Regenerative Braking

Pedaling does not help recharge the battery on the Liberty Trike. This is for a number of reasons, but the most important is that regenerative braking does not increase your efficiency on an e-bike by more than about 5% at best. With the Liberty Trike, we wanted to avoid the common e-bike marketing and just provide a solid product that meets your needs. Regenerative braking is a cool feature that sells bikes, but it's not a useful feature for most people. Remember: there's no such thing as free energy - you need to get the energy for the regenerative braking from somewhere (this means either by pedaling or by using the motor). Efficiency is very low in the system - you lose power to heat, conversion, and transmission, if you use the motor to get the energy, you have a net energy loss (you're throwing power away for nothing). Same if you're pedaling. This is why regenerative is only for braking - you're just trying to reclaim some of the energy that dissipates when you're slowing down - by using the motor as the brake in addition to the normal brake pads. Unfortunately, slowing down and stopping is not the greatest force acting on a bike rider, wind resistance and rolling resistance are. And because the system can't be fully efficient, you just can't get much of your braking energy back, which compounds the issue that braking isn't the biggest leech on your biking energy anyway.

Example: Normal riding will give 10% to 5% maximum efficiency for regen (depends on terrain and usage very heavily), this is about 1.25 miles of extra range per charge. The downside is the increased heat generation it would cause in the battery, which would shorten its lifespan, and the increase wear on the motor and electronics, which would shorten their lifespan as well. On the flip-side, it takes about $0.02 to $0.05 worth of electricity to recharge the battery at home, so ruining a motor or battery with extra wear is not cost effective.

Imagine this another way: you'd need to ride 260 miles downhill with regen on in order to fully charge the Liberty Trike battery for a 26-mile ride. But you'd need to ride up that hill first, without using the battery.

Want more reading? The definitive real-world testing on this can be found here:

Customer Reviews
Financing Options NOW Available!