Did you know that 45% of trips made in the US are less than 3 miles, and 78% of these trips are made using personal vehicles? The game changer is that electric scooters can get you to your destination 22% faster than pedal bikes, at 80% lower cost than a motor vehicle. What’s more, electric scooters are eco-friendly since they use no gasoline and emit no gases. Thinking of going green and purchasing one of these financially economic rides? This article will help you start and end your search. We will navigate through the legal waters before familiarizing you with all matters scooters.
Is it legal to ride the Electronic Scooter in your local area?
When it comes to their legality, there is a lot of grey surrounding this green revolution! Though electric scooters generally fall under the Personal light electric vehicles (PLEV), rules concerning them are obscure. They have motors whose power output is so low they that can’t be grouped with full motor vehicles. On the hand, though they look like bikes, most don’t have pedals, so can’t be called bicycles. The UK better exemplifies this. There, electric bikes are legal (under the ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ category) but the use of electric scooters (under PLEV) is restricted to private land.
Other EU countries have different approaches. Austria and Switzerland allow PLEV a maximum of 25km/hr speed on roads. France limits their use at this speed to cycle lanes, while Germany allows them a speed of 6km/hr on pavements. In Canada, electric scooters and bikes (power assisted vehicles) are legal. They require no plates, insurance or licenses. Though electric scooter use falls under the Canadian Federal Law, each province and municipality has some leeway to make suitable adjustments like recommended age and where one can or cannot ride them.
The situation in the US is not so different. The US 2002 Federal Law governing electric bikes is applied to electric scooters as well. Under this law PLEVs with speeds less than 20mph and motor power less than 750W do not require registration or licensing. The law further allows electric scooters to use the road, where there are no bicycle lanes, provided their speeds do not exceed 25mph. In these situations they are required to keep close to the curb, on the right side of the road.
All the same, different states have their own specific regulations for PLEVs. California for example allows riders over 16 years, on the cycle lanes, pavements and roads. They need to wear helmets, though. Texas allows scooters a maximum speed of 35mph. San Francisco requires a rider to have a Municipal Transportation Agency permit in order to park in some areas, while the use of PLEVs on public roads is banned in New York and New Jersey.
The rule of thumb therefore is to find out from your motor vehicle department (or its equivalent) the specific by-laws and regulations governing the use of electric scooters in your local area. In addition, be careful to observe general safety and road use rules like:
- Obtaining a license or learner’s permit where necessary, even if license plates, registration and insurance are not required.
- Wearing a helmet while riding and always having at least one hand on the handlebars. Never raise adjustable handlebars above your shoulders.
- Observing stipulated speed limits e.g. the 25mph max on public roads.
- Using a bike lane where available and never leaving your scooter unattended on the path or sidewalk
- Ensuring your scooter is roadworthy e.g. it has working brakes, headlight, reflectors
- Never carrying a passenger or hitching your scooter to another vehicle.
- Remembering to be mindful of pedestrians and other road users.
- Though children under 12 are allowed to ride on the sidewalks, ride your scooter anywhere but the sidewalk, so as not to inconvenience pedestrians.
- Avoid high speeds in a densely populated area
- Use hand signals to alert other road users about your intentions
Characteristics of a Good Electric Scooter
Apart from the price, there are other factors you need to consider when buying an electric scooter. For example, if you live in a hilly, rough terrain neighborhood, you will need a tougher scooter than person in a smooth, flat area. Important factors to consider include:
Range alludes to the distance a scooter covers in optimum conditions before the battery runs out. It is therefore determined by the battery power. 8 miles is a fairly decent range, although high-end scooter models can even achieve 25 miles. Subtracting a couple miles gives you an estimate of your scooter’s range in less than optimal conditions. The range is affected by battery capacity, tire size, the weight of the rider, the incline of an area, weather and the condition of the terrain.
Lithium-ion batteries are said to be more efficient their Lead-acid counterparts. Knowing how long it will take to recharge your scooter is also an important parameter. Most lie between 5-7 hours, though some batteries are fast charging. In areas or situations needing charging infrastructure and service centers, it is good to get your scooter from dealers with good service center networks.
Weight Capacity and Portability
Let’s tackle the weight issue in a two-pronged approach: the weight of the rider and the weight of the scooter – which in turn determines portability. Scooters have maximum weight specifications because weight affects both range and speed. Riders weighing up to 180 lbs have an almost limitless variety of scooters to pick from. Those weighing 180 – 250 lbs can get a quite a variety of push scooters (kick scooters), and good pick from electric scooters. Those over 250 lbs have restricted choices of electric scooters.
Scooter weights range from 19.5 – 98 lbs. You probably need a weight you can easily haul around. Look for scooters that overlap/fold compactly for ease of carrying , even in public transportation.
