Do Electric Bikes Charge When You Pedal?

Are you wondering whether your electric bike charges when you pedal? Well, that would be so great and convenient, right?

Well, in this article, we look to answer your question, in detail. Plus, look at how the battery charges, and some ways you can maximize battery life.

So let’s jump straight to it.

Key Takeaways

In general, electric bikes do not charge when you pedal. You rather need to plug the battery pack into a power outlet to charge it. There are however some models with the capability to charge as you pedal. If this is what you are looking for, find an electric bike with regenerative braking.

What Is Regenerative Braking In Electric Bikes?

Regenerative braking is a technology that does what we discussed here, and it is widely used in newer vehicles like Toyota Prius. It is also found on electric bicycles, although significantly less often. How does regenerative braking work? 

Very simple. The electric motor extinguishes the kinetic energy of the vehicle’s movement while generating electricity, which is stored in the batteries.

How Effective Is Regenerative Braking On An E-Bike?

The efficiency of the electric bike and the distance traveled on a single charge of the batteries increase due to regenerative braking. 

The energy efficiency of the regenerative braking system depends on your riding style and the number of descents and ascents on the route. The more often you use the brakes, the more effective it will get. 

On average, the regenerative braking system increases the efficiency by 5 – 20%. The average cyclist on the moderate route can travel about 10% longer distances on a single battery charge.

The regeneration function should not be considered a useless option, but you should not expect a fantastic effect from it either. 

If you rely on a controller and a power-generating wheel motor to dramatically increase your mileage on a single charge, you will be disappointed. 

It will not provide much energy saving, but it will allow you to drive a couple of kilometers extra on a charge. In some cases, this can be very useful.

Will Regenerative Braking Damage the Brakes on my Ebike?

No, it won’t. Regenerative braking can significantly reduce brake wear and heating during long descents. In addition, regenerative braking is smooth and quiet. 

And, more importantly, you spend energy recharging the battery and not heating the surrounding space, as is the case with conventional brakes. 

Is Regenerative Braking for Ebikes Just a Marketing Tool?

Not really. However, it would help to keep your expectations on a reasonable level. A regenerative system is a valuable addition to electric bicycles, but it does not increase your range by a whole lot. 

And other methods will help to extend the mileage of an electric bike on a single charge – using a more capacious battery, riding in economy mode, and combining an electric drive with pedaling. 

And instead of a direct drive motor that supports the regeneration function, it is better to use geared motors with an overrunning clutch in most cases. 

They use battery energy more economically, have lower weight, and do not slow down in the absence of power. 

Let’s evaluate the real possibilities of bicycle electronics and consider the manner of a cyclist’s ride. We will get an indicator of the renewal of battery energy during braking not higher than 5-7%. 

Moreover, a figure of 5% energy replenishment would be more plausible. It turns out that even 15-20% of powering the batteries of an electric bike during braking is physically impossible, not to mention the complete replenishment of the charge.

Reasons To Get An E-bike

Over the past few years, electric bicycles have been gaining increasing popularity worldwide and in Canada. After all, this is the ideal type of urban and suburban transport, the advantages of which are:

  • The economy of movement (no need to spend money on fuel);
  • Lack of exhaust gases and the smell of gasoline;
  • High maneuverability allows you to bypass traffic jams;
  • A relatively high speed of 25-55 km/h;
  • Sufficient mileage from one battery charge of 25-60 km, and sometimes up to 100 km;
  • Affordable cost;
  • No need to drive with a license and undergo technical inspection.

Riding a bike with an electric motor is beneficial for a person’s health regardless of physical fitness. While riding, it is not at all necessary to pedal constantly. The electric motor will fully or partially provide assistance to the movement. 

The power source for the electric motor is a rechargeable battery. It does not matter how you feel today and how old you are. This miracle of technology will always take you where you need it.

Conclusion

There are many different electric bikes, some of which do charge when you pedal or brake. In terms of the benefits of energy recovery, this function will not harm your e-bike, but it will not bring huge benefits either. 

Don’t fly in the clouds and hope that a controller and wheel motor that supports this capability will dramatically increase your bike’s mileage potential.

Photo of author
Written By Robert Gibbons
From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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