Micromobility – movement around the city for short distances using bicycles, electric scooters, mono-wheels and other small pieces. This is a global environmentally friendly and transport trend that came to us with a slight delay and caught the legal system and road infrastructure by surprise. At the same time, Europeans like it, and electric scooters have become one of their favorite ways to travel. We will tell you how to choose a electric scooter for yourself, what to look for and where it is not recommended to ride them.
Table of contents:
- What are electric scooters used for?
- How to choose an electric scooter?
- Popular models and novelties of electric scooter
- Safety and legal status of electric scooters
Home-work-home is the most popular scenario for an electric scooter. People are tired of jostling in a bus or trolleybus, competing for a handrail with a local drunk, standing in morning and evening traffic jams in a car. On a scooter, you can quickly and conveniently get to work, if the weather permits.
The second popular scenario is short business darts around town. Take documents, hit the road for a photo report, pick up an order from an online store, go around several pharmacies or stores. Going literally a few kilometers in both directions will often be faster than driving.
There is also such a case: “We bought such a grandmother at the dacha. There, to the nearest store and back, you have to rewind almost 4 km. First, up the hill along the country road, then down the hill along the asphalt, and vice versa. Adjusted the height of the steering wheel, seat – and go”.
They also take electric scooters for trips around the country and light off-road. True, it all depends on the model. They also travel with the child to school or kindergarten in good weather.
Of course, a scooter is tons of fun. For both adults and children. Cutting the air with your face at high speed along bike paths or sidewalks without much effort is simply a delight. Such emotions are quickly transmitted through word of mouth, and now your friend and his wife are buying themselves scooters.
The scooter’s motor is located in one or two wheels at once. Its power determines the speed and traction characteristics of the electric scooter: the more powerful the motor, the faster you go and the easier it is to climb the hill. But this is on paper. Life makes harsh adjustments because these metrics are heavily influenced by the rider’s weight, terrain, weather conditions and the build of a particular model.
The speed indicator will give you an idea of your future riding pace. Electric scooters accelerate very quickly. Because of this, as one user wrote, “they give an unusual feeling of sense of trip”. The reviews come to the conclusion that 18-25 km/h is enough for a comfortable ride around the city. We do not yet have any regulation on the driving speed, therefore, most importantly, be careful, careful and do not forget about safety.
Popular scooter models can accelerate to 25-30 km / h. The actual value may differ from what the manufacturer claims. As the battery discharges, the maximum speed will decrease and the scooter will not go as fast by 25% as it will by 90-100%.
Almost all scooters have a couple of speed modes that you choose to suit your mood, situation, or save battery. Switching between them takes place on the dashboard. For example, the “Sport” mode allows you to squeeze the maximum out of the electric scooter, which is useful on a good level surface. The number of modes and speeds may differ between different models.
Cruise control is a function to maintain the same speed. Useful for long trips where there are no obstacles in the way. For example, on long bike paths. Depending on the manufacturer, the mode is activated via the app or by holding the throttle stick in one position.
An indicator of the distance covered by the electric scooter on one battery charge. It is best to rely on reviews in the Catalog, where users indicate the range and speed, noting their weight and riding conditions. If you plan to use the scooter every day, then it is better to take a model with a large battery capacity and a large range so as not to be left with a piece of iron in your hands halfway to work. In popular scooter models, you can really count on 15-20 km from a single charge, on average, according to reviews. Although some can drive up to 65 km.
Without shock absorption in a electric scooter, it is very difficult to ride on uneven roads. Because of this, vibration is transmitted through all nodes to the hands and teeth of the rider. In inexpensive models, damping is usually represented by one or less often two springs. Their effectiveness can only be understood in practice or through feedback from other users. In more expensive scooters, large and high-quality shock absorbers are installed to absorb any shock and smooth out irregularities. Inflatable wheels also perform this function in part.
You will inevitably have to carry the electric scooter when folded. Bring it somewhere in the subway, somewhere along the stairs. And here it is important to consider who will use the scooter. And then filter out by weight heavy models that girls and children will not be able to handle. Judging by the reviews, a scooter weighing more than 15 kg is already inconvenient to carry with you.
Foot, disc, drum and electric are the main methods of braking on a scooter. The first works by pressing the rear fender with your foot, which is pressed against the wheel and stops the scooter. Not the most durable option. There is a variation of the foot brake with separate shoes that compress the wheel when pressed with the foot. The drum brake is hidden inside the wheel and therefore is best protected from dirt and dust.
Disc is one of the most efficient electric scooters. Its presence is a definite plus. Here, the contact of the brake pad occurs with the disc, and not with the surface of the wheel. The mechanical disc brake transmits the force through a metal cable. More expensive models have hydraulic disc brakes.
