One of the key specs that you’ll see in an electric scooter’s product information is the motor power. You don’t need to be an expert to know that more power gets you more speed and acceleration. In electrical vehicles, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that. How much motor power should you get without blowing your budget?
How does the electric scooter motor work?
The controller manages the amount of power delivered to your motor. When you hit the throttle, it sends a signal to the motor to start running. The motor draws energy from your battery and creates propulsion.
The technical specifics of how the electric scooter motor works depend on what kind you have. These are the current type of motors that are being used by modern electric scooters:
Modern electric scooters use a hub motor, which means the motor is embedded in the wheel. It has two main types:
Gearless or Direct-drive Motor
Uses electromagnets to rotate the axle, which turns the wheel. It provides greater power and regenerative braking features. It’s also larger and adds weight to the electric scooter.
Uses a gear mechanism, which then moves the wheel. It’s more energy-efficient and provides a longer range. It also has more moving parts susceptible to wear and tear.
These are the same motors used in electric bikes. Manufacturers use their own configuration to get the performance they want out of the scooter. Currently, the most optimal configuration is:
Brushless DC Motor
It’s a type of gearless motor that uses DC (direct-current). It uses electromagnets to generate power but doesn’t need brushes (used in Brushed motor, which is an outdated technology). It’s more reliable, efficient and requires less maintenance.
How much motor power will you need?
The motor power is measured by Watts. Torque is also an important metric but it is rarely provided by the manufacturer. It determines how much work your motor can do in terms of top speed and hill climb ability.
In general, higher motor capacity gives you higher top speed, better climbing performance, higher load capacity, and to some extent, range. Manufacturers indicate an electric scooter’s rated power and peak power.
The real motor power that’s generated depends upon real-world riding scenarios, such as going up or downhill, moving in traffic, and turning or avoiding obstacles. You can get an approximate of what you need based on assessing road conditions and looking at what’s in the market:
Electric scooters for adults start with 250W. These can be found in the most inexpensive portable electric scooters. You’ll get a top speed of 25 km or less. Due to the small motor, it’s light and portable. They are exclusively for short trips on smooth surfaces.
Popular electric scooters in this category include Go Trax XR, Go Trax GXL V2, and Razor E300.
Budget to midrange electric scooters have at least 350W. It can give you a top speed of 25km-35km and about 10%-15% hill climb gradeability. Electric scooters at this price range are perfect for budget-conscious commuters. They’re portable electric scooters that have enough power to climb moderate hills. You won’t get suspension, but some have 10-inch pneumatic tyres for a comfortable ride.
Popular electric scooters in this category include Xiaomi m365, Mearth S Pro, and Ninebot Max.
Premium to high-performance electric scooters has at least 500W. It can give you a top speed of 40km-50km and about 15%-20% hill climb gradeability. It provides adequate power for moderately hilly roads. High-performance electric scooters often have dual motors, which provides light off-road use. At this price range, you can get a dual suspension and drum brake. They’re still cost-effective scooters, but they can weigh up to 18kg.
Popular electric scooters in this category include Zero 9, Mercane WideWheel, and TurboWheel Swift.
Extreme electric scooters that are fully capable of off-road use have at least 1000W dual motors. It can give you a top speed of 60km-100km and 20%-25% hill climb gradeability. Electric scooters with this power are the heaviest in the market. They’re still compact enough to fit in the trunk of your car, but they’re not portable electric scooters.
Popular electric scooters in this category include Kaabo Mantis, Zero 10X and Dualtron Thunder.
The performance of rated powers mentioned above is not set in stone, because it will depend on the quality of the components. The motor power is also just one of the important factors you need to consider when buying an electric scooter. Nonetheless, portable electric scooters are practical, fun and environment-friendly vehicles.