The electric scooter industry has evolved swiftly in the past ten years, mainly due to noticeable improvements in battery technology. Although most people generally overlook this aspect but looking after your battery is highly important.
Neglecting your electric scooter battery will result in fewer charge cycles, reduced range per charge, and ultimately a significant reduction in fun and an increase in headaches and stress.
So in today’s article, we’ll be addressing various aspects of an electric scooter battery and some vital information every battery owner must know.
Electric Scooter Batteries: An Overview
The battery of your electric scooter is essentially its fuel tank. It stores energy and provides it to the scooter’s controller, DC motor, lights, and other parts.
Before going into the details, here’s some general information every electric scooter battery owner must know.
- Electric scooters contain a battery pack consisting of individual cells and electronics known as the battery management system for safe operations.
- Batteries are among the most costly component of an electric scooter and determine its overall cost.
- Most electric scooters feature a type of lithium ion-based battery pack. This is because the latter provide superior energy density and longevity.
- Most electric scooters are meant for kids as well as some inexpensive models feature lead-acid batteries.
- Bigger battery packs provide more capacity (in Watt-hours Wh) and provide increased mileage. But they also increase the weight and size of the scooter and reduce portability.
Types of Electric Scooter Batteries
The three major types of electric scooter batteries are as follows:
- Lithium-ion batteries
- Sealed lead-acid batteries
- Nickel-metal hydride batteries
A lithium-ion battery is most popular nowadays for electric scooters, mobile phones, laptops, and other smart appliances. This is because these rechargeable batteries are much less heavy than other batteries and can store more hours of electricity. Moreover, lithium-ion batteries take a lot longer to discharge (only around 5 percent each month) compared to 20 percent losses every month in the case of nickel-metal hydride batteries.
You can also find subcategories of lithium-ion batteries in newer scooter models, such as the lithium iron phosphate battery with a longer lifespan than the standard lithium battery. Another one is the lithium polymer battery which is smaller, flatter, and easier to adjust into smaller electric scooters.
However, the disadvantage of a lithium-ion battery is that it begins to degrade just as it leaves the factory. Also, these batteries are sensitive to high heat.
Sealed lead-acid Batteries
The advantage of lead-acid batteries is that they’re cheaper. In addition, since they were the first rechargeable batteries to be manufactured, their technology is fully-understood, making it a very reliable battery type.
However, lead-acid batteries are large and bulky, making them highly inconvenient for compact electric scooters. As a result, they are generally placed in bigger vehicles like cars. And another negative point of these batteries is a longer recharge time, which is very inconvenient, especially when you are in a rush.
Nickel-metal Hydride Batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH batteries) are among the most frequently used rechargeable batteries for electronics. They feature a high energy density and are deemed safer than lithium-ion batteries since they contain lesser active materials.
But similar to lead-acid batteries, these batteries also charge slowly, taking 10 to 12 hours to charge fully. Also, charging them fast can cause damage. Moreover, these batteries don’t function well in high temperatures, and their voltage output falls when it gets too hot or cold.
Brands Making Good Quality Batteries
Individual lithium-ion cells for an electric scooter’s battery pack are manufactured only by a handful of various international companies, such as Samsung, LG, Sanyo, and Panasonic. However, these battery pack cells are usually found only in high-end scooters.
Most budget-oriented commuter electric scooters feature battery packs containing generic Chinese-manufactured cells, and these vary a lot in quality. These include Xiaomi and Segway.
The most notable difference between branded and generic Chinese cells is a more reliable guarantee of quality control. But if a branded battery pack is not within your budget, make sure you buy your electric scooter from a reliable manufacturer who uses only quality parts and enforces good quality control (QC) measures.
Essential Terms to Remember about Your Electric Scooter Battery
Now that we have the basics down, here are some essential terms you’ll encounter when dealing with your electric scooter battery.
Voltage and % Remaining
Every cell in a battery pack is usually operated from 3.0 volts (0% charged) to 4.2 volts (100% charged). So a 36 V battery pack containing ten batteries in a series functions from 30 V (0% charged) up to 42 volts (100% charged).
To see how ‘% remaining’ on your scooter relates to the battery voltage for each type of battery, consult this battery voltage chart.
Voltage sag is caused by various factors, including temperature, lithium-ion chemistry, and electrical resistance.
It always produces non-linear behavior of the battery voltage; the moment the battery experiences a load, its voltage immediately starts to drop. This results in an under-or over-estimation of battery capacity. However, as soon as the load is removed, the voltage returns to its actual level.
Voltage sag can also occur if the battery remains discharged for a long time during a long commute. The battery’s lithium chemistry takes a while to catch up to the discharge rate. This can cause the battery voltage to fall even more quickly. As above, allowing the battery to rest will return the voltage to its accurate level.
