Do you have all the power you need?
We put together this guide to batteries for e-scooters to help you get from A to B, smoothly. We reviewed things like the type of battery, how much it can hold, how long it lasts, and how to make it last farther, all in an effort to help you get an accurate overview of what to buy.
Understanding the Battery System in your e-scooter
The battery powers an e-scooter in much the same way as a battery powers a car – except that it is responsible for the fuel, as well as your lights and radio! The car battery is more powerful, but an e-scooter battery doesn’t need a fossil fuel to make it work.
The type of battery that your e-scooter uses will depend on a few factors. If it is a low budget, basic, or kid’s model, you can expect it to have some sort of lead-acid based battery. If it is a more advanced adult model, expect to find a lithium ion battery under the proverbial hood.
Generally speaking, the larger the battery pack, the more powerful the overall effect. We call the way the battery interacts with the rest of the electronics the battery management system, or BMS. In an e-scooter, you can expect the battery pack to be made of individual power cells which have been interconnected for maximum efficiency.
The cost of your scooter is greatly influenced by the size of your battery pack. The larger it is, the more likely it is to cost more. This therefore has a knock-on effect on the cost of your e-scooter overall. Consider the battery to be akin to the engine size in a car. The larger it is, the harder it works.
What Types of Battery do you get in an e-scooter?
We briefly touched on types of battery above, but let’s take a more in-depth look. The majority of electronic scooters will use exactly 18650 cells of power that are connected together in one lithium-ion battery pack. Each of these powerful little cells is the same size and shape, and each does very little alone – producing a paltry 3.5 v of electricity until they are combined with their neighbours.
These tiny, almost ineffective cells are known as Li-ion cells and can be built together specifically to make bigger battery packs. The more of these are on your scooter, the more powerful it is. The whole thing and how it interacts with the scooter’s running are called the BMS, and this unit together powers the electronic scooter.
What’s Lithium Ion and why is it applied to Batteries?
Lithium Ion batteries are a modern invention that allow us to stack up power, in the same way as you could stack memory in a hard drive. They have a world-class ability to retain energy, and to be recharged time and time again before they wear down. The average battery pack on a scooter can last anything up to 1000 recharges, which is about typical for lithium ions.
Li-ions is simply an abbreviated version of Lithium-ion. However, there are a large number of battery types that fall into this category. Some others include:
Lithium Cobalt Oxide
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide
Lithium Iron Phosphate
And many more.
All the different types of Lithium ion battery represent a careful balance between components like durability, longevity, and strength. Let’s talk through some of the most commonly used of these Lithium-ion battery types when it comes to your e-scooter.
Battery Types for e-scooters
Which battery does your e-scooter have and what does it need to make it more powerful?
Lead Acid e-scooter Batteries
These are more commonly favoured in the basic and children’s models of e-scooter, simply because they represent the same amount of safety – without the power or output strength. Scooters with a Lead acid battery are long lasting, slower, and have about ten times less capacity to store energy in those power cells.
Lithium Manganese Ion Batteries
This battery type is also known as INR and combines elements to create a completely safe battery pack. This type of pack is used more than others to create safe, high-quality batteries that power you through even the foulest weather and up or down the toughest hills.
Lithium Manganese batteries will have a high safety factor combined with a low temperature when running. It does this while still producing high electrical output suitable for even a large e-scooter engine.
Which is Best for you?
If you are an adult who wants an e-scooter capable of handling your commute, nothing less than the lithium ion battery will do. If you are buying an e-scooter for your child, a lead-acid based one is your least expensive bet… particularly if it is for a toy.
What is Battery Capacity and What does it Mean?
When referring to electronic scooters and their battery packs, we use the term watt hours, which is abbreviated to Wh. This method of measuring capacity allows us to tell how much power a battery will hold – and for how long. It might be you have an exceptionally large capacity for power but can’t hold this for long – or vice versa.
As with power cells, the more the better when it comes to battery capacity. For most e-scooters, the standard output per battery pack is 250 Wh.
What’s a C-Rating?
The c-rate of a battery is the speed at which it can charge up fully. The higher the rate, the lower the charge time. The lower the C-rate, the longer the BMS will take to be fully charged.
Manufacturers and Batteries
e-scooter brands vary wildly in how much power they have. There are only a few manufacturers that actually produce such specific batteries – which makes things a little easier for us when it comes to explaining them. Some of the biggest brands in the manufacturing of Lithium-ion batteries include:
Samsung – yes, that’s right! the mobile phone manufacturer also makes batteries.
Sanyo and Panasonic are two eastern firms in the BMS making game.
There are other manufacturers, and these internationally renowned ones are by no means exhaustive – but you can find cheap battery packs might not last as long, nor be as powerful, as the branded versions.
Getting to Grips with your BMS
The reason we always combine the battery management system with lithium-ion packs is to do with safety. These are the types of batteries that become unstable when treated the wrong way. The BMS is needed to keep close control over what they do and how they perform.
Your BMS has an inbuilt regulator that controls what and how the battery is used. It controls how much charge is allowed into the battery, how much is retained, and how much is distributed to different areas of the e-scooter. If your model is particularly expensive, you might find that your BMS covers things like the temperature of the battery pack, as well as incorporating an automatic shut down for a malfunctioning pack.
Tips on making e-scooter Batteries Last Longer
As time wears on, so does your battery… but not until your scooter has performed a minimum of 3k miles! At any rate, there are a number of ways you can prolong the life of your scooter’s battery, including:
Don’t leave it on charge when it is full.
Don’t store it away empty as it will take longer to recharge fully.
Unplug the charger when not in use. The battery is not the only part that can die.
Don’t charge the e-scooter when it is too hot or below freezing.
Charge as slowly as possible.
Don’t run it fully down every time you use it.
If you manage all of this carefully, your e-scooter battery should last for as long as possible. Depending on your mileage, this could be for years.
FAQs about e-scooter Battery Use
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive, regarding e-scooter batteries.
Q) How long before I need a new battery?
A) Depending on factors like make, model, battery pack size, and even your own weight, a battery can last anything up to 10,000 miles. This might be a year or two, it might be ten years, depending on how much you sue your e-scooter.
Q) How often can I charge my e-scooter?
A) As often as you need to. A typical e-scooter battery will last for an average of 500 total charges before it needs a new battery. Again, how quickly you arrive at this figure depends on how often you use your scooter.
Q) What’s a lithium-ion battery?
A) This is a type of battery that is built out of individual cells, typically relying on elemental interactions to power your devices. They are often used in e-scooters, although less advanced models might use a lead-acid battery, instead.
Q) Is there any way to make my e-scooter’s battery last longer?
A) Yes! Follow the tips contained within our article to maximise how long your battery lasts for. Do not leave it in charge and try not to let the battery die completely. Similarly, you shouldn’t store your e-scooter with no battery, either.
e-scooter Batteries Continue to Evolve
As we rely more and more on electric transport, we can expect great things from the world of scooter battery packs. Watch this space and we will revisit the issue with future updates as they emerge.