How To Charge E-Bike Battery: A Comprehensive Guide
When you buy your first electric bike, the first thing that pops into your mind is its charging procedure. Most electric bike owners wonder how to charge electric bike battery when they get their hands on the eco-friendly, money-saving, and safe commuter.
Luckily, you don’t need to go overboard to charge the e-bike’s battery. The charging procedure is fairly easy, and you don’t need to be a tech-savvy person for it either.
At first, switch off the battery pack, remove it from the bike (not necessary with modern li-ion batteries) and connect it with the power outlet using the charger and regular charging cable. Finally, switch on the power of the mains outlet and wait until the battery indicator shows full before you restore it to the bike.
However, that’s easier said than done. You might not always have access to a power outlet when the dead battery needs charging, or you might have lost the charger itself. So, what do you do to recharge an electric bike battery at those moments?
We have covered everything in this article from standard charging procedure of e-bike battery to charging it using car battery or without charger even.
Last but not least, our research team has included the top tips to prolong battery performance, its lifespan and avoid any electrical hazards.
So, How To Charge Electric Bike Battery?
Although the standard charging procedure for electric bikes is fairly easy, it varies extensively depending on the battery types. Nonetheless, the principle for charging the batteries in an e-bike remains the same for most models, more or less
- When you look at the electric bike, you will notice a battery pack. It houses the battery cells safely. Previously, most e-bikes were required to remove the battery from the housing to charge it. However, with the introduction of rechargeable li-ion batteries, you don’t need to remove the battery from its housing anymore on a regular basis. You can still charge it directly in the battery pack.
- Next, you will find a battery bay right on the bike. This is nothing but the port where you will connect the charging cable. The bay or charging port works the same way as your mobile phone port does while charging. The difference is smart phones generally have a smaller charging port, but the e-bike charging bay is much larger.
- You can find the charging bay mostly behind the electric bike seat or in the middle of your bike. It will depend on the bike model mostly.
- Finally, there will be a charger with two ports. One end of the charger connects with the battery, and the other connects with the mains outlet using the charging cable. This is much like the charger you get with your laptops these days.
- There will also be a display screen on the charger. It will show whether the battery is charging or not. When the battery is full, the light indicator will turn green. It would help if you unplugged the battery from the charger and removed the cable from the electric outlet.
If your e-bike model requires you to remove the battery from the bay, carefully follow the instructions. First, turn off the power, remove the battery, and connect it to a power outlet with the provided cable and charger. However, one benefit of having a removable battery is that, you can charge it in your living room also.
If the battery is not removable, park the bike near a power outlet so that the charging cable can reach the battery.
IMP: Depending on the battery capacity and charging speed, an electric bike battery requires 4 to 7 hour of charging. So, you are better at recharging the battery at night. But, make sure you don’t overcharge it.
How To Charge E-bike Battery Without Charger
Imagine the following scenario: you’ve lost the charger and need to charge the battery in an emergency. So, what should you do in this situation? Will you rush to get a new one? Well, this doesn’t seem to be a practical idea.
However, you must be cautious since it is not recommended to charge any battery, especially li-ion batteries without the appropriate charger.
You can use a lab bench power supply for this. Check that the power supply has constant voltage and current. Without consistent voltage, you won’t be able to use this method. You must also ensure a fairly stable environment for this procedure.
The procedure includes-
- Find a suitable lab bench power supply that supports constant voltage and current under controlled situations.
- Next, you have to check the voltage limit of the lithium-ion battery. Typically, these batteries will have a 4.2V limit. If it is a LiFePO4 battery, the limit will be 3.6V. After checking the battery voltage, set the power supply precisely at the same voltage.
- Next, find the E-bike battery capacity in AMP hours. It should be written on the battery with bold letters. So, you won’t find it difficult to know the exact capacity. Set the power supply’s electric current limit to 1/10th of the battery.
- Then, use a multi-meter to measure the voltage of the battery. You must avoid charging the battery if it’s Open Circuit Voltage is above 3V. It increases the likelihood of battery explosion and may cause serious damage.
- If the Open Circuit Voltage is less than 3V, you are ready to charge it using the power supply. For this, connect the battery terminals with the power supply leads using the cable.
- You must check the battery temperature now and then during the entire charging process. If the battery feels a little hot to touch with the bare hands, you must stop charging it to allow the battery to cool down.
- You need to attend the charging process constantly to make sure that the battery doesn’t get overheated. Also, the battery’s voltage limit mustn’t go above its limits of 3.6V or 4.2V. Or it may explode.
The entire charging from 0% to 100% will take almost 10 hours. So, it is a painstaking and time-consuming process. Also, it is not safe. So, you better use this trick only in emergencies.
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Charging The Electric Bike From Car Battery
While using a lab bench power supply to charge the electric bike is risky, using a car battery is a much safer option. For this, the led-acid battery of your car must have higher voltage compared to the e-bike lithium battery.
Nonetheless, avoid connecting the lithium-ion battery directly with the SLA battery of your car. You will need a medium to convert your car battery’s voltage into the lithium battery’s input voltage for safety purposes.
Battery experts suggest using a travel charger with enough capacity to hold the stored current for this purpose. You need to properly connect one end of it with the car cigarette lighter (a DC voltage replacement plug).
Most e-bikes and e-scooters use these travel chargers as a part of the standard XLR charger. Once you connect one end of it with the car cigarette lighter, connect its other end with the lithium-ion battery bay on the bike.
