Electric bikes are helping humanity step into a future of better air quality and reduced traffic jams. Their green technology and compact size make them ideal for conveniently commuting around town.
Despite their high purchase prices, an electric bike’s running cost is significantly lower than a gas bike. This is because electricity prices are lower than fossil fuel prices everywhere.
You can use a simple mathematical formula to figure out how much electricity an electric bike uses based on different factors.
How Much Electricity Does An Electric Bike Use?
An electric bike’s main electrical components include a battery and an electric motor. One needs to connect the electric bike’s battery to an electrical power supply via a charging cable.
The battery works like a gas bike’s fuel tank and stores the electric charge. When the electric bike is turned on, the electric motor converts the battery’s store charge to kinetic energy.
The kinetic energy is then transmitted to the bike’s tires, and the electric motorcycle gains mobility.
An electric bike’s dependency on electricity avoids fossil fuel combustion reactions. As a result, it does not contribute to fossil fuel depletion and emits no greenhouse gasses.
For this reason, an electric bike is now being preferred over other kinds of bikes despite its high purchase price.
The running costs of an electric bike vary regionally, according to the different electricity prices.
In general, an electric bike will use up to 500 to 800watt-hours of electricity for a complete recharge. Such a recharge would take almost five to seven hours.
However, every electric bike’s electricity requirement varies according to its:
- Battery size (lbs.)
- Battery capacity (Wh)
- Battery voltage (V)
- Brand and manufacturer
Moreover, the cost of fully charging an electric bike depends on the unit charge of electricity. This price can vary according to the electricity demand and supply and regionally.
The table below shows eight countries that have a high number of e-bike users and their respective electricity prices.
|Country||Price Per Charge|
|United States of America||$0.05 USD|
|South Africa||$0.03 USD|
According to the table’s data, charging an electric bike in Germany would be costlier than charging it in China or the USA.
How to Determine an Electric Bike’s Electricity Usage
Different brands offer unique and distinctive electric bike designs to stand out and compete in the market. For instance, Brompton Electric is famous for its foldable electric bikes that are extremely lightweight and user-friendly.
Different electric bikes need different sized-electric batteries for energy efficiency and high performance. The heavier and bulkier an electric bike, the bigger the electric battery has to be.
Lightweight electric bikes with smaller battery capacities usually need 400 to 500watt-hours for a complete charger.
At the same time, heavier e-bikes with bigger batteries use 500 to 800watt-hours of electricity.
Moreover, batteries with higher capacities will use more electricity for a complete recharge. The capacity of an electric bike battery shows how much electric charge it can store and is measured in Wh.
Furthermore, higher voltage batteries would need more electricity.
Similarly, a higher wattage (750 Watts or 1000 Watts) battery would need more electric charging than a lower wattage (250 Watts or 500 Watts battery).
Usually, electric bikes do not mention the battery’s wattage. However, one can calculate the wattage using the mentioned battery voltage and peak current limit (amps) of the e-bike controller.
The formula for calculating battery wattage is:
Power (wattage)= Peak current limit (ampere) ✕ battery voltage (Volts)
The table below calculates the electric power requirement (wattage) of different e-bike batteries.
|Electric Bike Battery Type||Electric Bike Battery Voltage (Volts)||Electric Bike Control Peak Current (Ampere)||Calculated Power Wattage (Watts)|
Another way of determining an electric bike battery’s electricity usage requires more time and effort. You can do the following:
- Completely discharge the electric bike batteries to 0%. A red-lit LED light on the battery will notifyyou when the battery is fully discharged.
- Connect the electric bike’s battery to a power supply on the first day of the month. This is important because usually, the electric meter reading is reset at the start of the month.
- While the electric bike is being charged, disconnect all other electricity-consuming appliances.
- Allow the electric bike to charge fully. If the battery’s LED light has turned from red to yellow to green, the charging is complete. Otherwise, check the bike’s LCD meter.
- Disconnect the electric bike battery after it is fully charged.
- Check the electricity meter reading of your house. It will show you the actual units of electricity that have been used to charge your electric bike.
This amount of electricity will be enough to last for 40 to 120miles. However, the actual range may vary because of different reasons. Some of these are:
- The electric bike’s weight. Heavier bikes and riders will need bigger e-bike batteries to store enough charge for long ranges
- The electric bike’s tires. Old, sticky, and worn-out tires will add stress to the electric bikes’ battery, causing it to discharge quickly
- The electric bike’s acceleration and top speed. Hitting the throttle to ride the electric bike at changing speeds will cause the battery to overheat and discharge quicker
- The electric bike owner’s riding practices. Making short trips, repeatedly hitting the break, and riding on arduous trails will cause the range to drop
- The external weather conditions. Riding when the battery is too hot or too cold will damage the e-bike’s battery range. In the long run, the battery will lose its charge storing capacity
How to Calculate the Cost of Charging an Electric Bike?
There is no better option than an electric bike for those who can afford the purchase and care about global pollution.
