Charging an e-scooter
Charging an e-scooter is very important to its battery life. In this article we will discuss the best charging practices. It will help preserve its run time and life cycle.
The greatest challenge electric scooters, electric bikes, and electric vehicles are having a hard time getting a lot of customers is charging stations. In other words, their battery. You may be thinking about what would happen if your e-scooter, e-bike, or e-vehicle runs out of charge in the middle of nowhere. Supposed I find myself in a place where there are no charging stations? Supposed my electric scooter’s battery life is less than what I expect? How do I know when my electric scooter is fully charged?
You do not have to worry, in this article, I will answer all these questions for you from my experience. I have come across several e-scooters. I will also tell you which are the best for what, what, and where. And if you are a have adult, you can read an article I had written about e-scooters suitable for winter use here.
One advantage the regular cars have over e-scooters, e-bikes and e-vehicles, is the presence of a charging station. Whichever country you take your car to, you will find gas stations even in remote places. As for electrics e-scooters, electric cars, and electric cars, you can only use them if you have a charging station at home.
So, how do I know my electric scooter is fully charged?
There are several ways of knowing that your e-scooter is fully charged. Firstly, most of the electric scooters I have come across have an LED indicator on the handlebar. When fully charged, the LED indicator changes color from red to green. Isn`t it this how you also know your android phone is fully charged?
Secondly, your e-scooter may be one of those which comes with an LED display. A good example is the Megawheels S5 e-scooter. On the LED display you can always check the battery percentage. A 100% indicates your battery is fully charged. Some LED display contains a figure of your battery with several bars. When the battery figure is filled with bars, you know your scooter is fully charged.
Thirdly, some of the e-scooters have connectivity features. That feature allows you to use an application to either monitor or control important e-scooters metrics. Use can use the application to view the amount of charge remaining in the battery. And, yes you can check the battery charge level.
Lastly, your electric scooter charger has an indicator. I do not know whether all of them have it. All those I have come across have an indicator. When your e-scooter is charging, the indicator lamp is red. When your battery is fully charged, the indicator lamp becomes green in color.
How long does it take to charge an electric scooter?
Electric scooters take a different amount of time to charge. The e-scooters that charge in the shortest times between 2-4 hours. When I wrote about e-scooters designed for heavy loads and adults, we saw some that take between 7-12 hours to charge. I have found one that takes 12 hours to charge to capacity, the Razor E-90 electric scooter .
You will be lucky if the manufacturer of your e-scooters sells faster chargers. They help your scooter charge in a relatively short amount of time.
What determines how long your e-scooter takes to fully charge are a few factors. One, the size of the battery. The larger the battery, the more time it would take to charge to capacity using a standard charger.
Two, the condition of your battery. A battery in good condition would take the amount of time the manufacturer has indicated. Three, the season or weather. When it is cold, the follow of ions between the anodes and cathode is slowed. So, in cold weather, it may take longer to charge than when it is warm.
Lastly, the type of charger you are using. The standard charger takes longer to charge. Fast chargers take less time to charge your battery to capacity.
How to charge an electric scooter
When charging your electric scooter, there are some steps that you ought to follow. If you follow these steps, you will prolong your battery life. Besides, you need your battery in optimum condition when you need it. Unlike, e-scooters, electric cars do not have many charging requirements because manufacturers do not even object to you charging EVs in the rain.
Here are some steps you should follow when charging your scooter.
These are the steps you should follow when charging an electric scooter in the apartment or home. This is also the recommended procedure for charging your electric scooter by razor manufacturers. Many manufacturers fail to include the e-scooter charging instructions in the manual.
- You have been using your scooter, allow it to cool down first and then plug it into the charger.
- Always use the charger that the manufacturer issued you when you bought your e-scooter. They are custom-designed for that e-scooter model
- Ensure you are not charging in a wet and damp environment. It is recommended you go for a dry and cool place
- Before charging, ensure your e-scooter is turned off
- Your charge is to any regular power outlet and then to the e-scooter. (not the other way round)
- Once it is fully charged, unplug immediately to avoid overcharging
- Give it time to cool down first after charging before using it.
It is true your e-scooter may have overcharge protection. However, you ought to remember that all electronic components fail from time to time. It is better to be safe than sorry. Though I have a whole section dedicated to the cost of the battery, you will find replacing batteries is not a cheap as you think.
The reason why you have to give it sometimes before using is to allow it to cool down. When charging your e-scooter, the battery may overheat. You may have also seen this on some android phones. An overheated battery does not perform well.
Why do experts recommend plugging the charger into the power outlet first and then into the scooter?
I had stated earlier that most manufacturers do not include the charging instructions in their manual. When this is the case, plugging into the power outlet first is safer.
