Ebike Vancouver

Owning an Ebike in Vancouver: How Long Does it take to Charge?

Ebike ownership gives you the freedom to hit the open road while also getting exercise and being kinder to the environment. While an e-bike does provide freedom and flexibility in the way you travel, many new riders are concerned about how long it takes for an ebike to charge. The short answer is that most ebike batteries will gain a full charge somewhere between 2.5 to 8 hours. 

However, there are several factors that will affect how long your battery takes to charge including its capacity and where it is in its life cycle.  Knowing how and when to charge your bike can ensure it is ready to ride when you are. 

Here we will look at what you can expect from your battery’s charge time when owning an Ebike in Vancouver along with tips to care for your ebike battery.  

Understanding Ebike Watt-Hours and Battery Capacity 

One of the biggest factors in how long your ebike will take to charge is the battery’s watt-hours. Watt-hours (Wh) are a measure of your battery’s power capacity. More Wh means that more energy can be stored from a single charge. How far you can ride on a charge will also be determined by the terrain, total weight on the bike and if you are using pedal assist. However, for the purposes of battery charge time, greater capacity equals longer riding time. 

Wh is determined with a simple formula: Volts (V) x Amp Hours (Ah). Charging time will further depend on your battery charger’s current.

Determining Full Charge Time: Without going into a tedious lesson on energy calculations, we can look at the example of the Blue Rev Ultra. The Blue Rev has a 48V battery and a choice of a 14.5Ah, 17.5Ah, or a 21Ah Lithium Ion Cell. 

The 14.5Ah comes with a 2 Amp (A) charger while the 17.5Ah and 21Ah come with a 3A charger. To determine how long each battery will take for a full charge we divide Ah by A. With this we see that the 14.5Ah battery will take around 7.25 hours for a full charge, the 17.5 will take around 6 and the 21Ah will take 7. 

Partial Charge Times: When you know a full charge takes 7 hours, you can then calculate roughly how long it will take to charge your battery with a partial charge. For example, if your battery takes 7 hours for a full charge and is currently at 25%, you can expect your battery to charge for 5 to 5.5 hours to reach full capacity.

Is More Battery Capacity Worth It? 

Batteries with larger capacities are heavier and more expensive, but are they worth it? More often than not, yes they are. 

When we look at the Blue Rev we find that the smaller capacity 14.5Ah battery will travel an estimated 50-90Km while the 21Ah will travel 100-140km. You will get almost double the riding distance for the same time charging. 

More importantly, a battery’s life is measured in cycles. A single full cycle is when all power is drained and, subsequently, fully recharged. Lithium batteries, the best option for ebikes, are typically rated for around 1000 cycles.

If one cycle is one full charge then that means a smaller 14.5Ah battery that travels a max of 90Km per charge will give you a maximum of 90,000Km of distance over its lifetime. Reaching this max distance will be determined on how you ride your bike and if you stay to mostly flat, easy terrain.

In contrast, the 21Ah battery will take you a minimum distance of 100Km per charge. Over the course of 1000 cycles you would travel 100,000Km. You could achieve this distance even if you were to take on terrain that is rougher and has steeper inclines. If you rode on mostly smooth terrain, this number could be as great as 140,000Km. 

Note on Life Cycles: Even if a battery is rated for 1000 cycles that does not mean it will spontaneously stop working as you attempt to charge it for cycle 1001. Instead, most batteries will start to lose their ability to charge gradually. It may take longer to achieve a full charge or you may find your battery stops charging at 80% or so. Similarly, the distance you will be able to go is not an exact number but the above examples are based on industry averages for batteries.

How to Help Your Ebike Battery Last Longer

Fully Charge a New Ebike Battery Before Riding: The temptation to take your ebike out for a ride when you have a new battery is strong. Trust me, the Epic Cycles team understands this feeling. However, if you can hold off and give your battery a chance to fully charge, you can look forward to better battery life for your battery’s lifespan. For that first charge, you could leave your battery on the charger for up to 12 hours. 

Keep Your Battery Cool but Not Cold: Ideally, your battery should be stored and charged in conditions that are between 0 and 20 degrees celsius. Higher than 60 degrees or lower than -10 and you will start to degrade the battery. If you do accidentally have your battery in an extreme temperature, wait for it to cool down/warm up to an appropriate degree before attempting to charge it. 

Time Your Charges: While charging your battery fully can be good practice, you should not leave your battery hanging out on the charger for days or weeks on end. When you do this, your battery will continually lose around 5% of its charge before the charger will step in to replenish. Each one of these short charging cycles will start to count against your total life cycles.  

Store Your Battery Correctly: A stored battery is still vulnerable to the elements and charging issues. When you need to store yours, make sure it is in a dry, cool area. Ideally, store it separate from your bike frame. Additionally, a battery should not be stored fully drained. Instead, it should be kept at around 40-80% of its full capacity. 

Note that a battery will start to lose charge even if you are not using it. You should check your battery’s level once a month in storage to make sure it has not dropped too low. Turn on your battery’s “storage” mode if it has one. Storage mode slows the drain of the battery.  

Should I let My Ebike Battery Run Down Completely? 

For the most part, you should aim to charge your bike when it gets down to at least 60% and before it reaches 30%. It used to be common to recommend that batteries be fully discharged before recharging but technology and this advice have changed. Now, you can let your battery run out on occasion without causing harm, but you should not aim to do this.  

Can I Charge My Ebike Faster?

Yes, but you probably shouldn’t. Higher amp chargers are sold and they can speed up charging time but they also generate more heat. Excess heat is one of the fastest ways to degrade your ebike battery.  

When Should You Replace Your Battery 

As we looked at before, even when a battery is only rated for 1000 cycles, it can still continue working but possibly not as efficiently. Unless you are experiencing problems with your battery (i.e. it is not holding a charge or will not take a charge) you should be able to continue using it safely.

However, most batteries will last a maximum of four years and most will be closer to two years.  The closer you get to the maximum the more likely it will be that your battery will malfunction. If you have an older battery and plan to take a long ride, it would be good to replace it beforehand. This is because the older battery is more likely to malfunction and lose its charge quickly, leaving you without power during your ride.

Will My Ebike Still Work When the Battery is Dead? 

In Canada, road-legal ebikes are required to have pedals and no throttle. While this limits speed, it also means you can operate your ebike like a traditional bike by powering it manually. When an ebike includes a throttle, fuel source, or weighs over 120kg it is considered a different class of vehicle and you may need a license, insurance and other requirements. 

Purchasing an Ebike Battery and Charger

To maximize your battery’s life and get the best riding experience, you need the right battery for your bike and the right charger for your battery. At Epic Cycles we sell top-rated ebike batteries that our team personally uses and stands by. Whether you need a brand new bike or a replacement battery or charger, we’re here to offer our experience and full catalogue of ebikes and ebike accessory. 

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