Further it is a little more difficult. Regenerative braking is a controller function and is found in many scooter models today. The bottom line: release the throttle lever and the wheel motor gradually stops the electric scooter, creating a voltage that is directed to recharge the battery. The faster the wheel motor rotates, the more efficient the recuperation works. Therefore, it makes sense to do this only on large slopes. Otherwise, you will spend more energy on the subsequent acceleration than you will receive it before braking. At the same time, you will not have to rely on a pleasant roll-off effect: the scooter will slowly but surely slow you down. The degree of “hardness” of the recuperation is usually set in the application.
The electric brake works differently. It supplies voltage from the battery to the wheel motor in the opposite phase, which causes it to rotate more slowly. Consequently, the battery power is consumed faster. An important plus: you can control the braking force. Recuperation is never pure, because otherwise the scooters would stop for a very long time. It is present in the braking system as an additional function of the controller, but sharp braking will be carried out by the main mechanism or an electric brake.
Improvements for the electric scooter
Only that which never drives on our roads does not break. The ability to repair or improve the scooter yourself is an important selection criterion for those who love or can do it. After unpacking and assembling, the electric scooter will ride without any problems. And then what? Several pits, curbs, a couple of hundred kilometers on our best paving slabs and treacherous rain will kill the main components of the scooter and deprive you of the pleasure of riding.
For popular brands today, spare parts and accessories are available in a large assortment, as well as services ready to serve your “electronic horse”. And the forums are overflowing with tips for mods.
What is improved in electric scooters? Almost everything. In the harshest hands, only the controller and motor remain intact. First of all, they start with sealing the compartments. Inexpensive models are supplied without moisture protection or with its primitive design. Top-end models have protection against water ingress. At the same time, trips through puddles or in the rain are still not recommended for them.
Users protect and strengthen wires, tighten bolts, lubricate suspension components, seal the battery in the deck, reinforce the rear fender, adjust the brakes, take care of the folding mechanism and the steering column – they do everything to make the electric scooter last longer. Steering play is a disease of all scooters, and it is better to start preventing it as early as possible.
Standard wheels are often changed to a larger diameter, if the design allows. For our roads, this gives the best shock absorption and, at the same time, ride comfort. Scooters with inflatable wheels require regular inflation, so you definitely need a bike compressor. However, with them there is a great risk of punctures. Sometimes you can even find spare wheels in the kit. Solid wheels are more reliable, but they do not give such softness and smoothness of the ride, they will not dampen vibrations, which will affect the reliability of the units.
A huge amount of improvements can be made. The ability to improve your scooter is a significant plus. Sometimes the manufacturers themselves help. For example, there are mounts for an additional battery.
Control, app and light
Direct control of the scooter occurs from the dashboard. Flashlight, speed selection, cruise control, etc. Information about speed, battery and mileage is usually shown on the display. Its performance differs depending on the model. More informative displays are found in more expensive models. Statistics and additional functions – in the application on the smartphone. There you can also select a speed limit, for example, if a child uses a scooter.
Lights increase your visibility on the road. Almost all models have a white light in the front for driving in the dark, and a red brake light in the back. There is also a bright dynamic backlighting of the deck. However, the cheapest electric scooters may not have such things, so be careful when choosing. Drivers can also be confused by the use of red and blue lights on the scooter, especially at night.
One of the most popular electric scooters. He has a height adjustable steering wheel, so the model is well suited for a child. In the application, you can set a speed limit. The scooter is foldable and weighs only 12 kg, which is convenient for transportation. In the reviews they write that 30 km / h is rarely achieved. As the battery discharges, the maximum speed drops dramatically. The power reserve depends on many conditions, as mentioned above. According to reviews, one battery was enough for 10-13 km, then for 20-25 km. Many agree on one thing: as the first scooter or scooter for a child for their money is not bad. Also included a bag.
The main drawback of the model is the lack of depreciation. On paper, of course, it is there and is visible live, but in fact, users complain about rattling and strong vibrations on uneven roads.
Kugoo M4 Pro
A popular model from the Kugoo brand this spring. The electric scooter is powerful and fast, and is on par with the popular Xiaomi and Ninebot models. Rubber with an aggressive tread and high ground clearance allow you to cut on light off-road. It has good shock absorption and inflatable wheels for a comfortable ride over uneven terrain. The power reserve, according to reviews, is 40-45 km.
Kugoo G2 Pro
Newer model with 1000W motor and 15mAh battery. Looks and feels powerful and durable in practice. A user writes in a review: “Such a scooter can hardly be attributed 100% to an urban or off-road type: it is more of a SUV. He will not cope with strong impassability, but he can easily climb onto the curb in the green zone ”. The scooter accelerates to 50 km / h and can travel 18-40 km on a single charge (yes, there is a big difference in the reviews). It has two disc brakes on the front and rear wheels. To increase the visibility of the rider, there is a backlit deck.
