There are kick scooters, and then there are electric scooters. But wait, there’s also self-balancing scooters aka hoverboards. What the heck is an electric scooter? Is an electric scooter the same as a hoverboard? This post answers this questions and a bunch others that might interest you.
What is an Electric Scooter?
Also called stand-up e-scooters or motorized scooters, electric scooters are wheeled, motor-powered micro-mobility vehicles. They feature handlebars where the rider rests their hands and a large deck or platform where they place their feet. Unlike kick scooters, electric scooters don’t need any manual input from the rider. All the rider needs to do is stand on the deck, hands on the handlebars, and the scooter effortlessly glides to the desired destination.
The first scooter, a contraption known as the Autoped, first came on the scene in 1913. Unlike today’s e-scooters, the Autoped ran on gas and used a small internal combustion engine. Since then, scooter technology has seen tremendous improvements, and many people love them.
Today’s electric scooters have evolved into real last-mile personal transportation devices. Even people who don’t own a scooter can rent it by the minute thanks to mushrooming scooter-sharing systems.
What Are Electric Scooters Made Of?
Electric scooters have an extremely solid frame made from industrial-grade aluminum or carbon fiber in some models. The frames needs to be super strong to match the powerful motors that drive these devices. While entry-level e-scooters may have one hub motor, better, more powerful e-scooters tend to come with dual motors.
Other than rubber (for the tires) and aluminum alloy or carbon fiber for the frame, silicone and plastic are the most common materials used for making electric scooters.
As for the wheels, these scooters use solid urethane wheels or pneumatic rubber wheels. Pneumatic wheels provide decent cushioning against shocks and vibrations from the road or street. But if you want a really smooth e-scooter ride, look for an option that features extra suspension in the form of shock absorbers.
These vehicles also have brakes. And the brake may be on one wheel or both wheels. E-scooters use three kinds of brakes namely:
- Foot-activated brakes
- Mechanical brakes, either hydraulic or disc brakes
- Electronic brakes
With a foot brake, the rider puts a foot on the rear fender and applies downward pressure. Friction between the wheel and the fender stops the e-scooter. By the way, this brake type is the most common type in kick scooters.
Hydraulic brakes and disc brakes on an electric scooter work pretty much like MTB mechanical brakes.As for electronic e-scooter brakes, they’re a button-operated mechanism, and they may not always be reliable.
How Do Electric Kick Scooters Work?
Take a look at the image to learn how this electrified personal transporter works.
Image Credit: E-Scooter Nerds
Here’s how an electric scooter works: When the rider works the wired, motorcycle-like throttle on the handlebars, electric signals stream from the throttle to the e-scooter’s controller. Then, the controller prompts the battery (usually a lithium ion battery) to supply energy to a motor or motors (sometimes they’re two) in the wheels. This energy injection kicks the motor or motors into action, causing the electric scooter to start gliding forward.
Newer Scooter Models vs Older Scooter Models
With older e-scooter models, manufacturers strapped the motors on the deck rather than combining the motor with the wheel to form a hub motor. These earlier scooter models, unlike today’s e-scooter models, relied on chains and gears to rotate the wheels and cause the device to move forward.
Modern e-scooters don’t have gears, nor do they count on any kind of chain-based system for motion. In other words, today’s e-scooters have a simpler, smarter design, plus they’re becoming more and more efficient.
Can an Electric Scooter Be Used Without a Battery?
No, you can’t ride an electric scooter without a battery. Nor can you ride it manually as you would a regular kick scooter if the battery runs out. That’s why monitoring battery power is critical. Good electric scooters these days can sustain a 20+ miles range on a single charge. If you use this scooter as a last-mile personal transportation device, chances are you can ride the vehicle for an entire work week without needing to charge it.
What Are Electric Scooters Used for?
In many crowded towns and cities these days, more and more people are opting for cleaner, cheaper, more convenient transportation. And electric scooters have evolved over the years to become one of the most widely used personal transporters today.
Where road and street use laws allow electric scooters, many people use these motorized scooters to commute to work. The device’s become an important last-mile transporter for a growing number of workers. Others use this device purely for fun, something to cruise around town on and shop or just see the city. And for tech-crazy folks, electric scooters are just another fancy toy, one they must have even if they don’t really need it.
How Fast Do Electric Scooters Go?
According to Raine, a company that deals in electric and kick scooters of all kinds, the average speed of an electric scooter is 15 miles per hour (15mph) or 24 kilometers per hour (24 km/h). Compared to self-balanced scooters (hoverboards) which travel at an average speed of 6-7 miles per hour, e-scooters will get you to your destination sooner.
Not only are electric scooters faster than self-balancing scooters, but they also tend to give the rider a longer range. On a single charge, an electric scooter can get anywhere between 15 miles to slightly over 20 miles. By comparison, the best long-range hoverboards don’t last longer than 10 miles.
Are Electric Bikes Better Than Scooters?
