What Is The Best Way To Charge An Electric Scooter?

I. Introduction

Electric scooters are popular, fun to ride, affordable, and can be used for commuting and running errands across the city. Many electric scooters are compact and can give you the last mile connectivity to reach college or workplace.

The battery is a major part of the electric scooter and it can last longer if you charge it correctly and take good care of it.

In this article we shall discuss the following topics:

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II. Brief information about the electric scooter battery

You can compare the batteries of electric scooters in terms of their capacity, weight, efficiency, life, safety, and cost. Two types of batteries are used in electric scooters, few low-cost models use lead-acid batteries, however, the majority of the electric scooters today use lithium-ion batteries.

A battery’s capacity is the amount of charge that can be stored in it and lithium-ion batteries have a higher capacity per unit volume than lead-acid batteries. For the same battery capacity, a lithium-ion battery is much lighter than a lead-acid battery.

The efficiency (ratio of the amount of charge entering the battery during charging and amount of charge discharged during its use) of a lithium-ion battery is more than 90% compared to the 65% of lead-acid battery (considering same capacity and working condition).

Lithium batteries have higher life cycles compared to lead-acid batteries. However, the cost of a lithium-ion battery is drastically higher than a lead-acid battery.

Let us see how the lithium-ion battery works– A lithium-ion battery has electrodes (lithium cobalt oxide and graphite) placed in an electrolyte and separated by a membrane. A lithium-ion battery works by releasing lithium ions.

When the battery is in the charged condition the lithium ions are with graphite. When the battery is used the graphite loses lithium ions and it moves to the lithium cobalt oxide, and this happens throughout the time of usage (discharge).

Now when the battery is connected to an electric source for charging, the reverse process happens, meaning, the lithium ions move back to graphite and the battery is ready for use.

III. Caring for your electric scooter battery

The battery is a major and critical part of an electrical scooter and the rider should take special care to maintain it. You can enhance the performance and life of the scooter battery by following some important tips below.

  • Always use the charger received with the electric scooter for charging the battery.
  • Never drain the battery completely. Experts on the battery suggest using it between “30% and 80%” of its capacity.
  • If you are storing the battery for a long time, charge the battery to 40 to 50% before storing it and repeat it once again after every 30 days.
  • Never leave the electric scooter unattended during charging.
  • Do not charge the battery if it is damaged.

IV. What is the best way to charge an electric scooter & how to check the battery is charged or not?

Study your owner’s manual and if it recommends a charging procedure you should follow the same. If there is no mention of the charging procedure, you can just make a note of the charging time.

The present-day electric scooters come with a built-in charging port on the scooter and there is no need to remove the battery during charging.

Before charging your electric scooter battery.

  • If you have just completed a long ride, allow 30 minutes for the battery to cool down. The battery should be brought to room temperature before charging.
  • Always use the charger received along with your electric scooter for charging the battery, since it is customized with the current requirement of the battery. If the charger is lost or damaged, get a new one from the manufacturer. Never buy an equivalent one from the aftermarket.
  • Your electric scooter may have a charger that allows you to control the charging rate. Study your owner’s manual and use the setting that is good for extending the battery life.
  • Most of the chargers are designed to turn green before reaching 100% charging of the battery and the LED may turn green before reaching the recommended charging time. You can take out the charger at this point or continue till it completes the recommended charging time (this can ensure you 100% of the range, however, it may not be good for the life of the battery).
  • If your electric scooter was left outside open to severe winter or hot summer, bring the scooter inside and do not charge it immediately. Allow the battery to attain room temperature, and only then you can charge it.
  • Wipe any dust or moisture in the area surrounding the charging port of the battery and also the electric outlet on the wall. Select an electric outlet that has a switch to connect and disconnect the current.

Follow the steps below for charging the electric scooter battery

  • Plug the charger into the standard electric outlet on the wall. Do not put the switch on.
  • Locate the charging port on your electric scooter and plug the charger in. Normally, the charger pin is made in such a way that there is only one way to fit it and wrong fitting is impossible. Still, ensure it is correctly plugged in.
  • Put on the switch to allow the current into the charger. The light on the charger should glow red to indicate that the charger is working and it is charging the battery.
  • The charger can get hot during charging, and unless it is abnormal, it is not a cause for worry.
  • When the light on the charger turns green, it indicates that the battery is charged to the optimum level. You may stop the charging at this point.
  • However, if you need a 100% charge, compare the actual charging time and the time recommended in the owner’s manual, you may continue till the recommended charging time is reached.
  • Unplug the charger from the mains outlet and battery port. The battery should never be overcharged beyond the time recommended in the owner’s manual. Overcharging can lead to overheating of the battery, reduction in battery life, and even fire accidents.
  • After disconnecting the charger, take it out and store it properly. Do not leave it in the electric outlet, it may damage the charger.
  • The battery will be hot after charging. Allow a cooling period of 15 to 30 minutes before you use it.

Your electric scooter may have a large battery and have the provision to charge it with two chargers simultaneously. The procedure will be the same as explained above.

How to check the battery is charged or not?