Ninebot Kickscooter Max
Bestseller in the first spring months. A laconic and simple city electric scooter with a power reserve of 65 km. Reviews confirm this value under certain conditions. This is an excellent indicator for its category. In terms of ride comfort, it has no shock absorption, only inflatable wheels. The moisture protection is purely formal and will only prevent splashes. Therefore, it is better to resolve this issue before traveling through the puddles.
The reviews praise the scooter for its excellent dynamics, high speed and workmanship. The user writes: “The scooter is assembled very soundly, nothing creaks, no backlash, no vibration on the paving slabs, it is comfortable to ride”. And another neatly and succinctly described the Ninebot Kickscooter Max as “The Maybach among urban scooters”.
Midway i-One Pro
Midway – rebranding of Yamato electric scooters to enter the European market. The novelty of this season is supplied to the country with a large range of models. There are no reviews and reviews on them yet, but on paper everything looks beautiful. For example, the i-One Pro model with a 350 W motor accelerates to 30 km/h and has a range of 40 km from one battery.
The Midway range also includes inexpensive small and relatively light scooters with the declared waterproofing of the deck and designed for children – the Midway Mini. The top model in the lineup is the Midway i-Max Pro. Powerful motor, large battery, waterproofing and 10-inch inflatable wheels for a comfortable ride on rough roads. Only the scooter weighs as much as 22kg. It’s curious how such a model would behave in comparison with Xiaomi and Ninebot.
Xiaomi electric scooter
Many people associate electric scooters with the Xiaomi brand. Five Xiaomi models are now among the top ten best-selling models on the market today. And this is just the beginning of the season.
Xiaomi is now selling several versions of electric scooters at the same time. The old M365 are almost gone, and there are still quite a few M365 Pros. In April 2020, an updated version of the M365 appeared with a screen and the name 1S. And in the summer of the same year, the company rolled out 3 new models at once aimed at the European market: Mi Electric Scooter Essential, Mi Electric Scooter 1S and Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2.
The new products have corrected a number of sores of old Xiaomi models, seriously strengthened the rear wing, made a more laconic display, added more reflectors on the wheels and steering wheel, a lens headlight, and a plate for the license plate. The “Pedestrian” mode has appeared with a speed of up to 5 km/h, and the maximum speed is limited to 25 km/h (20 km/h for Essential).
The Essential model is criticized for its stripped-down specs and a seemingly high price tag. Although now they are giving it away for 949 rubles. So far, this is the cheapest Xiaomi electric scooter in the Catalog. For this money, you get a maximum speed of 20 km / h, a cruising range, judging by the reviews, 15-20 km and some waterproofing. Alternatives can definitely be found. Although the users are happy. Here is what one of them writes: “The quality is at the highest level. At one time I traveled in the city wherever I wanted to visit for so long, and returned. There is nothing superfluous in the functions of the scooter. The speed is enough for the city. The battery did not disappoint. “
At the same time, the updated model M365S 1S is still popular and is sold on a par with both Pro versions.
In European countries, there is no single approach, but their own national rules apply. General rules: speed limit 20-25 km / h, fines for driving on the sidewalk or without helmets, age restrictions, ban on carrying several people. An interesting English feature – only rental scooters are allowed there. A personal scooter can only be ridden on private land with the permission of its owner.
Almost everywhere, bike lanes or bike lanes on the carriageway are defined as the main place of movement of electric scooters. You can drive on the carriageway only if there are no specified road elements. This item is recorded in Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. Sidewalks are almost everywhere prohibited for electric scooters, or there is a speed limit equal to the speed of pedestrians.
The rules also apply to lights, insurance, licenses, drunk driving, distractions like smartphones and headphones, and, of course, parking. In February 2021, 8 major e-scooter rental operators in Europe united to form the Micro-Mobility for Europe coalition, which will represent the industry in EU political circles and help shape the rules for e-scooters and other personal mobility aids.
An electric scooter is a good way to quickly and conveniently commute to work or small business in the city. He is chosen instead of public transport and a car. Many have run over several thousand kilometers on their scooters. It’s a pity that our infrastructure is not yet fully ready. And the lack of legal regulation will give rise to numerous conflicts on the sidewalks and, unfortunately, on the roadway.
When choosing a electric scooter, read the reviews. Basic characteristics such as speed and power reserve are highly dependent on external parameters and almost always differ from what the manufacturer claims. Look for a good braking system, amortization, and room for repair or rework. And don’t forget about safety.
If you wish, you can share with others in the comments under the article your experience of traveling on electric scooters. Your personal experience will help someone make the right choice.