This is determined by the motor power and the wheel size. The power capacity for standard scooter models is 200-500W. This can comfortably cope with inclines of 10-15 degrees. The steeper an incline, the more the strain on the motor is. Scooters generally go slower uphill and you may have to give a ‘helping leg’ sometimes! Most scooters don’t generally go beyond 15 – 20 mph. However, some special models like the Okinawa’s Praise Turbo Mode can reach speeds of 75mph
The motor power also determines the weight the scooter can carry. 220 lbs is standard for most models. The tire size directly impacts the riding experience, especially on bumpy stretches. 8-9 inches is fairly good. The larger the tires, the greater the performance, but also, the heavier the scooter!
It is also good to decide whether you want a chain belt or drive belt motor in your scooter. Chain drives last longer, but make the scooter noisier. Maybe, the noise alerting people that you are around the corner is a safety measure! A belt drive is very quiet, but you may have to replace it more often than the chain belt. Remember too that water getting into the scooter motor can lock it.
A well designed braking system is essential. Band brakes lock down wheels instead of slowing them. This wears out the wheels and can also cause accidents. Front band brakes are particularly risky because they can throw the rider over the handlebars. V-brakes or disc brakes are better, especially when used both at the front and rear. Electric scooters with one brake do not slow down as fast as those with two.
Quality (materials used, adjustable parts, company)
You can never go wrong with a reputable manufacturer or dealer. Look for models with adjustable parts so you that you are not stuck in uncomfortable dimensions when riding your scooter. Electrical scooters whose frames or forks are made from tubular and thick plate steel do not easily bend or break.
New and sophisticated features that improve passenger and vehicular safety are always popping up. Evaluate a scooter’s safety features; security features like alarms, GPS, or sensors; software upgrades, etc. Consider the customer support and warranty as well.
A review of the top Electric Scooter models
|E-Scooter||Amazon rating (Stars)||Battery/ charge time||Speed/ motor||Range/ Tyres||Brakes|
|Glion Dolly Foldable Lightweight Adult Electric Scooter||4.3 out of 5||Lithium ion 3.5 hrs||15mph/250W Chainless DC||15 miles/ 8” Airless tyres||Anti-lock, rear|
|QIEWA Q1Hummer||4.1 out of 5||Lithium 8-12 hrs||12/25/37 mph / 800W||65 miles/ 10” Pnuematic||Dual disc|
|UberScoot 1600w 48v Electric Scooter||3.6 out of 5||Sealed Lead Acid/ 6-8 hrs||30mph/ 1500W, Chain||12 miles/ 11” Pneumatic||
|NANROBOT D4+High Speed Electric Scooter||4.1 out of 5||Lithium 8-10 hrs||40mph/ 1000W||45 miles/10’ Pnuematic||Dual disc|
|Razor RX200 Electric Off-Road Scooter||3.7 out of 5||S Lead Acid 40min||12mph/ Chain||
|Razor E300S Seated Electric Scooter||3.9 out of 5||S Lead Acid 40 min||12mph/Chain||10” Pneumatic||Hand operated rear|
|Razor E100 Electric Scooter||4.1 out of 5||40 min||10mph||
||Hand Op rear|
|Segway Ninebot ES4 KickScooter w 2nd Battery – Pro Electric Kick Scooter for Adults||3.5 out of 5||Lithium ion 3.5 hrs||19mph/800W||28miles/||Anti lock|
|Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter||3.6 out of 5||Lithium / 5hrs||15.5mph 280W||18.6 miles||Disc Front air|
|Razor EcoSmart Metro Electric Scooter||4.3 out of 5||S Lead Acid||18mph/ chain 500W||16” Pnuematic||Disc rear hand operated|
This is an amazing light and easily portable electric scooter. Weighing only 28lbs, the Glion Dolly electric scooter’s patented self-standing feature, retractable handle and roller wheels; enables you roll it like a carry-on suitcase. What’s more, it folds in 1-second using a foot-activated folding mechanism.
So, what exactly will you be rolling around in this carry-on ensemble? Very many top notch features including a quiet motor supporting speeds of up to 15mph, over 3 hours of continuous riding and covering distances of up to 15miles without worrying about your battery charge. 8” military made wheels and an anti-lock rear brake system complete the package. Extras that come with your package include a charger and bell.
- Convenient and sleek portability
- Maintenance free, airless wheels
- Easy to use, water resistant hand controls.
- The bell does not attach securely
- Wheel kicks dirt, water or mud upwards.
The QIEWA Q1Hummer is one of the toughest, fastest electric scooters. It carries loads of up to 550lbs and easily conquers a 35 degrees incline. The scooter comes with 3 adjustable speeds – 12, 25 and 37 mph and you can ride to a distance of 65 miles or for a continuous 8-12 hours on one charge. Its 10” tires have anti-slip treads and great shock absorbing abilities to ensure your ride is rickety-free.
This electric scooter is also fitted with a kick-stand and mud-flap. Its braking system complements the scooter’s design to spare nothing when it comes to your safety. It has disc brakes for both the front and rear wheels, and dual shock absorbers. The head, side and tail lights enhance its visibility in the dark..
The package comes with a charger, user manual and an anti-theft remote key fob. Other extra perks include shock absorbers, brake tail-lights, USB charging functions (you can charge your phone on the go!), great customer support, and a one-year warranty.
