Electric Scooters have taken the world by storm. Providing a fun, easy, effortless yet safe way to get around. As exciting and freeing the prospect of buying your first Electric Scooter may seem, there are some key things you should know, and questions we are most frequently asked. Such as, what are the regulations around riding an Electric Scooter, and can you actually use them legally on the roads? Which Electric Scooter is right for you? What size Battery or Motor do you need? How does charging work?
We have put together this Guide to Buying your first Electric Scooter, to hopefully give you that confidence to choose the product that suits you best, while arming you with the knowledge to stay safe while you have fun.
1. How Electric Scooters work
Simply put, Electric Scooters in their most fundamental framework, are the same as their traditional counterparts - with a straightforward platform or deck and a t-stem handlebar. On the handlebars is where you will find the throttle to make your eScooter accelerate, and a brake to slow down or stop.
As mentioned earlier, different markets have different regulations on the possession and use of Electric Scooters, and we highly advise that you check for your official government guidelines on using them in your local country. However, there are some key points to bear in mind when looking at some key markets:
2. Rules and Regulations
Being headquartered in London, we know exactly how popular Electric Scooters are, and how many riders you see having fun, whizzing around and enjoying themselves on the roads. However, are they actually legal?
The short answer is yes, but it is a bit more complicated than that.
The 1988 Road Traffic Act meant that Electric Scooters are classed by the Department for Transport as a Personal Light Electric Vehicle, which (until recently) were illegal to ride on UK roads.
However, recently on July 4th 2020, it is legal to ride an Electric Scooter on UK roads, cycle paths and lanes, provided that it is part of a hire scheme (such as Lime, BIRD etc.), joining several other countries in Europe which are clearly way ahead of the UK, such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. In order to hire one, you must have at the very least a provisional license and 16 years of age, and they are limited to a max speed of 15.5mph.
The rules are still a bit stricter on personally owned Electric Scooters. If it is a personal Electric Scooter that you own, it is still illegal to ride it anywhere expect for private land, with the permission from the land-owner.
By using it on public roads, you face the risk of a potential fine of £300 and a potential six points on your driving licence.
The complications don’t get much easier when looking at other markets too. In the US for example, as new Electric Scooter laws are still forming, you will find that most states are yet to define where and how to use them legally.
As it stands, California is the only state with a standing Electric Scooter law. For example, you are permitted to ride if you are:
- 16 and above with a valid drivers licence
- You are permitted to ride on streets and pavements only if authorised to do so
- Speed restrictions are set to 15mph max
- You must run your Electric Scooter on lanes designated for bicycles and trails
- If you are not authorised to do so, you may not ride on payments
- You have to register your Electric Scooter and get insurance coverage
- You must wear a helmet while riding
The common fundamentals coming out of these markets however, is a strict policy against riding Electric Scooters on pavements, with France for example introducing a €135 fine if you are caught doing so.
So there is clearly still work to be done, but as mentioned, it is important that you are familiar with your local laws. If you have any questions on the rules and regulations for your local markets, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com, and our team will be more than happy to help!
3. Battery and Charging
In short, the battery is what holds the power that is distributed to your motor when you push the throttle in order to propel your Electric Scooter forward.
The battery is also what will impact your range, but bear in mind, the range will also be impacted by other factors too, such as rider weight / max load, wind, the terrain, uphill versus downhill or flat and power setting.
Charging time depends on the Electric Scooter, but typically takes around 2-8 hours for a full charge, and will have a range from 8 to 70miles per charge.
Charging your battery is simple, simply plug it in. It may be a good idea to take an extra charger with you when you ride.
The Motor is what feeds the power to your Electric Scooter. In terms of Wattage, the higher the watt, the longer you will last and the faster you will accelerate and travel. To give you an example, an average Electric Scooter will typically hold a 250 Watt battery, but they can range from around 200 Watts up to 6000 Watts.
