The electric scooter market is booming and there are a lot of different options out there. How to choose the best electric scooter? Here are some main factors you should consider, prepared for you by the Falcon PEV team.
DeMystifying the E-Scooter Buying Process
It’s a common scene. You walk into a store with a multitude of electric scooters to choose from, and your eyes just glaze over the wealth of choices.
One of the main concerns amongst new adopters of e-scooters is the lack of literature about the best option given the vast range of products out in the market. Unlike the car market, there aren’t many reliable independent reviews in the Wild West electric scooter market.
In many ways, finding the right e-scooter is like finding the right car for your needs. If you have an army of kids, you will need an MPV to ferry your horde around. If you are a carefree single, maybe a two-door coupe will be more your cup of tea.
Selecting an e-scooter is the same. If you need an e-scooter for your daily commute to work and back, a single-rider lightweight portable option is more suited for you. However, if you are looking to ferry your kid around or to school, then find an e-scooter with more legroom and grip.
Below, we discuss the most important factors concerning e-scooter riders.
This is generally the topmost consideration for many e-scooterists. Weight matters if you need to be carrying or pushing around your e-scooter. Commuters tend to be looking for a solution to the question “how do I get through the early morning rush hour crowd”. Leisure riders tend to think about “how do I have fun with my e-scooter”.
Commuters typically want lightweight, portable options under 10 kg. You typically sacrifice stability and comfort for their extreme compactness if you go with these options.
There are e-scooter options that strike a balance between portability, comfort, and power. Though they are usually a peek over the 10 kg portable mark, they have features that allow them to be portable. For ruggedized options where riders do not care so much about weight but more about comfort and performance, the options are plenty.
This may not readily be in anyone’s consideration, but wheel size is an important factor. It determines the weight of your scooter, power, ride safety and rides comfort.
Smaller e-scooter wheels range from 5 inches to 8 inches, and larger tires are 10 inches and up. These scooters all have integrated hub motors, where you can typically fit a larger motor inside a larger wheel size.
Smaller wheeled electric scooters tend to be lighter in weight, have less grip and are less powerful. Larger wheeled e-scooters have more traction, making them less slippery on wet surfaces. They are also typically outfitted with a larger motor with more driving power.
Power and wheel size have to be matched. If you have too much power in smaller hub motor wheels, you will find yourself skidding a lot, which is of course dangerous. Typical riding power is 250W, but that might be a problem when climbing a slight gradient.
350W-450W motors are the standard currently, but manufacturers have found a way to squeeze more power in smaller packages, driving power as high as 1000W in a single 10-inch wheel hub motor.
Also, consider the terrain you have to travel. If there are steep slopes along your journey of more than 10-degree inclines, you will need at least a 400W motor or more to comfortably climb the slope Otherwise, a basic 250W motor is sufficient.
Even if you have deep pockets, the budget does matter as an e-scooter can cost as low as $400 or as high as $5000 from a premium retailer.
If it’s for your daily commute, and you do not have to take public transport, it’s worth investing in a more comfortable, powerful machine. Go for air tyres with at least a 350W motor, which may cost a little more, but you will thank us for the comfortable ride later.
If you plan to take it up to public transport, try to keep your scooter lightweight and portable. These are the last mile commuters, so it doesn’t matter too much if your scooter is neither powerful nor comfortable. You can go for the lower-priced scooters.
This consideration has to be balanced with other factors. The longer the distance required, the larger the battery, hence making the e-scooter heavier.
Typical commuting distances are between 2 km to the closest train station or 10 km for a straight shot to the workplace. For such purpose, a battery capacity of 5.2Ah to 7.8Ah should suffice.
For leisure riders who typically go for long leisure rides of 35 km or more, definitely go with battery capacities of 10.4Ah or more. Internal batteries can go as high as 20Ah and if upgraded with an external secondary battery, the total capacity of an e-scooter can go as high as 26Ah.
Since the Li-Ion battery makes up about 1/3 of the cost of the e-scooter, you would want to go for a good quality battery with a longer lifespan.
The higher quality batteries have typical lifespans of 500 charge cycles before their capacities drop to 70% of their original.
A good quality e-scooter would typically come with a standard one-year factory warranty.
Countries with lemon laws typically give the consumer a minimum 6-month guarantee anyway, but a good quality, respectable e-scooter manufacturer would guarantee your e-scooter for at least 12 months. This should override any UNDER-warrantied e-scooter purchase.
Why is this important? The money you saved upfront isn’t really savings at all when you consider the lifetime cost of owning an electric scooter.
Just like owning a car, an e-scooter requires regular repair and maintenance. Ensure that whoever you purchase your e-scooter from has the ability to support any repair and maintenance. Parts like brakes and tires wear out and a reliable service centre would make your life a lot better in terms of quick turnaround service to get you on the road again.
So there you have it! These are the 8 main considerations when plopping down some good money for an electric scooter. It’s a lot to absorb but READ this before you start swiping your credit card! You will thank us later.
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