- Tough and has capacity for big loads
- Dual brakes and adjustable handlebars
- Water resistant and folds in 2 seconds
- Mud-flap, USB port, remote key fob
- Responsive customer service
- The position of the horn button when folded makes it to be easily set off
- Changing a flat tire is not straight forward
The UberScoot 1600w 48v is such a powerful electric scooter that no hill will challenge it! It uses a chain drive motor and comes with both an economy mode button to slow acceleration, and a top speed option (30mph) to help conserve the battery life on long rides. A single charge will take you 12 miles or 6 -8 hours.
It comes with a foldable locking frame, front and rear lights. The front and rear disc braking system and the 11” tires promises you a smooth, brake-balanced ride. Extras include a charger and a quick release seat.
- Battery charge conservation
- Hills are not a strain to the motor
- Noisy, due to the chain drive
- Quite heavy (117 lbs) to haul around
- You have to keep connecting and disconnect the speed limit wire.
NANROBOT D4+High Speed Electric Scooter is one of the most powerful models in the market. Two 1000W- motors attached to each wheel gives it a formidable 2000W power that can easily navigate a 30 degrees incline. It can reach speeds of 40mph and cover up to 45 miles or a continuous 6-8 hours on one battery charge.
Front and rear EBS disc brakes gives it a stable emergency braking system, and 6 shock absorbers on 10” tires provide great shock absorption and anti-slip functions. Detachable seats and an easy to fold mechanism enhance your riding experience. Parts have a 6 months – 1 year warranty.
- Very powerful motors so hilly terrain is no problem
- Great shock absorption and dual brake system
- Great speed
The Razor RX200 Electric Off-Road Scooter is great for stunts as it comes with heavy duty alloy wheels, maximum speeds of 12mph, and a 40-minute continuous ride time. This makes it suitable for teenagers. The chain-driven high torque motor, twist grip throttle, rear hand operated disc brakes and sprocket with free wheel for coasting enable them show off roadside maneuvers and stunts. It can carry a maximum weight of 154lbs. The package comes with a charger, and the model has a retractable kick stand.
- Light weight (46.4lbs), can be easily carried around even by kids.
- Heavy duty alloy wheels
- Stable hand braking system
- Long battery charging time (12 hours)
- Noisy motor
This electric scooter is designed for easy commuting and cruising with its detachable padded seats, super-sized deck, 10” tires, speeds of up to 15mph and twist-grip control of acceleration. It takes a maximum weight of 220 lbs and packs up to 40 minutes of continuous riding.
- Comfortable riding with the padded seats
- Spacious deck and wide tires
- Light weight (52 lbs)
- Noisy motor
- 12 hours of recharging for 40 minutes ride.
This electric scooter brings you fun at speeds of up to 10mph, ideal for riders as young as 8 years. It comes with a chain driven high torque motor, twist-grip throttle to control acceleration, hand operated brakes and 8”tires.
- Safe speed for younger riders
- Noisy motor
This scooter merges fun and protection. Its dual batteries and upgraded motor provide 800W of power. Its 19mph top-speed and 28 miles range will deliver you just about anywhere you need to go. The scooter boasts of large solid wheels and an anti-lock breaking system.
The extras provided by this model include mobile app connectivity, Bluetooth capabilities, LED display and cruise control.
- Relatively light weight (30 lbs)
- One- touch folding system
- Good customer support
- Performance greatly affected by cold temperatures
Weighing just about 26 lbs and having a range of 18.6 miles makes Xiaomi Mi an ultra light, long range electric Scooter. It can attain speeds of up to 15.5mph. The double braking feature and 8.5” tire size provide a smooth stable ride.
Extras include extended nozzle adapter, user manual, charging adapter and warranty card
- Light weight and folding portable design
- Award winning intelligence design
- Connecting the apps and scooter is sometimes very technical
This scooter makes riding a comfort by its 16” tires, ultra-padded seats and adjustable handlebars. It attains speeds of up to 18mph and 40 minutes of continuous riding, with twist grips and hand operated rear brakes. It is an ideal neighborhood transport option for riders above 16 years who weigh up to 220 lbs. Extras include a 90-day warranty; and a detachable luggage rack and basket.
- Stylistic bamboo deck
- Comfortable seat
- Low charge indicator not effective
- No anti-theft features
- On/off switch, and charge port placed too low on the scooter.
How do I choose an electric scooter?
Important things to consider are your budget, wheel size, compact design, rider weight and how it compares with different models in the market.
How do electric scooters work?
Electric scooters use batteries. Electricity from the batteries is transported to the motor through a wires.
What battery is used in an electric scooter?
Some use Lithium-ion batteries while others use sealed Lead Acid
Do eclectic scooters have brakes?
Yes, some scooters have 1 and others 2 brakes. The ones with 1 brake do not brake as fast as the ones with 2.
Do you need a license to drive an electric scooter?
Yes, a driving license or learner’s permit may be needed. License plates, registration and insurance are not required though. You must wear a bicycle helmet.