Do self-charging electric bikes exist? Is there really such a thing as overcharging an e-bike battery?
Questions like these should be asked if you’re considering buying a new e-bike.
Being or considering becoming an eBike owner it would be to your benefit to understand the best charging practices.
Congratulations! you’ve clicked on the right post. We want to help demystify some of the common e-bike battery questions.
Now, is the best time to engage in this topic since e-bikes are becoming practical and more efficient.
Why We Love The Self Charging Electric Bike
Bikes that have the ability to self-charge are few and far between. But they are super enjoyable to ride around with and give you the added charger much longer than other eBikes.
Not many manufacturers have that ability out there to add self-charging capabilities for these reasons:
(1.) A very costly feature to put into eBikes.
(2.) Cause a lot of issues with maintenance and management for eBike owners.
However, they aren’t really self-charging in the sense you may be thinking of charging itself completely without ever needing to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
What do we mean by that?
They actually need your movement and physical energy to get the regenerating feature to actually work.
Do Electric Bikes Charge Themselves?
Yes, you can charge your electric bike by itself with “Optimized regenerative braking”.
How it works is when you are riding around with your electric bike, any time you are going up hills and incline areas, there is energy being used up by the electric motor.
As you are going down hills while braking or braking in general you can 10-20% chargeback when you come to a slow stop versus hard stop.
Not all eBikes have regenerative braking! You do have to make sure that the bike that you purchase regenerative braking built-in.
No — you can’t charge the eBike all the way back to 100% just by riding around. It isn’t possible in any eBike due to lack of efficiency and losing energy as time goes on, also heat dissipation.
In order to achieve 100% charging, there would have to be resistance added as you are pedaling to generate electricity. But we do agree that it would be pretty cool if that was an invention!
How To Charge An Electric Bike Battery – Guided Walkthrough
This is typically the standard procedure that you can see for electric bikes overall. We were especially lucky to source this video from CiviBikes.
Can You Overcharge An Electric Bike Battery?
There is no simple answer, there are many variations of batteries offered in the electric bike market. Each variation has a myriad of challenges when it comes to potentially overcharging an e-bike battery.
Nickel-based, sealed lead-acid or lithium battery all have their own advantage and disadvantages to consider.
Lithium-ion batteries are most commonly used in e-bikes, which is why we’ll be focusing on lithium-ion batteries since it’s more commonly used.
Technically there is no danger of overcharging a lithium-ion powered e-bike battery due to the fact that most electric bike chargers have one or two LED light indicators.
The lights switch from red to green, which indicates a fully charged battery. Once this battery is fully charged, the battery will stop charging.
The Battery Management System (BMS) is a circuit inside the electric battery that manages a rechargeable battery (cell or battery pack). This in term will allow your battery to be fully charged efficiently.
It’s considered good practice to charge newer e-bike batteries to full capacity.
In some cases, for newer batteries, you may want to leave it charged up for a bit longer. It gives the (BMS) a chance to balance out all the cells in the battery.
It’s been said to do a full charge occasionally to newer batteries, but we recommend that once it is charged to unplug the battery.
We don’t recommend you leave your battery plugged in all the time or every day. It will begin to diminish the lifespan of the battery.
The voltage inside the battery will drain steadily, it will not happen quickly, but you’ll see a noticeable difference in the battery’s performance over time.
This is because the battery is in an episodic charging cycle, eventually, the e-bike battery will be worn out.
Also don’t let the e-bike battery completely drain either, use a programmable timer switch to help cut off charge earlier to keep the battery running effectively.
Charge your battery up to 90%. Charging your battery to 90% helps maintain its overall lifespan.
Rather than charging your battery to 100% every single charge. It might be better to keep it charged between 80-90% as it is more optimal for your battery’s longevity.
Additionally, there are more advanced options for electric bike chargers out in the market like the Cycle Satator or Luna Chargers.
The Cycle Satator is programmable, it can charge up electric bike batteries to a set percentage.
The Cycle Statator is even compatible with led acid batteries. Led acid batteries for e-bikes are less common nowadays.
They are much heavier and unsafe when compared to lithium-powered e-bikes.
But if you do worry about overcharging with these batteries then the Cycle Satator will help. You can even adjust the Cycle Statator amps to control the speed of the charge.
Luna Cycle chargers work very similarly to the Cycle Satator. The difference between the two is Luna has fewer functions.
Do Electric Bikes Come With Chargers?
Yes, this is a commonly asked question, but most if not all electric bikes come with a charger. Each with varying charging power.
The charging power is dependent on a few different factors like the battery, voltage, and amp-hours. A little bit of math is needed to figure out your exact charging speed.
