Electric scooters provide a convenient way of transportation. It’s faster than walking and more environmentally friendly than fuel powered motors. You don’t have to worry about crowds in public transports during rush hour or traffic jam. But, electric scooters are not cheap. So, you need to know what to look for when buying a new e-scooter.
Consider these factors when buying electric scooters. We will look at the maximum speed, weight, size, purpose, and overall performance. Choosing can be difficult with overwhelming choices. So, if you want to get the best for your money, here’s a guide for you.
What To Look For When Buying An Electric Scooter?
What are the features that an electric scooter should have? It is a question that most first-time riders have in mind. So, let’s put all your woes to an end. Here are the essential factors to consider to get the right electric scooter for you.
#1 – Your Purpose Of Buying
First, you need to know your purpose in buying an electric scooter. It is the first step in deciding the type of electric scooter that is right for you. Would you use it for daily commutes? Then, you’ll need a highly durable scooter. Or do you only need one for leisure and fun?
There is also the rider to consider. You may consider the age of the rider. Is it for a child or a full size adult? Choose an electric scooter that’s appropriate for the user’s height and weight.
#2 – Price Of The Electric Scooter
Once you know your purpose of buying an e-scooter, next set your budget. Is there a specific amount that you want to spend? We all want the cheapest option with premium features. But, you are always limited to the options available at the time you decide to get one. Set a maximum budget, the highest you would go to. If you do not know where to start, shop around and have a feel of what the market is like. List the budget, mid-range and premium models with their prices and decide for yourself, which of these prices you are comfortable to part with.
The best electric scooters with stellar features come at premium prices. Setting a budget means sticking within that amount, which at times means compromises and make do. So, look for the best scooter that would match both your wallet and purpose in using it first. The bells and whistles can come next, budget permitting.
#3 – The Distance The Scooter Can Travel
The range offered on a full charge is usually indicated in the specification. The electric scooters today have enough battery capacity to power your travels for up to 48km (30 miles), enough for most journeys within the city, from your office and back home. Note that, the effective range of your electric scooter depends on different factors.
Check if the scooter you are considering can travel within your desired distance and average speed to achieve it. Other factors like rider’s weight, road conditions, weather, temperature and different riding style (chosen mode) make a difference to the effective range. The best option is to follow the manufacturer’s advice in the manual to maximise your range. So, start thinking about your commute distance every day.
#4 – Weight Of The User and E-Scooter
When we say weight, we mean two things. It is the user’s and scooter’s weight. Note that most e-scoots have max loads of 220 lbs to 270 lbs. Never exceed the weight limit provided by the producer for safety purposes.
Make sure that the scooter can carry your weight. Otherwise, it will consume more battery power and become more prone to accidents and failures. Consider what you are carrying. It all adds up.
As for the weight of the scooter, you should also be able to lift the scooter with no problem. This is essential when climbing stairs or moving between transport mode such as changing to the bus or train. When the battery runs out you will have to use it like an ordinary kick scooter so the lighter it is the better.
We’ve mentioned that calculating your average daily travel distance is essential. You will also need to consider the motor and battery sizes. Most electric scooters that have a range of up to 15 miles and can weigh up to 25 lbs. It has a smaller electric motor and battery, which makes the scooter’s body lightweight.
Electric scooters that can travel to over 15 miles, sometimes up to 20 miles can weigh over 30 lbs. This is because it comes with a bigger battery and motor making it heavier and bulkier. Between the two options, which one do you think is suitable for you? Go back to your daily travel distance to decide.
#5 – Identify the Top Speed
Top speed for e-scooters is like a safety feature somehow. In some countries, the top speed of scooters are limited electronically. It is the maximum distance per hour that the electric scooters can reach. The ideal top speed is about 15 miles per hour (mph), and some laws are against going over it.
The 15 mph on an electric scooter feels a lot different compared to a bicycle or a vehicle. That is because of the smaller tyres. This means it has to spin faster to cover the same range. The electric motor used is powerful enough to speed up from kick start to this maximum speed for a quick ride.
Until you get used to the speed, 15 /20 mph feels much faster on an electric scooter compared to a bicycle or car as you taken forward in a vertical position. If you are not an expert, start slow when traveling on roads and bike lanes. If speed settings are available, choose eco or standard settings and only use sports when you are more confident. Don’t forget to wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter at any speed or any road.
#6 – Motor Power
Most electric scooters for adults have at least one motor built into the hub of the wheels. Some powerful electric kick scooters have dual motors. Manufacturers rate it depending on the power consumption or watts.
More powerful motors have higher wattage and vice versa. If you are a starter and commuter, a 200-watt motor is enough. It can take on small inclines and travel short distances.
For a more powerful motor and faster ride, choose an electric scooter with a 300 or 350-watt motor. You will enjoy better acceleration and speed with options to choose different speed settings for your ride. With the single 350-watt motor, you are likely to feel the acceleration kick-in when you push down hard on the throttle switch.
