Electric scooters are surging in popularity across the world. These power scooters are becoming more and more common as environmentally-conscious consumers recognize their potential to save both money and reduce carbon footprints. Buying an electric scooter is a financial and lifestyle commitment that can have lasting rewards. This article will break down all the benefits of e-scooters (that’s what the cool kids call them!) and serve as your guide to the future of personal transportation.
Before we can explain why electric scooters continue to gain favor as eco-friendly transit tech, we’ll need to understand what defines an electric scooter. As with most technology, there are plenty of related products that are similar but not quite the same. Understanding the difference between mobility scooters, kick scooters, and moped scooters will help assure you’re looking at a genuine, future-friendly electric scooter! Not only will these considerations identify an e-scooter from imitation tech but they will also serve as critical attributes to evaluate when buying your electric scooter.
Electric Scooters do come in several variations to cater to different use cases. A two-wheel design is the most popular among tire configurations, though some manufacturers produce three-wheel variants. These offer better balance but come at the cost of flexibility, foldability, and overall size & weight. An important note to make is that two-wheel hoverboards aren’t electric scooters and, in most cases, make for horrible transportation.
The defining characteristic of an e-scooter is that it uses a battery to propel itself. Without a battery, an electric scooter is just a plain ‘ol scooter—the type of device one might purchase for kids. Batteries provide the electricity required for electric scooters’ motors to spin. These motors turn the wheels that power you along your daily commute.
Heavy consideration should be given towards the top speed of scooters. The fastest scooter isn’t always the best scooter on the market, but the slowest scooter is never the best! High-quality electric scooters should be able to get you from Point A to Point B at a reasonable pace. Traveling faster is going to require more battery life, which will in turn increase overall weight and cost. Finding a good balance between top speed and overall weight/mobility is a good perspective to approach buying a new scooter.
The Miles-Per-Gallon (mpg) rating is used to compare the efficiency of gas-powered vehicles. Battery-powered vehicles, such as electric cars and e-scooters, are governed by a different metric—distance per charge. The range of electric scooters vary, largely dependent on price, and may range from 35 minutes on scooters for kids up to 50 miles on luxury models. Most quality e-scooters get somewhere in the range of 10-15 miles, and this range is considered the ideal balance between price and features.
Electric scooters are eco-friendly solutions for personal transportation though they still have some hard limits. Longer distances, stairwells, and many municipal structures such as curbs can be obstacles found in any daily commute. Scooters that are lightweight and smaller in size are among the best scooters on the market and receive the best overall reviews. Ease-of-use will be much more important than squeezing out a few extra MPH’s on top speed! Foldable scooters offer a great level of flexibility and convenience. These allow for easy transportation on other forms of travel such as buses, subways, and even planes!
Scooter ownership comes with several maintenance responsibilities. The most obvious one is that scooters require recharging between uses, though that hardly needs to be pointed out! Tire quality is an attribute of scooters that often gets overlooked. Quality tires will reduce the amount of time and money spend on overall scooter maintenance. While air-filled tires may offer a slightly smoother ride in some cases—solid composite wheels will eliminate many maintenance concerns. These tires don’t require constant air pressure monitoring, they don’t go flat if their connection to the rim falters for a moment, and they aren’t going to go flat if accidentally driven over a thumbtack! Overall, solid composite tires are the preferred choice for escooter tires.
The term “electric scooter” often gets confused with several other forms of personal transportation. Mopeds, mobility scooters, and even electric bikes often get falsely referred to as electric scooters. Drawing a line to separate these vehicles base on technical features is pretty tricky, which is likely why there’s so much confusion! A good rule to qualify scooters is that scooters don’t require a driver’s license or registration to operate and that anything with mobility in its name is going to be really overpriced because health insurance is typically involved. Electric scooters come in several different variants, each of which lends certain advantages given buyer preference. Below is a description of these types of electric scooters to help better illustrate preferred features for different use cases.
These products offer a superior form of storage by allowing the front handlebars to fold down to meet the rear section of the scooter. This design is ideal for those seeking an easy storage solution, taking their scooter onto tight spaces such as buses or trains, and for those that intend to carry their scooter up staircases or inside a backpack.
Kick scooters aren’t electrically-powered, but they are confused enough with motorized scooters it’s important to bring them up. Kick scooters are named for their requirement of manual foot power (kicking) much in the way skateboards are. These scooters resembled escooters only in overall shape and design but lack the motor and battery required for automation.