Comfort-wise, electric bikes may be the better choice. E-bikes often come with full or partial suspension, and this makes riding over potholed and bumpy streets and roads a smoother experience versus e-scooting. Higher-end e-scooters offer great suspension and large air-filled rubber tires, but you’re going to fork over $1000+ for a really heavy scooter (as heavy as an e-bike) that won’t fold.
In terms of convenience, electric scooters are the clear winner. Many lightweight folding e-scooters with singe or dual motors weigh about 30lbs compared to 50-100lbs for e-bikes. E-bikes are typically larger, bulkier, and heavier than e-bikes, and they can be a pain to carry into and out trains and cars.
When it comes to speed and range, the typical electric bike trumps the average lightweight folding electric scooter. An e-bike can reach an incredible top speed of 30 mph compared to around 22 mph for e-scooters. But who really wants to zip around on some electric-powered contraption at 20+ mph? Not many people.
Besides, people use last-mile solutions like these ones are bought to solve crowded city street mobility problems. And in crowded streets, who wants the fastest electric scooter or e-bike.
When out on the road riding, an electric bike is somewhat safer than an e-scooter. Plus, maintaining an e-bike costs boatloads of money vs maintaining an e-scooter. With an e-scooter, about the only maintenance routine required is replacing the battery after every 2-3 years.
Bottom line: For longer commutes and faster rides, electric bikes outperform e-scooters. For navigating and maneuvering crowded city streets, electric scooters are super nimble, much better than e-bikes. Also, e-scooters are more convenient in terms of storage and getting onto public transit. And when it comes to safety when riding on the road, e-bikes win out. Finally, maintenance-wise, e-scooters are better compared to e-bikes; replace the battery every couple of years and that’s it.
Electric Scooters vs Kick Scooter, Which is Better?
Electric scooters are safer than kick scooters because they come LED safety lights and have deep-tread tires with great traction. They’re also more comfortable than kick scooters because the rider doesn’t need to push off against the ground. The rider simply rests their hands on the handlebars and simply control the ride. Additionally, e-scooters travel faster than kick scooters, plus folding electric scooters are more portable than kick scooters.
On the other hand, kick scooters are the healthier and fitness-boosting choice because the rider needs to exert themselves to propel the scooter forward. Also, kick scooters are easier to ride, and pretty much anyone can master them after a few sessions. Besides, kick scooters are a more eco-friendly option because they emit nothing. While e-scooters don’t have emissions, you still have to expend energy while charging the scooter and when riding the thing.
Kick scooters are for short commutes while electric scooters are designed for longer commutes and adventures. In the end, which scooter is better between e-scooters and kick scooters is down to personal preference.
What is the Difference Between an Electric Scooter and an Electric Kick Scooter?
The terms electric scooter and electric kick scooter refer to the one and the same thing. That said, some people use the term electric scooter while talking about Segways and hoverboards. But strictly speaking, electric kick scooters are motorized ordinary scooters.
What is the Difference Between a Scooter and a Kick Scooter?
There’s no difference between a scooter and a kick scooter. It’s like asking what is the difference between a vehicle and a motor vehicle. Get it?
Can I Use an Electric Scooter as a Kick Scooter?
Put another way, can electric scooters be used manually? Yes, you technically can ride an electric scooter manually. But just because you can kick-ride an electric scooter doesn’t mean you should. In fact, many manufacturers dissuade e-scooter owners from kick-riding a turned-off e-scooter perhaps because that harms the scooter in some way.
Also, when you kick an electric scooter, the brushed or hub motor of the scooter puts up resistance against your pushing efforts. This makes kick-riding an e-scooter with a drained battery really difficult and impractical. In addition, nothing is more retiring than manually riding an electric scooter.
Here’s the thing: monitor the e-scooter’s battery charge levels and take appropriate acti0n before it’s too late and you need to slog through pushing the hefty device home.
Can You Save the Battery By Kick-riding an Electric Scooter?
Yes, you can. Propelling an electric scooter forward by pushing or kick-riding is OK-ish, and it never drains the battery. Matter of fact, kick-scooting an electric scooter replenishes the charge if the device uses a brushed DC motor.
However, if the e-scooter has a brushless DC motor and you’re pushing it forward, it’ll oblige, but the battery won’t get an ounce of extra regenerative charge. And this isn’t a problem since all you want at this point is to get home. The good thing about riding an e-scooter with a brush-less DC motor is that the ride is much easier than riding a brushed DC e-scooter motor.
Where to Buy Electric Kick Scooters
Amazon carries all kinds of cheap, decent, and great e-scooters. Walmart and a few other big-box retailers sell them, but honestly Walmart and Walmart-like stores aren’t known for the best quality when it comes to outdoor gear of any kind. Fortunately, you can get great scooters are dedicated and reliable stores such as:
- USA Mini Motors
- Voro Motors
- E Wheels
- Varla Scooter
- Apollo Scooters
- Swagtron Scooters
- Segway Ninebot and a bunch of others trustworthy sellers.
An e-scooter has become the preferred last-mile solution for many. Whether you’re looking for something to have fun on or for commuting to work, there are many places offline and online that provide decent scooters at reasonable prices. Good e-scooters are foldable yet solid, fast yet safe, and have a reasonably long range.