Electric Scooter Buying Guide

Electric Scooter Buying Guide

By Chris Wilson

April 29, 2020


Electric Scooter Buying Guide 1

Have you considered purchasing an electric scooter? Away from costs, scooters offer a great way to reduce the carbon footprint massively. Unfortunately, not all scooters are created equal. There're a few things you should know before purchasing your first scooter.

Here, you will learn everything there is to know about electric scooters

Let's dive right in

Why Buy An Electric Scooter

Electric scooters provide an efficient and inexpensive mobility option, especially for the short distances connected to a transit system.

For a long time, regular bikes have been the go-to solution, but the rising popularity and user-friendliness of the e-scooters offers an easier and convenient transport mode.

Of course, there're plenty of other Personal Electric Vehicles such as electric bikes, electric unicycles, and electric hoverboards, but electric scooters are increasingly gaining popularity over other PEVs.

Is it worth buying an electric scooter?

You might think that heavy-duty electric scooters are all about having a higher weight limit, but they are far much away from just being accommodative. Best electric scooters for heavy big adults provide the much-needed stability and reduced chances of accidental angling.

They are ideal for those who love spending time outside and will provide access through various types of terrain. So long you have the right model for your bulk, you don’t have to stress about getting stuck or missing out on something because of your scooter. So yes, it’s worth it.

Are Electric Scooters the Future?

Electric Scooter Buying Guide 2

It's always tough to predict where the market is headed next; however, it’s easy to make an educated guess with the available data and market trends.  Again, with a growing population and dwindling resources, things are slowly picking up for the electric modes of transportation.

Determining whether electric scooters are the future of transportation might be a dilemma for now, but what’s evident is they’re here to stay. Sure, electric scooters are by no means the panacea of transportation. Of course, we will still have cars, trains, trucks, bikes, and anything in between.

However, as we mentioned above, electric scooters solve a very specific problem in the transportation ecosystem- the last mile.

Easy to maneuver, fuel-free, and convenient, electric scooters are fast becoming a feature of the urban mobility scene in the quest for sustainability in travel. Under the right circumstances, for instance, the electric scooter will massively reduce congestion in our highways, and carbon footprints.

Why are Electric Scooters Good?

Electric Scooter Buying Guide 3

Well, Electric Scooters are taking over the streets of the world’s major streets. The e-scooters offer an exhilarating way to get around, especially for short distances. Depending on the type, the e-scooters are foldable, making them portable.

The e-scooters also offer a convenient alternative means of transportation, providing a potential replacement to the car and a solution to the congested traffic jams.

Sure, while you might attract curious looks from those who are not accustomed to adults riding an electric scooter, it's a bold street statement and a trend worth hopping on. Now, if you’re always feeling conscious about the e-scooters, remember the first mobile phones seemed ridiculous, but now everyone has a phone.

Benefits of Electric Scooters

Below, we shall look at what you stand to gain by preferring an electric scooter as your mode of personal transport.

Portability

Electric Scooter Buying Guide 4

Most of the assisted forms of transport, such as bikes are bulky, and cumbersome to be considered for practicality.
The e-scooters, however, are lightweight, and foldable, therefore promoting portability and easy storage.

Eco-Friendly

An electric scooter is an intriguing option for the green thumbs because it doesn’t generate any pollution, in terms of carbon emissions or even noise.

Considering the e-scooters don't use fossil fuels, they don’t emit any gases harmful to the ozone layer.

They also provide a whisper-quiet mode of transport, and you’ll barely hear any noise from an e-scooter.

Balance + Movement

While an electric scooter isn’t a replacement or gym workout, it offers a great way to get your body moving.

They’re beneficial in strengthening your core as well as activating your balance.

Safety

Every mode of transport has an inherent risk. However, electric scooters are safer, especially compared to other forms of personal electric vehicles such as electric roller boards and electric skaters.

Are Electric Scooters Safe?

Electric Scooters Leading To Injuries According To New Study

So what does this study mean for the future of electric scooters as a form of transportation?

Save Time

In busy cities, e-scooters can help you save time because they’re portable and can access anywhere, so you’ll have no trouble taking short cuts through a shopping mall or a park.

Electric Scooter Energy Consumption

How long do you need to charge an electric scooter?

Electric scooters provide an easy way to tackle the steep climbs and long distances without difficulties. On the other side of the coin, the e-scooters need recharging, and this adds to your energy bill. But how much will it cost you and is it a viable alternative to other modes of transport in cities?

Using figures, we shall see the energy efficiency of the electric scooters regarding their energy consumption for the distance (km or miles) they can cover.