Despite its high purchase price, the running cost is relatively much lower. As the name suggests, an electric bike runs entirely on electricity.
Since electricity is usually generated from renewable power sources such as solar, hydro, and wind, the cost of electricity is much lower than fossil fuel.
Simple mathematical formulas can be used to calculate the cost of charging an electric bike. All you need is:
- The electric bike battery’s voltage. It is usually either mentioned on the battery or in the manufacturer-provided instructions manual;
- The electric bike’s capacity (Wh) shows how much electric charge can the battery store;
- The regional per unit price of electricity. This rate is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The rate may vary monthly and can change even during the day.
The per-unit price of electricity is higher during the predetermined peak hours and lower otherwise. Some hours are called peak hours.
Moreover, the per-unit price of electricity can even vary within the same town. For instance, electricity is more expensive in commercial areas and relatively cheaper in the residential parts of the city.
One can inquire about the per-unit price of electricity that applies to their region by checking the newspaper or searching online.
One can also call the electricity supplying company’s office for better clarification.
To calculate the electrical cost of fully charging up an electric bike, you first need to calculate the energetic capacity of the battery. This is measured in Watt-hours.
For this, use the following formula:
Energy capacity of the battery (Wh)= Battery Voltage (V) ✕ Battery charging capacity (Ah)
Once you have calculated the battery’s energy capacity, find out the electricity cost per kWh according to the time of day and your exact location.
With the collected information, use the following formula to calculate the cost of completely charging your electric bike’s battery:
Cost of completely charging the electric battery (USD) = Energy capacity of the battery (Wh) ✕ Electricity cost per kWh
The table below shows different charging capacities, voltages, regions, and per unit electricity charges to calculate the respective cost of charging an electric bike.
For easy calculations, let the charging capacity be constant (10 Ah)
|Country||Per Unit Price of Electricity (USD)||Battery Voltages (V)||Charging Capacity (Ah)||Energetic Capacity (Wh)||Electricity Consumption of 1 Charge (kWh)||Cost of 1 Full Charge (USD)||Cost of 100 Full Charges (USD)|
The table below further summarizes the average annual costs of charging Electric bike batteries in different countries.
|Country||Price Per Charge|
|United States of America||$21.17 USD|
|South Africa||$14.66 USD|
The lower annual running costs of electric bikes in the USA, and China give these countries a great incentive to shift to electric vehicles.
This is primarily why these countries’ annual electric bike sales are the highest.
Ways to Reduce the Electric Bike’s Charging Costs
Invest in Efficient Batteries
The battery of an electric bike is its most crucial and sensitive component. With a dysfunctional battery, an electric bike is just a high-priced regular bike.
Efficient batteries allow more electric charge to be stored in lesser time. This improves the e-bike’s range and overall performance.
Lithium-ion batteries are far more energy-efficient than nickel or lead-acid batteries.
Replacing an electric bike battery could be expensive. Hence, in order to increase efficiency, invest in a new battery liquid.
Develop a Proper Battery Charging Routine
A proper charging routine allows great battery maintenance, leading to cost-efficiency and high e-bike performance. One should:
- Always use the manufacturer provided charging cord
- Refrain from letting the electric bike battery fully discharge
- Maintain a battery charging range between 20% to 90%
- Charge as frequently as possible
- Never charge a cold or overheated battery
- Never store a discharged battery
Invest in Regenerative Braking Systems
Most electric bikes come with a built-in regenerative braking system; however, if yours does not, then invest in one.
Doing so allows the excess kinetic energy that otherwise would be wasted to convert back to electric charge. As a result, the charge is saved, and less recharging is required.
According to studies, regenerative braking systems can improve an electric bike’s range up to 5 to 10%. In the long run, the cost of recharging a battery is significantly reduced.
Charge During Off-peak Hours and in Residential Areas
Electricity prices do not only vary regionally but can also change during the day. Hours of high electrical consumption are called peak hours, while the rest are called off-peak hours.
During peak hours, the per-unit price of electricity is higher. Hence, charging the electric bike during those hours will be costlier.
Moreover, the per-unit price of electricity is higher for commercial areas compared to residential areas. Hence, charge the e-bike at your home to lower your charging costs.
Related electric bike articles:
- Can I Get Help to Buy an Electric Bike?
- Electric Bike Keeps Cutting Out
- Will Electric Bikes Get Cheaper?
- Are Electric Bikes Good For Exercise?
- Can You Ride an Electric Bike After Drinking?
- Riding an Electric Bike for the First Time
- How Long Do Bosch Electric Bike Batteries Last?
Electric bikes have presented humans with a great opportunity to shift to modes of transport that do not harm the environment.
Moreover, due to their electrical batteries, the abundance of e-bikes allows fossil fuels to be used for industrial uses.
In general, a lightweight e-bike will use 400 to 500 Wh of electrical energy. On the other hand, a heavier e-bike would use 500 to 800 Wh for a complete recharge. The e-bike’s battery size, capacity, and brand will determine the exact electricity requirements.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric bikes caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my e-bike. Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric bikes. Check out more.