Do electric bikes charge when pedaling?

Most of the electric bikes don’t have this feature but there are a few electric bikes available that do have regenerative capabilities.

Bike manufacturer that offers regenerative equipped e-bikes will on average charge your battery less than 10%, and if you are really careful and break lightly when coming up to spotlights and going down hills, you may be able to get a regenerative charge as high as 20% but most likely lower.

Most of the people think that e-bike is an electric bike which charge itself when pedaling.

This is true in some cases with some regenerative electric bikes sold today, but because of the low 10% return on input, a person would need to pedal 10 miles to give them a 1 mile charge.

So it is better to use a charger and plug into a wall outlet.

Most e-bike batteries take around 4 hours to charge and cost approximately 20 cents with a range of from 30 to 50 miles.

If you put that perspective with a regenerative electric bike you would have to pedal for 100 miles to get 10 miles back.

What is electric bike and how it works?

An electric bicycle also known as an e-bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion.

Many kinds of e-bikes are available worldwide, from e-bikes that only have a small motor to assist the rider’s pedal power to more powerful e-bikes which are closer to moped style functionality.

When you push the pedals on a pedal assist e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can zip up hills and cruise over tough terrain without gassing yourself.

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All of our electric bikes use pedal assist, this is where the motor is only activated when the pedals are already in motion.

Due to the added weight from the battery its costs get expensive as it 20 pounds heavier.

What is regenerative braking?

Regenerative braking is when an electric bike uses its braking system and motor to recapture some of the bikes kinetic energy and convert it into electricity, and this energy is used to charge the e-bike’s battery.

With a typical braking system, the brakes are applied, and this will create friction, this friction will then slow or stop your bike.

The surface of the road and the surface of the slowing wheel also produce friction. This friction generates kinetic energy and this energy is dissipated into the air. This heat energy is wasted. Regenerative power captures some of this energy but is not very efficient. A regenerative electric bike uses the motor to slow the bike down.

When the rider squeezes the brakes, the controller puts the bikes electric motor into reverse mode, it causes the motor to run backward and slow the bike down.

When the motor is running backward, this turns the motor into an electrical generator and produces electricity that can be fed back to the battery.

The controller will decide then the motor should be reversed and send back electrical energy to charge the battery.

In a regenerative braking system, the idea is to get the motor to run backward and to use the momentum of the mechanical energy to puts the motor into reverse.

Momentum is the property that keeps the electric bike moving forward once it has been brought up to the desired speed. The electricity generated by the motor is fed back into the battery when the motor is reversed. It can be used to accelerate and move the bike forward after the bike has stopped.

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Effectiveness of regenerative braking systems on an E-bike

The effectiveness of a regenerative electric bike can vary significantly based on many factors like driving conditions, terrain and the size of the rider. Driving conditions can make a good impact in the effectiveness of regenerative brakes.

If you ride in stop and go traffic and repeatedly brake, you will capture much more energy than you would if you rode on a long flat stretch without stopping or using the brakes.

If you do so many uphill riding, you will not use the brakes very often and have less opportunity to generate electricity.

Another reason for regenerative braking is motor torque variations.

Drivers tend to vary the amount of braking. For example, a driver might increase their pressure on the brake as they slow down. This variation in torque causes inefficiencies since the regenerative braking must take into account the variations in torque as it calculates the amount of energy to recoup.

Benefits of a regenerative braking system

Brakes last longer on an electric regenerative bike. It improves the full economy of the vehicle. It allows for traditional friction based brakes. It prolongs the charge of the battery and it reduces the wear and tear on the braking system.

Some problems with a regenerative braking system

One problem with regenerative braking systems is they are not the best for two wheel drive braking systems.

When the regenerative braking system is used, a negative torque is applied to the drive wheel. This negative torque is applied to only one wheel, and no brake is applied to the other wheel, and it is able to spin freely.

You will get uneven tire and brake wear because of negative torque distribution and this could cause skidding when braking.

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Most e-bikes with regenerative systems have a rear hub motor as opposed to front hub motors that could be much more dangerous.

The motors torque variations cause other issues for regenerative braking systems. Drivers often vary the amount of braking they do in different driving conditions. A driver might increase their pressure on the brake as they slow down. A regenerative braking system must take into account the charges in torque to calculate the amount of energy to recoup. These variations in torque cause further inefficiencies in regenerative braking systems.

Now I think that a question surely comes in your mind that do electric bikes actually charge when pedaling?

In theory, it would be nice if you could pedal and charge your battery and go forever, but in reality and science it doesn’t happens.

A few manufacturers are offering regenerative electric bikes, but they come at a premium price.

When using a charger and plugging into an AC outlet, it will cost less than ten cents to charge an e-bike battery fully.

Whereas to pedal all day to charge a battery you will burn thousands of calories and that caloric energy will have to be replaced with food and that food you will need to consume will cost much more than 20 cents. With the ever increasing move toward electric vehicles, they will be working to improve the efficiency of regenerative technology, but in the meantime, you will only get about 10% back for your efforts.


In this article, I gave you a detail description about e-bikes and how do they work.

I hope this article helps you. Here in this article I have answered that do electric bike charges while pedaling.

I think you understand my points clearly. So read the article carefully and understand clearly.

So don’t wait and enjoy your bike ride.