How electric scooters work

How electric scooters work?

Are you curious about how electric scooters work? Check out this guide for a detailed breakdown of how these scooters work, from the battery to the motor to the brakes. Everything you need to know about getting around on an electric scooter is right here!

Electric scooters are the most interesting commuting vehicles you will find in the market. Their characteristics border that of ATVs and motorbikes. Some people have gone as far as to correctly say they share some features with electric vehicles. Which is true. Electric scooters come in many shapes and sizes. Some resemble wheels chairs. A good number of electric look like the kick scooters. However, they all work using similar mechanisms. The uses of e-scooters vary depending on the features and the user. Some people use them for commuting, others use them for recreation while others use them for delivery. Before we look at how electric scooters work, let us first look at the history of electric scooters

History Of Electric Scooters

Surprisingly, the first e-scooter appeared in New York in 1915, less than 5 years after the titanic sank. However, electric scooters were known as Autoped. Electric scooters were a decade and a half before the traffic lights were implemented. The target market for Autopeds was women.  It was supposed to be a symbol to the newly independent women. Unfortunately, according to the highway act of 1835, electric scooters were illegal. This is also why you cannot find e-scooters on British roads.

Among the places where the e-scooters were used in the early days, were the post office and police for patrols. Unfortunately, the criminals also used them to run away. Earlier designs resembled the kick scooters but their handlebars were mounted on a foldable column. In the US, Autopeds production ceased in 1921. The main reason was that the company failed to reach its target number of sales. The scooters then were powered by fossil fuel. This is why they favored e-scooters during World War II during the fuel rationing.

The first electronically powered e-scooters appeared in the year 2001. The first company to do so was the Go-Ped.  Later, the other companies followed suit. These e-scooters used batteries. Today, scooters use batteries or gas as fuel.  However, most people going for recreational scooters favor electric scooters (or those using the batteries). You can read about the electric scooter battery guide here.

How Electric Scooters Work

The fundamental principles of operation of an electric scooter are similar to those of a vehicle. In fact, when we discussed charging an electric scooter, we used the analogy of a car engine and the fuel tank. A car requires an engine, fuel, fuel tank, and wheels. These are the basic requirements for a regular gasoline car.

However, modern electric cars use batteries, motors, and wheels. Just like electric cars, e-scooters need batteries, motors, and wheels to operate.  While they are a bit expensive, electric cars are cheaper to maintain and operate.

This is how the electric scooters work. The electric scooters have motors that that turn wheels.  The motors are powered by batteries which are charged from time to time. Just like your phone, don’t you think?

The scooter speed can be controlled by allowing more into the motor using the controls found on the handlebar. Others have present speeds which one can choose from while others, more advanced ones, allow you to accelerate and decelerate as you wish.  This is the fundamental principle of operation of an electric scooter. Let us look at each component of an electric scooter.

Components Of An Electric Scooter

The most important parts of an electric scooter are the battery, motor, wheels, and deck. these mentioned components are surprisingly expensive and they meaningfully affect the performance of your e-scooter. They are hard to come to buy and they often break down when they are not maintained properly.

There are more components than the four components mentioned above. There are brakes, handlebars, power controllers, LED displays among others. They are very important.  How well each of the features is pronounced determines the performance as well as the prices. However, what you ought to always look for are the first four components. Let us look at each of the components closer.


The battery is the most important part of an electric scooter. It is the equivalent of a tank. How much charge a battery can hold and efficiently discharge. The more charge the battery can hold, the more the range it can cover.

Important aspects that your battery determines are more than a handful. First, there is the range. The range is the distance your e-scooter can cover between charges. There are approved ways of maximizing your battery so that it can cover more range. The general argument is that the larger the capacity your battery has to hold more charges, the more the distance covered. However, there are things you will find that affect your range such as the terrain, weather, and the condition of your battery.

The second aspect of your e-scooter affected by the battery is the charging time. Charging time is very important if your e-scooter is used for delivery or commuting to work. Most of the mid-tier electric scooters you will find in the market takes up to 3 hours to charge to capacity.

Charging time

The charging time of the battery is a factor of three things. First, there is the type of battery. Some batteries charge faster while others have to charge slowly. While many manufacturers usually sell fast chargers, charging batteries faster than normal for a prolonged period destroys the battery. An example of e-scooters that would benefit from first charging is the mototec electric scooter.