#7 – Suspension
Electric scooters are for the road, and the wheels should offer some suspension. You need a smooth ride even when there are bumps and humps on the way. Without suspension, you will feel uncomfortable even with the smallest hump as you travel.
Whether you want it for fun or daily commutes, choose an electric scooter with suspension. This is offered by one or a combination of the following systems – spring, hydraulic or air piston, pneumatic types and tyres size.
If you value a comfortable ride, avoid solid tyres. As a minimum choose one with pneumatic tyres. Bigger tyres roll over cracks and dips easier too so the bigger the tyre the better. Although all these will add to the overall weight of the scooter.
#8 – Lighting
Lights on an electric scooter are essential for you to see at night and for other motorists to see you. Most e-scooters have LED lights for better visibility and added safety features. These are usually fitted to the front as head light and to the rear as brake light and tail light. You can add more front and rear lights with after market battery powered lights. Any front lights that fit an ordinary bicycle will work on an electric scooter. For rear facing lights, we recommend additional lightning that goes on the safety helmet and backpack or belt. Also, if you intend to ride in the dark often, pick up a high-visibility jacket with reflective stripes.
#9 – Brakes
Another essential feature of an electric scooter is the brake system. It should give you a strong yet smooth stopping power. High-quality braking systems are a priority for a safer and controlled ride.
It should be strong enough to stop the scooter whenever you need to without throwing you out of it. Brakes for electric scooters come into three categories. It includes mechanical, electric, and foot brakes.
Mechanical brake systems rely on the physical mechanism of the scooter to slow it down. The physical mechanism includes the foot, drum, and disc brakes. The only disadvantage of this brake is that it will wear out. So, maintenance is crucial. Regularly check for wear and damage to the cables, pads, discs etc for a safe ride.
Meanwhile, electric brakes or sometimes known as regenerative brake is found inside the motor and do not require maintenance. However, it is not as quick at stopping the scooter if you need sudden stops compared to mechanical brakes. To engage it, just release the throttle. If your scooter is on auto-cruise, tap on the throttle to disengage auto-cruise first. Regenerative braking will follow.
Finally, there is the foot brake. To stop the scooter, you push down your foot on the rear fender. This brake system is just like those found on kick scooters for kids. If you are new to this, it does take time to master.
Among the three brake systems, mechanical types are the most effective. It offers more braking ability than its counterparts. Modern scooters have two, sometimes three braking systems in case the one does not work right. Use them in combination to slow down and stop your scooter.
#10 – Tyres
There are two tyre options available for scooter, these are solid (airless) tyres or pneumatic (air-filled) tyres. Based on their names, you can immediately guess the differences between them. But for a deeper understanding of their benefits and disadvantages, continue reading.
First, the solid (airless) tyres. These are essentially rubber rings that go over the wheel. They do not require maintenance and will not puncture when you hit a nail or spike. But solid tyres will make you feel every bump and hump on the road. Even the slightest crack will be felt. These are the tyres that you’d often see on kids’ scooters. If you have solid tyres on your e-scoot, then make sure it has suspension.
Pneumatic tyres or air-filled tyres will give you a more comfortable ride. It will work even with or without suspension. But it doesn’t imply that you should avoid paying extra for suspensions if you value comfort above anything else.
Air-filled tyres will need topping up with air to keep in inflated regularly. Check the tyre or instruction manual for the right pressure to apply. The rubber tyre and air help with shock-absorption. Some have inner tubes that you can replace or fix if you get a puncture. Another advantage of pneumatic tyres is that it offers better handling, even during poor weather or on slippery roads.
#11 – Maintenance
Finally, consider the scooter’s maintenance. It will save you from any unwanted repairs and replacements in the future. Stick to electric scooters that have spare parts that most suppliers or retailers carry. Otherwise, you’ll end up sending it back to the manufacturer for repair or maintenance.
Know the ideal mileage when you need to carry out an overall maintenance. For example, some electric scooters need it when it encounters at least two issues per year or when you hit 600 miles of range.
#12 – Removable and Swappable Battery
Most electric scooters have fixed battery. These are not user replaceable nor swappable. As with smartphone batteries, e-scooter batteries have a life span and can only take so many charge-discharge cycles before it starts degrading. It will then start to hold less and less charge.
If you would like the ability to buy your own battery and replace this yourself. Or, better still, to swap out your battery for long journeys, go for an e-scooter with removable battery. This will let you quickly and easily remove and swap out the battery so you can charge one and use the other. Even if you only have the one battery, you can still charge it either installed or dismounted. This offers an extra level of convenience.
Electric scooters provide straightforward commuting solutions. You can also use it for fun or just to be outside for some fresh air. If you are a first time rider, start with a 10mph or 15mph top speed setting. Typically, electric scooters support three speed modes, beginner, eco and sports with up to a top speed of 20mph.
Make sure that you can carry its weight. So, you can kick it when the battery runs out or fold and pick it up to carry it with you on the train, bus or to the car boot. The motor should have at least 200 watts power and pick one with dual or triple brake system for more reliable braking. Last but not least, be sure to consider one with air-filled tyres and suspension for a more comfortable ride.