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 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 lithium-ion batteries) and connect it with the power outlet using the charger and charging cable. Finally, switch on the power of the main outlet and wait until the e-bike charger is 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 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 charge an e-bike battery to prolong 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 e-bike model and manufacturer. 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 safely. Previously, most e-bikes were required to remove the battery from the housing to charge it. However, with the introduction of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, you don’t need to remove the battery from its housing anymore. 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 smartphone port does while charging. The difference is smartphones 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 main outlet using the charging cable. This is much like the charger you get with your laptops these days.
- There will also be an LED on the charger. It will show whether the battery is charging or not. When the battery is full, the LED 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 removing the battery from the bay, you should follow their instructions carefully. For those electric bikes, switch off the battery pack, remove it from the battery housing and connect it with the charger using the provided cable. You should be ready to charge the bike battery at ease.
Also, this is the standard procedure for how to charge an electric bike at home. Just make sure you park the e-bike close to a power outlet so that the charging cable reaches the battery from the power socket. If your e-bike battery is removable, you can charge it in your living room, too, instead of in the garage.
IMP: Depending on the battery capacity and charging speed, and electric bike battery needs 4 to 7 hours for a full charge. So, you are better at recharging the battery at night. But, make sure you don’t overcharge it to damage the battery.
How To Charge E-bike Battery Without Charger
Admit that it happens to many people- you have lost the charger and need to charge your e-bike on an emergency basis. So, what to do then? Will you rush to get a new charger? Well, this doesn’t seem a practical idea.
Instead, you can follow our tips to charge the electric bikes without a charger temporarily. However, you must be cautious since it is not recommended to charge any battery, especially lithium-ion batteries that run the most electric bikes these days.
You can choose a lab bench power supply for this purpose. Make sure the power supply features constant voltage and current. Or, you can’t use it to recharge the batteries of your electric bikes. You also have to maintain a pretty controlled environment for it.
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 of the bike. 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 battery capacity in AMP hours. It should be written on the battery with bold letters. So, you won’t find it any difficult to know the exact capacity. Set then power supply current limit to 1/10th of the battery.
- Then, use a multimeter to measure the voltage of the thee-bike battery. You must avoid charging the battery if its 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% for the battery will take almost 10 hours. So, it is a painstaking and time-consuming process. Also, it is not safe. So, you better use the trick only in emergencies.
Charging Electric Bike From Car Battery
While using a lab bench power supply to charge the electric bike is unsafe and precarious, using a car battery to charge it is a much safer option. For this, the car-acid battery of your car must operate at a higher voltage compared with 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.
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 charging 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.
E-Bike Battery Charging Tips
Since your e-bike is no cheap investment, you would like to prolong its lifespan as much as possible. One way of doing it is to take care of the electric bike battery. 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
When you bring an e-bike for the first time, you need to charge the battery properly. You should charge the battery for 12 hours to help it charge completely. During this long time, the current will reach every battery cell and help it remain in good condition from the beginning.
2. Ensure moderate temperature
Have you ever noticed precautions for your smartphone battery? Manufacturers recommend to avid extreme cold or hot weather for charging and using the batteries. The same goes for electric bike batteries since these too use lithium-ion batteries.
When you charge and use 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 100-degree Fahrenheit. Or the battery may get damaged, and you will need to replace it.
3. Avoid storing the empty battery
When you plan to store a battery for a long time, you mustn’t drain it completely. The battery should have 30% to 80% of its charging capacity when you store it. 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.
A battery operates the best when you use and charge it regularly. So, be aware of it.
4. Never overcharge the battery:
Just like overfeeding humans causes obesity, overcharging the battery will damage its cells similarly. Of course, the first charging time of your battery will be the longest one going up to 12 hours. But, the next charging cycles will be much shorter.
Most e-bike batteries will charge completely in 3 to 7 hours. So, it would be best if you disconnected the charger once the battery is full to avoid overcharging. Initially, you might find it difficult to disconnect the charger when the battery is full.
The best way is to charge the battery right before going to bed and disconnect it when you wake up. It should work fine as long as the charger isn’t connected with the main outlet and battery bay for 10 to 12 hours or more.
5. Charging regularly improves battery life:
Many people might not use their e-bikes daily or regularly. But it doesn’t mean you should leave the battery unattended and allow it to drain even without use. When you charge the battery regularly, it helps prolong the battery lifespan.
It would be best if you didn’t wait to drain the battery completely before charging it. Experts suggest that you recharge the lithium-ion battery of electric bikes when it reaches 30% to 40% of its capacity. Also, charge the battery fully once in 20 to 30 charging cycles. This way, you will enjoy maximum longevity and productivity from the battery.
Frequently Asked Question About Charging An E-Bike Battery
You can use a portable 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.
Usually, e-bikes use a 3.6V to 4.2V lithium-ion battery. Depending on the charger capacity, you can expect the battery to charge completely from 3 to 7 hours mostly. If the battery has a bit of charge remaining, the charging time will reduce accordingly.
It would help if you never overcharged the e-bike battery. It reduces the lifespan of the batter 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.
Yes, you can charge your electric bike in a car charging station. These stations use a car cigarette lighter (12V output) to charge the e-bike battery. But, it is not recommended for daily use.
Although it is possible to leave your e-bike on charge overnight, it is not recommended. If your electric bike battery is overcharged, it may damage the battery permanently. However, if the battery is fully drained, you can charge the battery right when you go to bed. Since the battery needs 5 to 7 hours for recharging, leaving it overnight in charge won’t harm it much.
Yes, you can charge your e-bike battery after every ride. However, the rule of thumb is to charge the battery when its charge reduces to 30% to 60%. You don’t need to drain the battery completely before charging it. When you charge it after every ride it may also increase its overcharging hazards. So, the best is to charge it when it reduces to 3%.
You shouldn’t leave the battery unattended for a long time. Plus, drain the battery fully once in every 30 to 40 charging cycles and then charge it to 100%. Finally, stop overcharging the battery to help it last longer and perform safely.
Yes, electric bikes charge when you pedal. But the models are pretty limited and need regenerative brakes. Hence, it is safe to say that charging e-bikes through pedaling isn’t a pretty functional idea.
It might not use premium quality materials for the framework. Motor performance and energy conversion rate will be way lower as well. It might skimp out on essential pneumatic tires and foldable properties too.
Doesn’t mean that the $300 scooters are bad or unusable, but having those upgraded features does help out a lot at times.
Most e-bike batteries will need from 0.4KW to 0.8KW current for one full charging cycle. In most states in the US, the cost of 1KW electricity is roughly $.10. So, you will only need to spend 8 to 10 cents for charging the batteries fully. It is cheaper than most people think.
A portable charger or power bank can be sued to charge an electric bike. It needs to have higher voltage and power than your e-bike battery. It is a popular idea to charge e-bikes during camping and long weekend tours.
This is our end of discussion on how to charge electric bike battery safely and accurately. You should now realize that it is not as complex as many people consider it initially. You just need to remove the battery from the housing, connect it with the charger and off you go.
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 will also extend its lifespan and increase your e-bike comfort.