Electric Scooter Buying Guide 5

Everything you need to know about charging an electric scooter

How to Calculate the Cost of Recharging your Battery

Here’re a few things to consider when calculating the cost of recharging your electric scooter battery:

·         Voltage (V)- It determines the power of an e-scooter

·         Capacity (amps-hours)- It determines the battery life

·         Cost of electricity (KWh)-  12 cents per kilowatt-hour in the US or $0.12/kWh

In normal cases, the first two metrics are displayed on the battery or in the manual of your electric scooter.

Note: It's impossible to account for all the different scooters in the market because of their different build, different energy efficiency technologies, and much more.

For our case, however, we shall use a standard e-scooter, with specifications largely shared among the leading popular models.

Our e-scooter specifications

Voltage- 42V

Capacity: 7800mAh

Calculating the Energy Consumption of an E-scooter

You need to bear in mind that electricity is charged in $/kWh. The W here represents power and not energy. The energy used by your e-scooter is calculated based on power and time.

For instance, if you leave your 20W light bulb for one hour, it consumes 20Wh of energy. So, to calculate the energy consumption of our scooter, it’s necessary to convert the unit of measurement used or the battery capacity from mAH to Wh.

To do this, we first multiply voltage and charging capacity of the battery- V * Ah= Wh

For our case, it’s:

42V *7.8Ah=327Wh=0.327kWh

Next, multiply the cost per KWh to get the total cost for completely recharging your e-scooter battery.

 0.327kWh * $0.12/kWh= $0.039 for a full charge

Here's a breakdown of energy consumption and costs.

 


Voltage (V)

42 V

Charging Capacity (Ah)

7.8 Ah

Energetic Capacity (Wh)

327 Wh

Consumption for 1 charge (kWh)

0.327kWh

Cost for a Single Charge

$0.039

Cost for 100 Charges

$3.9

Cost for 250 charges

$9.75

 


Obviously, the energy consumption of an electric scooter is on the lower side. Still, it varies a lot based on factors such as usage and type of battery.

What is the lifespan of an electric scooter?

As per knowledge, an electric scooter can serve up to 5 years, assuming daily usage of single time charging. The first three years may be free from efficiency reduction, but late on a slight change in functionality shouldn’t be such a disgrace. After, say 5 years, the efficiency might fall somewhere between 80-90% compared to a new one. And the trend continues.

Considering that not all e scooters are waterproof, some might not stand harsh conditions. It's a matter of time before the water destroys major electrical sections. The fluid will also adversely impact the mobile motor, bearings and even the braking system.

Besides water, electric scooters are prone to dust. Small particles tend to find their way into the tiniest nooks and chinks. When dust accumulates in the major parts of your e motor, the whole thing may become significantly impaired.

Furthermore, lithium batteries are susceptible to extreme temperatures. Nonetheless, your scooter will be forced to function harder in super-cold temperatures. Other factors include hitting hard grounds quite often, excess weight, curbs, rocks and potholes. All these contribute to a decreased lifespan of your electric scooter. So need for consideration. 

Costs of Electric Scooter Ownership

Generally, the financial cost of owning an electric scooter is much lower compared to other forms of transport, such as vehicles or motorbikes. The four main components to the cost of electric scooter ownership are:

1)  Cost of the electric scooter

You'll need to pay for the scooter. Here, prices vary, and it's possible to find electric scooters from as little as $200 to the premium models costing upwards of $1,500. But as you can imagine, the base models lack the premium features and exciting technologies. However, the correlation between price and performance isn’t always strong, so you need to understand your needs first before you consider the price.

2)  Cost of Gear

Gear, especially the self-protection gear, should be a priority if you need to keep safe. So always keep in mind that once you get a scooter, you'll also need an electric scooter helmet, knee pad, and elbow pad.

3)  Cost of electricity

We've already gone through the energy efficiency of your e-scooter, and you can now easily determine much you'll spend on recharging.

4)  Maintenance

You’ll constantly need to take care of your electric-scooter, which can significantly add up to a huge sum over the years. You also need to consider that after 3-5 years, you may have to replace your electric scooter altogether because they’ve a limited lifespan.

Electric Scooter Advantages and Disadvantages

Like everything in life, electric scooters have both benefits and drawbacks.

