How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Bike?

how much does it cost to charge an electric bike

E-bikes are not incredibly hard to maintain and the cost of operation is low. However, not all electric bikes are the same. One of the greatest differences in quality shows itself in charging the battery. If you’re wondering how much it costs to charge an electric bike, know that the answer varies.

Fully charged bike batteries typically last 20 to 40 miles and can cost about $0.04-0.08 per charge. The cost to charge an electric bike depends on the size of the battery, the weight of the rider, or the nature of the bike ride.

Electric bike batteries come in different sizes. Bike batteries vary depending on the size of the bike, the weight of the rider or types of rides (i.e., commuting, uphill, hunting). The size of the battery also determines how long a charge will last. Most bike batteries will last you anywhere between 20 and 40 miles per charge.   

Batteries are estimated to offer 800 full charge cycles. Supposing one charge lasts a day-long ride, and the electric bike is used daily, the battery would last more than two years. Eight cents a charge times eight-hundred charges are only sixty-four dollars ($64).

Charging Electric Bikes From A Car Battery

If you’re wondering if you can charge an electric bike using a car battery, then this section is for you.

There are two simple ways to charge an E-bike with a car battery. Neither requiring much savvier than clipping on prongs, exactly as you’d hook up jumper cables. You can either directly connect it to the car battery or

Directly Connect Bike Battery To The Car Battery

To charge an electric bike by directly connecting it to a car battery, you will need an AC to DC inverter. The inverter acts as an intermediary between the car battery and the electric bike battery charger. The car battery provides a 12-volt DC signal. The DC signal is converted to a 120-volt AC by the inverter, which can be then used to charge the DC battery on the e-bike.

So, if both the car battery and the E-bike battery use direct current, isn’t the inverter an unneeded middleman? No, that is because, much like a cellphone or computer battery, the E-bike battery charger is designed to plug into a wall home/office socket, which runs on AC.

A car battery alone does not have the capacity to charge an E-bike battery all the way. To charge it completely, luckily, there is a simple solution; turn your car on. The running engine charges the car battery, and the car battery charges the E-bike battery.

If you don’t want to leave the car engine running, don’t worry, the inverter will switch off before the car battery is too low to turn the engine over. With that in mind, it’s not the best idea to charge your E-bike battery while listening to the radio, with your headlights on, rolling the windows up and down.

This process works best with a good E-bike charger with Power Factor Correction (PFC). The only thing you need to know about PFC is that it makes the transfer of charge from car to E-bike more efficient. That means less charge time with more charge. Once again, this is a difference to look out for when comparing, for example, Bosch to other companies.

Use The Car Cigarette Lighter

Another simple way to charge an electric bike using your car is by using the car’s cigarette lighter. All you will need is an inverter to connect your bike battery to the car.

Charging An E-bike Battery With A Generator

You can also charge an electric bike battery using a generator. Many people don’t choose to charge their bike with a generator because it can be cumbersome and inconvenient. However, if a generator is your only option, it can be a reasonable option for charging your bike.

It is easier to use a generator to charge your bike in comparison to a car battery. An AC generator produces AC electricity, like in your home, so you can plug your battery right in.

Depending on the size and power of your generator, it can take a lot of time for your bike to fully re-charge. A generator isn’t an optimal way to charge your electric bike if you are expecting speed.

With a generator, the ambitious desire is to charge the battery while you’re using the E-bike, enabling a continuous ride. Whether it’s with solar power, electric, or gas, hard-nosed bikers are running into problems either of size or efficiency. That is not to say a solution is not forthcoming. Bikers are tinkering around with different more and less portable, mountable, and reasonable combinations.

Rodger Marjama debuts his build in this link below, an E-bike mounted with a 23-pound gas generator hooked up directly to the E-bike battery:

Final Thoughts

Although the perfect charge at the perfect price doesn’t exist yet, the terrain around batteries and charging is traversable. It is becoming more and more plausible for E-bikes to be a source of freedom and not a headache. The solutions to the problems are not unreachable and being explored constantly by E-bike enthusiasts. This is part of the appeal. There is, in there, somewhere, the potential to be a pioneer, the feeling that discovery is waiting. In part, it is because the questions asked are not out of our reach—thanks to online communities—not even as far away as our fingertips.

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