We love electric scooters and people are starting to enjoy their benefits more and more. With the micromobility revolution and climate consciousness growing, e-scooters are also gaining ground. Are you interested in getting your own electric scooter for your personal use?
Electric kick scooters and many mobility options have come a long way. This ultimate guide to electric scooters is the starting point you need. From its history, the many types of scooters to their benefits, find them here.
We’ll talk about what are electric scooters and how they work. We’ll also talk about proper scooter maintenance, traffic rules, and how much they cost. Look at this guide and we’re sure you’d get a good idea if it fits your needs.
What Is an Electric Scooter?
Electric scooters are the motorized version of the push scooter or kick scooter. Their general combination is:
- A platform called a deck
- Two handlebars
- Small wheels
Electric kick scooters can have anywhere from two to four wheels, depending on the brand.
They differ from the traditional kick scooter due to motorization and tech. The newer electronics, electric motor, and batteries can propel the scooter forward. The larger tires are also there to provide better maneuverability on the road.
A solid majority of e-scooters rely on the rapid growth of micromobility and the need to move in cities. Cities are enjoying a wide acceptance of last-mile alternative solutions for a reason.
E-bikes, e-scooters, and mobility scooters let you evade the congestion of cities. This saves you time and money. At the same time, you also rely less on automobiles for short-distance travel.
This personal level of mobility has a strong appeal to people looking for greener options.
Many electric kick scooters are for adults, but there are also e-scooters for kids and young teens. There are also e-scooters that you can convert to seated electric scooters. All you need are the right parts and accessories for it.
The History of Motorized Kick Scooters
The electric scooter is, to our surprise, not a new idea. The first motorized scooter came out in 1915 made by the company Autoped. It’s astounding how much it looks like today’s scooters.
The original Autoped motor scooter was, at its core, a big kick scooter for adults. It had its own engine mounted on the front wheel, which propelled the device forward. According to records gathered by The Smithsonian, the Autoped can go up to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h).
Peter Minton, the inventor of the Autoped, sold the outfit to Everready Battery. During this time, a battery-operated version was also on the market. Like many inventions of its time, the Autoped became a toy for the super-wealthy.
The Autoped was something everyone who had it loved. One famous user was suffragette Lady Florence Norman who rode it to and from her office. Aviator Amelia Earhart was also a fan of the dockless scooter years after the craze ran dry.
Looking at the Modern Scooter
Most of the Autoped craze died out because of how expensive the transportation was. For many decades, we came back to using traditional kick scooters. The transportation relegated back to being a toy for children and young teens who want to go around.
The electric kick scooter as we know it is new, with the earliest model going back to the 2000s. In the early 90s, mini-scooter maker Go-Ped was making low-cost gasoline-powered kick scooters. After some time, Go-Ped made its own electric scooter they called the Hoverboard in 2001.
From here, e-scooters did not enjoy proper commercial success until the mid-2010s. Dockless scooters-sharing systems like Lime and Bird made the e-scooter craze explode. They appeared nationwide and provided micromobility in key cities in the US.
Electric Kick Scooters: Do They Have a Purpose?
So, what’s the point of the electric kick scooter?
The value of the electric scooter comes from its value as a micromobility tool. This comes in the growing concern for heavy traffic congestion and pollution. The current level of super-fast urbanization is causing gridlocks across major hubs.
According to INRIX, a mobility intelligence company, 48% of all trips in the US are below 3 miles (5 km). Bigger vehicles like cars put heavy pressure on public transport. Buses and even taxis are slower because of this heavy congestion.
In a weird twist, the last-mile of any trip tends to be the slowest and most difficult. This is due to the level of concentration of work areas within central locations. These destinations tend to be consistent in big cities with high workforce concentrations.
Once people from far suburbs converge, the last-mile is the biggest source of traffic. Public transit systems use a design where they stop at some of the busiest streets in the city. Different lanes meeting at central locations can cause bumper to bumper traffic.
E-scooters provide the right solutions for these problems. They provide short distance, low-profile, and last-mile transportation. Using less space and the ability to move into smaller areas improve the mobility of people.
With the use of electric bikes and scooters, cities can reduce traffic congestion. It can improve mobility during rush hour, which can save people a lot of time and money. As for you, the consumer, the benefits are more obvious.
