How to Buy an Electric Scooter

A while back I was standing at the gas pump complaining to myself about the high gas prices. I decided right then that there had to be a better way; something that provided for convenient transportation, but at a lower cost. That’s when I decided to investigate the various options in way of an electric scooter.

There were several questions that immediately came into my mind about this plan. Where can I buy a dependable, good quality scooter? Which brand names are the best? Are there any local places to purchase parts or get repairs if necessary? What safety concerns and laws should I take into account before I purchase an electric scooter? How fast will it go? What kind of mileage can I expect? How much do good quality transportation scooters cost?

I decided to take my search online first to learn as much as possible about electric and mobility scooters before spending any of my money and possibly making a bad decision. My goal was simple and obvious; get the best electric scooter available for the lowest possible price.

Here are a few tips I learned to avoid poorly manufactured electric and mobility scooters:
– Go with a brand name scooter. Avoid off-brands, no brands and clones.
– Avoid vendors who sell the off-brand scooters, no brand scooters and clones. Purchase from a reputable vendor.
– If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
– Buy an electric scooter that comes with at least a 90-day warranty.

I also learned there is a huge price range among the various brands of electric scooters. I found that most electric scooters for kids sell between $200 – $400 dollars, while an electric scooter built for adults will usually command $300 – $1,000 or more. Just like everything else, the better the specifications and the more bells and whistles the scooter includes will definitely effect the final price.

The type of electric scooter that’s best for you will depend mostly on how you plan on using it, along with your own personal preference. To help make your decision a little easier, be sure to check out some of the great websites online that specialize in providing information and details about scooters. I’ll follow this article up with another one later giving more of the technical details I learned during my search.

Part 2
After searching the Internet and going through my local telephone book to find local electric scooter vendors, I decided to visit a local scooter showroom to get an up-close and personal look at one.

The salesperson that greeted me (Bob) seemed to know quite a bit of technical information regarding transportation scooters. The first topic we discussed in great detail was that of speed. Bob explained to me that most of the low-end transportation and mobility scooters vary in speed from 8 mph to about 25 miles per hour. However, the higher-end, more expensive models can hit speeds 20 to about 55 miles per hour.

Bob further informed me that the speed of an electric scooter is actually affected by several factors. For example, the weight of the rider can have a tremendous impact on the top-end speed. The heavier the rider is, the more drag that is created on the drive train. Another influence on speed is the level of charge in the battery. It seems that when the battery is fully charged, most electric scooters can be very sporty and quick off the line. However, once the battery drops below a half charged condition, the power is greatly reduced.

Here are a few other topics we discussed that can greatly affect the performance of an electric scooter:

– Tire Pressure: Soft, spongy tires provide for great traction. However, they are harder to get moving. Therefore, your scooter will not go as fast. Higher tire pressure will result in faster speeds and greater battery life; although the ride will be rougher since you will definitely feel every little bump.

– Carrying Capacity: This is the recommended amount of weight a scooter can safely carry. Keep in mind that the heavier the rider is, the slower the acceleration and top speed will be. Heavier riders will also reduce an electric scooters range and decrease its hill climbing ability. Riders fewer than 180 lbs. can typically ride just about any mobility scooter out there and expect to achieve the maximum performance.

– Inclines, hills and rough terrain can all influence an electric scooter’s speed. Typically the speed rating the manufacturer lists for an electric scooter is always its maximum speed under ideal conditions. In laymen’s terms, this means that the flatter the road, the faster and farther your scooter will go!

– RANGE: This is how far of a distance your electric scooter will take you on a single charge. Most electric scooters vary in range from 10 miles to about 40 miles per charge. There are some high-end scooters, however, that offer a range of more than 50 miles on a charge. These are usually the top-of-the-line units that are much more costly to purchase.

If you’re still paying attention at this point, then you must be serious about getting the best electric scooter possible for your money. I’ll continue in the next segment with some of the mechanical details I learned during my visit to a scooter dealer.


