Clearly, without a battery, even the best adult electric scooters will not travel very far. As the source of power, the batteries are a key component and directly affect the reliability and general functionality of your eScooter. There are several types and technologies available, some older than others.
The most modern and expensive battery type is the Lithium Ion battery. If you think that modern electric scooters are expensive, then this may be in large part due to the cost of the battery itself. Here is our rundown of the various battery types that come with electric scooters, their pro's and con's and what to look out for when choosing and looking after a new electric scooter.
ㆍBattery Technology Improvements Over Time
ㆍElectric Scooter Battery Power
ㆍWhy Electric Scooters (And Bikes) Are Not Perfect From An Environmental Point Of View
ㆍTypes Of Electric Scooter Battery
ㆍDetailed Descriptions Of The 3 Types Of Battery
ㆍWhat Do The Various Rating Numbers Of An Electric Scooter Battery Mean?
ㆍElectric Scooter Battery Weight
ㆍCharging An Electric Scooter
ㆍBattery Tips To Get The Most From You Electric Scooter
ㆍReplacing Electric Scooter Batteries
ㆍElectric Scooter Battery Disposal
Battery Technology Improvements Over Time
Battery technology is improving all the time and the batteries in the best electric scooter models available today are no exception.
For example, do you remember a few years ago when cell phone batteries where huge and did not last long? The developments in cell phone battery tech illustrate how much the industry has evolved.
Electric Scooter Battery Power
As far as electric scooters are concerned, they need a lot more power to run than a cell phone because they are converting their energy to real, physical kinetic energy rather than supplying the low-voltage electronic circuit board in a cell phone. This means that you need some serious power to run an electric scooter, especially when you consider higher speeds and longer distances as important factors when choosing an electric scooter.
Here is our run-down of the various battery types common in electric scooters and which ones you should be looking out for when buying one of these awesome personal transporters.
Why Electric Scooters (And Bikes) Are Not Perfect From An Environmental Point Of View
Electric scooters and electric bikes are the next big thing, in fact they have already arrived in the mainstream. Thanks to their being more environmentally friendly than other means of personal transport, we can all now make a contribution. Their environmental-friendliness originates from the fact that they are powered by batteries instead of gasoline or some other kind of fossil fuel.
On the flip-side, though, the electric scooters are not completely perfect as the manufacture and disposal of batteries can be highly polluting to the environment if not done in the right way. There are lots of rules and regulations about the manufacture and disposal of hazardous materials but when they are manufactured abroad then we lose some of this control.
In addition, the energy that the electric scooters use obviously has to come from somewhere. I.e you have to charge your scooter from your home or office electricity supply. While it is comforting to think that you are using clean, green power, the electricity used to charge the scooter could come from any other source including a coal-fired power plant.
All the same, nothing is completely perfect and electric scooters are certainly much cheaper and greener than gas-guzzling cars.
Types Of Electric Scooter Battery
Electrical scooters are mainly powered by three types of batteries and here are the acronyms that usually accompany them:
Nickel Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH)
Sealed Lead Acid Battery (SLA)
Lithium ion battery (Li-ion, LFP, LiPo)
Detailed Descriptions Of The 3 Types Of Battery
1. Nickel Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH)
These kinds of batteries have been in the market now for many years. Their name explains their chemical composition. They are comparably lighter than sealed lead acid batteries, and thanks to them being lightweight as well as more advanced, the NiMH are pretty expensive.
The NiMH batteries tend to be created specifically for the electric scooter that they come with. It is also important to know that while these kinds of batteries are more expensive than the sealed lead acid batteries, they are also thirty percent lighter than typical sealed lead acid batteries and last longer than a normal sealed lead acid battery.
2. Sealed Lead Acid Battery (SLA)
Just like the NiMH batteries, the sealed lead acid batteries have been around for a very long time. They are the standard type of battery that you will find in any car or truck. Because they can generate a very high current required for starting an engine, the auto industry has been relying on them for years.
Because they are the oldest type, they were also the first to be used in electric scooters when they first came about. Even today, they continue to be the most popularly used batteries in many electric scooters because of their sheer power.
The main drawback of the SLA battery has to be their heavy weight. They are also large. That said, they are less expensive compared to NiMH batteries and they are also readily available. That is the main reason they continue being used in electric bikes and scooters.
It is worth noting that how long a sealed acid battery lasts really depends on the surrounding temperatures as well as its size and quality.
3. Lithium-ion Battery (Li-ion)
Lithium ion batteries are a fairly recent development in the industry and as a result are the most expensive. They’ve begun taking the market by storm because of the new features they provide. They have a major advantage over other types of batteries because they are the lightest type on the market today.
Coupled with the fact that they last about three times longer than ta regular Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery, they are very attractive to electric scooter manufacturers. They weigh a little less than NiMH batteries and are half the weight of sealed lead acid batteries.
There are other factors that make Li-ion battery tech so popular: They require less maintenance when not in use, they do not suffer from the "battery memory" problem that NiMH batteries do and you can basically ignore them for long stretches of time without a problem.