Benefits of Electric Scooters
Electric kick scooters can provide different benefits that you would love. First, an e-scooter can give you superior short-distance mobility. If you live in or around the city, you have superior access to more distances than what you have on foot.
Many electric scooters can give you a speed of around 15 mph (24 km/h). This is enough to move you faster around a few miles to and from different distances. This can be anywhere from your home, work, and even supermarkets.
Another benefit is financial savings. By ditching your car and using an e-scooter, you save some good money on fuel costs. With the rising cost of gas, moving on an electric vehicle saves you hundreds of dollars.
An electric scooter is also a green alternative. With the heavy effects of carbon emissions on the environment, scooters are a great pick. These micromobility vehicles can cut down on your carbon footprint within your city.
How Do Electrical Scooters Work?
Now you know their benefits to you, you need to learn how to operate an electric scooter. By learning so, you will have a certain idea of how to use a public unit from ride-sharing systems. When you’re ready, you can even start investing in your own e-scooter you can use around the city.
An electric kick scooter is easy to use and easy to handle. Unlike a skateboard or even old kick scooters, you don’t need extreme balance to use it. All you would need is a steady hand and a semblance of physical balance so you’re good to go.
Learning How to Operate E-Scooters
To operate an electric kick scooter, you would first need to start the device. Some e-scooters will have their own “ignition” system to prevent unauthorized use. Some units will have a foldable body that allows for easy stowing in your car or even office space.
Once you set it up, you would need to follow the local helmet regulations where you are. This is crucial, as almost all local laws require users to follow this rule. It’s also a safety matter that increases your survivability in case of accidents.
Once you have the right safety gear, start the ride. With one foot on the deck, kick the other foot back to the ground to move forward. From here, your electric motor will start to propel you forward and you can put both feet on the deck.
Depending on the power of your motor, you can move up to 15 mph (24 km/h) on your trip. To boost your speed, there will be an acceleration throttle somewhere on your handlebars. You can push this down to go faster on your trip.
As for braking, different electric kick scooters will have different types of brakes. Mechanical brakes use a rear fender brake that will reduce the speed of the rear wheel.
There are also electronic braking systems that use regenerative brake systems. You can use brake levers to help stop your scooter.
What Is the Best Scooter Terrain?
For e-scooters, you want to use it on the best terrain possible. It’s crucial to your safety to understand where and when you can use the device. By knowing the right terrain, you can also compare this to your locale and make the best use for it.
The best terrain for an electric kick scooter should be something as flat as possible. In an ideal situation, you would want to use this vehicle in cityscapes and paved roads. This provides the best contact for your scooter tires and prevents any skids and bumps.
Electric scooters are also great on any man-made surface that provides consistent terrain. This includes metallic surfaces, concrete, and even tiles. This versatility can help you get almost anywhere you need within a city and even in suburban areas.
Inclines and declines are less of preference but should not be a problem for an electric scooter. As long as the incline is not too steep, the BLDC motor should have enough torque to carry you. Scooters will also have enough height to move in subtle bumps without a problem.
You can also use an e-scooter inside a park in your leisure time. As long as it is dry, you should have enough traction on the ground to stay safe from a wipeout.
What Is the Worst Terrain for Scooters?
If there is the best terrain for an electric kick scooter, there is also the worst terrain. It’s best to stay away from these areas not only to keep your scooter in tip-top condition. This will also help you keep safe even in the worst conditions.
When using an e-scooter, it’s best to not use it in rough road conditions. Rain is ok and as long as the roads are not too slippery, you can travel without much fuss. Slick from snow and ice, however, can be a problem.
Road slick can reduce the traction of your scooter’s wheels. It’s best to not go at upper limit speeds for electric scooters during the winter because of skidding. This can cause a sudden wipeout or, an untoward accident.
Another thing you want to look for is a pothole. Many potholes will be around a few inches deep. Not noticing potholes can throw off your balance and put you into an unsteady position.
Rough, rocky, and uneven terrain can be a problem. Any obstruction at high speeds can challenge your concentration. This can then throw you off balance.
There’s also the issue of surroundings for your electric scooter, which you’d flesh out and prepare for.
