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Criteria Used for this Evaluation
When it came to putting this list together we began our shortlist based on top-selling brands as well as smaller brands that had produced highly rated products. Where possible we´ve referenced independent consumer review sites like which?, Cnet and Consumerreview.net.
In order to help decide what buyers would want in an electric scooter we conducted extensive research into types of engine, batteries as well as braking systems. These three aspects became the core criteria for our evaluation. In addition to the core criteria, we also assessed price, looks and portability with added points for unique, or useful features.
There are three types of electric engine found on electric scooters. Each type has its own positives and drawbacks. Choosing the right engine is important because it directly influences the speed, torque and efficiency of your scooter. Below we´ll cover each engine type in depth to help you choose the right scooter.
Chain driven engine
Chain driven engines are by far the most common engine for electric scooters. The engine is similar to a bicycle in that there is large gear, the Pinion, and a smaller gear, the Sprocket. These are linked together by a continuous metal chain. The battery turns the Pinion which sets the chain in motion turning the Sprocket.
Chain driven engines are typically sturdy and long-lasting. They also provide an efficient level of power. The only drawbacks to a chain-driven engine is the weight of the chain as well as surging. Surging results in speed variations and makes it difficult for the scooter to maintain a consistent steady mph.
Chainless DC Hub Motor
The Glen Dolly scooter on this list uses a chainless DC Hub motor rather than a chain driven engine. The real advantage of using a chainless engine is that it´s compact. Sending energy through a drive shaft rather than through a chain. Chainless engines are more efficient plus they won´t suffer from surging in the way a traditional chain driven engine will.
Chainless motors are becoming increasingly common in electric bikes and scooters. One of the reasons for that is that power can be transferred in two directions. With the engine engaged power will come from the battery. However, if you push manually, the power you generate can be sent back to the battery to recharge it. Currently this technology is being used predominately on electric bicycles. In the near future I can see it becoming an industry standard on all personal transport vehicles.
Neo-dymium is an earth-magnet that produces a phenomenal amount of magnetic energy. So much so, that it is starting to be used in electric motors. These motors offer far more torque whilst fitting into a small space. Using magnetic force reduces friction significantly which means very little energy is wasted when in use.
Knowing a little about batteries will really help you to make an informed decision about your scooter. When we speak about power, we´re primarily talking about the strength of the wattage. Naturally, running more watts through an engine will increase its ability to handle inclines and tough surfaces. It also effects the weight capacity as well the acceleration.
As a rule of thumb, a battery that emits 250W, typically 12 volts is a children´s motor. That amount of watts just isn´t enough to carry a fully grown adult. You´ll also notice that motors in the 250W capacity the engine feels sluggish and will struggle on tougher surfaces. On the other hand, if you´re buying for a child, you´re not going to want a hugely powerful engine that could put their safety in jeopardy.
When you´re choosing an electric scooter think about what you´re going to use it for. If you´re planning on every day usage you´ll want a scooter with an output between 750W and 2000W. The higher the Wattage the higher price, so think carefully about what you actually need before you part with any money.
Lead Acid Battery
When electric scooters first hit the market-place they were fitted with a lead acid battery. These are found in all sorts of home appliances like fridges. They´re cheap to produce, reasonably efficient and they last a long time. The downside is that they take an age to charge. Typically, 12 to 24 hours. Another problem with lead batteries is that they are usually connected with wires which can easily come loose. Finally, as the battery decays, or if it´s damaged, it can run very hot and become a safety hazard.
Lithium Ion Battery
Lithium battery technology was developed largely because of mobile phones, tablets and portable computers. The trend was to make devices smaller and smaller. As a result extensive, and expensive, research was invested in Lithium Ion batteries.
In today´s market that research is being utilized in electric scooters. Lithium batteries are superior to lead batteries because of the low charge time; typically, 1 to 3 hours. They´re also much safer. Lithium use metal to generate energy which means, even as the battery decays, there is no risk of leaking fluid or catching fire. If you´re looking at an electric scooter as a long term investment we´d highly recommend getting one that uses a lithium ion battery.