technical electric bike terms the mileage of an electric bike is known as “Electric Bike Range”.

Electric Bike Range
Electric Bike Range

Electric Bike Range

Electric Bike Range is the mileage of an electric bike on a single full charge. Almost all bike manufacturers focus to showcase the bikes range. The reason – an impressive range attracts most of the consumers. Sadly they are not always true in their advertising campaigns. In reality sometimes the actual range is three to four times less than what you actually read in a bikes specification brochure!

Assessing the true bike range is the real technical deal. The battery and its volts are not the only factor in answering the above posed question. There are various other factors which determine how far you can go on an electric bike. And these factors make an electric bike’s range different from person to person and sometimes even trip to trip.

Constant Factors affecting Electric Bike Range

There are some factors that are constant to determine a bike’s range and human interference or preference does not effect much when we consider them. Some of these constants are:

  • The Battery Type – whether it is a lithium ion battery or a cadmium nickel one. A lithium battery, will last longer than a nickel-cadmium battery. The reason – lithium batteries have higher energy density.
  • The amount of power the battery stores or in other words the volts.
  • Age of the battery. A new battery stores more power but as it ages it starts losing power comparatively fast.
  • Motor Watts – The larger the size of motor – more battery power will be needed to operate it. A large motor will ensure high speeds but will result in low bike range.

Variables Which Affect Electric Bike Range

  • Riding Speed- Some riders tend to ride their cycles on the highest speed possible. With increased speeds mileage drops. If the rider prefers moderate speeds then the charge will not be consumed fast. Use this constant to determine how speed will affect your battery usage – (1/3 faster = 1/2 the range);
  • Assistance Level – If a rider is completely relying on electrical supply and does not pedal then again the bike’s overall range will go down. On the other hand if a rider decides to engage no electrical assistance because of a flat terrain or any other reason – then the range is as far as he rides before collapsing.
  • Terrain and Surface of the roads – A hilly rocky terrain consumes more electrical power than riding on a smoother on road city commuting. the amount of luggage they’re carrying;
  • Starts and Stops – An electric bike needs a lot of power to start the motor. If your journey has a lot of pit stops then the battery will be consumed pretty fast.
  • Climate – Wind Conditions and temperature both are important. You will get 15% more range from a battery on a warm sunny day than they would in winter. Wind will produce more drag resulting in straining the motor which will in turn suck more battery.
  • Tires – Soft tires require more power in compared to hard tires. And hence will consume more battery.
  • Rider’s Anatomy – The weight of the rider is again a factor resulting in electric bike range. More weight means more work for the motor resulting in more power loss.
  • Luggage you carry – If your bike is just loaded with you yourself, it will consume less power. Additional weight will require additional power consumption.

What is the range I can get from a single charge?

So after in length electric bike range analysis we are back to address the question what range you can expect from a single charge or how far you can go on an electric bike.

The two most important factors which will determine the range of your electric bike is your riding speed and how much electrical assistance you derive while riding. In simpler words whether you pedal or just use the throttle without pedaling.

With relaxed pedaling and moderate speed a decent battery will last 25 – 35 miles on a single full charge. Increase the speed and your mileage gets down and increase the pedal assistance and your mileage boosts up.

Electric bikes are very easy to pedal and today you will easily get lighter Electric Bikes. You can extend the range from 35 to even 70 by minimizing the use of power especially when riding on level surfaces and when going down hill.

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