  • Normally, electric scooters have a method to display the amount of charge in the battery. It can be LEDs of different colors to indicate the charge level. You can check the display of the scooter and it should indicate a charge above 80%.
  • If your electric scooter does not display the charge in the battery, you can use a voltmeter to check the voltage across the battery terminals and refer to the owner’s manual or technical charts on the internet to know the corresponding amount of charge in the battery. The amount of charge in a fully charged battery should be more than 80%.

V. What is the life span of an electric scooter battery?

The life span of an electric scooter battery is described in terms of cycles. One cycle means “charging the battery to the recommended level (as advised by the manufacturer) and discharging it to the minimum permissible level”.

Lead-acid batteries have a normal life span of 200 to 300 cycles and lithium-ion batteries have a normal life span of 400 cycles and above.

Does the battery become dead after the said number of cycles? The answer is no.

The capacity of the lead-acid battery may come down to 50% after the said number of cycles and the capacity of a lithium-ion battery may come down to 80% after the said number of cycles. This means that you can continue to use the battery and ride your electric scooter albeit at reduced efficiency and range.

However, the degradation of the battery may be faster after this stage (please see https://qnovo.com/what-happens-after-80-percent/ for more information).

Also, the life span of the battery mentioned in your owner’s manual is considering an average user. So, if you take extra care of your battery, the number of charging cycles can be improved.

Considering all the above factors the life span of a lithium-ion battery used in your electric scooter can be anywhere between 15 months to 30 months or more. In terms of miles, it can be more than 7000 miles.

VI. How to maximize the life span of an electric scooter battery?

Follow these simple rules to maximize the life span of your electric scooter battery

  • Always use the original charger received with your electric scooter for charging the battery.
  • Strictly follow the battery charging procedure.
  • Extreme high and low temperatures place stress on the working of lithium-ion battery and it can drastically affect the life span of the battery. Always keep your electric scooter in a dry place like a garage. The ideal conditions for the lithium battery are 30ºC, dry weather, and away from water and rain.
  • Good riding habits eg. riding at an average speed, slow acceleration, and not braking suddenly help optimize the life of the battery. Also, know your scooter’s range, optimum speed, and battery capacity and use it to plan your rides.
  • Experienced battery technicians suggest you operate your electric scooter between “30% and 80%” of the battery capacity. Following this will improve the battery life.
  • Do not drain your electric scooter battery completely, ensure that it always has at least 15% charge in it. Charging the battery after every ride (even if it has sufficient charge) is a good habit and it helps improve the battery’s life.
  • Never leave the battery unattended during its charging. The charging duration (time) should never exceed the recommended time in the owner’s manual. Overcharging the battery will deteriorate the battery life and may cause an accident.
  • Do not ride your electric scooter immediately after charging. The battery becomes hot during charging and riding immediately makes it hotter, and this can cause damage.
  • If you are not using your electric scooter for a long time, charge the battery to around 40 to 50% before storing it and if the storage time exceeds 30 days, repeat this exercise after every 30 days. The damage done to the battery by not charging it for long period cannot be reversed and it is not covered under the battery warranty.

VII. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1 Should I fully discharge my electric scooter battery before putting it for charging?
No, you can optimize the life span of the lithium-ion battery by using it between 30% and 80% of its capacity. So, go for charging when the battery is near its 30% capacity.
2 How long it takes to charge an electric scooter battery?
The charging time can be anywhere between 2 and 12 hours or more and it depends on the battery capacity and the charger design. Some manufacturers provide dual chargers for simultaneous use.
If you know the capacity of your electric scooter battery in ampere-hours (Ah) and the output current of the battery charger, there are tables available on the internet to find out the estimated charging time (to charge from 0% to 100%).
3 The red light on my battery charger turns green before the recommended charging time (owner’s manual), should I stop at the green light or follow the recommended time?
You can take out the charger when the light turns green. However, if you want to have a maximum battery range, you may charge it for the recommended time. However, doing this every time may affect the battery life.
4 I lost my charger received along with the scooter, can I buy the equivalent one from the aftermarket?
No. The charger supplied by the manufacturer is optimized for the battery fitted in your electric scooter. Buying the charger from the aftermarket can harm the battery. The best option is to purchase a new charger from your scooter manufacturer.
5 Why should I charge the battery partially (40% to 50%) before I store it for long periods?
Even during the storage period the cells of the battery will continue to lose charge albeit very slowly. If the battery is stored fully charged, the rate of losing the charge can be fast. And, if the electric scooter is stored without partially charging it, the battery will get degraded and turn unstable/hazardous.
6 How long my electric scooter battery charge last?
Typically it should last for the maximum range (distance traveled in miles) given in the owner’s manual. However, the range given is maximum, and it may come down depending on the rider’s weight, gradient on the road, battery condition, etc.
7 Should I charge my electric scooter after every ride?
It depends on the charge left in your battery after the ride. If the charge left is between 30% and 80% and if you are confident of not depleting it below 30% during your next ride, then do not charge it. However, if you need more charge for your next ride, charging is the option. Depleting your battery to below 30% is not good for its life.

VIII. Conclusion

From our discussion in the above paragraphs, we can conclude that we can enhance the efficiency and life span of the electric scooter battery by taking a little extra care of the battery. It will be beneficial for the rider to do it since the replacement of the battery is a costly affair.

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