The capacitor in the charger is set at 0 V when not plugged in. Battery voltages of many scooters range between 36 V and 84 V. When such batteries are connected to the charger, they tend to charge the capacitors instantly. The capacitor is brought at per with the voltage of the battery
This is what causes the sparks to occur in your e-scooter charger. The sparking destroys chargers.
Plugging into the power outlet first allows the capacitor to charge at the correct rate to the voltage close or equal to that of the battery. So, since the capacitor already has a charge, there is not sparking when you connect to the battery.
Why is it wise to unplug when it is full?
Though I have discussed this in greater detail in one of the sections below, we discuss it briefly. When you are charging your lithium battery, ions are stuck on the anode. The after the ions are stuck on the electrodes for a long time, a solid electrolyte interface forms and grows. This reduces battery efficiency.
When you continue to charge after the battery is full, the formation of solid electrolyte interface growth is accelerated. This solid electrolyte interface prevents the flow of lithium ions. This is one of the ways which lithium-ion battery deteriorates.
What is dual charging?
Those e-scooters that have large batteries take longer to charge than those with smaller batteries. It is for this reason the manufacturer offers you a fast charger.
Dual charging is when you are using two chargers to charge your electric scooter. In my previous article on e-scooters with a big wheel, we saw Kaabo Wolf warrior 11 comes with a dual charging system.
Can you charge your scooter at home?
Yes, you can comfortably charge your e-scooter at home. Furthermore, the charger voltage requirements are either 110 V or 220 V. Unlike, electric cars the require some modifications before charging at a regular outlet at home, E-scooters do not need any modifications at all.
However, there are some things you need to understand first. Not all electric scooters are manufactured in your country; so, the sockets and power plugs are quite different. You do not need to worry. There are adapters you can use to solve this.
You can charge your scooter at your workplace if your employer has no problem with that.
What could be wrong with my electric scooter is not charging
There are a few reasons why your e-scooter is not charging. Some are related to the e-scooter itself while others are not. Before deciding that it is your that have problems, you can inspect a few things first.
- Have plugged your E-scooters charger correctly?
- Does your power outlet have electricity?
- Is your e-scooter charge working in the first place (when working, there is an indicator light)
You can test whether your power outlet has electricity in many ways. For instance, you can check whether it charging your phone. You can also go for a multimeter if have one. The best and easiest way to see if something else works when plugged.
If your charger is not properly plugged in, the power will not flow. You can unplug and then plug again. Make sure you push the charger to the end.
If the power outlet is working for something else, say phone, and you are sure you have plugged it incorrectly, then the problem is with the charger itself.
What if the problem with the e-scooter?
If the problem is not with any of the above, the problem is with your e-scooter. It is not easy to tell what is not working in your e-scooter if you are a layman. Why? The problem could be in any of the following;
- Is possible the controller for your battery is not working properly.
- The internal circuit is broken (the motherboard or a daughterboard is cracked)
- The battery can be dead
- The main controller for your e-scooter is dead
If it the case of a dead battery, the solution is to replace it with a new one. I prefer to go for a completely new e-scooter instead.
You are lucky if this happens before the warranty expires. Some e-scooters, such as the Swaggertron swagger classic 2 e-scooter, have a warranty that extends up to one year only.
Can I use solar panels to charge my e-scooter?
Yes, you can use a solar panel to charge not only your e-scooter but also an electric vehicle if you have one. However, there is a catch. The power outlet you plug into has to be rated between 220 V (sometimes 240 v) and 110 V.
If your power outlet is rated above 220 V (or 240 depending on your country), your charger will be destroyed. Some solar-powered outlets are designed for power-hungry equipment such as lathe machines. Such equipment requires voltage way above 300 V. Your charger cannot handle that power.
If the power outlet is less than 110V, it would have sufficient power needed by the charger. It won`t work.
You can charge an e-scooter using any power source provided it stably produces the required power range.
Ensure you do not charge in the rain in case the power outlet is outside. While electric scooters are waterproof, some of them do not tolerate the presence of water at all.
What is the cost of charging an electric scooter?
According to electricscootering.com, on average it would cost you between 25-40 cents for a single full charge. In the USA, 1 kWh cost about 13 cents. This is not true for many other developing countries.
When I did an article on the distance an e-bike can cover, we saw that electric vehicles are far cheaper to operate than regular cars. The only difference could be a higher initial cost than is needed. In the same article, we also saw that the cost of gasoline per 100 km is $15 on average while the electric car uses is approximately $ 6.
For the whole year, it will cost you less than $ 45 to charge your e-scooter. If you want to know how much it cost to charge your scooter, there is a device that can help. There is an Electricity usage monitor socket you can buy on Amazon. It is not costly.
