Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular all around the globe for all the right reasons. They are fast, fun, and convenient. Moreover, they are environmentally friendly and can also help you stay in shape without tiring out excessively. In the last decade, electric bikes have become a popular option for the daily commute and cruising around the city.
But did you know that electric bikes are equally suitable for off-road adventures and road trips in remote areas? Yes, electric bikes can take you a long way if you know how to charge them en route.
So, before you head out for an adventure on your bike, first, take the time to learn how to charge your electric bike. This is important because charging your electric bike in remote areas can be a challenge if you don’t know where to go and what to do.
Sure, most electric bikes allow you to pedal the bike, like a regular bike, even after the battery runs out. However, that’s not what you want, especially when you are traveling off-road or in a new city.
Running out of battery in a foreign or unknown place can land you in a lot of trouble. Read on to learn what you can do to keep your electric bike’s battery charged and keep going on the road!
How to Charge Electric Bikes in Remote Ares: 5 Simple Ways!
Electric bikes don’t have the biggest batteries. It might seem like a good idea to get the largest batteries possible to improve the range before embarking on the journey. However, with more capacity come higher costs and more weight.
Luckily, there are many ways to make sure your electric bike battery has enough charge to get you to your destination without any trouble. Read on to find out how to charge your electric bike in remote areas and enjoy long-range trips.
1. Charge On-The-Go with Your Charger
The easiest way to never run out of batteries on the roadside or in a remote location is to plan ahead. Bring your charger along on the trip, even if it means a heavier backpack. If you don’t want to carry the charger or any other cargo that you may have, consider installing a rear rack to hold the cargo as you pedal around to your destination and enjoy off-road trips.
You may like How Much Cargo Can an eBike Carry and When to Charge an Electric Bike.
The key is to plan a trip keeping the range of your bike in mind. Always plan multiple stops on the way where you have a good chance of charging your bike. These spots can include places like petrol stations, libraries, coffee shops, bike repair shops, restaurants, fire stations, campgrounds, highway works yards, picnic parks, etc.
However, keep in mind that your electric bike range is affected by many factors, including the terrain, the weight of the rider, the type of battery, the pedal-assist mode you choose, riding time, etc. Consider all these factors when planning a trip and choosing the potential stops on the way.
Wherever you stop to rest, just plug in the charger to charge the batteries of your bike. However, always make sure to check in with the owner before plugging in your charger.
While most people would have no problem, others might not allow you to charge your electric bike on their property. In that case, you can always move along and find another stop where you can charge your e-bike.
Therefore, the smart thing to do is to plan multiple stops on the way. It is also a good idea to make a stop once the remaining battery charge is less than half. In other words, don’t wait around to charge your electric bike battery until it is nearly out of charge.
Waiting longer to plug in the charger also means that the battery will take more time to charge fully.
On average, electric bike batteries take around 6 to 8 hours to charge fully. So, if you want to keep moving and don’t want to spend a lot of time in one place, your best bet is to plan multiple short stops instead of a single long stop.
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Choose the Right Charger
Once you have sorted out the rest stops where you can charge the batteries, it’s time to take a look at your charger. When charging on-the-go, using a charger that charges the battery quickly might seem like a great idea.
However, charging too fast or overcharging the battery can damage the battery pack. The trick is to balance the charging speed to prolong the battery life. Ultimately, your ability to charge boils down to the type of charger you use.
Two main types of chargers are used for charging electric bike batteries. Let’s take a look at them to understand how they differ and which one may be the better option for you.
These chargers are available in multiple Amp ratings. The higher the Amp rating, the quicker your battery will be charged. So, if you want to charge your batteries quickly, you can opt for a fixed rate charger with higher Amp ratings.
Fixed-rate chargers are generally lighter and cheaper as compared to their fully-featured counterparts. However, keep in mind that charging your battery on a higher amp rating all the time can damage the battery and reduce its overall life. So, choose wisely!
Fully-featured chargers allow you to control the charging time by changing the Amps of the charge. Some chargers may even offer the liberty to change the voltage so that many different kinds of batteries can be charged using the same charger.
However, it is important to be cautious while using a fully-featured charger. If the charger’s voltage does not meet the battery requirements, the charger may end up damaging the battery. So, make it a habit to double-check the voltage setting before plugging in your charger every time.
Naturally, fully-featured chargers are more expensive than regular chargers. They are also a bit heavier than other chargers. However, using these chargers will give you complete control over the charging time. So, when you are in a hurry, you can dial up the Amp setting to get a quick charge.
On the other hand, you can also charge at the normal rate when you have sufficient time on your hands. This approach works well as it doesn’t overexert the battery, helps avoid battery damage, and prolongs battery life.
2. Locate Bike Charging Stations on Route
Owing to the increasing popularity of electric bikes, many places now have electric bike charging stations. Electric bike charging stations are common in Europe and in some places in the USA. If you are traveling in an area with e-bike charging stations, charging your bike should not be a problem.
Charging stations usually charge a small fee for letting you charge your e-bike. They are generally located at strategic locations, keeping the average electric bike range in mind. However, it is still important to plan ahead and locate the electric bike charging stations before you leave for the trip.
It is important to mention that most charging stations have a higher Amp setting, which means that while your electric bike will charge quickly, it may be hard on the battery. Typically, there are multiple charging connectors at charging stations, allowing many riders to charge their e-bikes at the same time. So, it is highly unlikely that you have to wait for your turn.
