11 Things To Look For In A Commuter Scooter
Motor - Size does matter
The size of the motor is a very good indicator of how well your electric scooter will cope with carrying you and also its ability to tackle hills. The heavier you are as a rider, the more important size of motor becomes. Smaller motors do not have the torque of larger motors and will be challenged when undertaking hill climbs.
Slope of Gradient - Ability to cope with hills
If you live in an area that has hills, this will be critical to the enjoyment of your e-scooter. Look for a scooter that has a slope gradient of 25 degrees or more. This combined with a more powerful motor e.g. 500/600W plus, will ensure your scooter performs better up hills. You may still need to kick assist up some really steep hills however the higher the slope gradient rating, the better the likely performance. If you are a heavier rider, you may need to kick a little more than a lighter rider so please take this into consideration when selecting the right e-scooter for you.
Range - Can it go the distance
Battery power, your weight, the way you ride your scooter and the number of hills you do, all play a part in the range you can get out of your scooter. The range stated on e-scooter promotional material is typically the range under flat and perfect conditions with a 60 kilo rider. The distance you can extract from your scooter also depends on whether it has regenerative brakes or not. More about brakes below. A range of 30km or more is a convenient feature to have.
Tyres - To pump or not to pump, that is the question
The two common types of tyres on the market are hard rubber and pneumatic tyres or pump up tyres. Riders who own e-scooters with pneumatic tyres may have a softer ride however when you get a puncture it's a real pain to fix. Scooters with honey comb or rubber tyres are much easier to maintain. If you choose a scooter than has hard rubber tyres, be sure it has front and rear suspension to give you a more comfortable ride.
Almost all electric Scooters on the market today, with pump up tyres, do not have suspension. If you are looking for a low maintenance e-scooter, choose one with rubber tyres and front and rear suspension. Scooters with no or poor suspension can result in a bumpy ride.
There are all sorts of braking systems on the market. Look for a scooter that has a combination of front and rear brakes. Scooters with regenerative brakes will keep you scooting longer and further, as each time you apply pressure to the brakes it adds power back into the battery.
If you are buying an electric scooter to commute and your journey involves some form of public transport, you want to ensure you can easily fold and carry it. Look for scooters that are around the 11 kilo mark. Anything much heavier than this becomes a challenge to pick up and carry.
Fold and Carry
Scooters that fold easily will take up less room in an office, home or apartment. Make sure your scooter has a folding frame and handles for maximum space efficiency.
Battery and Charge Time
The quality and size of the battery is an important factor in choosing an electric scooter. Make sure your scooter has a battery from a reputable manufacturer such as LG. Some of the cheaper scooters on the market have cheaper batteries and this will ultimately lead to poorer performance, battery problems or even worse, a battery explosion. Charge time is also important if you are using your scooter a lot, or travelling longer distances. A charge time of under 3 hours will give you maximum convenience.
Speed and Cruise Control
Top speed is interesting but not very useful when most regulations speed limit electric scooters to 25k/ph. What is a useful feature is Cruise Control, especially if you are travelling longer distances. Cruise Control allows you to maintain a speed without having to keep your hand/fingers on the speed controls.
Last but not least review the price. The e-scooter industry is still in its early days and there are some manufacturers who have enjoyed little competition and have been able to charge a hefty price for the features on offer. A number of new players have now entered the market delivering quality, powerful scooters with a reasonable price. At the end of the day it's up to you. If the scooter you are looking at is too cheap to be true, we suggest it most likely is too good to be true. A quality scooter should cost you in the range of AUD$1100 - $1300.
The competitor guide below will help you assess the major players in the market.