Most electric scooters fall into this category. Stand up scooters are designed to operate while the driver is in the standing position, gripping the handlebars, and having their feet on the bottom deck. Common variations of this design include standup scooters with removable seats and those with permanently-affixed seats. Seating may offer benefits for longer distance commutes but will impact portability and overall weight.
Kids scooters are, generally, like scooters for adults. These models are slightly smaller in dimension and weight, often come with smaller batteries allowing shorter distances to be traveled, operate at lower top speeds, and accommodate lower weight loads. Kids scooters can be great gift ideas, fitness-promoting tech, great educational tools for helping teach the foundational principles of energy conservation and environmental stewardship.
This category is broad and encompasses things like Segway scooters, hoverboards, and everything similar. These devices are seen used by metropolitan traffic cops many times but aren’t typically a good choice for commuters. These types of scooters are ideal for those that have to mount/dismount frequently or are required to interact with objects while driving. These are the types of scooters kids enjoy learning tricks with, showing off in the park with, and are more novelty than utility.
These are another class of electric-powered transportation devices that often get confused with escooters. These are designed for those suffering from disabilities or temporary restrictions of movement. In nearly every case, these are 3 and four-wheeled devices that are designed for the operator to be seated during use. Mobility scooters are often referred to as Personal Mobility Devices (PMD) and come with a high price tag since they are often purchased through health insurance.
Most scooters out there have a small form factor do not require any type of registration or license to operate. Mopeds (technically gas/pedal powered) and large electric scooters are not like kick scooters or electric kick scooters but have such similar names they’re worth mentioning. In the United States, a moped is considered an electric bike, can be driven without registration, but requires a valid driver’s license. By contrast, large form scooters are considered motorcycles, require registration, but don’t have to always have a driver’s license. These vehicles are regulated differently depending on State and Country so the only thing that can be said for those interested in these machines is—do your homework!
A common theme in nearly any industry describes how consumers get what they pay for, especially in times when pricing seems too good to be true! Understanding the different basic price tiers of pricing in the electric scooter market will lead to better buying decisions. There are three basic tiers; luxury, quality, and cheap. Below is a breakdown of each for better understanding.
These are the types of scooters that come with Bluetooth enabled connectivity, unnecessarily powerful motors, elaborate mechanical systems with parts overengineered for their intended use, and are often far beyond the needs of most practical uses. These scooters are—to be sure—but come with heavy price tags often upwards of $1500 to $2000.
This price range is the sweet spot for most buyers; affordable options that offer nearly all the same features and functions as the luxury models without going overboard. These are the types of electric scooters that are commonly seen in metro areas and have become an affordable alternative transportation method around the world. Quality electric scooters are typically in the price range of $700 to $1000.
These types of scooters are heavily-marketed by their price, targeting unsuspecting buyers that might not quite have the funds needed for quality models. These types of scooters have compromises in nearly every aspect of their design and rarely offer their purported benefits to the fullest extent of their claim. The price range of this class of scooters varies wildly and can be seen to range from $99 to $500 while still not encompassing a quality product.
With the different price ranges in mind, one can better understand the benefit of financing higher-quality models rather than suffering from a faulty and underperforming model. Nearly any purchase can be financed in today’s market, whether it be through direct manufacturer financing or simply by purchasing with a credit card. Cheap scooters might entice many buyers looking to save, but they often result in higher long-term cost due to increased maintenance, returns, and in many cases the need for a new scooter. Knowing what you can afford is important in making any purchase and recognizing that financing your scooter purchase may help you recognize that resorting to cheap models isn’t the only option. In the end, quality scooters will provide a safe and reliable form of personal transportation that will eliminate many other costs, both directly and indirectly. Paying to get a quality design is one of the best decisions any scooter shopper can make!
Scooters are a lot like motorcycles in that they have many motorized parts that require frequent attention. Quality scooters come with mechanical parts designed to last a long time when well-maintained. By taking some simple actions on a regular basis, you can ensure both the longevity of your scooter as well as the quality of its operation. Below is an outline of some basic scooter maintenance considerations to heed. For those looking for a more in-depth look, check out our comprehensive Electric Scooter Maintenance Guide.
