How to recharge your electric bike?
Electrically assisted bicycles are becoming increasingly popular. Whether it's for touring, commuting, or taking on steep hills, EABs are a great companion, as long as you can handle the load.
Although battery life is continually improving, the fear of running out of battery power can be a barrier for many users. However, they can be easily recharged at an electrical outlet using the battery charger provided by the manufacturer, or outdoors at charging stations.
Which charging system should I use? How to charge your electric bike when traveling ? How to charge your electric bike in an optimal way? Nothing could be easier! Discover our explanations and advices to take care of your battery in order to improve its efficiency and its life span.
When to charge the battery of your electric bike?
Electric bicycle batteries are equipped with a small LED light that tells you its working condition. In general, the LED light turns red when the EAB battery is completely discharged.
When connected to a charging source, the LED turns yellow and continues to flash. This means that the battery is charging successfully.
The small light turns green when the battery of the electric bicycle exceeds a certain charge threshold.
The table below shows the different colors of the lights and their respective charge levels:
LED light color of the battery
Percentage of the battery
Electric bikes without removable batteries often do not have LED lights. You can check the charge of the battery with the built-in meters.
Integrated meters are usually connected to the handlebars of the electric bicycle or to the frame. They indicate the battery's charge level, its autonomy and whether the battery is too hot or too cold.
Charging your battery from an electrical outlet
You can charge your electric bike battery at home, and the process is simple! Each electric bike comes with a battery anda cable to charge it.
The battery of an electric bicycle functions as its heart, providing power to its electrical components. Without a working battery or sufficient charge, an EAB will become a conventional bike whose weight will quickly deter you from taking long trips.
EABs are equipped with different types of batteries. Their design, characteristics and specificities determine the way they will be charged. Generally, they have a removable battery that can be removed with a simple push.
Steps to charge an electric battery
Charging an electric bike battery at home, at the campsite or at work is like charging any other battery-powered device. To charge a removable battery, you must:
- Disassemble or remove the battery from its holder.
- Plug the original charger into the wall socket.
- Connect the charger to the battery.
In the case of an electric bicycle that does not come with a removable battery, you must :
- Place the electric bicycle next to the power supply.
- Connect the cable to the battery.
Battery charging time
In general, the battery of an electric bicycle can be fully charged in 3 to 7 hours. However, the charging time and speed depends on the size, type, charging cable used and quality of the battery.
For example, a standard size lithium-ion battery takes 3-6 hours to fully charge. At the same time, a lead-acid battery of the same size can take more than 10 hours.
The cable used also affects the charging time. The cable supplied by the manufacturer is designed to provide optimal charging without damaging the battery.
How do you charge an electric bike when you are not at home?
It's a solution that's becoming more and more widespread in Belgium: charging stations. They are multiplying on the territory, even if their number and their conditions of use are still to be improved. However, this is a solution that should not be neglected for bicycle tourists or for urban trips.
These stations are ideal for recharging and can provide enough power to quickly charge your bike's battery. On average, it takes 1h20 to recharge your bike and get 60% of battery charge.
However, they are not so widespread that you will find them on every corner. Before you cycle the Belgian roads, make sure that your route has charging stations. It's a good thing that some regions have maps with them.
The terminals can take the form of a rack where you have to put the battery (provided you have a removable battery) or of plugs on which you can connect thanks to a cable. In this case, it induces to carry it with you. This allows you to recharge the battery while securing the bike (with a lock or an anti-theft device). The terminals can be located in the street, in bike shelters or in a parking lot.
Of course, all brands and types of EVs can be parked at these stations.
Other charging locations
Other ways to recharge an electric bike battery away from home:
- You can go to an electric bike store and charge your battery there.
- You can find a charging station for electric cars. But be careful, you have to use a proper charging cord, otherwise you risk burning out your battery in a flash.
- If you're traveling somewhere where the chances of finding a power outlet, charging station or bike store are slim, carry an extra electric bike battery. Very handy! Electric bikes with the e-Bike motion drive system can have an additional battery that doubles their range. Discreet, it can be stored in a bottle cage and is easily connected to the battery.
