Those looking for the highest-rated electric bike may be wondering how the charging mechanism operates and whether or not it allows the battery to be recharged as you pedal. Generally speaking, most electric bikes do not charge as you pedal. They require their lithium-ion battery packs to be plugged into a power outlet in order to receive a charge. This feature helps them to be part of the high mileage electric bikes. There are some models that do offer the capacity to charge as you pedal. Therefore, read our Nakto 26 review, which is a bike that offers pedal assist.
- Electric bikes do not typically divert energy to the battery as you pedal.
- There are some bikes that feature regenerative braking, which offers a slight amount of energy to the battery as you brake.
- Newer and experimental designs are available, though they are extremely expensive.
And, if you’ll be on rugged terrain, you’ll want to find the best electric bikes for hunting.
- Related Post: What Kind of Battery Does an eBike Use?
Learn Which Bikes Charge on the Go
Not all electric bikes charge on the go, and this includes the model in our Grace MX review. In fact, this is a relatively minor market segment due to the technology still being in its nascent stages. As technology advances, we should see this feature spread from e-bikes to even the best adult electric scooter.
Most electric bikes that allow charging during use operate via a concept known as regenerative braking. Essentially, the system captures some of the energy used during the braking process and shuttles it to the battery. Only electric bikes with direct drive hub motors offer this feature, and the technology is still somewhat inefficient, as regenerative braking only allows for five to ten percent of a battery’s recharge. For more details, you’ll want to learn more about a hub motor vs mid drive. If you want an example of a bike with a great braking system, you’ll want to read our Gazelle electric bikes review.
You can, however, increase this metric while braking while descending a steep incline. But for an increase in speed and to ascend major hills more easily, we recommend you shop for the right-sized motor for your ebike.
- Related Post: Benefits of Using an Electric Mountain Bike
Most electric bikes that allow charging during use operate via a concept known as regenerative braking.
There are a number of experimental designs that look to exponentially increase the efficiency of self-charging batteries. The Byer Volta is a relatively new electric bike that features a shaft-driven design that uses energy produced by backpedaling to charge the battery. They claim the battery can achieve a near-full recharge during use. The Vello Bike+ is a folding design that uses proprietary KERS technology (kinetic energy recovery system) to self-charge the battery. There are a number of other designs set to emerge for consumer use. These new designs can be on the expensive side, so take that into consideration before making a purchase. Also, because these bikes can be very costly, we recommend purchasing extra protection from the list of electric bike insurance options.
STAT: Only e-bikes with direct drive hub motors are able to use regenerative braking, and only about 5-10% of energy is typically captured using regenerative braking on eBikes, with higher capture possible on more hilly terrain with more braking. (source)
Throttle Mode and Pedal-assist Charging
In general, electric bikes do not feature batteries that can be self-charged while engaging the throttle or the motor’s pedal assist mode. **As of this writing, there is no technology that allows for the recycling of the energy due to throttling or engaging a pedal-assist feature, though there have been some promising studies. **For now, plugging batteries into power outlets seems the safest and most budget-friendly option for most consumers. It should also be noted that throttles can allow for more speed on your ebike. As such, you should check local regulations and laws to see what is legally allowable. There may even be different regulations for thumb throttle vs twist throttle electric bikes, as is the case with ebike regulations in the EU and UK.
If you’re learning how to make an electric bike, you’ll want to make sure it’s got the ability for pedal-assisting.
Moreover, if you want a faster bike, you’ll want to learn more about boosting electric bike speed, especially if you’re not a fan of pedal-assist riding.
There are a number of experimental designs that look to exponentially increase the efficiency of self-charging batteries.
How effective is regenerative braking on an eBike?
Not very, for now. Regenerative braking accounts for around five to ten percent of a full battery charge, though this metric can be increased by braking during steep inclines.
Is regenerative braking for eBikes just a marketing tool?
Not necessarily. Regenerative braking can juice your battery up to ten percent of its maximum capacity, which could make a huge difference in dire circumstances.
Will regenerative braking damage the brakes of my eBike?
No. The regenerative braking system should not damage the components of the brakes, as they are typically designed to work together with optimum efficiency.