Part 3

My recent trip to a local electric scooter dealership turned out to be quite educational for me. I’ve always been the type of person that wants to know all of the facts before plunking down a large bit on my hard earned cash for any major purchase. I wanted to be certain that I understood exactly how a mobility scooter worked and how I would benefit from it.

My first set of questions to the dealer centered on how well the various electric scooters performed. I learned that there were many variables involved to determine the range and top speed that could be acquired with a scooter. I even learned that something as simple as tire pressure could make a huge difference in performance.

My next set of questions focused on the drive train specifications available for transportation scooters. The drive train is the part the makes actually the scooter go. In most cases, electric scooters are driven by a chain or belt drive system. The system consists of a chain-wheel sprocket that is mounted on the motor, along with another sprocket that is mounted on the real wheel. As the motor spins, it moves the chain or belt, which in-turn causes the wheel to rotate. In some rare cases, the drive-train system may even be direct drive. This means that the motor is actually attached to, or in contact with, the rear wheel. The speed of the motor is controlled with a hand throttle or thumb controller.

The braking system for an electric scooter will also vary with each different brand and model. Most of the high-end models are usually equipped with some variation of a disc brake system. However, the other types available include calipers, drum brakes, and hub brakes. In most cases, a new scooter will include both front and rear brakes. However, you should double-check this before you make your purchase. Some models may even include an automatic throttle shut-off safety system. This is a feature that stops the engine from becoming engaged while the brakes are being applied.

One thing that surprised me and really caught my attention at the dealership I visited — there were some items listed as an option for several of the scooters that I felt should be included and considered as basic components. It would definitely be in your best interest to double-check this before you make your purchase and then get surprised with extra, hidden costs. Here is a list of some of the other features and accessories you insure are included when looking for an electric scooter; key ignition, speed indicator gauge, battery indicator gauge, cargo box, adjustable seat, adjustable handlebars, reflectors, turn signals, brake lights, horn, and tool kit.

Part 4
If you have followed my articles so far, I hope this trip has been informative for you. More importantly, I hope they have helped you to understand and select the best scooter possible for your budget. My goal is to save you some exploration time and learn from my experience. In this issue we will explore details surrounding the electrical system of a typical electric mobility scooter.

The charging system on an electric scooter is made up of a battery and some sort of plug-in A/C adapter. The purpose of the adapter is simply to convert alternating current (A/C power) into direct current (D/C power) so that it can be used to charge the battery for your scooter. Most of these adapters have some sort of “smart” design that allows for a rapid battery charge, along with an “automatic off” feature that powers the unit off when the battery reaches its full capacity. You should try to avoid any charging units or electric scooters that do not include this feature. It is important that you understand that an over-charged condition could cause permanent damage to your scooter battery.

Most electric scooters run on a single sealed 12-volt rechargeable lead acid battery. However, depending on the brand and model, some scooters may have anywhere from one to three of these batteries installed. The power and quality rating of your scooter battery is crucial to the range of the scooter. In addition, low tire pressure, extreme temperatures, rough terrain, hills, high levels of speed, and the weight of the rider will put extra demand on the battery and drain its power much faster.

The average life span of a typical scooter battery is usually between 250 – 500 charges, but this can vary depending upon the brand and quality of the battery installed. A completely drained battery can take anywhere from two to eight hours to fully recharge — but again, this will depend on the brand and quality of the electric scooter, along with the quality of the charging unit being used. Some electric scooter models may also offer a quick change battery option that allows for you to swap out your depleted batteries for a fresh set whenever necessary. It is recommended that you always try to keep your lead acid batteries fully charged since they tend to have a much shorter life span if stored for a length of time in a depleted condition. For longer battery life, always remember to charge your electric scooter’s battery immediately after riding it.

Knowing how to properly care for your scooter and its electrical system can greatly improve the performance and life span of your electric mobility scooter. Keeping this system in a clean and fully charged state will provide many years of comfort in knowing that your scooter is ready to go whenever needed. Most importantly, you can have the confidence and peace of mind in knowing that it will not leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere at an inopportune time. Take care of your scooter and it will take care of you!

