Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular, as they allow people to commute without burning fuel or using up their own stored energy reserves. However, they operate with rechargeable batteries that can limit their range before the battery pack has to be recharged so you can continue on your journey. This can be difficult if you are away from an available source of electricity, such as on a touring, or camping trip.
Now the main question comes, is it possible to put an electric bike on solar charge? The answer is yes, you can, and in this article, we’ll help explain the ins and outs of solar-powered charging of electric bike batteries to figure out whether or not it’s an option worth exploring, and how you can go about it, if you decide that it is.
Will an Ebike Solar Charger Work in A Moderate Climate?
If you are wondering whether solar charging an electric bike will work in a moderate climate, the simple answer is yes. An Ebike solar charger will work in a moderate climate, as long as there is enough sunlight. With the advancement of technology, solar charging has become quite a popular option for electric bike riders. Especially so in hot, sunny, climates, but also in moderate climate areas too. It is, no doubt, a fine way to reduce your carbon footprint.
However, in moderate climates, there are two factors that you need to consider before solar charging an electric bike. The first is how much sunlight you will receive regularly, and for how long.
In addition, it’s important to remember that solar charging can be affected by clouds, so during less sunny days or weeks, you may not be able to charge as much of your battery. Nevertheless, even if you’re not able to use 100% of your battery during these months and weeks, some recharging will still take place, which may allow you to continue on your journey without worrying about finding an electric utility power source.
How Much Power Is Needed to Charge an Ebike?
If you are wondering how much power your ebike needs to get charged, you should note that the average electric bike motor uses about 250 watts of power. An average battery pack may be a 36-volt, 13 Amp/hour pack. To solar charge an electric bike, you will need a solar panel that can generate at least this much power.
You should note the more the power, the faster your ebike will get charged. So, if you want to get the most out of your solar panel, look for one that produces at least 400 watts of power.
The amount of time it takes to charge your ebike battery will depend on how much power you have. The size of the ebike battery pack, and how much electricity the solar panels are producing, taking into consideration that on dull or cloudy days, they will not produce as much charging juice as on hot sunny days.
How Long Will It Take to Solar Charge an Ebike Battery?
The power of the solar panel also affects charging time; a higher-wattage panel will charge the battery faster than a lower-wattage panel. Also, if there are fewer hours of sunlight available, it will take longer to charge the battery.
If you need to charge your ebike battery faster, make sure you’re using a solar panel that is designed for charging batteries. Most standard solar panels can’t create enough power to fully charge larger-capacity batteries in a reasonable amount of time, so if you don’t have a specialist panel, consider how long it will take to charge to a reasonable amount, and if that is feasible for your situation.
If it isn’t, it might be best to stick with standard electricity and only use your ebike in places where there is a ready source of electric power available.
See Also: What Does an Ebike Weigh?
Is Carrying a Spare Charged Battery A Better Option?
Yes, you can solar charge an electric bike, but is it the best option? Carrying a spare charged battery might be a better option. Here’s why:
- It’s more reliable. When there is no sunlight, solar charging can be a problem.
- It’s faster. Even on a bright day, it can take many hours to solar charge a battery. You can swap out a battery in a matter of seconds.
- You can use a portable solar charger. But, bear in mind, that if you are in a very remote location, you are entirely reliant on the weather. If the weather turns foul, you may be stranded, or end up having to cycle onwards with no battery power at all.
- A spare battery pack may be expensive to purchase initially, but swapping battery packs often may lead to less wear and strain on each and therefore lead to each having a longer life-span than one solitary battery pack.
While getting your bike set up with a suitable solar charging system can be pricey upfront, it will pay for itself in the long run, thanks to free electricity from the sunshine. That means you get free miles out of your ebike whenever you charge the battery using sunlight.
Solar charging your ebike is definitely an option that is available. There are a few caveats though, that have to be considered before you decide whether this is a serious option for you. What kind of climate you live in can be a factor, as to the size of your ebike battery pack, and the kind of solar panels you can afford for charging the battery.
If you wish to tour in remote areas, and you can wait for whatever time it takes to charge your battery at each stage of your journey, then solar charging looks attractive.
If you are rarely away from a source of utility electric power, then it may be a needless expense to purchase the solar charging panels. In this case, spending the money on a spare battery pack may be the best option.