How Do Electric Scooters Work?

It’s easy enough to ride the electric vehicle, but is it as easy to understand how electric scooters work? Lucky for you, their inner workings are simple as well. So, keep reading to understand the mechanism of an electric scooter and how it can transport you to other places with such a speed.

electric scooter

Short Answer

To operate an electric scooter, you push the throttle, which sends signals to the controller via wires. As a result, the battery releases electric energy, which targets one or two motors in the wheels. Then, the motor turns that into motion, and the electric scooter’s wheels move front and back.

The Main Electric Scooter Components

Understanding the different components will help you understand electric scooters at large and how they operate.

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1. Battery

The battery is probably one of the most vital electric scooter parts, as it dictates the scooter’s speed limits, charge, voltage, and energy storage capacity. As a result, it controls its overall performance and determines the maximum distance the scooter can cover on a single charge.

But how does that happen? How do the batteries of an electric scooter work? Simply put, the battery’s voltage gives the motor a power supply. You can understand how the battery level impacts the electric scooter performance by calculating its watts-hours. To do that, you should multiply the ampere-hours by the voltage/volts.

electric scooter battery

Moreover, electric bikes feature rechargeable batteries, either lead or lithium, which renders them eco-friendly solutions. These batteries equip the scooter for traveling long distances, 10 to 40 miles, on a single charge. And the fact that they’re rechargeable means they give electric scooters a dependable power source.

On that note, an industrial revolution of sorts changed the battery game, thanks to lithium-ion batteries. Today’s electric scooters are lightweight, compact, efficient, reliable, and durable with powerful rechargeable batteries.

But what really revolutionized them was that these batteries are affordable and accessible, hence their mass production. Lithium-ions were, then, used in manufacturing many scooters with impressive battery capacity ranges.

2. Motor

The motor plays a role of equal importance to batteries in how the electric scooter works. To illustrate, a powerful electric motor means high speeds, excellent torque, and the ability to climb high surfaces.

Still, how do the motors of an electric scooter work? The rider uses the controller component, usually a LED screen and a throttle button control, to issue a command. This sends the electricity generated by the battery to the motor through wires. Afterward, the process depends on the type of motor your electric scooter has.

Hub Motors

Brushless and brushed hub motors are the most common configuration in electric bicycles and scooters. You can find them in wheel hubs. A hub motor spins the wheel, causing propulsion. Also, there are two types of hub motors.

Firstly, rear hub motors are reminiscent of regular bicycles because they generate power from the rear wheel. So, the motors push the scooter forward. They also entail fewer spin outs and even smoother riding conditions than the following type.

hub motors

Secondly, front hub motors are excellent for electric bikes with several gears, as they don’t interrupt their drivetrains. So, your pedaling pushes the rear wheel, and the front wheel motor helps. However, the weight distribution with this motor placement can cause spin outs.

Tip: In an average electric scooter, the motor is placed on either the front or rear wheel, but it can be placed on both wheels in scooters that generate more power.

Mid-Drive Motors

Although most electric scooters are gearless and have hub motor placements, there are some with mid-drive motors that depend on the gears. These motors power the drivetrain of the e-scooter. The mid-drive system is excellent in handling steep and rocky hills and makes for an overall balanced riding experience.

3. Wheels

As we’ve mentioned, most scooters have motors on one or both wheels. When the motor turns energy into movement in the wheels, this propels the e-scooter. And there are two basic types of wheels:

  • Solid: Solid tires are uncommon in a scooter. They don’t get punctured, but they make for a bumpy riding experience.
  • Air-Filled: Also known as pneumatic tires, air-filled tires handle bumps better than solid ones. However, you may have to pump a flat rubber tire occasionally.air filled tires

4. Brakes

Brakes are installed on one or two wheels to help you ride your scooter safely. And there are four main braking systems:

Foot Brakes

Foot or rear brakes aren’t very common in electric scooters. With such brake controls, you have to press your foot down on the rear fender. This creates friction between the wheel and fender, slowing the momentum of the electric scooter.

Hand Brakes

We’re talking about disc brakes and hydraulic ones. In this electric scooter type, you press down on a hand lever (on the handlebar). This way, you activate the disc brake, typically mounted on the rear wheel, and stop the electric scooter immediately.

Also, some electric scooters have double disc brakes (on the front and rear wheels), so you’ll have right and left-hand levers on the handlebars to engage each brake.

disc brakes

Electric Brakes

Electric brakes are advanced braking systems that are often used in electric scooters. When you press a specific button, they can stop the motor from producing motion or slow down the scooter’s speed.

Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking is a new technology employed in modern scooters. Its brakes convert kinetic energy into electric energy, so they recharge the battery. Of course, the brakes give the electric scooter more power and simultaneously bring the scooter to a halt.

Other Electric Scooter Components

We’d be here all day if we went into each part, so we’ll briefly mention some other electric scooter components:

  • Deck: The deck should give you better traction, comfort, and stability if you choose the correct size. But it’s typically over 15 inches in length and approximately 4 to 8 inches or more in width.
  • Controllers: When you press the throttle, a signal passes through it to the battery, getting it to release energy.
  • Suspension: Different models feature suspension systems for increased comfort.electric scooter deck

Why Is It Illegal to Use an Electric Scooter?

It’s illegal to use e-scooters on public roads in some states because, unlike cars, such transportation methods lack visible rear red lights, number plates, and signaling abilities. But you can use such vehicles on private land, bike lanes, and sidewalks. Also, the electric scooter’s top speed limit shouldn’t be over 30 mph. Higher speeds aren’t street-legal.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the mechanism of an electric scooter is quite simple. It all starts with you pushing the throttle to send signals to the battery via wires. This causes the battery to power the motor, which gets the tires turning and the scooter moving. Then, you can use the brakes to stop at any time, ensuring that you have a safe ride.


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