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Question: Can ebikes charge off a car parking lot charger?

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Question: Can ebikes charge off a car parking lot charger?

Old 10-23-20, 10:31 AM
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01 CAt Man Do
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Question: Can ebikes charge off a car parking lot charger?

I got thinking about this the other day. Every once in a while I'll drive thru a pubic parking lot and see the chargers setup for recharging Hybrid and electric cars. I started wondering; "Is there an adapter / converter that would allow a bike e-battery to charge off of one of these outlets? Could come in handy if you drove somewhere and then realized that you forgot to charge your e-bike battery although I suppose you could buy an inverter big enough to charge the battery off of your cigarette plug. Would be nice if there was some type of portable "Fast charge" system.
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Old 10-23-20, 02:41 PM
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The simple answer is no.

A automotive charging station is not a "charger" although they are often wrongly referred to as one. The actual charger unit is in the car. Nor are they just a simple AC outlet. They have internal electronics that communicate with the on-board vehicle systems to verify the connection before turning on power and to negotiate the charging rate which varies from car to car. Certain safety protocols are also built in to both the car and the charging station.

However, I assume some clever hacker could probably come up with a circuit and adaptors to fool the station into providing power, but I wonder it it would be worth the effort.

Although many electric cars are set up to accommodate fast charging, a typical ebike battery is not. They are usually limited to charge rates under 5 amps, with 2 -3 amp as the normal rate. Hopefully, the battery management system would prevent a higher rate that would damage the battery. I'm sure there are 12V DC to 110V AC inverters available that could power your charger, but no faster than at home.

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Old 10-24-20, 07:42 AM
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Like was said above, the answer is no. Even if it was possible with some sort of adapter it would be larger and heavier than your current charger you have now. If you are concerned just carry your charger with you and find an outlet somewhere.
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Old 10-24-20, 07:47 AM
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Old 10-25-20, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MNebiker View Post
The simple answer is no.

A automotive charging station is not a "charger" although they are often wrongly referred to as one. The actual charger unit is in the car. Nor are they just a simple AC outlet. They have internal electronics that communicate with the on-board vehicle systems to verify the connection before turning on power and to negotiate the charging rate which varies from car to car. Certain safety protocols are also built in to both the car and the charging station.

However, I assume some clever hacker could probably come up with a circuit and adaptors to fool the station into providing power, but I wonder it it would be worth the effort.

Although many electric cars are set up to accommodate fast charging, a typical ebike battery is not. They are usually limited to charge rates under 5 amps, with 2 -3 amp as the normal rate. Hopefully, the battery management system would prevent a higher rate that would damage the battery. I'm sure there are 12V DC to 110V AC inverters available that could power your charger, but no faster than at home.
Yes I'm sure an adapter could be made but I imagine that the part that plugs into the charging station would have to be quite big. Likely not something that there would be a big demand for so no surprise there. Looking forward would be nice if in the future there would also be charging stations designed for ebikes. I'm thinking something that had a universal plug that would adapt and charge whatever ebike battery it was plugged into. It's doable but likely I won't see it in my lifetime.

You are also right that current ebike batteries aren't really setup for fast charging. However in the future this might change. Already certain types of Li-ion cells can be fast charged so I figure that sooner or later someone will design the ebike batteries ( and charger ) so that the user can choose to fast charge. Currently the charger for my Shimano ebike battery is set at 3.1A. That seems like a fairly low rate considering the number of cells that must be held within the housing. As I consider this it's no wonder that it takes quite a while for the battery to charge even if the battery is only halfway depleted.
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Old 10-25-20, 09:41 AM
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It's the connectors. The round barrel connectors used by most chargers runs cool at 3A. Go higher and if the contacts are dirty, it will start getting warm. Worst case, the contacts deteriorate and it melts.

Consider your car's accessory 12V port, plugged into an inverter that's powering your 3A charger. At 50V, you're pushing 150Watt into the bike battery. The car plug must supply 150W, which is like 13A @12V, and it is usually only rated for 10-15A. It will get hot. A couple of years ago, I was driving to a bike path with two bikes in the minivan, and two 3A chargers running off my inverter, Wow, the connector plugged into the rear accessory 12V port was too hot to hold.
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