If you don’t have the standard travel charger, you can still perform the procedure. For this, connect the red wire and black wire with positive and negative ports, respectively. You have to be 100% sure that there’s no leak before connecting these wires.
Also, attend the lithium-ion battery regularly so that it doesn’t exceed its maximum 4.2V limit. Or it may explode or get damaged permanently.
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E-Bike Battery Charging Tips
Because your e-bike is not a cheap investment, you want to maximize its lifespan. Carefully maintaining the battery is one way to achieve this. Also, it is crucial as these batteries are often expensive, and a damaged battery will need replacement.
To avoid such inconvenience and maintain the battery life, you can follow our top tips. It will help the battery run at its full capacity offering you great mobility in daily life.
1. Charge the new battery for 12 hours at least
After purchasing an e-bike, charge the battery for at least 12 hours. During this long period, the current will reach every battery cell and assist it in remaining in good condition from the start.
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2. Ensure moderate temperature
Have you ever noticed care instructions for your smart phone battery? Manufacturers recommend to avoid extreme cold conditions or extreme heat for charging and using the batteries. The same goes for electric bike batteries since these too use lithium-ion batteries.
When you regularly charge the e-bike at moderate temperature, you will most likely see an increase in its lifespan and productivity.
When you store or charge the battery at home, make sure the room temperature isn’t sub-zero or over extreme. Or the battery may get damaged.
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3. Avoid storing the empty battery
You shouldn’t entirely drain a battery if you plan on leaving it unused for a long time. However, we don’t recommend storing an e-bike battery for a long time unless you take a break from riding due to health issues. The battery should have between 30% and 50% of charge when you plan to store it.
4. Never overcharge the battery:
Just like overfeeding humans causes obesity, overcharging the battery will damage its cells similarly. Of course, the initial charge time of your battery will be the longest one going up to 12 hours. But, the next charge cycle will be much shorter.
Most electric bike batteries can be fully charged within 3 to 7 hours. To avoid overcharging, it is best to disconnect the charger once the indicator light turns green.
However, the best way is to charge the battery overnight. It should work fine as long as the charger isn’t connected to the power outlet and battery bay for 10 to 12 hours or more.
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5. Charging regularly improves battery life cycle:
Many people may not ride their e-bikes on a daily or regular basis. However, this does not mean that you should leave the battery unattended and allow it to drain. It is strongly advised not to fully discharge the battery even when not in use.
Experts suggest that you recharge the lithium-ion battery of electric bikes when it reaches 30% to 40% of its capacity. In addition, charge the battery properly once every 20 to 30 charging cycles. This way, you’ll get the most out of your battery in terms of longevity and range.
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Frequently Asked Question About Charging An E-Bike Battery
You can use a portable smart charger, much like the mobile power banks, to charge your electric bike when camping. Make sure the portable charger or power station accommodates more voltage and power than your e-bike battery. For instance, a 560WH power bank will charge a 350WH battery completely. You can find the battery and power bank capacity in its label to find the correct charging pair for e-bikes.
A 36V to 42V lithium-ion battery is widely used in e-bikes. Depending on the capacity, the battery should get charged fully in 3 to 7 hours. If there is still some charge left in the battery, the charging time will be reduced likewise.
Yes it is possible. It reduces the lifespan of the battery considerably. Even so, an overcharged battery increases the chance of explosion. Thanks to modern technology, electric bike manufacturers now use smart overheating and charging protection to stop overcharging the bike battery.
Electric bikes can, in fact, be charged at a car charging station. Such stations utilize 12V power outlet to charge the e-bike battery. It is not, however, advised to be used on a daily basis.
Although, charging your e-bike overnight is possible, but it is not recommended. Overcharging your electric bike’s battery on a regular basis may result in permanent damage. Because the battery requires 5 to 7 hours to recharge, leaving it to get charged overnight might cause over charging. However, if the battery is completely drained, it can be charged overnight.
After each ride, you may charge your e-bike battery. The battery should be charged after the scooter has consumed more than 30% to 60% of its capacity. Furthermore, a complete battery discharge is not recommended. As soon as the battery dips below 30%, it must be charged.
You should not leave the battery unused for an extended period of time. Furthermore, after every 30 to 40 charging cycle, drain the battery completely and then recharge it to 100%. Finally, to help the battery last longer and provide the best riding experience, avoid overcharging it.
Yes, electric bikes charge when you pedal. But the models are pretty limited and need to have electronic regenerative braking system. Hence, it is safe to say that charging e-bikes through pedal assistance isn’t a pretty functional idea.
Most e-bike batteries require between 0.4KW and 0.8KW of power supply to fully charge. In most states in the United States, 1KW of electricity costs about $.10. As a result, fully charging the batteries will only cost you 8 to 10 cents. It is a lot less expensive than charging other electric vehicles.
An electric bike can be charged using a portable charger or high capacity power bank. The alternate source must have a higher voltage than your e-bike battery. Charging e-bikes, this way, while camping or on long weekend tours is a popular alternative method.
How to charge an electric bike battery? By now, you have clear understanding that it is not as complex as many people consider it initially.
You can expect the e-bikes to travel 40 to 50 miles in one charging cycle. So, it will be an excellent daily commuter.
Also, the battery can be charged in different ways which should be a great relief for emergencies. Modern day batteries come with overheat and overcharge protection which also extends their lifespan.