Looking For Small Electric Scooters

looking-for-small-electric-scooters

It can make a lot of sense to use a smaller electric scooter. The most popular models have motors which output much less than 600 Watts, but this isn’t as much of a disadvantage as you might think.

That’s because to make up for the increased mass of larger scooters, the number of cells (size) of the batteries have to be increased as well, to provide the needed capacities of as large as 20 Ah (Amp-hours) to power heavier models. This adds to the total weight and also to your costs when replacing with new big cells.

Standard packs are commonly of the sealed lead-acid type, which normally come in 10, 12, and 20 Amp-hour capacities. These all share more or less the same lifespan of between 2-3 years. Lithium battery packs all share lifespans of around two years longer than lead-acids, and normally come in 26-Volt, 10 Amp-hour and 48-Volt, 20 Amp-hour capacities.

To keep the cells in good condition for many, you need to follow certain guidelines.

Sealed Lead-Acid Batteries

Immediately begin charging these once you’ve arrived after any length of trip, even if you’ve ridden only a short distance, like around your home. Do not unplug the charging unit until its green LED lights up steadily. You will know if your lead-acid cells are nearing the end of their lifespan if you try charging them but the unit’s green LED won’t ever light up, and also if the packs become overly hot during the process.

During the cold months you need to charge your scooter monthly. Before you begin, it’s a good idea to deplete the pack by adding a load like a 48-Volt garage bulb to its output. Or you could just operate the powertrain for several minutes while the bike is mounted on a rack with its tires spinning off the floor.

Lithium Batteries

You don’t have to start charging a lithium battery pack right after your ride, but you must not forget to give the scooter a full charge that same night. As with lead-acid cells, you have to do this at least once a month during winter.

Brakes

brakes-small-electric-scooter

Maintaining and operating larger scooters is more costly in other ways. Given their heavier weight, they must sport more robust braking systems similar to the pressurized versions found in cars. And like cars, they have fluids and pads which must be routinely inspected and replenished or replaced, which also adds to the cost. If you’re frequently stopping hard you’ll wear out the pads faster as well.

More advanced versions may feature regenerative brake systems which rely more on stopping by reversing the motor’s rotational spin. With this technology you won’t be wearing out the regular brakes as fast unless you’re always stomping on them for quick, last-second stops.

Charging Cycles

Generally, the cells of a sealed lead-acid battery can last 300-400 charging cycles, while that of lithiums last about 700-800 cycles. The advantage of lead-acids is that they’re cheap but they are heavy, while lithiums are far more expensive but also much lighter.

Because manufacturers match battery sizes to the size of the model, the travelling ranges of most scooters on one full charge don’t differ too much. Larger models are designed to use larger packs to give them more or less the same range as smaller scooters with smaller but lighter packs. Ultimately it’s your choice of battery size and ride properties which drives the decision and not considerations of build quality or ranges, at least when it comes to sealed lead-acid batteries.

Lithium batteries are another story, for travel ranges vary more according to their number of cells. To illustrate, a 36-Volt, 10 Amp-hour pack offers less range than a 48-Volt, 20 or 30 Amp-hour version. The good thing is that a big 30 Amp-hour pack can power most small scooters for about 50 miles.

Parking

One of the great things about scooters is that they can be parked just about anywhere. The smaller models can usually run on lanes reserved for bicycles without other riders complaining. They can be parked on most sidewalks too, unlike larger models.

Range

operating-range

The larger lithium battery packs can provide for an operating range that’s twice as far as the smaller ones, but are also much more expensive than equivalent-capacity lead-acid types. But they require less frequent replacement, so if you can afford it at every 4-5 years or so, lithiums are worth their operating advantages.

Repair Issues

Electric scooters from reputable brands are unlikely to need fixing over the first few years if they come through the first few months without issues. When there are any problems, they usually stem from defects in their batteries, motors, and board controllers. Normally the motor’s lifespan will match that of the entire unit, and the board will likely be swapped just once if it turns out to be defective from the start.

The thing is to not operate or leave your scooter parked in the rain, and to never leave it outside at night in poor weather. For long storage, it’s best to leave it in a dry location where temperatures are above freezing. Tip: If it won’t start, you may want to see if any fuses have blown.

Pros and Cons

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Compared to other motorized cycles, the biggest drawback of an electric scooter of any size is that if it breaks and stops running, you will either have to hike it, or else get it towed or stowed if you’re far from anywhere. This is one situation where a motorized bike can keep going, with you to pedal on.

Aside from the very low operating costs, the biggest advantage is that registrations or licenses are not normally required to operate commercially-available models. You will still need to wear a safety helmet and understand and follow the rules of the road for non-car traffic. But if you know what you’re doing, a scooter can be very useful if you’ve temporarily lost your driving license and need something to get you around in the meantime.

About the author

Lisa

Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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