The battery of your electric scooter is one of its critical, most important parts, if not the most important. It will determine so many things about your scooter, from the speed and the range, all the way down to the cost per charge, and the overall maintenance cost of your scooter.
It is a very good idea to know as much as you can about your electric scooter’s battery. If you choose to learn only one thing about the way your scooter works and how to get the most out of it, learn about the battery.
Electric scooter batteries – what you need to know
Electric scooters run on electric batteries, most often Lithium-Ion batteries. They have voltages starting from 24 V, all the way up to 120 V. On average, the batteries have capacities between 150 Wh and 750 Wh, but expensive scooters have much more than that. The average battery will take around 5 hours to fully charge. Batteries will last between 2 and 3 years on average.
This is a comprehensive guide to electric scooter batteries. It will answer all the questions and show you everything you need to know to be a responsible owner, and get the best possible rides for the longest time possible.
What kind of battery does an electric scooter use?
The majority of electric scooters today will have a Lithium-ion battery. This kind of electric batteries have several important advantages over other types of electric batteries:
- they have higher densities, which give the scooters longer ranges
- they have a slower self-discharge rate (meaning they don’t drain as fast when not used)
- they don’t require a lot of maintenance
- higher voltage than other electric batteries
- they don’t suffer from the memory effect (losing efficiency after partial charges)
- a few other advantages such as no need for priming (charging the battery slowly and discharging it fully for the first few times) etc
However, lithium-ion batteries also have several disadvantages you need to be aware of:
- they shouldn’t be fully discharged
- they age and become very weak after 500-1000 charges, even with little usage
- taking a lithium-ion battery on an airplane is a drag
- they can catch fire and explode
Further, there are several types of lithium-ion batteries, depending on the active material that’s bonded with the Lithium atom:
- Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) – LCO (used in mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras)
- Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) – LMO (power tools, medical devices, electric powertrains)
- Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) – NMC (E-bikes, medical devices, EVs, industrial)
- Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) – LFP (Portable and stationary devices that need high load currents and endurance)
- Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) – NCA (Medical devices, industrial, electric powertrain (Tesla))
- Lithium Titanate (Li2TiO3) – LTO (UPS, electric powertrain (Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Honda Fit EV), solar-powered street lighting)
The most common type found in electric scooters is Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC).
Some models of electric scooters, especially older ones, have a different type of electric batteries, usually either lead-acid or nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
The scooters that have a motor powered by fuel are simply not electric scooters.
Which battery is best for an electric scooter?
Lithium-ion batteries provide many benefits that fit the electric scooter use cases perfectly. They are almost exclusively used in modern electric scooters, and provide high energy densities, don’t suffer from the memory effect, and are simple to maintain.
Since the vast majority of modern electric scooters will have lithium-ion batteries, that’s the only type of battery we will be discussing in this post.
Electric scooter battery specifications (voltage, charge, and capacity)
|Input voltage||Volts (V)|
|Output voltage (or just voltage)||Volts (V)|
Ok, this will be the nerdiest part, but I promise we will only cover the very basics you need.
If you understand the three most important measurements, you will be more knowledgeable about batteries than 95% of the scooterists out there. And they are not that difficult to understand really.
The three measurements about the battery you need to know are:
- charge capacity
- energy storage capacity
Electric scooter battery voltage
Here’s a very simple, non-nerdy explanation of voltage: voltage is what forces the electrons to move through the circuit, forcing an electric current.
We measure voltage in Volts (V).
Very roughly speaking, it measures how fast can power be released. The higher the voltage is, the faster a battery can provide more power to the motor.
Batteries actually have two different voltages: input and output voltage. In fact, that’s true of almost any component that uses electricity. However, when we talk about battery voltage, we usually talk about its output voltage. The output voltage of the battery should be at least a few Volts greater than the input voltage of the motor.
Most of the batteries in scooters have either 24 V, 36 V, or 48 V, although they can be as high as 96 V or even 120 V.
If you know a battery’s charge and capacity, you can find out its voltage by dividing the capacity measured in Watt-hours (Wh) to the charge measured in Amp-hours (Ah).
Formula: 1 V = 1 Wh / 1 Ah
You can use the battery voltage calculator as well.
Electric scooter battery charge
I found that charge can’t really be explained simply in one sentence, or at least I can’t do it. So, here’s the short story of electric charge.
Charge actually doesn’t exist as just charge, it can be either positive charge or negative charge.
All matter is made out of atoms, which are then made out of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Each atom can have a regular number of electrons, extra electrons than usual, or fewer electrons than usual. An atom with extra electrons has a negative charge, and an atom with fewer electrons has a positive charge. An object with a lot of extra electrons has a negative charge.
Electricity is simply electrons flowing through something, so batteries must have electrons (charge!) in order to provide electricity.
Battery charge is measured in Ampere-hours (Ah).
Battery charges in electric scooters can range from 4 Ah all the way up to 50 Ah in the most powerful scooters.
If you know the battery’s voltage and capacity, you can find out its charge by dividing the capacity measured in Watt-hours (Wh) to the voltage measured in Volts (V).