Safety precautions for charging your EAB
First of all, read the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer carefully. This will allow you to better understand the type of your battery, its optimal voltage, its limits and the estimated charging time.
Precautions to take:
- Use only the electrical charger provided by the manufacturer and avoid using an external charger unless necessary. In the long run, this will protect your battery's autonomy and total life. An external charging cable can damage the battery.
- Always turn off the power supply when connecting and disconnecting the charger from the battery. This will prevent you from being electrocuted in the event of a power surge.
- Never leave your bike unattended for an extended period of time while it is charging. Make sure the battery is away from any flammable objects. A lithium battery can explode in a fire.
- Avoid charging an electric battery that has been damaged. Exposed battery cells can easily catch fire and cause it to explode. Ideally, have your EAB battery checked after a fall, even if it appears to be in good condition.
Some tips for optimal recharging
Several factors influence the performance of the battery and therefore the autonomy of your electric bicycle: the mode of driving, the pressure of the tires, the terrain, the weight of the user and the temperature. Time is also a factor when it comes to battery health. Over time, all batteries degenerate, whether you use them or not.
The question remains, how do you extend the life of your battery? Just follow a few practices!
Charge your new battery for 12 hours
After purchasing a new battery for your electric bicycle, consider charging it for at least 12 hours. This initial long charge will get the battery in good condition right out of the box. It also allows enough current to flow through all the cells in the battery.
Charge the battery regularly
Most batteries use lithium-ion. They last longer if they are used and charged regularly. In general, you should not let your electric bicycle battery run down completely before the next charge.
Instead, always try to recharge your EAB battery when it has about 30-60% energy left. However, you can occasionally do a full discharge every 25 to 35 charges. You should get out and ride regularly. Most batteries require regular use.
Avoid extreme temperatures
We can't say it enough, avoid extreme temperatures. To prolong its life, avoid leaving your bike in direct sunlight and use a cool shelter (if possible). During each charge, the battery should be placed in an environment that is neither too hot nor too cold. It is preferable to maintain a temperature of about 15 to 20°C during the charge.
Do not store an empty battery
Do not store the battery at 0%. Always try to store the battery at about 40-60% of its total capacity.
If you're not sure how long your battery will last on a long trip, buy an extra battery for a better experience. You won't run out of power!
Several solutions are available to you to recharge your electric bike, depending on your needs and desires. The electric plug for daily use and the charging stations for urban routes or bicycle touring. But keep in mind that the territory is unequally equipped, so plan your trip in advance to avoid running out of juice.
FAQ on charging an electric battery
Can the battery be charged to 100%?
Most electric bikes have a lithium-ion battery. You can disconnect it before full charge or charge it to 100%. We'll give you a quick overview of how it works: it charges in 2 cycles. The first cycle is where the battery charges quickly and restores about 90% of its capacity. Therefore, if you disconnect the battery at this point, it means you have "charged" the best part of the battery.
Can you charge the battery of your EV while pedaling?
Pedaling does not allow you to recharge the battery of your electric bike. There are nevertheless some EABs that have this feature, but they are rare on the market.
Do I have to wait for the battery to run down completely?
No, you don't have to wait for the battery to discharge completely. In fact, some manufacturers even suggest that it's best to recharge the battery before it runs out of power to optimize its life cycles.
In this case, it is probably a good idea to simply recharge the battery after each use.
Is an electric bicycle battery replaceable?
Yes, it is replaceable at any time. Electric bikes are designed to allow you to remove the battery for easier charging. It is also ideal for E-bike owners to have a spare battery for long trips. You can replace the battery in your electric bike if it becomes damaged or loses its effectiveness.
How long does an electric bicycle battery last?
In general, most electric bike batteries have a life span of up to 500 full charge cycles. This figure is of course only an indication! Some batteries can last up to 1200 cycles. Not to mention that most EAB manufacturers offer a 2-year warranty to each user.