A lot of people ask how the electric cargo bike charges, so I thought I would post a photo.
It’s essentially the same process you would use with rechargable digital camera batteries, only with a bigger battery and a bigger charger.
Our LiFePO4 battery is size of a miniature loaf of bread and can be easily unplugged from the bike and plugged into a charger. The claim is that this needs to be done every 15 to 35 miles. Based on our usage, it appears that it may be more like 30 to 50 miles. (Because we don’t always engage the electric assist).
It turned out I had a rather ideal situation in my garage, with a electrical outlet directly above where we usually park the bike. So, here you can see our charger mounted to a pole, and the battery is literally just “plugged in” with an XLR connector while still attached to the bike.
With this battery it’s also healthy for it to keep it fully charged, so we can simply plug it in when the last ride for the day is done. Because the range exceeds our daily needs, this process implies that the electric assist is always available when we need it.
In sum, it takes just seconds to charge at an estimated of cost of less than a penny per mile. By contrast, I once calculated the total cost of operating my wife’s station wagon. It worked out that to require about one hour of work for to pay for every one hour of driving the car. That’s not exactly efficient if you factor all the money-earning time into your True MPH for driving your car.
If you are curious about your own true average speed in your vehicle you can download a spreadsheet I made to calculate it for yourself.
For more stories and photos about our electric cargo bike, see the related photo set on Flickr.