In our previous articles, we have come across e-scooters that take up to 20 hours to charge. This is detrimental to you if you intended to use it as a delivery scooter. It also means that this scooter will spend most of its time charging. We shall discuss how the types of batteries affect their charging time.

Types of batteries.

It is only fair to cover the types of batteries. Three types of batteries you can possibly find in your electric scooter are the lead-acid accumulator, Li-ion batteries, and Nickel-metal hydride batteries.

The best battery you can hope for in your electric scooter is the lithium-ion battery. It offers the best performance compared to the other two. First, it takes the shortest time of the three batteries to charge. Second, it has the highest charge density. This means it is also very light compared to others. Lastly, this is the most expensive battery. There are about 6 types of lithium battery chemistries.

The lead-acid battery is the worst of all three types of batteries. To begin with, it takes a very long time to charge. It can take up to 12 hours to charge. A good example of an e-scooter that uses an SLA battery is the Razor power core e-90 e-scooter. It takes up to 12 hours to charge. Secondly, it is not expensive. Lastly, it is very heavy.

The nickel-metal hydride battery is the midpoint between lead-acid and the Li-ion. It is not as expensive as the Li-ion but not as cheap as the SLA (seal lead-acid battery). It does not take as long as the SLA batteries to charge but does not charge as fast as the Li-ion.

However, there is one fatal flaw with nickel-metal hydride batteries. They are tailored for specific scooters or devices. So, you will need an exact match for replacement.


The motor is the heart of an electric scooter. It is what causes the wheels to turn. It is the other most important part of an e-scooter. There are different types of motors that you can find in your e-scooter. Motors affect many aspects of e-scooter. It has a major influence on the performance of your e-scooter. Motors come in all shapes and sizes. For an average motor, it is rated 250 W. You can find e-scooters such as the megawheel S5 e-scooter having a 250 W motor.

How motors work

There are two types of motors based on the current they use. There are DC motors and there are AC motors.  Of course, your e-scooter uses a DC motor. Motors are very important electric devices that are able to convert electric energy into mechanical energy. This is why they are widely used in industries to run things.

Motors uses basic principles of operation.  First, there has to be armature and the stator. The latter is the stationary part of the motor. The armature on the other hand rotates when the current passes through it. When it comes to DC motors in your electric scooter, the rotating magnetic field is provided by the stator. The rotating magnetic field causes the armature to rotate.

Magnets have two poles, the north, and south pole. Like poles repel while unlike poles attract each other. Since the stator changes its field (one time the pole is north and the other time it south), the, unlike poles, attract, and the unlike poles repel very first cause the armature to rotate very fast. The strength of your motor is the function of a few factors. One of such factors is the amount of current running through your armature. Motors have found extensive use on heavy-duty electric scooters and cars.

Types of motors used in your electric scooters

This article will discuss two ways in which to classify motors found in your electric scooter. The first way is based on how the motor rotates your wheel. It either be directly or using a chain. The second way of classifying motors you can find in an electric scooter is whether it has brushes or not.

Hub motors

The first way of classification ( how mot rotates your e-scooter wheel) gives birth to two types of motors. One, there are hub motors. Two, mid-drive motors. The hub motor is placed in the wheel of your electric scooter. In other words, it is part of your wheel. This is quite common a configuration you will find in many electric scooters. It can either be on the from or rear wheel.

An example of an e-scooter with a front-wheel hub motor is the Hiboy S2 electric scooter. However, the rare hub motor feels more natural because people are used to being pushed by the rare wheels. Besides, most of your mass is distributed on the rare wheel. This is why there are minimal slips on the rare wheel drive hub motors.

One disadvantage is that it is hard to install and repair. The second disadvantage is that your e-scooter feels back-heavy. Lastly, the rare wheel needs to have rims and pokes because of the extra torque applied to the wheel.

Front hub motors are another configuration that is quite common. They tend to slip since most of your weight is distributed on the rare wheel. However, there are many advantages associated with the front hub motors. For starters, they provide a stable ride when cruising at very high speeds.

