Getting on an electric bike for the first time can change your life. It’s like having a cycling buddy who pedals with you — giving you a boost uphill and reducing your fatigue from every ride.
Electric bikes also have a lot of electronics. They make cycling easier, but, then again, they introduce new things that can go wrong. This leaves the rider, especially if they’re a first time owner, with a lot of questions.
Questions like, “Why won’t my e-bike charge?” It’s good that you stopped by, because we’re about to look at some answers.
Why Your Electric Bike’s Battery Isn’t Charging
We need to diagnose the issue before we go into troubleshooting mode. There are two types of charging problems on an electric bike: your battery doesn’t charge at all, or it doesn’t charge fully.
You can find a checklist to troubleshoot the most common reasons for each of these problems below.
The Battery Doesn’t Charge at All
Most chargers have a light that blinks, changes color, or simply stops glowing to show when it’s still charging and when the battery is 100% full. If you don’t know the case with yours, consult the user manual.
If you plug the charger into the wall outlet and connect it to the e-bike, but nothing happens, try these things in the same order:
- The fuse might be blown. Go to your home’s electric service panel and check the fuses or circuit breakers for the room you’re trying to charge the bike in.
- The wall outlet might be bad. Test the wall outlet with a multimeter. Or, if you don’t have one, plug in another electric device and see if it works.
- The connections may be loose. Check if the charger is properly plugged into the wall outlet. Then check if all the connections fit snugly and stay in place.
- The charger may be faulty. Try plugging the charger into a different wall outlet and see if it starts charging the bike. If not, the charger could be faulty.
- The battery may be hot. Have you finished riding your bike? If the battery is too hot, it won’t start charging until it cools off.
- The battery fuse may be blown. Every electric bike battery has a fuse in case of short circuit and for protection against high discharge currents for prolonged periods of time. Replace the fuse or have it replaced by a professional.
If you do all these steps and your bike’s battery still won’t charge, call the manufacturer’s customer service line or get the e-bike to a trusted repair shop.
The Battery Doesn’t Charge Fully
Suppose your electric bike’s battery is charging, but it doesn’t seem to be charging completely. What’s the troubleshooting procedure that you should go over then? See below:
- The charging spot may be too sunny. In summer, when the sun is out and it’s hot outside, you should charge your e-bike in the shade. Otherwise, the battery may overheat and stop charging.
- The charge may take longer than you think. Sometimes, first-time owners expect their battery to charge to 100% in 2–3 hours. The truth is that this is too short of a time. The typical e-bike battery needs 7–8 hours to fully charge.
- The charger may be undercharging the battery on purpose. If you want a battery to last long, you should charge it to about 80% and deplete it to about 20%. Some chargers or battery management systems on the e-bike itself do this intentionally to maximize your bike’s useful life. Search the make and model on the Internet to find out.
- The battery management system may be faulty. Most e-bikes have lithium ion batteries. These batteries have multiple cells for greater capacity. To charge properly, they need a working battery management system. This is difficult to diagnose at home and should be inspected by a professional.
- The battery may be old or worn out. If your battery is a few years old, or you’re not using it properly and it’s already worn out, it will sooner or later start to have charging issues. The only remedy is to get a replacement battery and develop a few good habits as a bike owner.
If you’re unsure, call the manufacturer’s customer service line or take your bike to a repair shop you trust. Don’t let battery problems linger — not only will it impact the quality of your rides, but it may also damage the bike or make it unsafe.