Any avid cyclist knows that the most thrilling point of any bike ride is when you can lose a little inhibition by going downhill.
Not only does this give you a little bit of a break from pedaling, but it also helps to naturally increase your speed.
Electric bikes are meant to charge and store energy, and while they usually charge overnight, there are ways for you to take advantage of the way energy is stored in the motor.
Here is everything we learned:
Why an Electric Bike Can’t Always Charge Downhill:
Most electric bikes on the market right now are not designed to charge up when you are going downhill. While there are a few e-bikes that feature this charging system, they are not preferred by serious cyclists to use regularly.
Do Electric Bikes Charge When Using the Brakes?
The latest electric bikes have an innovative feature that allows the bike battery to charge while you brake, called “regenerative breaking.”
Regenerative braking is a feature found in some electric bikes, and it works by utilizing the bike’s kinetic energy to recharge the battery.
When you ride your electric bike at a certain speed and lightly apply the brakes, the motor will use the inertia to generate a small amount of charge and send it back to the battery.
Essentially, instead of losing the kinetic energy created by braking, regenerative braking allows the bike to capture that energy and store it back into the battery. This means that your e-bike can have an extended battery life and also reduce your carbon footprint.
However, keep in mind that not all electric bikes have this feature, and those that do may not provide a significant amount of charge back to the battery.
Are There Many Electric Bikes with Regenerative Brakes?
While several electric bikes feature regenerative brakes, this type of feature is not available on older e-bikes.
In fact, electric bikes with regenerative brakes were first introduced in 2021 by the same engineering company that developed the popular Mini Cooper.
It’s not surprising that this technology was adapted for e-bikes, as the power and efficiency of electric cars can be scaled down for smaller vehicles.
However, only the really new and expensive models have this, and the system isn’t always that effective.
According to Radpowerbikes.com, the RadCity 4, RadCity Step-Thru 3, and RadWagon 3 models have regenerative braking. There are also the Cooper Bikes’ models, like the Singlespeed Cooper CS-IE and the Classic Gents’ Cooper CG-7E.
Just keep in mind that these bikes are pricey and heavy, so do your research before deciding if it is worth it!
Can You Capture the Excess Energy When Going Downhill?
There’s a common misconception that the more you ride without pedaling, the more energy will be stored in the battery.
However, this isn’t entirely true. Simply speeding down a hill won’t make a significant difference in how your e-bike operates.
Optimize your Energy Usage
To optimize your energy usage while riding an e-bike, consider using the hand brakes while going downhill.
This approach can be more effective than braking on a flat surface because the increased speed of going downhill allows you to capture more of the excess energy when you brake.
Remember that some e-bikes have a hybrid system that uses both pedaling and braking to charge the battery.
However, users have reported that these bikes may not have as long a lifespan as regular e-bikes that rely solely on the brake system.
Additionally, it’s worth considering whether your e-bike has a regenerative braking system, which allows the bike to capture even more energy while braking.
Can Electric Bikes Charge Themselves on the Road?
It is rare that you will find an e-bike that can charge itself while you ride. However, e-bikes with a special regenerative braking system can charge at least a tiny amount.
When the brake is pressed, it sends a signal to the computer, motor, and battery, enabling the bike to slow down and store excess kinetic energy to power the rest of the ride.
But if your e-bike doesn’t have this charging system, don’t worry!
E-bikes with removable batteries can be charged using a portable power bank, allowing you to recharge on the go if you run out of battery.