As with all electrical products, the adage “you get what you pay” is certainly never more true than for electric scooters. E-Scooters are sold at prices that range from less than $300 to prices as high as $2500, but as you will see below, there are numerous variables that go into determining the quality, price and features of an e-scooter. Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions about e-scooters. We hope that these answers will help you find the most suitable e-scooter to fit your personal needs.
What are electric scooters and how do they work?
An electric scooter is a motorized stand-up scooter that contains a small electric motor and battery to charge the motor. these scooters are generally designed with a large deck in the center on which the rider stands.
Is an electric scooter safe?
As with the operation of any recreational vehicle, safety is largely in the hands of the operator and can be impacted by their driving expertise and the conditions in which they are driving. Driving at speeds unsuitable for the conditions, not wearing a helmet, and ignoring local traffic laws are all activities controlled by the rider which can seriously impact rider safety. More detailed information is covered below, but variables that can impact rider safety include rain and heavy winds, tire types, obstacles on the road, rider experience and attention.
The following points will help to increase rider safety:
- Always wear safety equipment when driving an e-scooter. This includes the appropriate helmet (we recommend a closed-face motorcycle helmet for scooters that travel in excess of 20 MPH, an open-face motorcycle helmet for speeds approximating 20MPH and at minimum, a good quality bicycle helmet for speeds less than 10 MPH. The should be certified for either low force multiple impacts [ASTM Standard] or single high impacts [CPSC Certified]). Other recommended safety gear includes hand, knee or elbow guards, gloves (quality leather for high speed scooters), wearing good supportive shoes for stability, and long pants, long sleeves and/or a jacket to protect against spills.
- Keep your e-scooter on the ground with both hands on the handlebars at all times. Trick-riding or stunt riding should only be attempted by professionals with the appropriate safety gear, experience, and machines.
- Take the time to learn to operate your e-scooter correctly. E-scooters travel at high speeds, often in and around pedestrians, traffic and other obstructions. They also take a fair distance to come to a full stop depending on the travelling speed and type of brakes. It is important to feel comfortable using the throttle and brake system, as well as any enhanced features, before driving in built-up areas. Take your new scooter to an open and safe area, such as an open park or parking lot to get used to its features and feel before attempting to drive in riskier areas. Note that most e-scooters do not come equipped with turning signals, therefore hand signals may be required when traveling in areas that abide by bicycle road rules. If this is true for your area, learn how to complete these signals before driving in traffic as one hand will have to be removed from the handlebars resulting in rider instability.
- Recognize that some conditions are more conducive to spills. For example, wet pavement can result in the wheels slipping, putting the rider off-balance and enhancing the chance of a spill. Hitting large stones or other debris on the road can also result in a spill. Lastly, a combination of scooter features (such as solid tires) and road conditions (such as tactile paving areas for the visually impaired), may cause less stability on a e-scooter. It is important to always adjust speed and be aware of the surroundings to compensate for abnormal or unusual driving conditions.
Which E-Scooter is best for me?
Purchasing an e-scooter is a very individual process and the choice of e-scooter must take into consideration the rider’s primary purpose for riding the scooter and any secondary “wants” from the scooter. For example, will the e-scooter be used primarily for commuting or for recreational purposes?
If used for commuting, will the e-scooter be carried into an office, thus making its carrying weight a primary concern? How far is the commuting distance? As batteries tend to wear over time for all types of electrical products (e-scooters are no exception), multiply the return commuting distance by half to ensure you will continuously achieve a sufficient range on the battery charge to get to where you need to go (example: one-way commute is 5 miles, make sure the battery range is sufficient to cover a 15 mile travel range). How is the terrain that you will be travelling over? If rough, then consider purchasing a scooter with pneumatic tires and suspension for a more comfortable ride. Is the terrain hilly? Then consider moving to a larger size motor. Will you cross many high traffic intersections? If so, consider enhanced braking systems. Keep in mind that with each enhancement or upgrade on an e-scooter, you are often trading off price and weight. With larger motors, come larger batteries, which in turn require better brakes and better tires, which in turn push up cost and weight of the unit. Find the right unit for you will be a balance between budget, needs and wants.
If the e-scooter will be used for primarily recreational purposes, then the questions become related to the environment in which the unit will be mostly used. If the e-scooter will only be used occasionally in smooth terrain settings, such as weekend pleasure rides around urban areas, then the requirements for the scooter are much lower than for the user wishing to push their e-scooter experience to the extreme by travelling over off-road terrains, steep inclines or built arenas meant for stunt riding. For the former, units with lower watt motors (250 – 500W), smaller range batteries (4 – 8 ah) and less volts (24V) would be sufficient (although may require foot assistance on some hills), and for the latter, bigger is better for all variables that best suits the rider’s budget.
