"Where can I charge it? How will I get home?"
These questions, and many more, will probably pop into your head as your battery meter on your electric bike nears the dreaded RED ZONE of death. It's all happened to us at some point or another. Maybe you've had a busy day and are circling the 2nd Ring Rd. for the 2nd time this afternoon. Or maybe you forgot to plug your batteries into your charger the night before, so you're only running on the leftover battery fumes of yesterday. (guilty)
Never fear! Beijing is a one of those cities that challenges you to be a better person (most of the time), but is always there to help you out when you really need it. Take a look below for some helpful tips, and be a little more prepared for when you happen to step into that red zone on your electric bike.
1. Stop By a Friend's Place to Charge
Living in Beijing, you tend to make a very "international" and diverse set of friends, ranging from students studying Chinese to Wall St. bankers. This is not just to satisfy your craving to party every night of the week, it also comes in handy when your scooting around Beijing on your electric bike. Having a diverse group of friends means their living arrangements also change. You may have friends in Wudaokou, Haidian or in CBD, Chaoyang. If your running low on energy, pick up your phone and set up an impromptu get together. While you're enjoying a beer with your friend, your battery is happily charging up at his/her place.
Another increasing popular solution to this is electric bike shops with charging stations. Similar to the Telsa Charging Stations in the US, these are just much, much smaller, and designed for electric bikes.
- They're usually hanging on the wall or next to the door of various electric bike shops.
- Like a gas station, there are 2 "pumps" on either side so 2 electric bikes can be charged at the same time
- Each "pump" has multiple connectors, so 99% of the time, they'll have the right one you need to connect to your e-bike
- A 10 minute fast charge costs 1 RMB
- A 10 minute fast charge will only add 3 - 5 km of range
- They are designed to get you home in an emergency situation, not to continuously charge (Charging too fast can cause battery deterioration)
"ma fan ni, wo neng chong dian zai zhe li ma?"
These corner stores or xiao mai bu can be found almost anywhere in Beijing. They're mostly family run small businesses selling snacks, drinks, etc. But, if your foreign looking and have an electric bike, they may also provide an additional service for you.
Most of the time if you ask the above question, "Excuse me, can I charge my bike here?" they're usually ok with it if you buy something. Just don't overstay your welcome. Sometimes they may be a little hesitant to let you charge, but a quick fiver will usually change that.
"wo you wu kuai qian gei ni ba?" "I've got 5 RMB for your help?"
So there you have it. 3 methods of getting back on the road and on the way home. Hopefully, you'll never have to use them, but when you do, you'll be glad you read though this post!
Hope to see you on the streets of Beijing!