The only remaining question is, where do you find these electric bike charging stations? Well, charging stations are much more common in Europe than in North America. So, if you are traveling through Europe, you will have plenty of options.
This is especially true for riders with Bosche electric bikes as Bosche has set up several e-bikes charging stations across Europe, particularly in areas of major tourist attractions. You can easily find Bosche Electric Bike Charging Stations near you by visiting the website and entering your location. The charging stations are typically indoors, which means you can charge your e-bike in all kinds of weather conditions.
Another company, Bike Energy, took a similar initiative to set up their charging stations across Europe. However, you will need a specific adapter cable to charge your electric bike at Bike Energy Charging Station. So, if you plan on using one of these stations, make sure you prepare for it. You can locate Bike Energy E-Bike Charging Stations near you by downloading the Electric Bike app on your phone. The app is available for both Android and Apple devices.
While electric bike charging stations are not widespread in the USA, you can still find a few options in Europe. For example, Plug Share offers a number of options. It narrows down the search by plug type to help riders find plug outlets suitable for charging electric bikes.
3. Charge Your Electric Bike While Pedaling/Braking
Did you know you can charge your electric bike through regenerative braking as your ride around? However, this option requires you to tick off a few boxes before you can successfully charge your bike as you ride it.
First of all, you need the right kind of motor, which is the direct drive hub motor. You will also need the right controller to utilize regenerative braking to your advantage.
It must be noted that the amount of regenerative (regen) braking varies depending on the terrain you are traversing. For example, suppose you are riding uphill in an area where you would need to apply the brakes more often. In that case, there is a higher possibility of utilizing regenerative power as you go downhill.
Keep in mind that most electric bikes do not have a regenerative braking option. So, you may need to make some adjustments to your electric bike so that it charges while pedaling and braking. There is also an endless debate about how much regen you actually get back and if it is worth all the trouble. While some people claim that you get a 1%-2% regen, others report a regen value as high as 10-20%.
The truth is that all these values are correct because ultimately, the regen value depends on the type of terrain you are riding in. The more brake you apply, the higher the value will be. With the right motor and controller, you can expect around 6%-10% regen in typical riding conditions in busy streets and cities.
Read Mid-Drive Electric Bike Kit
4. Use a Car to Charge Your Electric Bike
When in a pinch, you can charge your electric bike by connecting it to a car! This is an excellent option for charging on the go on a road trip. However, you need to be cautious while charging your electric bike using your car. Always use a lower voltage and amperage battery charger when using the in-car inverter.
Keep in mind that a typical car accessory socket that is generally used for charging is limited to 150 watts of power. So, using a, let’s say, 36V charger with 2-amp will draw out about 90 watts, which is below the 150-watt limit and sufficient to charge an electric bike. However, if you have a high-amp charger, then you can end up blowing a fuse in the car!
Therefore, it is best to do some homework before leaving for the trip if you plan to charge your electric bike en route by using a car. Make sure you understand how it works and has the right charger to get the job done. Finally, practice charging your electric bike a few times at home using your car before embarking on your off-road adventures.
Another important thing to remember is that even a small inverter can drain the car’s battery in just a few minutes. So, to make sure you don’t end up with dead batteries in your bike and your car, always keep the engine running when you charge your bike. When the car is running, it will effectively power the alternator to keep the car’s battery charged and also revamp your electric bike’s battery.
5. Solar-Powered Charging Options
The solar-powered charging option is effective yet unconventional. It entails charging your electric bike with a portable solar channel. This is a great option for riders who plan on exploring the wilderness or truly remote areas with no electric power charging options nearby.
Consider the solar-powered charging option only if you are really serious about exploring remote areas and plan on doing it frequently. This is because solar power backup is neither easy nor cheap. So, if you are not planning to use it frequently, installing a solar power backup may not be worthwhile.
Another drawback of solar-powered charging is that it depends on the weather conditions, which means a rainy day can leave you stranded in a remote area. Plus, the charging time is relatively slow as compared to other charging options. You will also have to carry around expensive and heavy components. Finally, the AC-DC power conversion process is also not the best.
Considering everything, we can safely say that this option is reserved for riders who are willing to go the extra mile to travel in extremely remote areas.
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Tips for Longer Battery Life
All set to start your electric bike tour? Here are some helpful tips that will enable you to stay on the road and also help prolong your bike’s battery life.
- Avoid riding on the electric mode completely. Make sure you set the bike on pedal-assist mode. The more you pedal, the longer your bike will last.
- Pump the tires of your electric bike to the right pressure. It will help you cover more miles.
- Avoid using the Boost Mode or Throttle Mode unnecessarily as it drains the battery quickly.
- If you are traveling in winters, avoid charging your battery in temperatures below 32° F (0° C), as it can damage the battery.
- If your battery has an On/Off switch, always switch it off before plugging it in.
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The Bottom Line
Whether you plan on riding across the country or simply need a charge to get home, there are multiple options that you can consider to recharge your electric bike and reach your destination without any trouble.
The best way to go about this is to plan ahead. You must know how, when, and where you can recharge your electric bike battery before you leave for the trip. This is especially important if you plan on exploring remote areas or traversing different kinds of terrains.
Many riders also like to carry a second battery with them on long travels to beat the range anxiety. While it is a viable option, it may be unnecessary if you plan your charging stops meticulously. Now that you know how to charge your electric bike in remote areas, you can enjoy your next trip and have peace of mind knowing that your electric bike will never run out of battery again.
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.