Electric scooters became popular over the past few years after rideshare companies began offering them as part of their service. Almost immediately, some people who have taken them for a ride started considering buying one for their private use. It’s really not surprising, given the functionality and fun electric scooters provide.
One of the most important features in every buyer’s mind is the range of the scooter. There is no single best answer to this, so lets dig a little deeper to find out how far an electric scooter will take you on a single charge.
How far do electric scooters go?
Depending on the model, electric scooters can travel for an average of 15-30 miles (25-45 kilometers) on a single charge. These values are based on the manufacturer-posted range of the most popular e-scooters available on the market today.
There are electric scooters capable of riding a longer range, but they are not as common and tend to come at a higher price.
Factors that influence the range
- Steep inclines and off-roading
- Acceleration vs. cruising at a constant speed
- Speed (maximum)
- Power of the electric motor
- Battery capacity
- Tire pressure
How to increase the range of an electric scooter?
Things that you can do immediately (no modifications)
- Turn off the scooter when not in use. Electrical components will continue consuming the energy even if the scooter is not moving.
- Avoid riding uphill. It’s pretty obvious, but let me point this out anyway. When you go uphill or off-road the motor has to consume more energy, this will result in lower range per charge.
- Limit your acceleration. Try not to accelerate too hard or too often. When speeding up, do it gradually. A steady cruising speed is best for increasing the range.
- Don’t ride at max speed. In general, the faster you ride, the more power the electric motor will consume. I recommend going at an average speed, about half of your scooter’s maximum speed.
- Keep extra weight to a minimum. Avoid overloading the scooter, don’t carry more weight than is necessary. In other words, the more weight your e-scooter has to carry (backpack, etc), the more power will be used by the electric motor
Things that require physical modifications
- Tire pressure. This is a simple fix, but you must consider some of the disadvantages. For the most part, the less inflated the tire is, the more resistance will be generated. So, for the purposes of increasing the range, you may want to consider inflating your tires to the maximum recommended for your particular e-scooter model.
Keeping tires well-inflated will also minimize the risk of getting a flat tire (if your e-scooter has pneumatic tires). Just keep in mind, that tires that are inflated to the maximum recommended pressure will not stick to the road as well as slightly less-deflated ones. This poses a safety issue, so please consider it carefully before over-inflating your tires. Please note, some e-scooters have solid rubber tires, which obviously makes adjusting tire pressure impossible.
- Replace an Old (original) Battery. An original battery that is reaching its charge cycle limit will eventually start losing capacity. It will happen, no matter how well you’ve maintained it. Proper battery maintenance will simply delay this problem.
Read more about the Xiaomi M365 battery.
If your battery is about 1.5-2 years old, or you think it may be reaching its charge cycle limit, get a new one. Replacing an old battery with a new, identical factory version, will give you more range.
Read more about the lifespan of electric scooters.
- High-power Battery. A relatively straight-forward modification involves replacing the original battery with a more powerful one. When choosing a new battery, there are two things you must pay attention to: 1) select battery with the same voltage (V), 2) get a battery with higher amperage (Ah). The more amps the new battery has, the relatively more battery power you will gain (although you must consider the loss in terms of extra battery weight the scooter will have to carry).
In order to replace the battery, theoretically all you have to do is disconnect the old battery and connect the new one. In practice, it is a bit more complicated because more often than not a high-power battery will not fit into the same slot as the original one because it is physically larger, too. What most people do is put the battery in a protective bag and attach it to the handlebars. This brings another issue of stability because of a higher center of gravity. I usually discourage people from adding any extra weight on the handlebars, because of that. I personally have tried attaching the battery to the handlebars and must say that you can feel the difference while riding, but it is not significant, so some folks just get used to it, while others will hate it. Lime scooters have the battery pack installed high on the handlebars and most don’t even notice the difference in handling.
- Add a second battery. If you want more than just replacing battery with a more powerful one, consider installing a second battery in your e-scooter. This will involve a bit more skill to accomplish, but it can be done. Basically the original battery remains intact, you just add a second battery.
You can connect the two batteries to a switch, which will allow you choose which battery to use at any given moment. Another option is to connect both batteries in parallel, which will keep voltage unchanged, but the system will have more capacity. Please note that batteries connected in parallel must be the same voltage.
- Battery controller. Before I discuss this any further, I want to make it clear that this option should only be considered by professionals or seasoned electrical amateurs who absolutely know what they are doing. Replacing the battery controller will void your warranty, it may damage your e-scooter battery, motor and other electrical components.
Here’s the deal with battery controllers and scooter range. For the most part, battery controllers are matched in terms of watts with the same power electric motor (eg. 1,000 Watt battery controller with a 1,000 Watt electric motor). Theoretically, if you were to replace a 1,000 Watt controller with a lower-powered one, but kept the 1,000 Watt motor, then you should see an increase in you electrical scooter’s range.
However, you should be well aware that you will also end-up with lower performance in terms of acceleration and maximum speed. If you consider the fact that replacing your battery controller may also damage your electrical system, then the entire process becomes very questionable, to say the least. I have not tried this on my M365, so I can’t really comment on how much of an increase in range you may expect.
- Brakes. When misaligned or too tight, your brakes may be rubbing. This will cause your electric motor to work harder to overcome the additional resistance from the brakes. In reality, the issue may be so minimal that you will not feel it while riding, but it will have an impact on your range of travel. Watch my video with step-by-step instructions on how to fix rubbing brakes.
Be sure to check your brakes every few months, more often if you happen to be riding off-road a lot. To check the brakes simply lift the wheels and try spinning them manually, while doing so, list and watch for any sign of rubbing.
These are the most practical modifications you can do to increase the range of your e-scooter. Whether you apply some or all of them ultimately depends on your needs and expectations.
Long-range electric scooters
Long-range e-scooters are available on the market, but they tend to be more costly. Also, the the extra distance that these scooters can ride, compared to standard e-scooters is modest. You be the judge.
Here are some examples:
- Horizon M has an estimated range of 35 miles (56 kilometers) when equipped with the optional 18.2 Ah battery
- Nanrobot D4+ can travel up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) on a single charge
- Nanrobot Power D5+ has an estimated range of 50 miles (80 kilometers)
- Outstorm foldable scooter for adults has a range of 52 miles (84 kilometers)
- Qiewa Qpower off-Road scooter has an estimated range of up to 62 miles (100 kilometers)
These are just a few examples of the most popular models. By no means are these the only long-range electric scooters available.
Read my post with practical tips on how to increase the range of your electric scooter.
The electric scooter industry is growing and the products are improving as we speak. Two years ago, an average e-scooter had a range of 10-12 miles. Nowadays, some of the most popular scooters on the market have a range of 30+ miles, which is considered average compared to some of the long-range models available that can go 50 miles on a single charge.
Given that electric scooter is best suited for a commute of 5 miles or less, no matter which scooter model you buy, you’ll still be able to make it home from work on a single charge. The point I’m making is that, to be honest, e-scooters are not comfortable to ride for long distances. An ideal distance is about 5 miles. So, if you happen to be living 5 or 6 miles from work then you really should not worry too much about the range your e-scooter has, because nearly all of them will cover that distance numerous times on a single charge. An average e-scooter, which I don’t consider a long-range will travel 30 miles on a single charge. That’s plenty of juice for what most people travel per day.
The industry is changing, the products are getting better.