Electric scooters come with varying battery designs, many made of different compositions, each of which offer different power output. The one thing all scooter batteries have in common is that they need recharging after use. Partial charging has been known to reduce the overall lifespan of certain power sources such as Lithium Ion batteries. Ensuring that batteries are charged to completion, then unplugged when full, helps promote a longer-lasting and better performing scooter battery.
Some scooters have tires that need to be inflated on a regular basis to ensure a comfortable drive, as well as overall performance safety. Other scooters, such as the Zoom Stryder, use a puncture-free composite material that alleviates this burden. If your scooter has inflatable tires, you want to check them before each use to ensure proper pressure. Low pressure can cause tires to slip off rims as well as a whole host of other problems. Tire pressure will also vary depending on environmental temperatures so consider that additional inflation may be required in colder months.
The stress of daily use takes a toll on any mechanical device—escooters included. Recognizing that moving parts are going to be susceptible to wear and tear no matter how conscientious one is of use. Ensuring that proper lubrication is applied to any relevant moving parts will ensure minimal wear and tear and the best scooter performance. This includes scooter parts like bearings, chains, and any other areas where metal-to-metal contact is made.
Ensuring that the drive chain of your electric scooter maintains a tightly-wound state helps reduce slippage on the drive gears which can lead to excessive wear and tear or reduced tops speeds. Tightening an escooter’s drive chain is typically a simple process and should be well-outlined in your scooter’s manual. Some electric scooters may have chains that aren’t easily accessible or may require the removal of certain parts to expose. You should always check with the manufacturer if the process of chain-tightening isn’t clearly outlined in the manual.
Market analysts have observed a tremendous rise in popularity rates of electric scooters in recent years. As more and more eco-conscious consumers enter the market, demand for electric scooters is continuing to drive incredible innovation among manufacturers. Market analysts and technology experts are predicting some really exciting and incredible trends within the scooter market over the next decade. Below is a quick summary of some of the most prominent forecasts on emerging technology and buying trends.
Lead acid batteries have been the popular choice among escooter manufacturers in the past. These days, more eco-friendly companies have been driving a shift towards lithium-ion batteries, and experts predict this trend will continue to rise. Throughout the history of electric scooters it can be said that batteries have been among the biggest hurdles for large-scale adoption of the technology. Early models such as the Autoped were gas-powered but never really caught much market traction. Other battery-powered models of the time were largely experimental and required very cumbersome banks of lead-acid batteries to power their operation. Recent advances in consumer battery technology, namely in the lithium-ion cells, have greatly reduced the size of batteries needed to power electric scooters and have also improved overall battery life.
Asia-Pacific regions account for the majority of scooter sales on a global scale—in 2016 90% of all global scooter shipments were to these regions. The prevalence of electric scooters in European and North American markets—namely the United States—has seen a surge of growth recently. Experts predict these markets will become much stronger within the next decade. One possible factor for this surge in growth is illustrated by US Census Data which describes a dramatic increase in metropolitan populations. It seems that people living in cities are much more likely to have a use for escooters.
Consumer awareness for environmental issues has been heightening amidst continued reports of fallout from the heavy use of carbon-based fuel sources . Eco-Conscientious consumers are a rapidly-growing group that is forcing manufacturers and retailers to listen and reshapes how they do business. Electric Vehicles are among the leading industries of this new market growth. Their potential to save consumers in transportation cost while simultaneously reducing carbon impact makes them an easy choice for many. Electric batteries help power transportation in clean and renewable ways, making electric scooters and similar products a rapidly-developing technology. The escooters of today are so much more powerful than those of previous decades that comparison is hardly possible.
The power of electric scooters to transform one’s lifestyle is tremendous. Scooters simplify commutes to work, slash through monthly transportation costs, and help improve the environment at the same time! Quality electric scooters are more available than ever before and are quickly spreading in popularity across the globe. Understanding which types of scooter are available, as well as what features to look for, can help find the best electric scooter for nearly any lifestyle. There are scooters with seats, scooters for kids, and even scooters with seats! The options are plentiful—owning a quality escooter has never been more possible, and following a regular maintenance routine will ensure your scooter’s lasting benefits and convenience!
- Bureau, US Census. “New Census Data Show Differences Between Urban and Rural Populations.” The United States Census Bureau, 8 Dec. 2016, www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-210.html.
- Cohen, Steven. “The Growing Level of Environmental Awareness.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 Dec. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/the-growing-level-of-envi_b_6390054.html.