Also, some have an XLR 3 pin or barrel connector along with an AC adaptor on the other end of the charger. Every manufacture is different, so used whatever the manufacture suggests.
How Often Should I Charge My Electric Bike?
Battery life is calculated on the number of full charges it can undergo before it diminishes.
So, monitoring the frequency of these charges is a good way of promoting a long battery life. Electric bikes should be changed regularly, but this is based on regular usage.
A good tip is to monitor the level of charge when juicing up or discharging electric bike batteries.
In doing so you can prevent poor charging cycles and help increase the battery’s longevity as mentioned previously.
If the bike isn’t ridden for a long period of time or is kept in long-term storage then keep the battery charged between 40% – 50% at normal room temperatures.
Also, give your batter a partial charge every few months. There is some good research on the topic here.
Remember even if the battery isn’t in use, the energy that’s stored escapes gradually.
A completely discharged battery held without charge for long periods of time can incur irreparable damage.
Due to chemical reactions happening between the cathode and anode found inside the battery cell.
When you first receive a new electric bike it’s a good practice to charge it completely. It ensures that each individual cell receives a full charge and helps balances out the battery.
Can You Ride An Ebike Without The Battery?
Yes, you can ride an e-bike without the battery. This is common with most electric bikes we’ve seen, essentially, it’s just like peddling on a normal bike.
What’s missing is a lot of the key features electric bikes riders would want like pedal-assist or throttle. You’ll be dependent on gears to accommodate varying terrains.
Also, going uphill will be a bit more challenging as wind, weight, and peddling plays a factor like a traditional bike.
The real question to ask is why would you ride an e-bike without the battery? Some riders enjoy the challenge of switching to pedal assist level 0 and grinding it out on different terrain.
When bike riders are in need of a little assistance or just flat out tired but want to keep biking they increase assist level. We see this a lot with mountain bike e-riders.
When Should I Replace My Electric Bike Battery?
The lifecycle of an electric bike battery is based on a lot of different factors. How many times has the battery been topped off to 100%?
Is it ridden regularly if not how long does it go without charge? The type of rider, battery, or temperature the battery is held in also plays a role.
For example, if you’re a heavy e-bike user, who charges frequently, and you’ve maintained the battery well over the last 3 years.
It’s a good time to consider getting a new one in the incoming year.
A lithium-ion battery is commonly seen on electric bikes. Generally, lithium-ion battery with regular use loses their efficiency after 3 – 5 years.
So, a good time to replace your electric bike battery is between that 3-5-year span or any time after.
The battery charging cycle should be mentioned in the user manual. Manufactures specifications are the most accurate but remember the information is based on average usage so keep this in mind.
There isn’t really a predictable timeline for the life cycle of a battery. Be aware of its health, if the battery starts to discharge quickly after a few uses or months, then the battery is probably defective.
E-ridable technology is ever-changing, and new developments allow us to uncover better ways to take care of electric bikes.
In understanding the nuance of how electric bikes work we can affect the performance, longevity, and power of their batteries.
We wrote this post to help electric bike owners take care of thereof batteries. On average batteries will lose around two or three percent of their capacity under moderate use.
So, obviously, it’s hard to avoid the inevitable. Batteries will either pass away or require a consistent charge to stay alive.
Are electric bikes waterproof? Well, bikes aren’t like cats so they can handle water. But how much abuse an e-bike can take in the rain may vary. It’s not smart to go head first into the ocean to test how well they an e-bike may fair.
Electric bikes have come a long way so under normal conditions e-bikes perform well in the rain.
As electric bike owners there some common questions that may arise. It’s important to answer those questions to keep your bike riding under optimal levels. Read More Here
More Recommended Ebikes
Check out these other ebikes I've reviewed:
- Urban Arrow Ebike – Last year, I made one of the largest purchases I’ve ever made – I bought a $9,000 electric cargo bike from Urban Arrow. In my Urban Arrow review, I will discuss what it is and why I decided to buy this bike, as well as discuss how impactful a bike like this can be on your journey to financial independence.
- Troxus Explorer Step-Thru Ebike – The Troxus Explorer Step-Thru is a fat-tire ebike that I’ve had the pleasure of riding for a while now. It has amazing power, great looks, and awesome range. If you’re looking for a great fat-tire ebike that offers a lot for the price, the Troxus Explorer Step-Thru is definitely one for you to consider. Check out my Troxus Explorer Step-Thru Review.
- Hovsco HovBeta Ebike – The HovBeta is a folding ebike with great specs and a lot of interesting features, and importantly, it’s sold at a good price point. I’ve had a blast commuting with it and using it to do deliveries with DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. Check out my Hovsco HovBeta Ebike Review.
