We built this guide to help you understand electric scooters specifications. They can be confusing yet are important for helping you find the right electric scooter. Some specs are worth paying for and others are not. In this guide we help you understand the different electric scooter specifications. Read on to become an electric scooter expert!
Electric scooter technical specifications
Electric scooters have a handful of different parts, called components. The major components of an electric scooter are:
- Chassis (frame)
- Handle bars
- Folding mechanism
These components provide different functions and will greatly effect performance, durability and cost of the electric scooter.
The most important component on your scooter
Brakes are one of the most important safety features of an electric scooter. Modern electric scooters pack powerful motors and can go in excess of 20 mph! A good set of brakes can sometimes be the only difference between a close call and a trip to the hospital. The type of brakes you have will determine stopping distance, physical effort to activate, durability, and performance in wet conditions.
What are the different types of electric scooter brakes?
Electric scooters will have at least one of the following braking systems:
- Disc brakes
- Caliper brakes
- Drum brakes
- Foot brakes
- Regenerative brakes
- Electronic brakes
Read our in-depth guide to the technical details of electric scooter brakes.
What are the best type of electric scooter brakes?
Disc brakes are the best, safest type of electric scooter brake.
Why? Simply put: they provide the best braking power for your scooter in either wet or dry conditions. They are almost universally activated by a hand lever that can be quickly squeezedYou will find disc brakes on quality electric scooters in nearly every price range. They are also exclusively used on high-performance electric scooters.
How do other types of brakes compare?
Disc brakes are the king of brakes. Drum brakes are second best, though significantly worse than disc brakes. Finally: foot brakes, regenerative brakes, and electronic brakes are all equally poor in different ways.
The electric motor gets you up to speed and helps climbs hills
The electric motor is the powerplant of your electric scooter. It determines top speed, acceleration, ability to climb hills, and power consumption. The motor also determines how the scooter will perform with a heavier rider.
What are motor watts?
In short, motor watts tells you how much mechanical power the electric scooter motor is capable of producing. A higher motor watt rating, in general, means the motor will accelerate more quickly, carry more rider weight, and climb steeper hills.
More precisely, the motor watts or wattage indicates how much power the motor is capable of consuming. Noticed that we use the word consume and not produce (more on this later). A motor with high watt rating will be able to consume a lot of energy in a short amount of time. The more energy a motor consumes, the more mechanical power it will produces.
One thing to note: not all motors are created equal and motor power (watts) doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. For example, two motors could be rated for 250 W. This means they can both consume 250 W of electrical power, but it doesn’t mean they are equally efficient and produce the same mechanical power. This is because motor power doesn’t capture how efficient the motor and no manufacturer currently reports that figure.
Are motor watts useful for comparing electric scooter performance?
In general, motor power (watts) are a good way to compare the performance of different electric scooters. The scooter with a higher power rated motor should accelerate faster and carry heavier loads.
However, as we mentioned before, they don’t tell you about the motor efficiency. As such, we recommend that you consider it a useful measure to coarsely compare scooter performance. A scooter with a lower power rated motor could actually be more powerful that a less efficient one with a higher power rated motor.
What is the difference between peak vs sustained (or continuous) motor power (watts)?
Peak power refers to the maximum amount of power the motor can consume for a short period of time. It is not the most useful measure for comparing electric scooters because its impact on performance is . Additionally, peak power is often 2 – 5X greater than continuous power. Some manufacturers quote the peak power of their electric scooter as a way to boost their stats.
Sustained or continuous power is the maximum amount of power the motor can consume indefinitely. Continuous power is what we (and most others) are referring to when we quote specs for “motor power” or “motor watts.” This is the most useful measure for comparing motor performance among electric scooters.
What are the difference between brushless DC motors (BLDC) and brushed DC motors?
Brushless DC (BLDC) motors is newer a technology that are better than brushed motors. BLDC motors are more efficient, have better power-to-weight, and are more durable. Most quality electric scooters will have them.
Brushed motors are an older form of motor technology that has mechanical brushes that drag along the inside of the motor to alternatively power different coil phases. In a BLDC, this mechanical component is replaced by digital switching circuitry that alternatively powers different coils in the motor.
Tires are your electric scooter's connection with the ground
Tires are your connection to the road and influence ride quality, traction, range, and braking performance. Tires come in basically two types: pneumatic and solid. We always recommend pneumatic tires because they perform much better than solid tires
What is the difference between pneumatic (air-filled) and solid (airless) tires?
Pneumatic tires are inflated with air. They may contain an internal tube (like a bicycle) that holds air or be tubeless (like a car). Solid tires are solid rubber or filled with a solid material.
Pneumatic tires will provide the best ride quality, shock absorption, rolling efficiency, and best traction. Their downside is their susceptibility to flats and you periodically have to check and re-inflate them. Solid tires have the benefit of not being susceptible to flats, however offer no shock absorption, less traction, are roll less efficiently.
Read our in-depth technical guide to electric scooter tires.
Your electric scooter's fuel tank
The battery is your electric scooter’s fuel tank. It stores the energy that is consumed by the electric motor (and other accessories like lights or digital speedometer). Most electric scooters will have some type of lithium battery (we cover the different types in greater depth elsewhere). Lithium batteries have excellent energy density (amount of energy stored per their physical weight). They also have excellent longevity meaning that they can be discharged and recharged many times and still maintain their storage capacity.
What are battery watt hours on an electric scooter?
Electric scooter batteries are all rated in units of watt hours (abbreviated Wh). Battery watt hours are a measure of energy and tell you its capacity. The higher the energy capacity, the more range an electric scooter will have. This is a helpful specification when comparing electric scooters, because manufacturers are sometimes optimistic about their range claims.
Your electric scooter's brain
The controller is the brain of your electric scooter. It receives inputs from your controls and translates that into a current that is sent to the motor. The controller is interfaced with the throttle switch and the brake switch (if you have regenerative or electronic brakes).
Controllers are one of the most under-appreciated parts of the electric scooter because they quietly do their job most of the time.
The controllers can be a huge source of headache (or make the scooter unsafe) when things go wrong. On some poorly designed scooters controllers are known to fail or malfunction.
In some cases this has resulted in serious injury when it erroneously activated the electronic brake or failed, disabling the electronic brake.