How fast can an electric scooter go?
Electric scooters can range in speed from a few MPH to up to 50 MPH. For commuting purposes, an e-scooter that reaches about 15 MPH is sufficient. Bear in mind that speed restrictions are implemented in many States, and in some municipalities 15 MPH is the maximum allowable speed on a scooter. Consult your local traffic regulations to ensure compliance with speed limits.
How far can an electric scooter go on a single charge?
All e-scooters are different depending on the size of their battery, but most e-scooters report a range of 10 to 20 miles on a single charge, some as much as 30 to 40 miles. It is important to know, however, that these ranges are typically reported based on standard test conditions on a flat, even surface, driving at a constant speed and using a typical 170lb rider. The combined weight of the rider and cargo, frequent stops and starts, and uneven terrain that provides load on the motor may substantially decrease this range. Battery aging and improper maintenance may also reduce the range of a charge.
How long does it take to charge an electric scooter?
The length of time it takes to charge an e-scooter battery varies greatly between scooters, dependent on the size of the battery and the manufacturer. Times can vary between only a few hours and up to 24 hours. This information will be provided in the manufacturer’s guide on each product page.
What if the battery runs out?
An electric scooter still operates like a non-electric scooter so if the battery runs out you can still kick to push it. A good habit if you use your e-scooter daily is to take your power cord with you to charge on the go.
How much does it cost to charge the battery?
This depends on the cost of electricity in your area, but typically costs range between 5-10 cents to fully charge the battery.
Do I have to drain my battery completely before I recharge it?
No. The batteries that power the electric scooters can be plugged in and recharged no matter the current battery level.
What does AH mean?
Ah stands for “Amp hours” and refers to the capacity of power that the battery can hold. The higher the Ah, the more charge the battery can hold, and therefore, the longer the battery can power the scooter. This means you can ride farther on a single charge. Most e-scooters have batteries between 6 and 20 Ah. Batteries with a higher Ah are often larger in physical size, therefore adding more weight to the scooter.
What do V (Volts) mean?
V stands for Volts and is a measure of the battery’s ability to send electricity to the motor. Therefore, it is indicative of how responsive the e-scooter will be when the throttle is engaged. The higher the volts, the faster the e-scooter will respond to changes in the throttle (note, this is not the same as speed). Generally electric scooters come with 24V, 36V or 48V batteries.
Why are Watts Important?
In very general terms, “watts” can be thought of as the “strength of power” that an e-scooter has access to under stressed conditions (taking off from a stopped position, going up a hill, carrying a heavier load etc.) and when under non-stressed, or normal driving conditions (even terrain). Electric scooters for adults have motors starting as low as 200 watts and some can exceed 6000 watts.
When looking at the different e-scooters, here are some things to consider about watts:
Higher watts (500W +) may be more desirable where:
- Increased torque and power are desired for ascending hills;
- higher cruising speeds are desired;
- the rider’s weight is over 200 lbs.
We do not recommend anything under 250 watts, which would only be adequate for flat surfaces and very small hills (5 – 10% grade), unless you live in a flat area or are just interested in a budget scooter for recreation. In areas with moderate hills, think about going to 350 or 500 watts. Even with 500 watts, a scooter can slow down on medium-sized hills with manual assistance required on steeper hills. Larger motors will not only help with powering up hills, but they will also get you up to top speed more quickly. More wattage should also be considered for heavier riders.
Do I need to have suspension?
Some e-scooters come with suspension and some do not. Typically, those with suspension come with a higher price tag. The suspension can be attached to either the front, rear or both wheels. Having suspension will make the ride smoother so the rider feels less vibration in the body. Bumps on the road are even more noticeable if the scooter has airless tires with no suspension. If you are purchasing your e-scooter for longer commutes or you travel over particularly rough terrain, strongly consider purchasing a scooter with suspension.
What is the difference between the different types of brakes?
There are four main types of brakes that are found on e-scooters and each are listed below in order from the least effective to most. These brakes can be installed on the front, rear, or both tires.
- Electric and regenerative brakes: These are the weakest brake type. They work by creating resistance to motor rotation. If you are traveling at higher speeds (15+mph) this type of brake will not permit you stop quickly. We do not recommend this brake type for city commuters encountering many stops.
- Foot brakes: This type of brake is activated by pushing your foot down on the rear fender, causing friction against the rear tire to slow the scooter down. Again, this type of brake will not stop a scooter quickly but is has slightly more stopping power than the electric brakes above. Using this type of brake requires a shift in body position while riding and could cause driver imbalance, which is something to consider when traveling at higher speeds.
