You have a new e-bike and would like to go out for a long ride. Many e-bike manufacturers give a maximum range for their particular model of electric bike, but generally, this number is very inaccurate.
E-bike range is the distance an E-bike can travel on a single charge before the battery is fully depleted. The range of an e-bike is always measured in perfect conditions. Perfect conditions are a rider weighing no more than 170 lbs riding on completely flat roads with no wind.
Most likely you will not be riding in perfect condition and you can expect about half the range that bike manufacturers state. Some E-bikes can have a stated range as high as 60 to 70 miles on a single charge but more often the range for many entry-level E-bikes are under 40 miles and most are about 30 miles and under. Keep in mind if you are cycling in colder temperatures the range will be further reduced.
Now that you know the reality of the range of an electric bike, you have to plan accordingly if you want to go on a long ride. If you plan to ride further then the range of your E-bike you will have to charge your battery at some point. So the question is how to charge my E-bike battery when out for a long ride.
How to charge my E-bike battery when out for a long ride
- Charge Stations
- Bring two batteries
- Bring along a quick charger
- Where can I use my charger?
- Charge with a car battery
- Portable battery with Solar panel
E-bikes have been very popular in China for many years. E-bike use has also grown in popularity in Europe in the last number of years but E-bike use in Canada and the US are just now starting to gain in popularity.
Because of the popularity in China and Europe and there emphasis on using clean energy and reducing carbon emissions they have already set up charging stations in many convenient places.
Like outside restaurants and in areas wear E-bike use is prevalent. North America is still in love with their cars and has charge stations that have been set up for Electric automobiles. Tesla is the leader in charge stations and has many supercharging stations set up throughout Canada and the US.
Tesla supercharger stations are set up within a 300-mile radius of each other so that Tesla drivers can have the ability to go on longer trips that are more than the 300-mile range that a fully charged Tesla is rated for.
A Tesla will take 9.5 hours to fully charge on a standard 240-watt outlet. A Tesla supercharging stations can greatly reduce charge time that makes it more convenient to go on longer trips. For example, at a supercharging station, a Tesla can get a 50% charge in 20 minutes, an 80% charge in 40 minutes and 100% charge in 75 minutes.
There are more new charge hubs for automobiles being set up every day throughout North America. They are being set up at car dealerships, outside Walmarts, museums, and in Canada at many Tim Hortons.
Unfortunately, charge stations for E-bikes in North America are not that common but some charge stations are starting to appear in various locations like at universities, restaurants and in some cities, but we still have a long way to go.
An E-bike rider cannot take advantage of Supercharge hubs and have to use a charger with a standard AC outlet, fortunately, they are available everywhere.
Bring two batteries
The most obvious choice is to bring two batteries but this means packing another 7 to 10 pounds. And if you bring your charger that is also another few pounds you have to carry around.
Bring along a quick charger
There are quick chargers available that can be used to reduce this time but this can dramatically reduce the overall life cycles of your battery and since batteries are expensive you probably do not want to do that.
Newer fast chargers are designed to reduce the impact of fast charging but with a higher current being produced this causes the battery to get very hot and will still damage the cells and reduce battery life.
If battery life is not a concern for you then I would recommend buying a quality quick charger. Two good models are the Luna Charger and the Cycle Satiator.
If you have the budget I would recommend the Cycle Satiator available at Amazon over the Luna Charger. It is three times the cost of the Luna Charger but the Cycle Satiator is the most advanced charger for e-bikes on the market and known as the Cadillac of chargers.
First off, the Cycle Satiator weights under 3 pounds and is completely waterproof. It is designed so it can be mounted permanently on your bike. It can charge almost any type of E-bike battery and can be programmed to charge your battery to only 80%. Undercharging a battery prolongs the life of a battery.
See my full post How to care and maintain your E-bike battery to learn about proper battery care. The Luna Charger is priced under $100 weighs about the same as the Cycle Satiator but it is a larger size, does not have as many functions and features and is not waterproof.
If you stick with a regular charger this simply means longer lunches to charge your battery. Typical charge time for an electric bike battery is between 2 and 6 hours to fully charge a fully depleted battery. Be sure your battery and charger are in a secure place and you do not leave it unattended or your battery and charge may disappear.
Most chargers are fairly small and lightweight and definitely worth carrying a little extra weight to have the security of further range if you like to ride for longer journeys.
Where can I use my charger?
There are a number of places to charge your battery. All you need is a standard AC outlet and your charger. Be sure to use proper etiquette when using someone else’s AC outlet. If you go into a store or business always be sure to ask first and a good idea is to spend some money at the establishment.
If it is a restaurant or pub have some food or buy a few drinks and generally they will let you plug in to charge your battery. If they are resistant explain to them that to fully charge your battery does not use up a lot of electricity and will only cost about 10 cents. Campgrounds and public building like libraries also may let you use there AC outlet. But again ask first.
Charge with a car battery
Another alternative if you came with a car is to use your car battery, but this needs to be set up properly or you can easily damage your battery.
You will need three things and inverter to convert the power of the car battery to a compatible voltage to your e-bike battery, a power energy monitor to tell you how much power is going from the car battery to the E-bike battery and an alternator tester, this unit switches the power off when the battery is fully charged a very important device to ensure you do not overcharge and damage your battery.
Important to note, never charge a completely dead battery without having the car running. If you do this you may find that later you cannot start your car and have a dead battery.
Portable battery with Solar panel
A great option if you came in a car, is to bring along something like the Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator that paired with the Nomad solar panels can be a good alternative. Combo packs are available at Amazon for under $350 dollars.
Charge up the Goal Zero Yeti 150 at home before you leave and use the solar panel to keep the battery topped up when you are out in the country and do not have access to electricity. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 can also serve double duty as an emergency power supply at home.
5 Alternative ways to charge your E-bike Battery
So there you have it, a few ways on how to charge your E-bike battery when out for a long ride. Thankfully if you do run out of power you can still pedal your bike to somewhere you can charge the battery, but because E-bikes weigh significantly more than a regular bike this will not be much fun. E-bikes are a really great way to get around and explore new places.
You will probably be inclined to go further distances because of the motor assistance that makes it more fun and less tiring than you would on a normal bike. Knowing the range of your bike and a little planning and long lunch breaks will ensure you have an enjoyable day of riding.
Car Bike Rack Carrier for a Fat Tire E-bike
You probably are going to need a Car Bike Carrier to get your e-bike to your destination. Many car-bike carriers cannot handle the heavyweight of an e-bike here is a list of the Best Car Bike Rack Carrier for a Fat Tire E-bike that will work for your e-bike.