How to Charge an Electric Bike

When I was recently looking to buy a new electric bike, I wondered how exactly I would have to charge the battery. So, I did some research to find out exactly how electric bike batteries are meant to be charged.

So, how do you charge an electric bike? To charge an electric bikes battery, remove the battery pack from the bike, make sure the battery pack switch is turned off, place the charger that comes with the e-bike into a mains outlet, connect the charger to the battery pack and then turn the plug on. 

There are actually a lot of factors to consider when charging and looking to get the most out of an e-bikes battery and there are many things that you can do to improve its performance and to prolong its lifespan.

How to Charge an E-Bike Battery

Charging an electric bikes battery will vary depending on the manufacturer of the battery but there are some guiding principles that you can apply that will help you to get it right most of the time.

When you buy an electric bike it will come with a battery pack that contains the electric bikes battery inside. The electric bike will also come with a bay on the bike where you can slot the charger into in order to connect the battery to the bike. The bay can be placed in a variety of places and it will vary depending on the e-bike in question but they are generally placed in the middle of the bike or just behind the seat.

In addition to that most electric bikes will come with a charger which consists of a power supply that has slots for two cables on one end you attach a cable that connects to the mains outlet and on the other end you connect a cable to the e-bike’s battery.

If you’re a gamer then it will probably look very similar to the power bay that you connect to an Xbox One.

Most e-bikes chargers will have a red LED to show that the battery is still charging that will turn green once the bike is fully charged.

When your electric bike runs out of power what you will need to do is to take the battery out of the bay on the bike, turn the battery off, then connect the power supply to the battery and then connect it to the mains outlet. That’s pretty much all you need to do.

How Does it Take For Electric Bike Batteries to Charge?

The time that it takes for the battery to charge will vary depending on the size of the battery but most electric bike batteries take between 2 hour and 6 hours to fully charge.

With that being said, something else that you should keep in mind is the recharge rate. If the charging time for your battery takes 2 hours and has a 30-mile range then it will have a recharge rate of 15 miles per hour of charging.

Yet, if it takes four hours to charge the battery but it has a 100-mile range then it will have a recharge rate of 25 miles per charging hour.

So, in this case, the second option would be better.

Do They Charge While Pedaling?

Some e-bikes come with a feature that enables you to recharge the battery while you are riding the e-bike. Usually, it is done when you use the brakes and it can extend the range of your battery by 5%-10%. However, this can increase the cost of your electric bike by about $200 and it can often cause pedaling the e-bike to become more difficult.

If you’re worried about how far your electric bike will be able to go then carry an extra battery that way you will be able to alleviate any concerns about running out of charge while you are cycling.

Do I Need to Wait for the Battery to Fully Drain?

No, you do not need to wait for the battery to fully drain. In fact, some manufacturers suggest that it would be best that you recharge the battery before it runs out of power in order to have some of the battery cells retain their life cycles for longer.

With that being the case it would probably be a good idea to just recharge the battery after every use.

Can I Stop Charging the Battery Before it is Fully Charged?

With lithium battery, which is what most e-bike batteries are made from, there is not any harm in pulling the plug early.

When the batteries are charging they do so in two cycles. The first cycle is where 80-90% of the charge is replenished and it is where the battery charges the fastest. With this being the case, if you were to stop charging the battery only 30 minutes before it’s fully charged then you will likely still have charged the battery most of the way anyway.

Can I Replace the Battery?

The batteries on electric bikes can be replaced at any time. In fact, electric bikes are designed so that you can take the battery out of the bay so that you can charge it. With that being the case, it is common for electric bike owners to buy more than one battery so that they can take them on longer trips without having to worry about losing power.

Where Can I Recharge the Battery?

Since electric bike batteries are recharged using a mains outlet you can recharge the battery anywhere where you will have access to a mains outlet.

How Can I Make the Battery Go Further?

There are a number of ways that you can make the battery get you to go further.

The first, and most obvious way, is to keep it to a lower assistance setting. If you’re the one that is having to put more of the effort in then it means that the battery won’t have to so it will last for longer.

The next thing that you can do is to use the right gears based on the situation that you are in. Low gears make it easier to move the bike when traveling at lower speeds and higher gears make it easier to move the bike at higher speeds.

With that being the case, you should try to change gears based on what is ahead of you. By changing gears before you need to suddenly change them it helps you to have a smoother riding experience that requires less power. For example, if you’re approaching a stop light and you don’t change the gears before you get there then you’re going to need to put in a big effort to get going again and will drain the battery.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the power requirement, on your bike, increases exponentially as you speed up. This means that, when cycling at higher speeds, your battery will be drained more quickly. A way to counter that would be to select a higher gear and to use a lower assistance setting when traveling quickly.

How Long do the Batteries Last For?

Most batteries allow for a minimum of 500 full charging cycles before the battery loses more than 80% of its power and some even allow for up to 1200 full cycles. Since lithium batteries are memoryless it means that if you charge a battery when it still has half of its charge left then it will only count as half a charge. If you use a pedal assist electric bike then depending on the battery and how you ride the bike you can expect the battery to be good for between 10,000 and 30,000 miles, which is a long distance for a bike.

Most batteries are made by Samsung or Panasonic and estimate that their batteries are good for 1000 full charges and they often offer warranties of 2 years of continuous use. The cost of replacing an electric battery ranges between $500 and $800 depending on the size of the battery pack and its shape.

If the brand is out of business then replacing the battery can be somewhat of a challenge. However, it is possible to have the battery “repacked” for around $500.

How Much Does it Cost to Charge an E-Bike?

The cost of charging your e-bikes battery will vary depending on the size of the battery and the cost of electricity in the area that you live in.

For a 10 amp battery in an area where electricity costs $0.12 per Kilowatt hour then the cost of charging the e-bike comes out to be about $0.002 per mile, which is extremely cheap.

How do I Care for the Battery?

It is recommended that you store the battery at a temperature that is between 0-40 degrees Celcius which is 32-104 Fahrenheit.

Many people also like to keep the battery in the garage since it reduces the risk of fire but it’s still warmer than being in a shed.

You should also take measures to protect the battery from being water damaged. Even though electric bikes can be cycled in the rain it doesn’t mean that they are waterproof so, you should take some precautions to ensure that the location that you store the battery in isn’t at risk of flooding or high humidity.

It’s also important that you only use the charger that the manufacturer supplied since it will have been specifically designed for the battery. Using a different charger runs the risk of causing a fire and could damage the battery.

Related Questions

How far can electric bikes go? The range of the battery will vary largely based on how you use it and on at what level of assistance. However, a range of 22-56 miles is common and some can go for over 70 miles.

How fast do electric bikes go? Electric bikes will normally be limited to provide assistance up to 20 mph and some can provide it up to 28 mph.


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