Self-charging e-bikes are a common interest these days. Do electric bikes actually charge when you pedal? This article will help you find the most detailed and justified answer to this most commonly searched question. Give it a read now.
Electric bikes charge when you pedal
Yes, electric bikes can actually charge when you pedal. This charging power is received from the kinetic energy released after pedaling. Instead of dissipating in the form of heat or resistance, the kinetic energy converts into power for charging the battery.
Electric bikes are really fun to ride, but let’s accept that we all have issues with their charging. Most electric bikes do not have prolonged battery running time even though their charging time is quite a lot. To get help with battery problems, e-bikers wonder if their bikes can charge by pedaling? Practically this sounds a bit difficult but to your surprise there really are e-bikes that charge when you pedal. So to know more details, let us start our main topic then.
Are there self-charging electric bikes?
Not all, but some electric bikes feature self-charging properties. They do so by recapturing the power that is during the application of brakes or while riding down a hill. What helps electric bikes self-charge during pedaling?
This is the most common question keeping how electric bikes are charged by pedaling. Well, a simple answer to this question is the introduction of the recent ‘regenerative technology’ introduced in the electric biking market. To help this technology, there is an additional sensor installed in the electric bike which activates the application of brakes and makes the motor start consuming the forward motion energy of the e-bike for charging the battery instead of releasing it as heat.
What Do you Mean by Regenerative Braking in E-bikes?
Regenerative braking in electric bikes is a feature that allows capturing some of the energy on the application of brakes and then feeding it back into the battery. A great amount of kinetic energy is released when brakes are applied when riding an e-bike. This kinetic energy can be used for charging your electric bike, cool, right?
If this energy is not used for charging purposes then this entire energy would be lost in wind resistance and heat energy of the brake pads, as observed in ordinary bikes. But regenerative braking allows you to utilize this kinetic energy in a better way and power your e-bike when you need to accelerate ultimately extending your battery range.
Is Charging Via Pedaling Effective?
Another important question that arises here is that is charging via pedaling really effective? Well, there is no exact answer to this question, because the answer varies with the type of ride you are having. If you are riding on a flat surface for a very long time period, in a low-traffic area then the efficiency of this charging feature will be quite low. The reason behind this is less use of brakes in such conditions. To the most, you will be only able to successfully utilize 1% of the energy.
On the other hand, if you are riding through a high-traffic area the use of brakes would be very high helping you successfully utilize 8 to 14 % of the energy.
What is the Role of Pedaling in the Self-charging of e-bikes?
The energy produced by pedaling is transferred to the motor for helping you keep moving. Under normal conditions, the pedaling output is released as heat loss due to friction or consumed in overcoming wind resistance on applying brakes. In e-bikes with a pedal charging feature, this energy is utilized for charging the battery.
How Much Energy Can you Preserve by Pedal Charging?
To be honest, on average 6 to 10 percent energy is preserved by pedal charging. This means you can ride an extra mile on every ten miles you cover if your e-bike has the self-charging feature. On 5 percent energy preservation, you will be able to enjoy half an extra mile.
Why is Pedal Charging Feature Rarely Seen in E-bikes?
Only a few high-end bikes feature pedal charging. This is because it requires a special type of motor, the Direct Drive Motor which is not found in all types of e-bikes. Other than the pedal charging benefits of this motor, it also leaves you with a major disadvantage.
You will have to pedal the bike yourself once the battery runs out with more energy as you will have to overcome the resistance coming from the motor as well. This is not a problem faced by using the regular geared motor.
What are the Benefits of Self-charging E-bikes?
Self-charging e-bikes help you preserve energy which ultimately makes them good for the environment.
Reduce Damage to the Brakes:
The brakes are saved from high-end damage because the input energy is converted to output energy instead of being released as frictional output.
Extended Battery Range:
The battery range is also extended because the energy lost in braking is recaptured to some extent.
What are the Problems Faced by the Self-charging of E-bikes?
Self-charging of e-bikes is not just beneficial but also comes with a lot of problems. The major ones include:
The power yield of self-charging e-bikes is very low in comparison to the trouble that comes with this process.
Another important factor to consider here is the time required for charging the battery by pedaling. It takes a lot of time in charging the battery this way. So it would be faster and better to charge the battery normally.
What are the Major Problems that Hinder Self-charging in Most of the E-bikes?
E-bikes are designed in a way that the input used for pedaling the e-bike is used to run the bike in forwarding motion. This is the same as seen in non-motorized bikes. But in e-bikes, motors assist your ride depending upon the level of output and desired assistance settings. There are two main reasons why most of the e-bikes do not exhibit self-charging properties, which are:
The power produced by the motion of your legs during pedaling is very low and insufficient to be converted into battery power that you can later use for riding the bike in forwarding motion.
For controlling the output power for battery charging, it must be removed from moving the bike in the forward direction. This will change the feeling of your ride completely because the power output will be cut off from forwarding motion.
This was all about charging e-bikes by pedaling. Hopefully, now you are very clear with your answer about if e-bikes can actually be charged by pedaling. Well on a general note it is recommended to charge your e-bikes normally as it is more time-saving and efficient as compared to charging them by pedaling.