Do Electric Scooters Go Uphill?

In order to be considered a practical and reliable mode of transportation, electric scooters must be capable of riding on different types of terrain, including going uphill and downhill.  In doing so, it must be designed not to consume too much energy, which would significantly limit its overall range of travel.  Luckily, e-scooters are fairly capable on delivering what the riders want.

All electric scooters can go uphill.  Most models will ride inclines of 10-15% without any issues.  Steeper inclines will need a more powerful motor that can be found in some e-scooter models.

There is a fine balance between the “power of the motor” and the “range of travel”.  An ultimate electric scooter will have just the right amount of power provided by an electric motor (or in some cases two motors), and the range it can travel on a single battery charge.

E-scooter manufacturers have some difficult choices to make while designing their vehicles.  

Among the features they must consider, the following three are crucial:

  • An electric motor that is very powerful will have no problem riding steep inclines, but it will consume large amounts of energy stored in the battery.  Large power consumption will use up the battery more quickly, which will limit the range of the scooter
  • A super-strong battery will provide more “juice” for the power-hungry electric motor, but it will weigh and cost significantly more.  Extra weight reduces the range a scooter can travel.  Higher price tag will limit the product’s popularity
  • The maximum range a scooter can travel must be high enough to minimize the need for charging.  People simply will not be interested in a product that must be charged every couple of hours.  Consumers want the range of electric scooters to be as high as possible

There is no simple answer to these problems.  Similarly, there is no single “best” electric scooter on the market today.  The term “best” is in the eye of the beholder.  For this reason (and lucky for us, the consumers), there are plenty of different e-scooter models available for purchase.  With a little research, people can get the scooter that will best fit their individual needs.  What’s best for me, may not necessarily be best for your needs, and vice versa.  I smile when I see some blog headlines: “the best 10 electric scooters” or “top 3 e-scooters”, etc.  There are no “best” e-scooters that will meet the needs of everyone.  There are however e-scooters that are best for specific needs.

Fortunately, most e-scooters do just fine riding on an average terrain that includes city streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, inclines and even some off-road tracks.  

Tips for riding uphill

For relatively short-distance inclines, you don’t need to do anything special.  Just keep riding, but try not to stop while going uphill.

For inclines that are steeper than 15% or those that are extremely long, it may help to accelerate and pick up more speed before even reaching the incline.  This will get you to the top faster and may prevent your e-scooter from stopping in the middle of the hill.  Just keep in mind that this recommendation is highly variable, because there are many factors that ultimately will affect your ride.  These include the power of your electric motor, charge state of the battery and your weight that the electric scooters must carry forward.   

If your commute consists of numerous uphill roads, you may want to get an e-scooter with a more powerful motor or even two motors.  Just keep in mind, that a more powerful motor or motors will use quite a bit more energy stored in the battery.  Less energy means shorter range.

Consequences of riding uphill

Shorter range

If you happen to be riding your e-scooter uphill often, you may have noticed that you get a lower travel range out of a fully charged battery.  Depending on the distance that you usually travel on an incline, your overall range may fall by 20% or even 50% in extreme cases.

Electric motor damage

Electric motors are capable of transferring some serious power to the wheels.  However, like most parts, they will break when subjected to extreme workload for an extended period of time.

Have you tried touching the wheel containing the motor after riding your e-scooter for a short period of time?  It’s fairly warm.  Now, a motor that has to work more (as in going uphill), will generate even more heat then when going on a plane surface.  All this extra heat has a negative impact on the overall performance and lifespan of the motor.  Sooner or later it may simply break down, forcing you to replace the motor or get a completely new electric scooter.

How to extend the range?

First and foremost, limit the amount of weight that you want to ride with on your electric scooter.

Second, don’t go too fast and try to keep your speed constant (limit unnecessary accelerations).

Third, keep your tire pressure as recommended by the manufacturer.

Fourth, make sure your brakes are well adjusted.  Brakes that haven’t been properly maintained may eventually become partially engaged and make the electric motor work harder.  This is important from a practical standpoint, because you may not even hear the brakes rubbing.

Fifth, whenever possible, try to limit the number of inclines that you will travel.  In general, the steeper and longer the incline is, the more negative impact it will have on you e-scooter’s total range.

There are many more modifications you can do to increase your range.  Some are better than others.  Some involve only modifying your riding style, while other involve physical modifications of your electric scooter.  

Read more about extending the range of your electric scooter.

Final thoughts

When deciding on which is the best electric scooter for your own personal needs, you should consider the things I just mentioned.  There is no one best e-scooter, rather there may be one that fits your personal needs the most.  

Just remember these few points:

  • Weight – the lighter your electric scooter is, the further and faster you will go.  Things like an extra battery, dual electric motors or even heavy backpack that you may be carrying, will increase the weight the scooter has to carry and will result in shorter range of travel.
  • Distance – if you are planning on riding your e-scooter to school or work, find out the distance you will need to travel each day.  Most peoples’ commute is no longer than 10 miles each day, which means that the vast majority of e-scooters on the market today will be sufficient.  
  • Terrain – when estimating the distance you will travel each day, make sure that you take into consideration the fact that any prolonged off-road travel will drain your battery faster and will reduce your scooter’s range.
  • Speed – the faster you go, the harder the electric motor has to work.  For this reason, riding at maximum or near maximum speed will also decrease your range of travel.  Fortunately, in order to extend your range of travel, all you have to do is ride at an average speed and try not to accelerate too often.  Keeping constant speed is the key here. 

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