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How Does an Electric Scooter Work?

Are you thinking of purchasing an electric scooter and have no idea how it works? Or are you someone who wants to use the rent by minute electric scooters but know next to nothing about one?

If yes, then let me help you.

The working of an electric scooter is no rocket science. They are simple modes of transportation that run on simple motors. And if once you understand its workings, you can easily use one whenever you want.

So without wasting much time, I will help you understand it’s working. Because when 88.5 million people in America[1] can ride an electric scooter, why not you!

How Does an Electric Scooter Work?

An electric scooter runs on rechargeable batteries. The batteries are either made of nickel, lead, or Lithium. The battery’s capacity is usually good enough to support travel within a range of 10 to 40 miles.

The motor is mounted on the frame of the electric scooter.

The electricity produced in the batteries is transmitted to the motor through a network of wires.

The motor can either make the front wheel or both the wheels rotate to push the scooter forward. It depends upon the type and model of the electric scooter.

Under usual circumstances, electric scooters’ speed rarely crosses 25 to 30 mph because of the motor’s limitations.

What is an Electric Scooter Made Of?

An electric scooter is a stand-up scooter that is powered using an electric motor. These vehicles are environmentally friendly and cheaper than gas-guzzling cars and bikes. They are convenient for traveling in tight streets and storing in confined spaces.

These scooters are generally composed of 4 parts: The body, battery, motor, and motor controller.

The body comprises an extended platform or deck, t-stem handlebars and hand brakes, two to four wheels, and front and rear suspension. Most of the scooters are fold-able, and some models also include a seat.

Electric scooter design has two or three-wheel layouts fitted with an electric motor and battery. It is mostly used for short-distance commuting. Commuting via an e-scooter is more environmentally friendly.

Deck

The deck is the platform made up for you to stand on while riding an electric scooter. Many are rubberized and have a textured finish to provide a better grip between your shoes and the scooter.

You stand on the electric scooter’s deck. Some electric kick scooters have the battery built into the deck.

Stem

The stem is the folding tube made of metal that connects the handlebar to the front wheels. Almost every scooter has a folding feature that allows the user to store and carry the scooter safely.

In some electric scooters, the folding feature is a major source of frustration amongst riders as it makes the scooter unstable. The folding electric scooters can be challenging to work with as it can be loose or unstable and may not be safe for kids.

When you apply force to the handlebars, the whole stem rocks back and forth — a condition called stem wobble. This is one of the big problems in folding electric scooters.

Battery

The electric scooter comes with rechargeable batteries. You need to plug it into a charging source. In general there are three basic battery types that are popularly used in electric scooters like

  • Nickel Metal Hydride,
  • Lead-Acid, and
  • Lithium-ion.

Batteries are the fuel source of an electric scooter. Batteries store the energy that is consumed by the electric motor. It also provides energy to other accessories, including lights.

Braking System

A top-quality braking system is essential for staying safe and in control while riding an electric scooter. Electric scooter brakes can be divided into two categories: mechanical and electronic.

Mechanical brake systems depend on a physical mechanism to slow the scooter down and are further divided disc, drum, and foot brakes.

Electronic braking systems depend mostly on using the motor itself for braking and include strictly electronic and regenerative braking systems.

Mechanical braking systems will provide much stronger braking system. However, electronic systems are beneficial as the rider need not worry about the regular maintenance of brakes.

Most scooters will have a combination of both electronic and mechanical braking systems.

Controller

The electric scooter’s speed controller supplies power to the motor based on accelerator input.
The speed controller is an electronic component inside the scooter. It controls the flow of current from the battery to the motor.

It looks like rectangular metal cans with many wires coming out of them. The accelerator provides inputs to the scooter`s controller. Further the electronic brakes controls the inputs an transforms it into currents and sends it to the motor.

Handlebars

The handlebars are your connection point with the scooter. They are fitted with all the control mechanisms, including the accelerator, brakes, speed/settings display, and power buttons.

The handlebars are used to navigate the direction. The most portable electric scooters come with foldable handlebars that significantly reduce their width and make the scooter a very transportable and storable size.

Motor

Electric scooters have motors built into one or both wheels. Electric scooters have brushless direct current electric motors that are built into the hub of wheels.

All the scooters have at least one motor. The more powerful electric scooter will have two.

Electric motors ratings depend on their power consumption, which is express in units of watts. Powerful motors will have greater wattage.

Lights

Good scooter lighting is essential for seeing and staying visible while traveling during the night. Unfortunately, many of the scooters have lackluster built-in lighting. Almost all electric scooters come with at least one LED headlight and brake-activated tail light.

Tires

Tires are what a scooter moves on. These come in basically two types: pneumatic or air-filled and airless. Tires give you traction to accelerate or apply brakes in an emergency.

How Does An Electric Scooter’s Throttle Work?

The throttle in an electric scooter is similar to how a motorcycle or car operates. When the throttle is used, the motor transmits power and moves you and the bike forward. Throttle allows you to pedal smoothly or kick back and enjoy a smooth ride! Most throttles can be tuned like a volume dial between low, medium, and full power. Most electric scooters in the US come with the throttle feature.

Are Electric Scooters Helpful in the Long Run?

It depends on your driving range. If it is within 40 miles, the electric scooter will be beneficial to you for commuting. If it exceeds, you would need other better means of transportation. Electric scooters are suitable for those who work in cities, and their workplace is not far from home. Because of the motor’s limitation, the electric scooter is not ideal for long-distance travel. For your safety, on bad weather days, please use other means of transportation.

How Dangerous is an Electric Scooter?

Your safety is not a joking matter. You could get serious injuries, or in extreme, die riding an electric scooter. You must wear proper safety equipment, including a helmet, while riding the electric scooter at any speed. You may need equipment, depending on the speed and type of riding conditions you experience. Other safety equipment may include:

  • Gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Elbow pads
  • Protective jacket and pants

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is an Electric Scooter Better?

The best part about a scooter is its low maintenance and overall cost. Because it does not run on petrol or gas, it saves a lot of money. Because of the compact design of the electric scooter, riding on it is quite comfortable.

You can choose a scooter with detachable seats to make your riding comfortable if you want. Remember, the electric scooter is cheaper to maintain than other vehicles, so it will be cheaper in the long run while it may look expensive upfront.

Moreover, since it is electric, it doesn’t release fumes, which helps keep the environment clean.

What are the drawbacks of an electric scooter?

However, like any other vehicle, it has its drawbacks too. Electric scooters have low speed. They are top-heavy, unstable, and dangerous.

They are manageable on smooth surfaces, but the small wheels don’t like bumps, curbs, loose gravel, sand, etc. Rainy weather can weaken the tire’s grip. On the road, electric scooters can be challenging for other drivers to see because of their compact size, and it can be deadly.

Final Thoughts

The simple working of an electric scooter makes it a prevalent mode of transport. No one can ignore its efficiency and its simplicity on the road. Besides this, it is a perfect gear that keeps the kids engaged during the pandemic period.

References:
[1] How Big Was 2019’s Scooter Boom, and What’s Next? – Bloomberg

Written by Lee Hill

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