Formula: 1 Ah = 1 Wh / 1 V
You can also see the battery Amp-hours calculator for a foolproof way.
Electric scooter battery capacity
You can find out the energy storage capacity by multiplying the voltage times the charge capacity. That’s why brands often omit this information from the manuals, and only specify the voltage and the charge.
Simply put, energy storage capacity denotes how much energy can the battery store.
We express it in Watt-hours (Wh). One Watt-hour equals one Volt times one Ampere-hour.
Battery capacities in scooters range from 100 Wh to almost 3000 Wh. Most scooters for adults will have capacities between 150 Wh and 624 Wh.
If you know the battery’s charge and voltage, you can find out its capacity by multiplying the two.
Formula: 1 Wh = 1 Ah * 1 V
You can also use the battery capacity calculator.
Are electric scooter batteries safe?
Electric scooters use almost the same batteries as laptops and other devices, which means they are rigorously tested and generally very safe.
However, in rare instances, accidents can happen because of improper use or manufacturer defects, including fires and explosions.
Because of the risk of combustion and explosion, electric scooter batteries use battery management systems. That’s an electronic system that makes sure the individual battery cells charge and discharge correctly, including protecting them from overcharging, discharging completely, overheating or catching fire, etc.
To increase battery safety, follow the best practices for battery storage and handling. The most important steps are:
- purchase batteries from a reputable manufacturer or supplier
- avoid batteries shipped without protective packaging (hard plastic or equal)
- inspect batteries upon receipt, and visually inspect them at least once a week
- be careful not to damage the battery casing or connections
- store batteries away from combustible materials
- remove batteries from the device for long-term storage
- store the batteries at temperatures between 5°C and 20°C (41°F and 68°F).
- charge batteries in storage to approximately 60% of capacity at least once every month,
- if batteries smell weird, get heated, or change shape, disconnect them immediately, and then dispose of them
- don’t overcharge batteries
- keep batteries from contacting conductive materials, water, seawater, strong oxidizers, and strong acids.
- do not leave batteries under the sun or in hot locations
- keep batteries away from flammable materials
- do not charge immediately after riding, or ride immediately after charging, give the battery some time to cool off
How do you charge an electric scooter battery?
These are the universal steps to charging your electric scooter battery:
- use only the scooter’s original charger
- insert the charger in the power outlet
- insert the charger head into the charging port of the scooter
- wait until the battery is fully charged (every scooter will have different ways of indicating this)
- remove the charger head from the charging port of the scooter
- finally, unplug the charger from the power outlet first
Check your scooter’s manual for precise instructions. If no specific instructions are included in your manual, follow these tips in the exact order specified. If your scooter’s manual includes different instructions, those from the manual should take precedence.
Always try to use the scooter’s original charger that came with it, or the same model bought from the same manufacturer. If using a different charger, make sure it uses the same voltage (V) and charge (Ah). Otherwise, you risk degrading your battery faster.
Make sure to check out the full guide to charging your electric scooter for tips that even most manuals don’t include.
How often should I charge my scooter battery?
Charge your battery whenever it’s around 15% full or less. The only rule is to not let your battery discharge completely, as that wears it out faster. If you are storing your scooter for a longer time, charge the battery to around 60% at least once a month.
How long does a scooter battery charge last?
For regular rides, electric scooter charges will last 2 hours on average, and can last between half an hour and 6 hours or more. If riding at maximum speed, the charge will last about 50 minutes on average, between just a few minutes up to 2.5 hours depending on the model. However, a more useful metric is the range of the scooter, which is 28 mi / 46 km on average, and varies between 4 and 93 mi / 7 and 150 km.
How long does an electric scooter battery last?
Electric scooter batteries will typically last between 2 and 3 years, but they can last anywhere from few months to 5 years. In terms of charge cycles, electric batteries will usually last between 300 and 500 cycles, although their performance can start to degrade only after 150 charge cycles.
How long a battery lasts will depend on:
- the type of battery
- the year when it was produced
- the brand and manufacturer
- how well you take care of it
There are a few things you can do to extend the lifespan of your battery.
How do I maintain my electric scooter battery?
There are three main things you can do to ensure that your scooter’s battery has the longest life possible:
- charge your scooter regularly, even after shorter rides (the optimal state for an electric battery is when it’s charged, the more time it spends outside that state the faster it will wear out)
- never let the battery get completely drained (this applies when storing your scooter away for longer periods of time as well)
- make sure your battery is always kept at appropriate temperatures, at least higher than 0 °C and lower than 45 °C, but preferably at temperatures between 5 °C and 30 °C (and also see my guide on riding electric scooters in hot weather).
Electric batteries degrade over time and there’s no way around it. But following these three tips will ensure that your battery lives as long as possible.
How do you check an electric scooter battery?
The simplest way to check if a battery is working is to plug your charger in your scooter. Chargers will have indicator lights on them, and very often a green light on the charger will mean that the battery is being charged and it’s working properly.
