Posted 11th February 2020. Category: General.
Electric (or motorised) scooters are revolutionising the ways we travel in an urban environment. Their compact and versatile form factor makes them comfortable enough to carry and store when not in use, yet powerful enough to help us travel - faster than almost every other vehicle in the city.
Motorised Scooter Popularity
Motorised scooters are affordable and accessible to everyone, they are easy to operate, and most do not require a license to drive - so anyone can pick up and go.
Motorised Scooter Safety
Motorised scooters are safe; they don't travel very fast - comparable to a quick sprinting pace ~25km/h and are often lightweight. Additionally, they have responsive braking and can handle various terrain. WalkSmart recommends that all eScooter riders wear a helmet while riding for added protection.
Best Scooter for You
The best motorised scooter will depend on the riders requirements, i.e. does it need to be versatile? Often the more powerful models will be heavier and builder - which restrict their use. More compact and lightweight models can be more easily carried on public transport, up-stairs on in the back of a car.
Quality and Maintenance
There is a huge variation in quality and required maintenance across the different scooter models. Some models will require frequent servicing and check-ups; otherwise, they will wear fast and stop functioning. It is important to purchase a scooter with a warranty or guarantee from a reputable store - then you can be sure the motorised scooter is at least half-decent. 2nd to that, check the reviews of other people purchasing from the store, or for that specific model. If there are no reviews, be very cautious. Reviews are a great indication, and can save you a lot of wasted time and money - there are plenty of poor quality products out there!
Riding comfort is an important factor when choosing a motorised scooter you plan on using frequently or long-distances - it will mean a lot! The best way to gauge riding comfort is to test-drive or rent different motorised scooters prior to purchasing. Often you will receive rental credit anyway towards a new scooter purchase afterwards. Inflatable tyres and suspension improve riding comfort. Many scooters will have either one, but few will have both. Inflatable tyres will reduce minor vibrations, but the suspension will help with larger road defects. Usually, for city commuting, the suspension is not necessary, and a good air tyre will feel more confortable. In-fact, the Ninebot Max only has tubed tyres (no suspension), yet feels superior to most eScooters on the market with both air tyres and suspension. Ride before you buy.
Power and Torque for Hills
Often motorised scooter brands will advertise specifications that may seem incorrect. For example, a 1000w motorised scooter would appear to be more powerful than a 500w scooter - but that is not often the case. It is often too unreliable to look at specs solely. We recommend watching head-to-head comparisons between scooters to gauge which models perform better. Different motorised scooters may have varied part quality or be tuned differently. i.e. a 500w brushless motor is far more efficient and powerful than a conventional 500w brushed motor. Similarly, for batteries, the quality of internal cells can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Cheaper cells will wear and die much faster than high-quality cells, often from more reputable brands such as LG or Samsung. Power and torque between eScooters should be compared first-hand in-store where multiple motorised scooters are on offer.
Battery Life and Range
Battery life is often over-reported by motorised scooter brands, as they are tested in perfect conditions, typically by a lightweight rider and in the most 'economical' mode. Battery range also depends on the efficiency of the electronics (motors and electronic speed controller). As an example, a Boosted Board with a 150Wh battery is comparable to a WideWheel with a 600Wh battery, in range, speed and torque). We concluded this on a side-to-side comparison. The important things to look out for are;
- Customer reviews
- Comparison and review videos
- Rent or test-drive different products first-hand
- Speak to someone in a store for a personalised recommendation
Many motorised scooter models today enable Bluetooth and have an accompanying app. Apps are useful for doing software updates, troubleshooting problems, displaying speed & range, changing settings and showing health.
Motorised scooters vary in price, anywhere from $200 to $2000. What each buyer needs to determine - is what they are looking for from their eScooter purchase. If they are using it in-frequently, then a cheaper alternative may be a better option. However, for commuting or constant everyday use - generally, a more premium model will work out cheaper. For example, a NanoGlide scooter for $300 may only last 6 months, yet a Xiaomi M365 scooter for $600 may last 3 years.
WalkSmart recommends the Boosted, Xiaomi, Ninebot and Segway brands for long-life and easy servicing.
Reviews and Reputation
The reviews and reputation of the store selling the motorised scooters are crucial to ensuring a seamless and cost-saving transaction. Motorised scooters are vehicles; they have many moving parts and suffer a lot of wear & tear from carrying a human rider over changing terrain - times this by multiple journeys. For motorised scooter brands, the manufacturing of the scooter is not the difficult part, but what is - is making one that will last. One that does not require regular servicing and added costs throughout its life. This information, you can only find through reviews and feedback from customers who have used a model for a long period of time. You can also purchase from a reputable supplier that is guaranteeing the scooter with a long warranty. Also, make sure to check the reviews of the store to make sure they are fulfilling their warranty and guaranteeing duties accordingly.
Laws and Regulations
Laws and regulations surrounding public eScooter use vary from state to state. Be sure to check your local state or council laws prior to riding your eScooter. All states permit eScooter use on private property.
WalkSmart recommends that you check your local state laws and regulations in relation to using electric scooters in public locations, roads and footpaths. Laws vary state by state and therefore may limit use to private locations only. Each local body is reviewing public electric scooter use, so we expect it to be regulated, but legal in all states within the short term. Feel free to contact WalkSmart if you have any further queries.