If you employ the electricity usage monitor, you will know how much watts your scooter needs to charge to full capacity. you can then convert it into kWh to calculate the actual cost.
Can you charge an e-scooter wireless or without a charger?
As of 2021, I have not come across an e-scooter that can charge wirelessly. So, you cannot charge an e-scooter without a charger. If you are interested, you can also read whether you can charge electric vehicles wirelessly.
There have been many proposals by engineers on how this can be done. However, it is very costly and the method`s efficiency is not that desirable.
Though I would not recommend it, some people, when they have no charger removes some battery wires and connect them to a power outlet. This is dangerous. You risk the danger of being electrocuted or damaging your battery completely. Look for the correct charger instead.
How long does an electric scooter charge last?
Assuming that you continuously ride your e-scooter after it is charged to capacity, how long the charge lasts depends on several factors.
First, the size of the battery. Larger batteries hold more charge and tend to last longer if other factors such as speed are kept constant. for instance, a Hiboy S2 with a 36 V 7500mAh battery will last longer than a Megawheels S5 e-scooter with a 36v 5800 mAh battery. The former has a larger battery than the latter.
How often do you need to charge your electric scooter?
How often you need to charge your electric scooter depends on how often you use it. From what I have gathered about lithium-ion batteries, you do not need to drain them completely. Charging a lithium-ion battery to full capacity and then draining it completely reduces its lifespan. I have discussed this in more detail in the section below.
When we discussed electric cars getting overheated, we say some tricks we can use. It is common knowledge it takes less than half the time needed to charge a battery to full capacity to achieve 80% of battery capacity. So, if you are not in a hurry, you can charge up to 80% and then go your way. Pretty cool, huh?
Make sure you also unplug once your battery is fully charged.
What if I do not plan to use my e-scooter for a very long time? If this is your plan, you need to charge it once in a while say after 14 days. This will prevent the battery from deteriorating. Lithium batteries deteriorate with time.
What can possibly go wrong you use the wrong type of charger
If you are an e-scooter nerd you may need to use it for a prolonged period. Perhaps longer than regular charging can allow per day. There have been people like you out there who use chargers who use chargers with higher amp ratings than standard chargers. So, are so fast that you can charge to capacity in less than an hour.
This is likely to affect your battery lifespan. Besides, the time required to discharge may reduce significantly thereby reducing the runtime of your scooter.
As an expert, I would advise you to use the standard charger when you are not in a hurry. This will preserve the battery life of your e-scooter. The standard charger can be used at night when you are not in a hurry. You can save the faster charger for the days when you are in a hurry.
It is not a good idea to use fast chargers for sealed lead-acid batteries. Such chargers are powerful enough to destroy the cells. the SLA batteries become destroyed permanently.
Can you charge your e-scooter from the car battery?
You can if you know what you are doing. You cannot, however, connect it directly to the car battery because of the following reasons;
- The possibility of the two batteries have two different voltages is high. Furthermore, car batteries are hardly more than 12 v; unless it is an electric car battery, which can be up to 300 V or more
- Your E-scooters battery is of different capacity from that of your car
- Your e-scooter comes with battery-integrated protection. Such protection is meant to prevent power from other sources other than the battery from charging the battery
If, however, you need to charge from a car battery, you may have to buy an inverter. You will connect the e-scooter charger to an inverter. The inverter is connected to the battery.
The science behind your E-scooters battery deteriorating
When you charge and discharge your e-scooter`s battery, there is corrosion that occurs in the individual cells of your battery. This is normal and there is nothing you can do about it. However, if you do not take of it properly, the deterioration can increase.
The ions move from the cathode to the graphite anode when you are charging the battery. However, when discharging the ions now moves from the anode to the cathode.
Here is where it gets tricky. Some of those ions are left stuck on the anode. As more ions get stuck on the anode, something called a solid electrolyte interface is created. The more the ions get stuck on the anode, the more your battery becomes ineffective.
Other than improper care for your battery, the solid electrolyte interface is increased by three things. One, allowing the temperature to increase to the point of overheating the battery. Two, allowing the charge to drain completely from your battery (that up to 0% of charge). Lastly, allow the charger to remain connected even when the battery is fully charged (overcharging).
Frequently asked questions
Can you overcharge an electric scooter?
Yes, it is possible. Though electric scooters have features that prevent overcharging, such components may fail without you knowing. So, unplug it once it is charged to capacity.
Can you charge an e-scooter overnight?
This depends on how long you sleep. If you sleep more time than the recommended time to charge your e-scooter to capacity, it may overcharge. For instance, if your scooter is rated 4 hours and you sleep for 8 hours, those are 4 hours of overcharge.