As a result of these significant advantages Li-ion batteries are turning up in all sorts of places. However, on the downside, their price is often much higher than that of the sealed lead acid battery and NiMH battery. In fact with modern electric scooters a large part of the price is likely to be the cost of the battery especially if they are NiMH.
Types Of Lithium-ion Batteries
There are a couple of sub-types of Li-ion batteries that each offer their own advantages over standard Li-ion types.
Lithium FerroPhosphate (LFP). These batteries have a longer life than standard Li-on's and are generally regarded as significntly safer. The higher quality electric scooters will have an LFP battery but they will cost a lot more
Lithium Polymer (LiPo). The LiPo battery is a type of Li-ion that is generally manufactued in a pouch format as opposed to the traditional cell format. They are useful in Electronic gadgets and electric scooters because of their small and flat shape.
What Do The Various Rating Numbers Of An Electric Scooter Battery Mean?
Brands of e-scooter always rate the batteries to indicate how powerful they are. Numbers are generally followed by units like Volts (v) and Amp hours (Ah) but what do these numbers actually represent and are they useful for determining how powerful the battery actually is?
Voltage is the unit of measurement of electrical potential between 2 points. For example, batteries have a positive (+) and negative (-) charge and a connector for both of these 'poles'. The Voltage rating is the potential difference between the positive and negative terminal of the battery, without any load and therefore without any current flowing.
In general, the higher the load on the battery, the more current will flow through the load circuit. Electrical current, measured in Amps is described in more detail next:
Amp hours (Ah)
Amps are the unit used to measure electrical current. Electrical current is the amount of electrical energy that flows through a wire at any given point. So the amount of energy that flows through a connecting wire per second is known as the Amp rating. This is usually a maximum number, as the amount of current available can decline as the battery loses it's charge.
Following on from this, the Ah rating is the amount of current that it takes to flow before the battery is completely discharged. As an example, an 8 Ah (Am hour) battery will drain to empty in an hour with a load producing a current of 8 Amps.
Electric Scooter Battery Weight
As most batteries are usually heavy, even the lightweight ones can weigh the scooter down as more might be needed to power the scooter.
It is not uncommon for the batteries to be the heaviest component of an electric scooter, especially now that newer scooters can be super lightweight and made from carbon-fiber or thin aluminum materials. The batteries will make up a large part of the overall weight of the unit.
The weight of a single battery can range from 5 kg to 26kg, so you need to take this into consideration when you are dismantling the electric scooter in preparation for storage or transport.
Charging An Electric Scooter
All eScooter batteries can be recharged with the use of either a hardwired, internal battery charger unit or an external battery charger unit. The advantage of external chargers is that they keep the general weight of the scooter down and are less likely to fail. Because they are not subject to the vibrations of the scooter, they will last longer - a problem that scooters with inbuilt charger units experience.
It is important to remember that one of the factors that determine how long the scooter’s battery is going to last is if the scooter is charged correctly or not according to the instructions. Carefully go through the manufacturer’s guidelines to understand how you should charge the scooter’s batteries in the right way.
Another thing that you need to guard against doing is over-charging the scooter’s batteries. When you frequently overcharge the batteries, the chemical composition of the batteries change, thus, reducing their life. There is usually a cutout and a light indicator that can indicate when the battery is fully charged. Some batteries can be over-charged and some come with an over-charge protection. It's worth noting which type yours is.
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Battery Tips To Get The Most From You Electric Scooter
We recommend the following tips if you want the best from your scooter and extend it's lifetime
Make sure you only use a charger compatible with your scooter’s batteries when charging
If you use your scooter daily, then it is wise to charge it daily
Daily use of your scooter can increase the longevity or life span of your scooter’s batteries
If you don't use the scooter daily, then you only need to charge once in every three months, and you’ll be okay
After a ride, recharge the batteries immediately
Ensure batteries are fully-charged before you unplug the charger from the socket
Leaving the battery in a partially charged state is likely to lower its useful life
New batteries need to be charged before use
If you are using a wet-cell battery (SLA) then ensure the room is well-ventilated because the battery usually gives off fumes when being charged
Always store the scooter and its battery in a cool, dry place
Exposure to damp and moisture may damage the battery
If the scooter or battery get damp or wet, use a cloth to wipe it down
Replacing Electric Scooter Batteries
If your electric scooter battery does die for some reason, you can usually tell because they won't charge or hold a full charge. If you want to keep your scooter rather than replace it then you need to look at replacing the batteries.
There are many battery manufacturers and all of the specifications can be slightly different so keep in mind that you should only use batteries that are compatible with your scooter.
Electric Scooter Battery Disposal
When the batteries become old and unusable, please do try and dispose of them in the proper manner. You should contact your local authority and find out how to dispose of batteries in your are. A supplier may give some insight on how best to dispose of old scooter batteries, but you can you can often drop them off at a local auto parts store or at a local recycling center.
Be responsible when disposing of your batteries and enhance the eco-friendliness of your scooter.
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