- Vanpowers Manidae Ebike – The Vanpowers Manidae is a fat tire ebike that I’ve been riding as my primary winter commuting bike and have also been using it to do food delivery with apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. After clocking in a decent number of miles with this ebike, I wanted to write a post sharing what my experience with the Vanpowers Manidae ebike has been like. Check out my Vanpowers Manidae Review.
- Sohamo S3 Step-Thru Folding EBike Review – A Great Value Folding Ebike – The Sohamo S3 Step-Thru Folding Ebike is an entry-level folding ebike that offers a lot of value for the price point. I’ve been riding the Sohamo S3 for a while now, putting the bike through its paces, and I have to say, this bike has exceeded all of my expectations. Check out my Sohamo Review.
- KBO Flip Ebike – The KBO Flip is an excellent bike. I’ve had a great time riding it and think it’s a versatile bike that can be used for a lot of purposes and can fit a variety of lifestyles. It’s worked out great for me as a general commuter bike and as a food delivery bike. Check out my KBO Flip Review.
- Hiboy P7 Commuter Ebike – The Hiboy P7 is an excellent electric commuter bike that’s offered at an affordable price point. The range and speed of this bike are both very good, so you won’t have any trouble getting anywhere you need to go with it. As a food delivery vehicle, this is also good – with how much range it offers, you’ll be able to work all day on a single charge. Check out my Hiboy P7 Commuter Electric Bike Review.
- Himiway Escape Ebike – The Himiway Escape is an interesting bike for anyone looking for a moped-style ebike. If you’re a gig economy worker, the Himiway Escape is particularly interesting and it’s possible to think of it as an investment, especially if you can opt to do deliveries with the Himiway versus using a car. It’s not cheap, but you can definitely make your money back when you compare the mileage you’ll put on your car versus using an ebike. Check out my Himiway Escape Bike Review.
- Espin Sport Ebike – The Espin Sport is a good ebike for someone who is looking for an ebike that feels and rides more like a regular bike. There are many ebikes that are really only bikes in name. In reality, they’re basically electric mopeds. The Espin Sport, by contrast, is a bike you could probably ride without the battery and you’d feel like you’re just riding a regular bike. Check out my Espin Sport Review.
More Recommended Scooters
Check out these other scooters I've reviewed:
- Varla Eagle One Scooter – The Varla Eagle One is an excellent scooter that can make sense for a lot of people. It can work as a primary mode of transportation. You can use it to work on gig economy apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub. And it can also be a recreational vehicle if you’d prefer to use it for that. Check out my Varla Eagle One Review.
- Varla Falcon Scooter – The Varla Falcon is an excellent scooter that offers a good amount of power at a lower price point compared to more powerful scooters. It’s not exactly an entry-level scooter, nor is it a high-powered scooter. I think it fits somewhere in-between those two categories – an intermediate scooter if I had to give it a category. Check out my Varla Falcon Review.
- Hiboy S2 Scooter – The Hiboy S2 is an excellent entry-level commuter scooter that's perfect for someone looking to save some money in transportation costs and improve their commute. Check out my Hiboy S2 Review.
- Hiboy S2R Scooter – The Hiboy S2R is one of the more interesting electric scooters I’ve been able to test out. It’s not a high-powered scooter, but for an everyday transport option, it’s very useful, especially given some of the unique features that it has. Indeed, for the price, the Hiboy S2R might be the best value scooter I’ve used. Check out my Hiboy S2R Review.
- GoTrax G5 Scooter – The GoTrax G5 Electric Scooter is a new commuter scooter from GoTrax that I’ve been riding for a while now. It’s a scooter that’s well-built, has a good top speed, and offers a lot of great features. And with a price point in the $500 range, it’s a scooter that offers a lot of value for the money too. Check out my GoTrax G5 Review.
- Sisigad Arrow Max Scooter – When it comes to scooters, you sometimes just need a solid, well-built, decently fast scooter to get you around. The Sisigad Arrow Max is an entry-level scooter that does exactly that. I’ve been riding it around a bunch lately – and so far – I find it to be a fun, affordable scooter that works well for commuting and getting around the city. Check out my Sisigad Arrow Max Review.
- Fucare H3 Scooter – The Fucare H3 is a fun scooter and I’ve enjoyed testing it out. For a daily commuter or quick trips or errands, the Fucare H3 is probably the scooter I’ll use. It’s portable and easy to maneuver, so it’s just easier to take on the road when I need it. Check out my Fucare H3 Scooter Review.