Regenerative braking it's a pretty good technology coming from automotive, but recently it has been applied also in the ebikes world, but only very few models have it. Why? We are going to explain it step by step, but first let's start from the definition of Regenerative Braking.
The regenerative braking consists in generating some electric energy while the electric bike is stopping with brakes or rolling downhill without the need of the motor propulsion. In that "passive" phase it can generate some electric current that will be stored back in the battery.
That energy flow generated during braking phase or downhill, gets caught from a dynamo installed in the wheel or in the motor itself, that converts the incoming energy recharging the battery pack. It sounds very useful and convenient, but unfortunately it's not very useful for an ebike.
We are going to explain the reasons referred to the main tech problems.
Regenerative Braking on ebikes
Regenerative Braking technology actually it's not so efficient when applied in an electric bicycle, and it depends on some reasons. First of all because of the moderate speed that an electric bike can reach, considering that to generate power it's needed a good power impulse.
Another main trouble is about the fact that while you ride the ebike in a city at slow speed you can activate the Regenerative Power for a very short time, especially if it is compared to the direct energy consumption that's definitely higher than the amount that you can get back in the battery.
It means that the ebike reaches a moderate top speed, and braking power is not enough to charge the battery, especially because it generates low friction for a short amount of time.
A standard battery needs about 5-6 hours to get a full charge, so in a few seconds or few minutes you can't generate enough power to get a real benefit in terms of recharge. Regenerative Braking can be useful if you have to ride up for some miles and then go downhill for some minutes, in that case it can generate active energy for some minutes while rolling down.
In addition, the Regenerative Power system it's expensive, it requires space and adds weight to the electric bicycle, to obtain a very moderate benefit in terms of power charge. That's why it is not going so well in the ebike world.
But don't worry, if you want to increase the life of your battery, we can give you some tips that you can apply to any model to save energy and get out a better range!
Increase the battery range: 10 tips
A common question is about how to make the battery last longer, so we are going to see ten tips to reduce the energy consumption and get a better range from your battery pack.
1) Tires pressure. First of all you have to care about the rolling resistance of your tires, if you ride only on asphalt you need to choose a higher pressure.
It can sound like the most banal thing, but it's not uncommon in the city to notice cyclists with slightly flat tires that are rolling slowly flattened in the ground. This greatly reduces the autonomy of an electric bike.
To ensure good performance periodically check the pressure of the air chambers, even better, equip yourself with a pump capable of measuring it: it will help you find the right compromise between smoothness and comfort.
2) Lube the drivetrain. Check the health of the drivetrain (crowns, chain, sprockets, front derailleur). Sometimes lack of lube can arise which decreases the efficiency of the system, and consequently the autonomy of the bike.
3) Pedal with cadence. While pedaling, be sure to maintain a good pedaling cadence and same speed for a longer time, otherwise the motor will take the most of the working charge to accelerate continuously. Usually electric engines perform at their best when pedaling without changing the speed too often.
4) Help the motor. Try pushing more on the pedals and you will see the autonomy increase a lot. At a minimum, try to help the engine, especially in two moments: at the start, and uphill: they are the ones in which the battery is stressed the most.
5) Assistance level. For example, passing from the fifth to the fourth level you lose little in terms of speed, but you gain a lot in terms of battery autonomy. Go a little slower and you will go much further!
6) Weight and bagages. Every extra pound makes a difference because it requires more energy to be transported. Check the baggage you bring with you and try to figure out if you can leave anything at home. Obviously, it can help to reduce the body weight to get even more performances!
7) Protect the battery from cold. When it is very hot or very cold, do not keep the battery in the garage, but store it in the house, at a temperature of 18-20 degrees; keep it in this environment until the last moment before leaving the house. When a battery works at lower temperatures, the autonomy decreases.
8) Check brakes. Check that Brake pads do not touch the braking surface of the brakes disks, because it will cause for sure a higher rolling resistance and consume your brake pads.
9) Lube Hubs. Plan a grease refreshment of wheel bearings, while riding it tends to wear out and consume, so you will need to restore the grease level to keep bearings smooth and fast. Can do it in your favourite bike shop.
10) Mind the kind of terrain. Asphalt will require less effort than the unpaved street, soft terrains like sand and snow will require even more energy consumption.
Now you know how to increase the range of your ebike, have fun and enjoy your ride!