In the last couple of years, the use of electric scooters (e-scooters) has been rising. In 2018, 38.5 million journeys were made on e-scooters; in 2019, this number grew to 86 million, earning a growth rate of over 100%. As the pandemic continues to upend daily activities including mobility, e-scooters continue to be favored by many Americans. Another driver in e-scooters’ meteoric rise is people’s growing awareness of climate change. Unlike gas-powered vehicles, e-scooters reduce carbon emissions tremendously
Whether you’re thinking about getting an e-scooter for mobility or sustainability, it’s still a substantial purchase, and there are key things you need to consider.
One of the e-scooter’s advantages is that you won’t have to exert too much effort to get it to higher speeds, unlike with bikes and skateboards. The typical electric scooter runs at about 20 to 30 miles per hour— the speed allowed for e-scooters to travel on most bike lanes in the U.S. Speed is dictated by the weight of the rider, tire pressure, terrain, and battery capacity, as we previously discussed in our ‘How Fast Do Electric Scooters Go’ article.
Identify the routes you’d need to take regularly. Will you need to go up slopes? Will you be passing through main thoroughfares? Then, determine what speed you’d need your e-scooter to achieve. A 350 W to 500 W battery capacity would give you an average speed of 18 mph and top speeds of 20 mph, appropriate for straight, flat terrain. E-scooters with a battery capacity of over 500 W have average speeds of 20 to 25 mph and top speeds of 28 to 30 mph.
Another thing to consider is how far you may have to carry your scooter at either the beginning or end of your journey. It could be that the scooter is just one leg of your commute, so you may want a lightweight one.
The average e-scooter weighs around 15kg, and some could be lighter or heavier, depending on the make and features of your scooter. While lighter scooters are generally easier to carry and store, there are benefits to heavy-duty ones too, such as being able to carry more weight and to traverse more difficult terrain.
Range on a single charge
A Bloomberg news report claims that e-scooter rides have become longer during the pandemic, with more people traveling through both city centers and residential areas. Each e-scooter model comes with its own quoted range. However, manufacturers use best-case scenarios in determining this range: a 70kg person riding on a smooth road, with a new battery.
Make sure to factor these conditions in when you’re doing your own calculations. There’s also a reason as to why some scooters that boast longer range of travel could be cheaper than others, and it may have a lot to do with battery health. Cheaper batteries tend to have shorter life cycles, meaning the amount of power they can store diminishes with every charge.
There are a wide variety of e-scooters out on the market, each geared towards different uses. The higher-performance ones cost a bit more than your basic e-scooter. Then again, a basic e-scooter could be all you need if you will be using it infrequently. Their prices are heavily reliant on their performance, so set a budget and look up the available models.
As seen in Adorama’s selection of sports equipment, e-scooters can cost anywhere from $300 upwards. Entry-level scooters run slower at around 12.5 to 15 mph and travel approximately 10 miles on a single charge. On the other hand, e-scooters that belong to the $600 and upwards range can reach top speeds of 20 mph and above. Some higher-end scooters guarantee 16 to 20 miles of range on a charge, and some like the best selling Slidgo X8 even come with an extended battery pack.
You may not need to get a license or insurance, or even register your e-scooter, but you’ll still need to have safety accessories. On the road, you need to protect yourself as much as you can. Your e-scooter is going at considerably high speeds, and there are a number of risks you may face.
With e-scooters, you’re paying for technology and innovation, so think of it as a long-term investment and make sure you don’t overpay and to only get what you need.