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Do Electric Bikes RECHARGE While Pedaling or Braking?


Hey there, Peter Kaltreider here, with sixthreezero bikes. And here's another common question. Do our bikes recharge the battery when pedaling or braking? Stay tuned.


Okay, cool. So this is an interesting topic, and it's a really great question. There are two parts to it. One, do our bikes recharge the battery or charge the battery while you're pedaling? Does your pedaling force power the battery up? Also, does it power the battery up when braking?

So first of all, humans don't create a whole lot of wattage, honestly. There's a really cool YouTube video you might want to check out, it's called Olympic Cyclist Versus Toaster. It's really cool. It shows an Olympic cyclist, a world champion, a German fellow, I forget his name. He has massive quads. He's Quadzilla. And he's hooked up to a toaster to see if he can toast his piece of bread. And he's going for it, and all he can last is about two minutes, just putting out all of the wattages that he can. And then the toast pops out and it's browned a little bit, but it's just a very light brown toasting. So anyway, you can propel yourself really far on a bike and for hundreds of miles, but actually powering up a battery, you're not going to get that much.

Also, your pedaling power is all going to be put into propelling the bike forward, it's not going to be put into charging the battery. That would be an extra step that would waste efficiency. So when you're pedaling, you're assisting the battery, you're both working together. But you don't charge the battery and then have the battery power the wheel, that would be an extra step. There is an application where that's used in diesel-electric locomotives, where they do that because locomotives are trying to move so much weight from a standstill and also get better traction. And so they use the torque of an electric motor that's powered by diesel. So they do use that extra step. It is something that happens. But on a bicycle, you'll never see that. You'll never see a bike that is, first, pedal to power a battery, and then have the battery power the motor. The pedaling directly powers the bicycle, and then the battery will also give you a tailwind. It'll give an assist and work together.


So no pedaling to charge up the battery, that's not a thing. There are bikes, however, that have regenerative braking. This is also very common with cars. Which means that, say you've made it to the top of the hill, you've used up a lot of battery, but on your way back down, maybe you're going too fast, okay. Well, there's a lot of kinetic energy you got going there that can be converted back into potential energy there and the battery. And if you have a direct drive motor, this is possible. And on a lot of cars, it is. I think probably most electric cars have regenerative braking. Meaning, that when you start to apply the brake, or in some cases let off of the accelerator, what will happen is the motion of your wheels will turn the motor into a generator. Same thing, just whether it's using the energy to make mechanical output or using the mechanical input to make electrical power. So turn the motor into a generator and it will charge up the battery. So when you go up the next hill, you'll have a little bit more.

Now, we don't have that on our bikes. We have only geared motors. There are direct-drive motors and geared motors. On geared motors, that's not possible, it's not done. But there are some companies that have direct-drive motors, Rad Power has one, for instance. It's an option you can get. And so it's called regenerative braking. And what will happen is, when you brake, first it will try to engage your motion, the motion of the wheel to turn that motor into a generator and to charge the battery back up. And it might save you up to, perhaps, 10% of your battery, give you an extra 10% range on your battery. So it's something cool, and you might want to look into it. So pedaling definitely does not power up the battery. Braking, if you have a direct drive, it is possible and there are brands out there that have it.


All right. Thanks for watching, I really hope that was helpful. If you need any more help, please don't hesitate to contact us at 310 982 2877, or the team at sixthreezero.com. Sixthreezero is spelled out, S-I-X-T-H-R-E-E-Z-E-R-O. Also, subscribe to our channel. And remember, it's your journey, your experience. Enjoy the ride.

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