There are rare cases of manufacturers placing motors on both wheels. You can use them simultaneously.  You can also choose to use one at a time to save energy. The hub motors have an advantage over the other motors. They can be used for regenerative braking. This is where the braking power is converted into electric energy. They can also be used for electric braking in addition to fiction braking.

Mid-drive motors

As the name suggests, the motor is placed between the rare and front wheel. The power is transmitted from the motor to the rare wheel using a chain. Mid-drive motors provide you with an excellently balanced riding experience.

If you have this type of configuration, you will enjoy the ability to use your e-scooter manually.  This is important if your electric scooter breaks down or runs out of charge. This configuration is also quite common in electric bikes.

Brushless and brushed motors

Brushless is arguably better than the brushed DC motors. According to a well-cited study, brushless motors are quite efficient and tend to offer you a longer life service compared to brushed motors. Moreover, it is accurately said that brushless motors have better power-to-weight ratios. This does not end there. They are also quieter and do not overheat as often.

Brushed motors are the oldest type of motors. There are brushes that are dragged inside the motor. The brushes are meant to help your motor alternatively power the coils that have different phases. The brushes eventually wear down due to friction and this can be very detrimental.

Why is motor important to your e-scooter

It is true that the battery determines the range of your e-scooter. However, performance parameters such as the speed and the amount of load your motor can handle depend primarily on your motor. A stronger motor will give you more power to carry more loads with you.  Also, the more powerful your motor is, the higher the speeds you can enjoy.

Motor and the size of the wheel determine the slope of a hill your electric scooter can climb. Larger wheels are better when it comes to climbing hills. Better still, a stronger motor is better for climbing wheels.

How efficient your motor is determined how well the battery is used. Inefficient motors use a lot of charge from your battery while doing less work. However, given the lifespan of most electric scooters is between 5 to 7 years, the motor efficiency should never scare you.

Depending on the state or country, the allowable speed in any of the states changes. So, if you are cruising on public roads, your speed will be limited. Based on the research we conducted, so countries such as the UK do not allow you to ride on the highway.


This is another important part of an electric scooter. Wheels play a very significant role in how your electric scooter will perform. Wheels come in various diameters and widths. When you go to the market, you will only find two types of wheels.

The first type of wheel is the pneumatic type.  These wheels are filled with air inside. Pneumatic wheels increase the shock absorption capability of your e-scooter. Your ride is very smooth if you have this type of wheel. Nevertheless, the wheels are inevitably susceptible to awful punctures. Punctures if you roll over the sharp and pointy object such as the nail. You also need to always have proper pressure.

The second type of wheels is the solid wheels. They do not have air inside and tend not to have punctures even when you run on sharp and pointy objects. However, they are not as comfortable as the pneumatic types.

The size of the wheels determines a lot of important things about your e-scooter. The wheels that are wider offer a better grip on the surface, therefore, reducing the braking distance. Besides, a wide wheel gives you better control over your ride. There are disadvantages associated with fat wheels. One, there is the wearing and tearing of the wide wheel. Second, your battery is consumed faster. We have discussed more on the fat-wheeled electric scooter in our previous article.

If your intentions are to use your scooter on rough terrain, large pneumatic wheels ought to be vastly favored. They offer better traction and shock absorption.


While speed is very important, stopping is more important, don’t you agree? Brakes come in many forms and types. Nonetheless, whatever form your braking system in an e-scooter does not matter. All that matters is you have a reliably effective braking system. Let us discuss various forms of braking. Upper-tier e-scooters such as the dualtron mini scooters have about three kinds of braking.

Regenerative braking

It is a form of braking is one that converts the kinetic energy of your wheel into electric energy.  The energy is stored in your Li-ion battery for future use. It is possibly the most favored barking system in modern e-scooters and electric vehicles.  However, the complexity of such a system makes it costly. Therefore, you tend to pay more for electric scooters that have this type of braking system. Based on the number of electric scooters we have come across, regenerative braking works hand in hand with other braking types.

Foot brake

This is the oldest braking type you can find in your electric scooter. More often than not, this is activated by stepping and applying pressure on the mudguard. It is a friction type of braking.  A lot of energy is wasted in form of heat and sometimes sound. Swagtron swagger classic 2 e-scooter uses friction brakes.