Muddy terrain and wet ground can affect the safety of your travels on the e-scooter. The wheels of the vehicle are not big enough to handle deep tracks of mud and clay. Very soft, loamy soil can also pose a problem to your maneuverability.
Uphill use is problematic with even the best electric scooters. The BLDC motors in scooters have very low torque, causing slowdowns at an incline. Heavier people mean slower takeoff and issues when climbing an incline.
Off-Roading on a Scooter
To address the limits of many scooters, there are off-road variants for e-scooters. Their design differs depending on what you will use them for, but these rugged versions are long-lasting. Unlike their city counterparts, off-road scooters use a design that will last them a long time.
For starters, off-roading e-scooters use rugged, all-terrain tires with thicker rubber and wheels. These wheels can go as large as 11 inches (28 cm) and have high-traction treading.
The body can be harder as well. Some off-road electric scooters use stainless steel and aircraft aluminum to cut down dents and warps. They also have better suspensions for superior shock absorption when you’re in rocky terrain.
To compensate for the heavier frame, many off-road e-scooters use dual motor designs. These scooters will have around 1000+ to 3000+ watts of engine power. This is to ensure you can move in uphill or muddy terrains outside paved spaces.
They are easy to learn too, considering these scooters are brawny beyond belief. Their chunkiness and larger tire width reduce the need for finer balance control. Even then, there are still a few downsides to these electric scooters.
For one, off-road scooters are great for people with deeper pockets. They can cost a pretty penny with all the heavy-duty materials they use with the scooters. Entry-level off-roaders will cost you the same as a high-end electric scooter, so that’s a big think.
Off-road electric scooters would also need to have other modes of transportation to move distances. Off-roading means you don’t have any means of recharging your scooter batteries once they dry out. Putting them on a transport vehicle like a car can be bothersome too with all the extra weight.
What Are the Traffic Rules for E-Scooters on the Road?
Like any vehicle on the road, you need to follow the local traffic rules with your electric scooters. You also need to follow the designations and rules your local government has. Traffic rules will differ in every city, so learn the local regulations.
There are some jurisdictions where e-scooters are viable options. In some areas, they are under full prohibition under a pretense of safety concerns. In general, electrical scooters are a legal form of micro-transportation.
When it comes to traffic, many laws treat electric scooters like bicycles. City councils mandate their use on streets and bike lanes instead of sidewalks. This serves as a safety guideline both for the rider and the pedestrians.
Much like a bicycle, you need to follow the rules that many bikes and cars need to adhere to. Stop at stop signs and red lights and prevent doing shortcuts. Anything in excess can result in a fine.
In some jurisdictions, there are also forbidden and scooter-free zones. It’s best to steer clear of no-go zones and pick a different path. This is common for ride-sharing e-scooters and their app will notify you for it.
Electric kick scooters are also subject to separate parking rules. If you have a personal e-scooter, it’s best to carry it with you or stow it in your car rather than park. There are also dedicated scooter parking that can help keep your scooter safe.
Licensing and Insurance
Many jurisdictions don’t need the riders to get licensing and insurance for e-scooters. This is due to the idea of the electric scooter being a new concept. Laws are still under development to learn its ins and outs.
Even then, there are no clear jurisdictions in licensing e-scooters. For example, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not treat e-scooters as motor vehicles. As they lack seats and operate in stand-up mode, they don’t have national legislations.
Many cities see electric scooters like bicycles, providing very little need for licensing. Even then, it’s still best to check in with your local council for any differences in the law.
Many cities still have pilot schemes on the way to understand how to treat electric scooters. Major cities like Omaha, Los Angeles, and New York are looking to make them street legal.
Many e-scooter ride-sharing companies, however, do the self-regulation themselves. If you plan on using ride-sharing electrical scooters, you need to be at least 18 years old. You would also need a valid driver’s license scanned to open your own account.
Understanding Safety Concerns
Like any micromobility vehicle, safety is always a concern with the electric scooter. Many peg up safety to be a primary concern when riding these micro vehicles. It’s crucial to follow the safety laws your local council sets when riding your scooter.
Safety equipment is a crucial part of your entire trip. They can prevent accidents and keep you from excessive injuries. At the very least, many jurisdictions need you to have a helmet on at all times.
