DeMystifying the E-Scooter Buying Process
Its 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.
To help our readers make that life-changing decision, Sgscooters sat down with Victor from Falcon PEV, a leading retailer of electric personal mobility devices on how best to select an electric scooter for your needs.
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 leg room 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 10kg. The scooters in this range include the carbon fiber ZERO 2.0, Inokim Mini, and Zoom Cruiser. You typically sacrifice stability and comfort for their extreme compactness if you go with these options.
There are other e-scooter options that strike a balance between portability, comfort and power. Though they are usually a peek over the 10kg portable mark, they have features that allows them to be portable like an in built trolley function. The options in this category include the ETWOW Booster Plus, Inokim Light and IMAX Q5.
For ruggedised options where riders do not care so much about weight but more about comfort and performance, the options are plenty. They range from the ever reliable regulation Inokim Quick 3 to the Dualtron Ultra, the most powerful production e-scooter ever built.
This may not readily be in anyone’s consideration but wheel size is an important factor. It determines the weight of your scooter, power, the ride safety and ride comfort.
Smaller e-scooter wheels range from 5 inches (ZERO 2.0) to 8 inches ( ETWOW), and larger tires are 10 inches and up (Inokim Quick, IMAX S1+, Dualtron etc). 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 it 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 safe 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 incline, you will need at least a 400W motor or more to comfortably climb the slope (think ETWOW Booster Plus, I-MAX S1+ or Inokim Quick 3). Otherwise, a basic 250W motor is sufficient (think Inokim light or Zoom Air 2).
Even if you have deep pockets, budget does matter as an e-scooter from your hypermart can cost as low as $400 or as high as $5000 from your premium retailer. Typically, you can get a decent scooter between $1000 to $1700.
If its for your daily commute and you do not have to take public transport, its worth investing into 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 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 that are under $1000.
This consideration that 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 2km to the closest train station or 10km for a straight shot to the workplace. For such purpose, battery capacity of 5.2Ah to 7.8Ah should suffice.
For leisure riders who typically go for long leisure rides of 35km 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.
China batteries are typically cheaper (about half the price) than Korean or Japanese battery cells from Samsung, Sanyo or LG. However, china cells are known to last about half the lifespan of the imported cells. Also, these imported cells are more stable hence less likely to melt or even explode when overcharged or subject to intense heat or vibration.
Panasonic cells are the gold standard in Li Ion battery technology. They are the same cells used in Tesla cars. However, they are also very expensive. Samsung cells are of superior quality with good value while Sanyo and LG cells are just a notch below in quality.
These higher quality batteries have typical lifespans of 500 charge cycles before their capacities drop to 70% of their original. Inokim uses Samsung or Sanyo cells while Stigo uses Panasonic cells.
A good quality e-scooter with a good quality battery pack would typically come with a standard one year factory warranty.
Countries with lemon laws typically gives 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? A battery typically cost more than 1/3 the price of the scooter so if you think you are getting a good deal on an e-scooter with no warranty, think again. You have to take into consideration the future cost of replacing a defective battery or motor 6 months down the road. 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 center would make your life a lot better in terms of quick turn around 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. Its a lot to absorb but READ this before you start swiping your credit card! You will thank us later.