In an era of technology, everything seems so simple yet so complicated. A good example is mobility scooters. You press a button, and everything starts working. Ever wondered how it works?
We take you through a guide on (almost) everything you need to know about electric scooters; their different types, how they work, and a few maintenance tips. We are always looking out for you.
Types of Electric Scooters
The first step in knowing how electric scooters work is to identify the different types. Scooters are normally categorized using different factors like their engine type, features, design, and purpose among others.
Two names pop up when categorizing scooters based on their intended use and design, stand-up and sit-down scooters. There are a lot of variations within these two types, such as folding and bariatric, but it narrows down to stand-up or sit-down scooters.
Stand Up Scooters
You can already guess from the name. You ride stand-up scooters (also known as kick scooters) while standing. It is like riding a mini motorcycle without the steering and seat. You need skill and balance to ride them, but in turn, they give you a feeling of independence and freedom.
These scooters normally have two wheels, a platform for you to stand on, and handlebars for controlling and steering the scooter, like the Okai Neon pictured above.. You’ll need to push your leg off the ground to propel it.
Manufacturers added seats to create sit-down scooters (mopeds or motor scooters) for the lazy ones. You can now ride around town relaxed and without having to worry about your posture or balance; more like having a chauffeur taking you wherever you want.
On top of a comfortable seat, these scooters have a larger frame and footrest compared to stand-up scooters. They are powered by an engine and equipped with brakes to regulate the speed. They have three to five wheels and are normally suited for longer rides.
Key Components of an Electric Scooter
Here are some of the main components of an electric scooter. Both sit-down and stand-up scooters have the same components, though sit-down scooters might have additional controls. We take you through each part and what it does.
Like most machines with a motor, scooters also use batteries. It is where energy is stored. The battery pack is normally made of numerous individual cells assembled together.
The best electric scooters normally use lithium-ion batteries, while less expensive models use lead-acid batteries. The difference? Lithium-ion batteries last longer, store more energy, and require less maintenance. They offer more value over a longer period.
When rating batteries, we use watt-hours (Wh), which measures their capacity. A capacity of 250 Wh is a good place to start.
The motor is the component that powers the movement of your scooter. It converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. It is also responsible for turning the wheels and propelling the scooter forward.
Your scooter’s size and type will vary depending on the model, but most brands, such as Afikim Motors (pictured below) are now designing theirs brushless. This means they have fewer moving parts, making them more efficient and reliable.
A good thing about electric scooter motors is that they are smooth, quiet, and do the job effortlessly. They are also environmentally friendly since they produce zero emissions.
Don’t forget to maintain your scooter’s motor. Inspect it regularly, and clean and lubricate its moving parts. If you suspect something is wrong, take it to a professional.
The controller is a rectangular-like component hidden inside a scooter. It is used to send power to the motor. And not just that, it also controls the flow of current to the motor from the battery.
Quality controllers are ranked on how much current and voltage they can regulate. The more powerful the motor is, the higher the maximum voltage and current rating the controller should have.
Not much appreciation is given to this part since it does its job quietly most of the time. But it can prove a headache if it fails or malfunctions.
The throttle is found at the handlebar and allows you to control your scooter’s speed. You’ll need to press a button or twist a grip to operate it. Use the throttle carefully, and be sure to follow local regulations regarding the speed. Also, be aware of your surroundings to avoid collisions or accidents.
Frame and Wheels
The frame is your scooter’s backbone. It provides support and structure for everything else. Then the wheels make your scooter go round, literally. Frames need to be designed using lightweight material, typically steel or aluminum.
A quality, well-designed frame greatly affects a scooter’s performance. It should be lightweight enough for easy maneuverability while simultaneously sturdy to absorb vibrations and shocks.
As for the wheels, they should be pneumatic (air-filled) to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride. Again, the size of the wheels will vary depending on the scooter’s size, but larger tires are more stable and handle rough terrain better.
How Electric Scooters Work
A lot of engineering and technical stuff is involved in making an electric scooter work, but we’ll try and break it down in the simplest terms possible. Inside your scooter’s frame is a rechargeable battery that powers the scooter.
When you turn your scooter on, the battery conveys electricity to the motor, which propels the scooter forward. Think of it as a cool version of a hamster wheel where the battery is the hamster.
The rider activates the throttle, normally found at the handlebar, which signals the motor to start things up. The wheels turn, and you start moving. As the rider, you use the braking system and throttle control to regulate your speed.
It’s not that difficult, is it? Electric scooters are quiet, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and convenient for short-distance commuting.
Maintaining an Electric Scooter
Electric scooters don’t need a lot of upkeep and maintenance, but once in a while, it’s good to give it a ‘spa day.’ Only instead of a massage, the scooter gets a good scrub. Here are a few maintenance tips for prolonging your electric scooter's lifespan.
Water and electricity don’t mix. That’s a recipe for disaster. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t clean your scooter. It only means that you shouldn’t hose it down. Instead, take it out and wipe it using a damp rag.
For more thorough cleaning, consider using a spray. Use paper towels if you don’t have access to a rag. The goal is to remove all the dirt from your scooter without getting it wetter than it needs to be.
Rust and corrosion are two enemies of moving parts. Make sure to lubricate your scooter's moving parts at least once a week. Apply the lubricant on the bearings of the front and rear wheels, the shock absorber, and the disc brakes. Wipe off the excess lubricant once done.
There’s a wrong and proper way of charging your scooter. One, don’t overcharge your battery. Let it hit 90% charge before unplugging it. Secondly, always use the appropriate charger, the one that was shipped together with the scooter. Like phones, a wrong scooter charger can shorten its lifespan.
Finally, store your battery properly. Place it in a cool, dry place when not in use.
How do you store your scooter? If you’ve been leaving it where you alighted, then you are doing it wrong. After using your scooter, store it somewhere safe and dry. And before you store it, make sure it is clean.
Cleaning your scooter before storing helps prevent any dirt buildup that would otherwise create problems in the future. If possible, cover it up to keep off dirt and dust. Check on it periodically to make sure everything is okay.
Check Your Tires
Stating the obvious here: make sure that your tires are inflated. You don’t want to be moving like a slug around town. Your battery will drain faster, the ride will be uncomfortable, and you risk bursting the tires.
Also, check for any damages in your tire. Fix any issue or replace the tire if need be. Always invest in high-quality tires for your scooters to save yourself the hassle.
Once in a while, give your scooter a quick once over to ascertain everything is okay. Check for signs of wear and tear. Are there any scratches or dents? Do you see any signs of wear and tear?
Also, make sure that the brakes are in good working condition. The same goes for the tires. The treads and pressure should be in good shape. If something is out of order, replace it or call a professional to repair it.
Anything that we’ve left out? I don’t think so. That's all the basics of how an electric scooter works and its components. Remember to maintain your scooter if you want it to last almost as long as you.
Browse through our selection of stand-up scooters and sit-down scooters to learn more and possibly get one for yourself. Feel free to reach out to our support team if you have questions or concerns. We are always happy to help.