You would want to use other safety equipment for your electric scooter. This includes lights and horns, protective clothing and joint pads. Wear eye protection especially during windy days to prevent any temporary blindness.
Do People Like E-Scooters?
With the wide boom of electrical scooters, do people use them? Do people like you and me like them at all? The answer is a resounding yes!
Many cities agree that electric scooter systems can help relieve growing traffic congestion. This level of acceptance is obvious due to the growth of micromobility ride-sharing. Companies like Lime and Bird are growing at exponential rates because of their e-scooter systems.
Within a span of 14 months, for example, Bird grew to become a multi-billion dollar business. It is operating in 120 cities and their growth is nothing to scoff at. Interest in e-scooters is growing, with full-fledged manufacturers handling strong public demand.
Like any new business, electrical scooters can be controversial. The main issue with many micromobility vehicles is their total safety record. Their proneness to theft can keep people at bay as security needs more work.
There is also the matter of infrastructure. Many cities do not have the right infrastructure. They can handle parking and securing electrical scooters.
With a massive influx of riders on the way, a question of safety and concern for pedestrians is valid.
Many large micromobility companies are working with cities to create new infrastructure for e-scooters. With Lime’s growth to 100 million users, private electric scooter ownership is bound to grow. Private ownership will fill the void that many ride-sharing systems cannot answer.
How Much Do They Cost?
The average cost of an electrical scooter depends on the specs and the brand of scooter you have. While many complain about their unit cost, it’s best to treat e-scooters as a long-term investment. It gives you more mobility during last-mile situations and electricity is super cheap.
Many budget electric scooters will cost you somewhere around $300. Higher-end units can cost you somewhere between $1000 to $1500. This can be prohibitive to some riders so people opt to start with ride-sharing systems.
Ride-sharing systems can cost you $2 – $3 for a 10-minute ride.
What Is the Future for the Electric Kick Scooter?
The future for the electric kick scooter is positive so far. People are raving for the electrical scooter and the demand is growing as the years go by. If you can invest in your e-scooter, you will get a good 2 to 3 years before your first repair.
While there is strong pessimism for ride-sharing e-scooters, private ownership is rising. Profitability for ride-sharing systems is starting to become a big concern. Their survival and adaptation can spell the growth or doom of e-scooters.
As the years go by, we can expect to have cheaper private alternatives to become more viable. The better, lower-cost would create mass adoption within the entire country.
Despite all challenges, America loves its electric scooters. If it is available at a reasonable price, expect better consumer adoption rates in total. If you’re thinking to get one now, it’s best to do it to get the full benefits of using electric scooters.
Finding Potential Tech Improvements
Electric kick scooters still have a long way to go when you consider their potential technology. The primary issue with current scooter models comes from different areas. These are:
- Materials durability
- Improvements in mobility
- Stability and safety
Commercial e-scooters tend to have some durability issues because they need to stay light. Their weight capacity, for example, is best for light to moderate build riders. Heavyset users would need higher-end scooter units and there’s not many of them in the market.
Companies are starting to manufacture units with higher weight capacities and even better durability. This can help electric scooters to last much longer.
Improvements in the electric motor will also be a welcome improvement. Improvements in suspensions and shock absorption can help in increasing stability. This can reduce bumpiness during the ride and lower the chances of accidents on the road.
Security is also a concern in your average electric scooter. Because of its lack of lock points, scooters are easy to steal and even vandalize. Ride-sharing systems are trying to make do with immobilization lock systems.
Over the next few years, we can expect more tech advancements in electric scooters to work long-term. One thing is for sure.
Electric scooters are an emerging technology that promises to give you the best, fastest way around short distances. No matter what side of micromobility you care for, the goal is the same for everyone. You want to have the best, most convenient ride that helps the environment and saves you money.
It doesn’t matter what you think about the value of the e-scooter. With this guide and all you need to know, the message is clear. Society sees the electrical scooter as a viable last-mile vehicle that prevents congestion.
Only time and patience will tell if this can be your best alternative to populous cities. This is why it’s best to take advantage of the micromobility revolution now. Try an electric scooter and see if it’s the right alternative for you.
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