The battery capacity of an electric scooter is measured in units of watt-hours (Wh) which is a unit of energy. For instance, a battery rating of 1 Wh can store enough energy to resource one watt of power for one hour.
In short, higher energy capacity translates into higher battery Watt-hours, meaning extended electric scooter range (for a given motor size).
Battery Management System (BMS)
As mentioned, Lithium-ion cells have various advantages; however, they can be pretty dangerous as compared to other battery technologies due to the threat of lowering battery life and even exploding if misused.
This is why these cells are always brought together and assembled into battery packs with a battery management system (BMS). The latter is an electronic element that keeps the battery pack in check and monitors charging and discharging.
Since Li-ion batteries are meant to operate between around 2.5V and 4.0V, the BMS prevents overcharging by cutting the power supply to the battery before it is fully discharged. More refined BMS can also control the battery pack’s temperature and initiate a cut-off in case of overheating.
Another term you might come across while researching electric scooter batteries is C-rate. This explains how quickly your battery is being completely discharged or charged.
For instance, a C-rate of ‘1C’ indicates that your battery is charged in one hour, 2C indicates fully charged in 0.5 hours, 0.5C indicates fully charged in two hours, and so on.
Tips to Extend Your Electric Scooter’s Battery Life
A typical Lithium-ion battery can handle between 300 and 500 charge/discharge cycles before weakening incapacity. But the good news is that for an average e-scooter, this amounts to between 3000 and 10 000 miles!
However, a ‘weakened capacity’ doesn’t mean that the battery will not function. It simply means that there will be a significant decrease of about 10 to 20 percent and will continually get worse.
But if you still want to stretch your battery’s life for as long as possible, here are a few tips you can follow to exceed the standard 500 cycles:
- To optimize your e-scooter battery, avoid riding it till the battery becomes completely discharged. Then, switch off your scooter at about 10 percent battery life to improve the life cycle of the battery.
- If you are riding in cold temperatures (below 40 Fahrenheit), your lithium-ion battery will likely become 30 percent less efficient, increasing its discharge rates.
- Please don’t wait for your battery to be discharged before you recharge it. Instead, whenever you get the opportunity, charge your scooter.
- If you don’t plan to ride your scooter for some time, make sure the battery is sufficiently charged.
- Always park your scooter in a sheltered area to avoid exposing the battery to sub-zero or boiling temperatures.
- Get your electric scooter checked by a professional at least once a year. Things like maintaining tire pressure and ensuring the motor are functioning properly also help manage battery life.
- Don’t overload your scooter; excess weight can deplete battery life.
- Always use the original adapter and charger that came with the battery.
- Once finished charging, always unplug the battery from the charger and mains.
- Give the battery time to cool down before recharging it completely. Also, avoid using the battery right after charging. As mentioned, battery management systems in scooters can monitor charging based on temperature and provide a power cut-out at extremely high temperatures.
- Avoid cleaning your e-scooter using a high-pressure cleaner to prevent water from getting to the battery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do electric scooter batteries last?
Electric scooter batteries can last for about two to four years. This equates to around 3000-5000 miles of commute, depending on usage conditions, storage, and battery capacity. Of course, if your commutes are longer or your storage conditions are improper, the battery lifespan will be reduced.
How can you maximize electric scooter battery life?
You can maximize the battery life of your scooter by storing it at about 50 percent charging, always charging it with a C-rate below 1, and not using the scooter when temperatures are below 32 F° or above 114 F° (extreme temperatures).
If you’re storing the scooter for a prolonged period, always charge the batteries regularly. And if you’re holding it for a very long time, keep charging them occasionally to avoid the scooter being stored with a completely discharged battery.
Can you replace electric scooter batteries? Is it worth the cost?
In most cases, lithium battery packs are relatively easy to replace. However, suppose your battery pack is damaged or diminished. In that case, you can take your scooter to an electric scooter shop to get it repaired or replaced or change the battery yourself if you have some technical knowledge. As long as you replace it with the equivalent battery type, it shouldn’t be difficult to replace the battery pack.
However, this isn’t very cost-effective since batteries are among the most costly constituents of an electric scooter. Even a 250 Watt-hour battery can cost around $150 US, which is about ⅓ the cost of an entire scooter!
Electric scooter batteries are pretty robust yet delicate components of an electric scooter. Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used due to their extended battery lives and compact nature. We hope this guide will help you understand the basics of your E-scooters battery and guide you into taking better care of your battery and scooter.
Now since you have learned something about electric scooter batteries, why don’t you also check out our other related guides as follows:
- Types of e scooters
- How much does an electric scooter cost
- Electric scooter buying guide
- Top electric scooters for commuting
- How to ride an electric scooter safely
- Best electric scooters for heavy adults