Some of the advantages of e-scooters are:

  • Portable: Scooters are lightweight and foldable, so they’re easy to move around
  • Fuel-saving: Since they don’t use fuel, they promote considerable savings in gasoline
  • Licensing:  Since they’ve limited speeds, most states don’t require licensing for the e-scooters
  • No parking fee
  • Safe
  • Environmental-friendly
  • Easy to maintain

Disadvantages of Electric Scooters

Low speeds: Though not a common drawback in all-electric scooters, most of them, especially those with smaller wheels, can affect the cruising speeds.
Charging time: The charging of an electric scooter battery takes more time than refueling.

How to Choose an Electric Scooter

Choosing a scooter might feel like buying a car or even other larger purchases.

Fortunately, we created this scooter buying guide to help you with your next scooter purchase.

At the very least, the guide covers all the critical elements such as quality, safety, and quality build that you should consider.

Quality of the Electric Scooter Ride

Quality is a bit subjective, but several factors normally affect the ride quality of a scooter.

These factors are:

Wheel size: Generally, we recommend that you avoid purchasing scooters with wheel sizes of less than 8 inches in diameter. Smaller wheels normally give a rougher ride and are susceptible to getting stuck.

Type of Wheels: The two common types of scooter wheels are solid and air-filled tires.

The solid tires, like their name suggest, are solid and provide the perfect solution in harsh environments, especially those with objects such as glass, thorn, and nail.

The air-filled tires, on the other hand, are built for comfort, and they normally deliver a comfortable ride.

Suspension: The final element that determines ride quality is the suspension. However, the suspension is only handy in leveling the jarring bumps. If anything, a scooter with large tires gives a better smoother ride than a scooter with suspension, but with solid and small wheels.

Speed

Next from the ride quality is the speed.

Normally speed is determined by several elements, including motor power, rider weight, and the riding surface

My advice, however, is that you should refrain from chasing high speeds. While it's worth having a speedy scooter for long distances, a speed of about 15mph should suffice for the normal use.

Brake

Speed is essential to getting you to your destination quickly, but brakes are necessary to bring you to a grinding halt.

The three common types of brakes used in scooters are:

Electric brakes: They offer low maintenance, but have less effective stopping power.

Disc brakes:  Also known as drum brakes, they’re effective at bringing you to a halt, but they might wear over time.

Foot brakes: These brakes are hard to master.

Another under-rated safety element in the presence of build-in light: having lights alongside reflector will make you more visible to vehicular traffic, especially during the night or in misty conditions.

Range

Range refers to the distance that a scooter can travel without needing recharging.

So, yes, the range is determined by how long the battery on the scooter can hold a charge.

To determine the ideal range, you need to determine the exact reason .i.e. the purpose for which you'll be using your scooter.

Build Quality

The build quality refers to how a scooter standups to usage.

In most cases, it's determined by material construction.

I would advise that you choose the metal-based scooters as opposed to the plastic-based scooters as the latter don't tend to last.

Reliability

Sure, the scooter industry is still at its infancy, and we’ve witnessed plenty of scooters come with manufacturing defects.

Our advice here is that you should stick with the established brands that have already made their name for their quality and reliability.

Weight Capacity

When choosing a scooter, you need to determine the rated weight capacity, or rather the weight it can effectively hold.

For instance, if you’re 200 pounds, we would recommend that you choose a 250-pound rated scooter.

While it’s still possible to use a scooter that you’ve maxed on its weight limit, what you’ll realize is that it won’t perform optimally, and it’s going to break down in no time.

Net Weight

Consider how far you might need to carry your scooter at the beginning or the end of your journey.

Generally, most of the scooters weigh 30 pounds, but if you’re not strong, you can consider something a bit lighter.

Away from the weight, another feature that determines the portability of a scooter is foldability. Ideally, a scooter should be foldable to reduce it to a compact size, easy for transport.

Noise

Some scooters make a loud whistling noise, but with electric scooters, or rather the e-scooters this shouldn’t be an issue because they deliver a noiseless and quiet performance.

Warranty

Though this isn’t part of the scooter, you should choose a scooter with a great warranty.

How long is the warranty period, and what does it cover?

More importantly, will the manufacturer honor the warranty?

Again, it circles back to the choice of manufacturer we had mentioned earlier in the guide.

Conclusion

Electric scooters are here to stay with us. They offer a convenient way to cover the last mile. They’re also quite efficient, and their energy consumption is simply incredible. While they’re not going to overhaul the entire transport system, they’ve brought a new and exciting way to cover the short distances.

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Chris Wilson

About the author

Chris Wilson, long time fan of personal electric transportation. Chris is not easily impressed when it comes to the latest technologies, however, when he is, nothing can stop him from wanting to share his knowledge with our readers here at ElectricRideLab.com

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