- Drum Brakes: This type of brake is enclosed inside the wheel hub resulting in lower maintenance than other braking types. They work by putting outward pressure against the wheel, slowing the scooter by friction. These brakes have fairly good performance in wet conditions but could be difficult to perform maintenance on them. They also add substantial weight to the scooter.
- Disc brakes: These type of brakes are the best for stopping power and are lighter than drum brakes. They have a metal disc called a rotor which is attached to and spins with the scooter’s wheel. When the brake lever is pulled, it activates a caliper that pinches brake pads on the rotor, causing friction to slow the wheel. This brake type is easier to perform maintenance on than the drum brake and has good performance in wet conditions
What do the different types of tires mean?
Electric scooters have either air-filled (pneumatic) tires or airless tires. Pneumatic tires perform better all around. They have higher shock absorption so cut down on road vibration, better traction in slick conditions, and handle better on turns and at higher speeds. They simply grip the road better. The disadvantage to these tires is that there is more maintenance required as they are prone to punctures and proper air pressure needs to be maintained.
Airless tires on the other hand have virtually no maintenance and can be found on cheaper models of e-scooters, lowering the purchase price. Road vibration, poor traction, particularly on slick or uneven terrains, such as tactile paving areas for the visually impaired, and debris can significantly impact the drivability of the scooter.
Do electric scooters come with turn signals?
Most e-scooters do not come with turn signals. For this reason, you may need to signal your intentions to motorists around you using hand signals. It is recommended that you learn the appropriate hand signals before taking your scooter out for the first time and practice signals before driving in built up areas as not all e-scooters are easy to operate one-handed.
Can I ride an electrical scooter in the rain?
Operating an electric scooter in the rain is not recommended for safety reasons. When roads become slick, the likelihood of the scooter slipping out from under the rider increases. Further, braking in wet conditions is reduced. Therefore, a rider is more likely to experience an accident in wet conditions. That said, it is not always possible to predict the weather. If you must ride an electric scooter in the rain, slow down, especially when turning and allow ample time for braking. Most e-scooters are water-resist and will still function well. When finished, it is a good idea to wipe the water away once you are indoors to ensure adequate product life.
If you know you will be riding a scooter often in wet conditions, it is recommended that you look for an e-scooter that reports an IP Rating. The IP Rating (ingress protection) is a measure of how resistance the scooter is to dust and water. The second numerical value reflects the water-resistance. The greater the number, the more resistant it is. For example, IPx0 = no protection; IPx1 to IPx3 = very limited water resistance; IPx4 to IPx6 = suitable for riding in rain; IPx7 = unit can be fully submersed in water. We recommend a minimum IP value of 4.
How much does an electric scooter weigh?
Electric scooters can vary in weight quite substantially depending on the size of the motor, battery, tires, deck, suspension and other features. A scooter with a range of roughly 15 miles will typically weigh more than 25lbs, while some scooters can weigh upwards of 100lbs. This is an important consideration when choosing your e-scooter based on how much you may have to carry it. Are there stairs into your home? Into your office at work? Will you lift the e-scooter into a vehicle during times when using the unit is not possible? If any of these situations apply to you, consider how much you can comfortably lift and for what distance you can maintain carrying this weight.
Is there a maximum weight permitted to ride an electric scooter?
Each electric scooter lists the maximum weight as part of their specifications and these can be found on each product page. In general, most e-scooters have a limit of 220 lbs (100 kgs) but some do go higher. If your weight + cargo exceeds 220lbs, you will want to search specifically for an e-scooter with a higher rated weight capacity, and may also benefit from a scooter with at least a 500-watt electric motor as higher loads will make a scooter very sluggish in the smaller motor sizes and will reduce the battery range. For safety reasons, you should not exceed the weight limit specified by the manufacturer.
Do I need a permit to ride an electric scooter/where can I ride it?
The laws and regulations that govern the operation of electric scooters vary from state to state and city to city, and the available information on websites dedicated to e-scooters is conflicting (and often inaccurate). Further, much of the regulations around e-scooters is dependent on the size and speed of the scooter as to whether it can be driven on the road (typically requiring a driver’s license), a bike path, bike lane or sidewalk. Age restrictions may also be in effect. We recommend contacting your local law enforcement agency or DMV for the most up to date and accurate information. City and municipality websites may also contain helpful information.
Do I have to assemble an electric scooter?
E-scooters come 90% assembled and the remaining assembly can be done easily by any novice. For most all e-scooters you will have to attach the handlebars to the stem of the scooter. Other items which may need to be installed include tires, lights and added attachments (such as cell phone holders). Often tools are provided with the unit or are standard tools found in any hardware store.
What if I need components or parts for my electric scooter?
We list some of our e-scooter’s components on our store. If you are unable to find what you are looking for, please Contact Us and we will help you get the component/part you are looking for.