Electric scooters are a great urban commute. They help you transit between public transport / far-off parking lots to your destination, saving you the agony of long traffic lanes. That does not mean you’d want to dive in headfirst without your safety net. There are tons of electric scooter manufacturers in the market, each claiming to produce the most technologically advanced electric vehicle. So, how do you identify which of the electric scooters is worth your hard-earned money? Let us break it down for you, in easy-to-understand language, the five things you must know about the electric scooters.
1. Specs & Features
An electric scooter consists of a compact industrial-grade aluminum alloy or carbon fiber frame. The pipe-like structure is the stem, while the surface where you ride is called the deck. We have a handlebar and screen to monitor speed and battery levels.
Battery & Motor
The battery, positioned inside the deck, powers your electric scooter. A great deal of the overall performance of your electrical vehicle (EV) depends on its voltage, charging, and storage capacity. A built-in motor in either one or both the tires draws current from the battery. These motors can be brushed or brushless DC motors. Battery voltage and motor power, besides rider weight and some environmental factors, determine your EV’s range (how far it can go on a single charge). Both battery and motor can wear over time and need replacements. On average, a battery lasts three years, whereas brushed motors tend to wear out sooner than brushless.
An electric scooter has three types of brakes; i) rearfoot brake – found in the rear mudguard and used by pushing with a foot, ii) mechanical brake – a disc or hydraulic brake found in either one of the tires or both, controlled via a lever on the left handle, and iii) electric brake – it cuts the electric supply to stop the electric scooter.
Electric scooters have either air-filled or solid tires. Solid tires have a plus in that they do not get punctured. On the flip side, such tires give a bumpy ride and need quality suspenders to make the ride comfortable.
E-scooters can have single or dual charging ports. Their charging time depends both on the number of ports and the type of battery installed. Lead-acid batteries have lower up-front costs but take longer to charge, and the reverse is true for lithium batteries.
Suspensions make a ride comfortable. You can either get spring suspensions or hydraulic (better experience, more expensive) ones in your scooter. If you have solid tires or wish to use the EV for a longer commute, you’d better lookout for quality suspensions.
These scooters usually have one headlight and some smaller lights at the rear end to allow for visibility and serve as brake lights.
The functioning of an electric scooter is pretty simple to understand and can be very useful for proper maintenance. The rider controls the electric scooter using a combination of screen, throttle, and brakes. You can issue a command using the LED screen and the throttle on the handlebar. As you select the travel mode on the screen and push the throttle, it sends signals via the controller to the battery to release electricity to the motor(s), propelling the wheels on the electric scooter forward. These scooters have a combination of disc and electric brakes, so when you move the brake on the left handle and the one at the rear mudguard, it slows down under the effect of friction and the loss of power. You steer the EV with the handlebars. Most quality electrical scooters offer suspensions to make both the process and the ride more comfortable.
These scooters are pretty simple devices, provided you got them from a reliable electric scooter manufacturer; they won’t need a lot of maintenance. All you need to do is keep them charged after each use and before storage, never letting the battery fully drain. Other areas you want to pay attention to include the tires, brakes, and mudguards. The air-filled or pneumonic tires need regular upkeep since they run the chance of going flat. Brakes can suffer from wear and tear over time, so pay attention to brake pads and see if the braking mechanism is suffering or in need of repair. Understandably, mudguards suffer a lot and need touch-ups or replacements from time to time.
4. Customer Support
Besides vetting the scooter for quality & specs, focus on the services provided by the manufacturer to make the best deal.
Look for electric scooter manufacturers with a well-established quality control system. The more transparent the quality control, the easier it is for you to evaluate their product. Haidong, an established Chinese electrical bike & electric scooter manufacturer, begins the inspection and quality control with the arrival of accessories continues it through the entire production cycle into the final clearance until product shipping.
You don’t want to invest in the single most ideal electrical scooter only to find you cannot get its spare parts, not get how it works, or find services only the original manufacturer can offer. Haidong is one such manufacturer with extensive after-sales services. Expect everything from assembly guidance to warranty services and even dealer training.
Some of the most popular models on the curb are the ones imported. If you are into such products, always look for manufacturers that host overseas warehouses. Haidong maintains several overseas warehouses across Europe, America, and Canada. That way, the product can reach you more quickly, has a higher chance of return or exchange if faulty. The most appreciable thing about these warehouses is, they are likely to stock up on their spare parts, making your life a lot easier.
5. Electric Scooter Regulations
Regulations around e-scooters are still evolving. You must be aware of them before you invest in one. We’ll share some of these enforced in various parts of the world.
United States: Many states enforce their regulations. Commuters can ride them within a speed limit of 20 mph with a maximum power of 750 Watts. The minimum age limit is 16 years, and riders are required to wear helmets. Some cities have banned their use. And most won’t accept them on high-speed streets.
Canada: Generally speaking, the minimum age limit is 18 years, the maximum speed limit allowed is 32 km/ hour, within the power limit of 500 Watts. Some states demand a driver’s license others do not. Whether you can ride an e-scooter on private property or public roads varies from province to province.
Germany: Minimum age for riders is 14. E-scooters need to obtain an ABE from the authorities to get insurance and consequently drive it around. ABE requires e-scooters to operate at a maximum speed power of 1500 Watts, within the 20 km/ hour speed limit. It should also have a steering bar, breaks, horn, and front & rear lights. The scooter should display the manufacturer’s name, scooter model, and the ABE itself on the scooter.
UK: At present, you can only ride an e-scooter on private land with prior permission from the landowner. Non-compliance can cost users a £300 fine. The government allowed scooter trials in few places to measure safety. Those interested to participate with rental scooters need a driving license and can only drive within the 15.5 mph speed limit.
France: Minimum age limit is 12 years, it is not allowed to ride on country roads, and pavements non-compliance will invite a €135 fine. The maximum speed limit is 25 km/hour, going over which will cost a fine of €1,500. It is encouraged to use the vehicle on cycle paths.
Spain: Although classified as vehicles, e-scooters are not allowed on motorways, in tunnels, and over pavements. The maximum speed limit is 25 km/ hour. The rider should be wearing a reflective vest and obtain a circulation certificate from the manufacturer.
Belgium: They are allowed on public roads but can only be used without a license as long as the rider stays within the speed limit of 25 km/ hour. To drive past the speed limit, users need a driver’s license, a number plate, and insurance. They also need to have a helmet on while riding it.
Denmark: The minimum age limit is 15 years. The maximum speed limit is 20 km/ hour. Users can enjoy a ride on bike lanes.
Sweden: The youngest drivers allowed on these vehicles are 15. The maximum speed limit is 20 km /hour, with a maximum of 250 Watts.
E-scooters are simple devices ideal for urban transit, though you can also find sturdy variants perfect for off-road surfaces. They can range from sleek devices to wider scooters, some variants incorporating seats and baskets as well. These are battery-run devices and are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Get a better understanding of the parts, specs and features, and working mechanism of the device to get the best value for your money. You can cover the most distance on a single charge from devices that use quality batteries and motors. Good vehicle maintenance leads to longer usability and less frequent parts replacement. Prioritize a good manufacturer when buying your EV, one that offers after-sales services, customer support, and effective quality control.