How Do I Charge an Electric Bike?

Updated December 28, 2022

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This article is part of our series: Your E-Bike Questions Answered

E-bike charger plugged the battery on an e-bike

The battery provides the energy for the electric bike system and is the single most expensive part of the bike. Many e-bike batteries have sophisticated battery management systems (software) that optimize battery life and performance. With a little proper care, the battery will likely be one of the longest-lasting components on your e-bike.

Charging your bike is simple and easy. First, always follow your manufacturer’s charging recommendations. Below are a few general guidelines:

  • E-bikes can be charged with the battery on the bike; some batteries are removable and can be charged off the bike.
  • A battery charger is included with your e-bike. It’s important to use the manufacturer’s charger to ensure compatibility (plugs, charging rates and limit). Batteries with battery management systems will only work with their own charger. 
  • It's best to charge the e-bike or battery inside.
  • Typically, you plug the charging unit into a wall outlet and then into the charging socket on the e-bike battery (many will have a cap that you’ll need to remove first).

How long will it take to charge my battery?

It depends on the battery capacity, your charger and other factors. Typically, it will take about 1.5-2 hours to get to a majority charge (from 0% to 50%-80%) and about 4-5 hours for a complete charge (0% to 100%) though charging times will vary. 

What’s the best way to charge my e-bike?

Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid charging in extreme temperatures both hot (in direct sunlight) and very cold. Charge in a dry, cool location, if possible.
  • You can always top off the battery. Newer lithium-ion batteries do not need to be fully drained before charging.
  • Don’t leave your e-bike plugged in all the time. Higher-end charging systems will shut off completely once a battery is charged but some systems may keep charging. It’s always a good idea to unplug the charger from a full battery.
  • It’s OK to ride your bike down to 0% and then recharge as soon as you get home or to work.

What is the range for a single battery charge?

This will depend a lot on how much pedal-assist you use, the battery capacity, terrain, the watts the motor is using, and the total weight of the bike, rider and cargo. You can use this online tool Bosch’s E-Bike Range Calculator to help you.

What’s the best way to store my e-bike and battery?

To preserve battery life, follow manufacturer guidelines for storing and transporting your battery. Also, consider these guidelines:

A person removes the battery from an electric bike

  • For long-term storage, such as during cold weather months, try to keep 30%-70% of its charge. If the level goes to 0% for too long (weeks or months) or you store it fully charged, it could shorten the battery life. 
  • If the battery is removable, take it off the bike before you put it on a bike rack to transport. This limits exposure to the elements and reduces the weight on the rack. 
  • If you’re not using the e-bike in winter, remove the battery and shighertore it indoors in a dry place at room temperature. 

What is the lifespan of an e-bike battery?

Typically, batteries can be recharged for 500–1,000 full charges before it starts to lose capacity. (A full charge cycle is a complete discharge/recharge of the battery, so it’s possible to partially discharge the battery and recharge it several times before you complete a “full charge cycle”).

As an example, if you use up about half the battery and recharge at 50%, you’ll get an estimated 1,000–2,000 full charges. Depending on how many miles you ride yearly, your e-bike battery can last many years. The battery doesn’t just die; as it ages, the battery will naturally lose capacity and may not have the capacity it did when new. 

Call 2 Recycle offers a free e-bike battery recycling program e-bike battery collection and recycling program; major brands such as Brompton, Cannondale, Tern and REI Co-op Cycles are participating. Find a location near you.

How expensive are the batteries to replace?

Quality battery systems may cost anywhere from $400-$800. (The battery is usually the most expensive part of the technology). The good news is that most lithium-ion batteries can last many years.