Part 5
There are a lot of items to consider when making the purchase of a new electric scooter. If you have followed my previous articles, then you already know what to look for in a reputable dealership, drive train, and electrical system on an electric mobility scooter. Now it is time to learn what to look for in a good scooter chassis.

The chassis, also known as the frame structure, is what makes up the overall body of a scooter. It is usually constructed of tubular steel and includes a deck area for you to stand upon. However, in some cases aluminum or plastic might also be used in the frame structure. When selecting your new electric scooter, it is best to avoid any models where plastic is used on the frame or decking area of the chassis since it is extremely susceptible to cracking, breaking, or warping. You will probably find that plastic is commonly used for the construction of the body panels — this is perfectly fine.

The frame structure will also include some sort of rear suspension system that is designed to increase the handling characteristics and also to cushion your ride on the scooter. Rear suspension models will usually show the type of suspension and the amount of travel the suspension features. This is usually measured in millimeters (mm) where 25.4mm is equal to about one inch. Therefore, a 50mm travel fork has just less than two inches of travel.

The system for holding the front wheel in place is known as “the forks”. Many transportation scooters include a solid front fork. However, some of the higher quality scooters also include some sort of suspension system built into the front forks similar to that of the rear. This suspension system uses a combination of either metal or rubber springs that provide for a softer, cushioned ride.

The wheel assembly of an electric scooter includes the axle, hub, spokes, and rim. The wheels are available in steel, aluminum, or reinforced plastic. Anyone seeking long term use of a scooter should avoid purchasing one that includes the plastic wheel option since those are more prone to cracking or breakage. The options available for wheels include a choice of wire spokes, solid spokes, or a solid spoke-less design.

The rim is the outside part of the wheel that holds the rubber tire in place. Aluminum rims offer a more superior quality in terms of look and wear. However, steel rims can be a cheaper alternative since they can be usually be found at lower prices, but typically they don’t last as long or look as nice. Steel rims are also more prone to paint chipping and rust. Many newer scooter models also offer an option for alloy rims.

Most electric scooter tires are made of rubber, foam rubber, or polyurethane. The tire styles can vary greatly in terms of the materials included. You will usually find a choice of tubeless pneumatic, pneumatic with an inner-tube, or solid tires. They are also available with either a smooth, semi-smooth, or knobby tread surface. The overall tire size will have an effect on the given performance of your scooter. Taller tires will generally increase the top speed but may lower your ability to climb hills. Taller tires will also serve to increase the ground clearance of an electric scooter. This increased ground clearance will allow the scooter to better handle speed bumps, pot holes, curbs, or any sort of off-road terrain. Short tires are known to increase the hill climbing ability of a scooter, but will lower the top speed. Shorter tires will also decrease ground clearance. The width of your tires can also have an effect on the scooters ability to grip the road. Wide tires are commonly known to increase traction while the skinny tires will have the opposite effect.

Well, that about wraps it up for the basic information you need to arm yourself with before making the purchase of a new electric scooter. Be sure to review my previous articles covering the other major systems that make up a typical electric mobility scooter. Understanding how these systems work together will give you the confidence needed to make a smart purchase of a new scooter, along with its day-to-day operation and maintenance.

Author Resource:-> James Stockton is a scooter enthusiast that likes to share information about electric scooters with others throughout the world. To learn more about electric and mobility scooters, be sure to visit: http://www.ElectricScooterOutlet.com.

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One Response to How to Buy an Electric Scooter

  1. Gentleman,
    Shalom or Salam.
    I read your beautiful article on the net and loved it since 12 years I am using electric 3 wheel scppter on the sidewalk and enjoying but so for I am unable to select a heavy duty 3 wheeler scooter which will give me full comfort wehn riding on the sidewalk and sidewalk have cuts and every cut bother me while riding because the shocks are no good there should be special shocks for sidewalk riding. Cars shock is diff because it runs and work on a smooth Road where scooter ride one of uncomfortable sidewalks. what your openion gentleman?
    Peace.
    Mohammad
    toronto Canada

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