Some of the friction brakes are located on the handlebars. This is usually a disc brake that you engage by pressing the lever on the handlebars. The disc can be on one of the wheels depending on the model.

The location of the disc brake does not have any effect on the brake. Whether on the front wheel or on the rare wheel, the disc brakes work equally well.  In very rare cases you may have an e-scooter that has two discs; one on the front wheel and the other on the rare wheel. Their control levels are placed on the right and left sides of the handlebar. The right level activates the rare wheels.  Most of the electric scooters for heavy adults have a disc brake and another braking system.

Software brakes

By software brakes, we mean one when you just press the button and the electronic system of your e-scooter takes care of the rest. One disadvantage of this type of braking system is that it drains your battery.

You will never find software brakes as the sole braking system on your e-scooter. What would happen if your e-scooter runs of charge?

The mechanical brakes are good because they work even when the e-scooter has no power. You can read more on why good brakes are good for e-scooters used for food delivery here.


The basic control of an electric scooter includes the handlebar, light switch, and brake lever. However, in the modern electric scooters, you will go for in the market today have more. For instance, there are those that have a LED or LCD display. Through the display, you can see your speed, the amount of charge your battery has, or whether your battery is charging or not.

You should know that not all electric scooters have a display panel. Besides, this is an additional feature that you can easily do away with.

You may also encounter electric scooters that have preset speed modes which you can choose from. There are others that allow you to increase your speed using the throttle on the handlebar.


Electric scooters ought to have suspension to protect the motor, battery, and other circuitry inside your deck case. More often than not, you will always find your suspension on the wheel which is a hub motor if your scooter has got only a single spring suspension.

Sometimes you can come across an e-scooter that has suspension on both wheels. Which is better than a single suspension. If you are cruising on a double suspension electric scooter after riding a single suspension electric you will feel the difference. The one with double suspension feels smoother.

To make your ride smoother, there are shock absorbers that accompany the suspension. The shock absorbers work hand in hand with the suspension.


This is where you place your feet when you are riding your scooter. Therefore, the width and the length of the deck are very important. Some decks are large enough to allow two people to ride together.

A strong deck and a strong frame are very important. You may have noted that each of the scooters you come across has a weight limit included. It is important because it depicts how strong your frame and the motor are. Be careful to observe the weight limit of your electric scooter

Additional Features


There are e-scooters that have connectivity features such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.  Through such a feature, you can get important metrics about your e-scooter on your phone or computer. It is possible to lock your e-scooter using your phone or computer.


This is an important feature for people with limited mobility. A seat makes it comfortable for riders who are riding for extended hours. Yes, it is possible to ride for a very long period. You can read more on e-scooters with seats in our previous article.


Light is an important feature in an electric scooter. Here is our discussion on electric scooters with lights and their benefits.


How Are Electric Scooters Best For The Environment?

Unlike regular cars and motorbikes, an electric scooter is one vehicle that does not depend on petroleum fuel to run. When your car uses petroleum fuel, greenhouse gases are emitted.

Petroleum fuel (gasoline and diesel) has chemical energy. The chemical energy is converted into heat energy through combustion releasing carbon dioxide into the air. The heat energy is converted into mechanical energy by the engine. When carbon dioxide is emitted into the air, it forms a blanket.

We should have mentioned earlier that the earth emits some of the heat observed from the sun. This blanket in the atmosphere prevents the heat wave emitted by the earth from escaping the atmosphere. This is what is called global warming

When the heat cannot escape from the earth, it becomes hotter than it is necessary. This is the heat that causes the ice in the north and south poles to melt. This is not the only diabolic effect of global warming. Climate change is a result of global warming.

However, the electric scooter does not emit such dreadful gases. It is possible to use environmentally friendly sources of energy. A previous article on how to charge an electric scooter without discussing how to charge an electric scooter using other means.  One can use a solar panel or wind turbine.

Final Thoughts on how electric scooters work

Electric scooters are the next best mode of transport. They are not only environmentally friendly but also very quiet.  With time, it is our hope that they will be more efficient and have batteries that are to give you more range. Furthermore, it is expected that in the future that batteries will be improved significantly. Nonetheless, there are upper-tier electric scooters that are to offer unbelievably best features. Now you know how electric scooters work.