Skateboards from the Future!
That’s what I like to call an Electric Scooter or e-Scooter for short. Yeah, they’re pretty cool looking flat board scooters with one major major technological upgrade, they run on motors and have battery packs.
Mind blowing right? Well, eScooters have been around for quite some time but have not managed to reach the popularity level of eBikes. They’re smaller and more compact than a traditional eBike and are actually a safer means of travel.
These eScooters are a form of micro-mobility, getting you from point A to B in a jiffy. There are hundreds of electric scooter brands with an even wider range to choose from, from eScooters for adults and kids to seated electric scooters.
But have you ever wondered, how eScooters work?
Here’s how they work.
Like any mechanical device, eScooters have a number of electrical components that help propel the scooter forward.
They use the hub motor to propel the scooter forward, the battery to power the electrical components in the scooter and the motherboard or motor controller to regulate the current flowing to the motor from the battery giving it more speed.
Let’s look at how these components drive the eScooter to get an understanding on how electric scooters work in the real world.
How do e-Scooters Work
Electric scooters run on batteries, typically rechargeable ones made of lead or Lithium. These batteries are not only coupled with the motor but also a lighting system, controller, and at times even the braking system, bringing your e-Scooter to life.
Some models of e-Scooters come equipped with a single motor while some have dual motors for greater propulsion, this results in larger batteries being used.
Ideally, how an electric scooter works can be summarized in the following way:
- The motor that provides movement is situated in the wheels of the scooter.
- From here, the rechargeable batteries which are located within the floorboard are activated and transmit current to the motor with the help of an intricate system of electrical wiring all through the frame of the scooter.
- Once the throttle is twisted, signals are relayed to the motherboard or the motor controller which in turn informs the battery how much current to power the motor with. This system will power a single hub motor or in some cases dual hub motors allowing you to start moving forward.
But it’s not always so simple. So, in order to understand how an electric scooter works, you must know what components are used in an e-Scooter.
The main components of an Electric Scooter are:
Though most may think that the heart of an e-Scooter is the motor, the larger the motor the faster you can go. But that’s not entirely true, in fact the most important component in any e-Scooter is the battery unit.
The advances in battery technology have made it possible to use larger capacity batteries on electric scooters.
- New age batteries are compact and powerful making them easier to fit on a small frame. These rechargeable batteries are an efficient source of power and actually enhances your overall riding experience.
- Batteries are measured in Watt-hours or Wh, any budget scooter would have a capacity range of about 250Wh whereas top end electric scooters would have capacities of around 3000Wh.
- High-Quality batteries of today can give you a riding range of about 12-15 miles on a single charge while also being seamlessly integrated into the design of the e-Scooter and not hindering your ability to ride properly.
Second in command, the motors on an electric scooter are built into the wheels making them hub motors. Some models of e-Scooters come with one hub motor while some have motors in both wheels.
The motors are brush-less direct current (BLDC) motors that are rated based on their power consumption by the expression ‘Watts ’.
Think of it like this, greater wattage means it’s an extremely powerful motor that is capable of achieving higher speeds.
Motors and e-Scooters are available in three difference performance variants,
- You have the average or low-end electric scooters running on a 250-300 watt motor,
- Intermediate or mid-range electric scooters will have a 500-600 watt motor
- And the extremely high-performance scooters will use high powered dual 1200W motors.
A motherboard on an electric scooter is a unit that sends power to your motor based on your throttle input. These small and compact devices are hidden within the frame of the e-Scooter and basically help control the flow of current from the battery to your motor and other electrical components.
The motherboard aka motor controller looks like a small block of steel with numerous wires protruding from its side. The metal used acts as a heat sink so it does not overheat.
- A speed controller will be hooked up to the battery and other components such as the brakes and throttle.
- Upon receiving electronic signals from either the throttle or the brakes, it controls and limits the amount of current flowing to the motor.
- The faster you want to travel, the more current is sent through and if you’re applying your brakes, the e-Scooter slows down and current flow is then cut off.
These small devices are rated based on the voltage and current they are capable of regulating. High powered e-Scooters will have higher voltage and current ratings while low powered e-Scooters come with speed controllers that have lower voltage and current ratings.
There are two primary types of braking systems on an electric scooter, the disc system and the drum system. Both rely on friction to stop the e-Scooter and are shaped quite differently. There are other braking systems available but are not so reliable.
- The drum braking system is such where the brake shoes remain stagnant while the drum itself rotates along with the wheel.
- When it comes to the disc braking system, the disc plate rotates along with the wheel and can be stopped when the pads that are situated on either side of the disc plate come in contact with it.
The manual braking system can be activated on the handle bar by holding the lever inward, similar to any bike or eBike out there.
There are some electric scooters which come with an e-braking system which rely on the motor to slow down. These brakes need not be periodically serviced or adjusted as they’re electrical.
Truth be told, manual braking is the best way to go as they offer much stronger braking capabilities than an electrical system.
Tires and Wheels
Tires used on electric scooters are meant to give you traction while accelerating and slowing down in any emergency. Some scooters use airless tires while others use pneumatic ones.
Pneumatic tires are filled with air and improve the overall quality of your ride. These can be used on e-Scooters with or without suspensions, they are made from a supple rubber material allowing them to perform quite well in adverse conditions.
The wheels on an e-Scooter are an important part of how fast you can go and how stable your ride truly is. A large 10” wheel base with rubber pneumatic tires can give you more cushioning with lesser vibration and can help you achieve greater speeds as compared to an electric scooter with a smaller wheelbase and tires.
The frame of your e-Scooter can determine the total weight you can carry, if it’s sturdy enough to house new components and receive upgrades.
This skeleton is normally made from different lightweight materials such as aluminum and stainless steel making them durable and easy to carry. The frame on most e-Scooters are fold-able and can be packed and transported anywhere you like in a convenient manner.
Some models of e-Scooters come with a raised seat while there are some designed for people with reduced mobility.
Basically they come in all shapes and sizes, each designed to target a specific group of people.
It is the frame that houses the battery pack, motherboard, the wheels with hub motors are connected to the frame of the e-Scooter making it the most crucial piece of the whole puzzle.
Electric Scooters or e-Scooters are the next best thing for an easier commute. Using an electric scooter has always been fun and now that you know how they work, keeping their important components safe is going to be your number one priority.
There’s always a thrill when there’s more power involved.
Riding your e-Scooter must always be done in a precautionary manner so as not to get involved in an accident. Make sure you have a set of tools to help tackle any issue which may arise while riding your e-Scooter.
Can you ride an e-Scooter without power?
Yes, you can but it’s not recommended. Since the new models of electric scooters run solely on electricity, you would end up damaging your e-Scooter or hurt yourself in the process if you use it without power.
How do e-Scooters charge?
Charging an e-Scooter is pretty straight-forward. Plug in the battery to any standard power outlet using the charging cable which comes with the electric scooter. If your scooter permits, you can take out the battery and charge just the battery indoors.
How long do electric scooter batteries last?
Electric Scooter batteries are made to be durable and long lasting, they can range anywhere between 2-4 years or up to 5000 miles without needing a change. There are a few factors which can influence the life of a battery pack such as; distance covered, storage mechanism, capacity of the battery and the conditions under which it was used.