To help you decide what wattage would best suit your needs, we’ve put together a couple of examples:
- If you will be using your Electric Scooter on flat surfaces and infrequent hills and travelling a distance equal to an average commute, a 250 Watt motor would be more than enough
- If you will be using your Electric Scooter in an area with steep hills, 350 Watts to 500 Watts would be more suitable
Essentially, the larger the motor, the quicker you will accelerate, the further you will travel, and the easier you will tackle hills.
5. Other Things to Consider
One of the most attractive features of an Electric Scooter is how compact, easy to fold and transport they are. Most 200-250Watt Electric Scooters typically weigh around 12-20kg, but higher spec models tend to weigh more at 25kg+.
If you are looking to carry your Electric Scooter around with you, you need to consider what weight you will be able to lift and carry.
To make life a bit easier, you could always check out our Electric Scooter storage bags that have handle and shoulder straps to help manage the weight easier.
As mentioned earlier, most countries have a strict law on top speed for Electric Scooters, capped at 15-20mph.
If you are interested in more performance based Electric Scooters, they can reach impressive speeds of up to 50mph. But these models are only advised for experienced riders.
No matter if you’re going at 15mph or 50mph, safety should always be your number 1 priority.
Safety is always a massive area for us. As fun and exciting as Electric Scooters are, if you are not responsible and careful, you risk injury.
As obvious as it may seem, Helmets are one of the, if not the most important item you should be wearing when using your Electric Scooter. 80% of head injuries sustained can easily be prevented by simply wearing a helmet.
Although most Electric Scooters have a front and rear light built in, there is no harm in adding more and increasing your visibility to others - especially at night. Make sure you are always visible, and create awareness to others.
Locks and trackers are an effective way to help you prevent against theft, and keep your Electric Scooter safe.
Especially if you are going to be using your Electric Scooter on rough, bumpy terrain, suspension could be your best friend. A good suspension system will provide you with a much smoother experience - rather than an experience closer resembling riding a concrete demolition tool.
Suspension can come in the form of front, back or both wheel suspension.
Similar to Suspension, Tyres can also have an impact on your ride quality. If you combine airless tyres with no suspension, your riding experience will feel a lot more rough.
There are a range of tyres for Electric Scooters:
A fancy way of saying “air-filled”, pneumatic tyres use air pressure to maintain their form. You will find a valve stem protruding which you can control the empty or fill the air in your tyres. In fact, pneumatic tyres are probably the most common tyres used, even in vehicles like cars, motorcycles and bikes. There are two forms of pneumatic tyres, which are ones that include an inner tube and also ones that are tubeless.
Tubeless tyres tend to be much more heavy duty, and most commonly used on cars. If you get a puncture, you have to change the entire tyre.
Inner tube tyres, more commonly found on bicycles, have a tougher putter shell with a separate tube that holds the air you fill up inside. In the event of a puncture, you can either use a puncture repair kit or replace the inner tube.
Pneumatic tyres arguably provide the smoothest ride, when compared to its solid and honeycomb counterparts. You can easily set the air pressure to be able to absorb the bumps in the road a lot easier, and coupled with the suspension systems, it will feel like you are riding on clouds.
As the name suggests, solid tyres are exactly that, solid. Usually made from polyurethane foam filling, they provide and maintain their manufactured structure. Although you will not have to deal with punctures with a solid tyre, you will still experience wear and tear as you use your Electric Scooter, so they are not necessarily damage proof.
Similar to solid tyres, Honeycomb tyres also have a solid structure, but have a rubber honeycomb structure, which holds its shape but also helps to keep the overall weight of the tyres down.
The idea of a Honeycomb tyre, aside from just reducing weight, is also to provide that cushioning effect you would find in a Pneumatic tyre. Although Honeycomb designs are becoming more and more popular, they still have a way to go before providing the cushioning experience of a Pneumatic tyre, whilst providing the structural integrity of a Solid tyre.
If you have any questions that you were not able to find here, or want to have a chat to explore what Electric Scooter could be best for you, feel free to contact one of our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to help you find the best ride for you.