Another great way to check a battery is a simple visual inspection, where you just make sure there are no damages, leaks, burns, or any other unexpected occurrences on the battery. However, for most scooters, this test will not be very useful as it will require you to open the deck of your scooter. That not only requires a bit more work, but there’s a chance that you don’t put back every part and screw it back in place. Plus, for some scooters, it may even void your warranty.
A few newer models will have a removable battery. They may give you an easy way to visually inspect your battery.
How to test an electric scooter battery with a voltmeter or a multimeter?
These are the steps to test an electric scooter battery with a multimeter:
- charge your scooter fully
- plug the cables in the multimeter
- set the multimeter to DC Volt 200
- turn off your scooter
- place it on something so that the wheels hang in the air, for example placing the deck on a small chair in a way that the wheels don’t touch anything
- open the scooter’s deck
- plug the cable in the battery’s ports, red cable probe goes in the part of the port that connects with the red battery wire, black cable probe connects with the black battery wire
- make sure the cable probes touch the metals inside the port and not just the plastic
- turn on your scooter
- turn on your multimeter
- your multimeter will show you the reading in Volts, it should be the same or slightly higher than your battery’s voltage
- if the reading is below the battery’s original voltage, it’s a sign that your battery is wearing out
- if you want to test the battery under load, hit the throttle, the wheels should be spinning in the air
- the reading on the multimeter should be the same or slightly larger than the battery’s original voltage, if it’s smaller then your battery has started to degrade
When do I need to replace my electric scooter battery?
Batteries wear out over time, and after a while, you will have to replace them. The first sign that you need to replace the battery in your scooter will be reduced range. Battery performance is proportional to range, and when the range of your scooter drops to 50% or less of its original range, it may be time for a replacement. Reduced top speed and climbing capabilities are a strong indicator too.
How much do electric scooter batteries cost?
The battery is one of the most valuable parts of the scooter. Replacing it can cost anywhere between 15% and 30% of the original price of the scooter. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of your existing battery.
Can you upgrade your electric scooter’s battery?
It is often possible for your scooter to make use of a more powerful battery. This will primarily depend on the motor, the controller, and the other electronics in the scooter, especially their voltage.
If the voltage of the battery is lower than the voltage of the motor and the electronics, especially if it’s lower by a lot (like say more than 12 volts), upgrading the battery will be possible and it will also result in improved performances across the board, both in terms of range on a single charge and top speeds.
If the voltage of the battery is already the same or very close to the voltage of the motor or electronics, getting a battery with a stronger voltage is ill-advised. It can easily cause defects in the electronics of the scooter.
In theory, it should be possible to get a battery with the same voltage but with a higher charge, and that should result in a greater range at least.
However, make sure you get familiar with the inner workings of your scooter before trying modifications like this. Do them with extra care and attention.
Can you add an extra battery to your electric scooter?
In most cases, it is possible to add an extra battery to your scooter. Some scooters will even come prepared with the frame and all the scaffolding you will need to add the battery easily.
There are two ways you can add a battery: in series and in parallel.
Adding a battery in series will help increase the total voltage that the battery can output. Roughly said, this will increase the power that the scooter has. Increasing power will increase the maximum speed of the scooter.
However, it’s important to know the voltage of the motor and electronics, and that the total voltage of the battery doesn’t exceed that number.
Adding a battery in parallel will increase the charge of the battery, which in turn can provide greater range.
This is a bigger topic that ranges outside the scope of this guide, and we will provide a specific guide on how to add an extra battery soon.
Is an electric scooter battery waterproof?
Most electric scooters are water-resistant as a whole, at least to some degree. Some scooter models specify their water-resistance (IP) rating, which means that those models have been tested against water damage.
Often times, the battery and its casing can have a different water-resistance standard than the scooter as a whole. Electric batteries are very sensitive to water. Given their importance, it is paramount for them to have extra protection.
Some manufacturers keep this in mind, and have a separate IP rating for the battery casing, usually offering better water protection for the battery than the scooter has in general.
However, these models are the exception. Only about half of all scooter models have an official water-resistance rating.
Unless a water-resistance rating is specified for the battery only, the same rating will apply to the battery.
Even though many scooters have some IP rating, their manufacturers still advise against water contact and avoiding riding in the rain and snow as much as possible.
Meaning, while the battery may be pretty safe against water damage, only a few batteries are truly waterproof. Avoid usage and storage in wet environments.
How to store my electric scooter to keep its battery safe?
Most of the tips about storing the scooter come from the goal to keep the battery safe. They include:
- store the scooter in a dry, dark room
- the temperatures should be between 5 °C and 20 °C
- charge the battery at around 60%, and recharge it once every month to that level even when not using it
Check out the full guide to storing your electric scooter for detailed instructions.
Can you use an electric scooter without a battery?
You can ride some scooters like a normal scooter, by kicking and not using the acceleration.
Most, however, will be very unsuitable for riding like this. They will usually be either too heavy, or their wheels or deck will be too high for kick-riding to be effective.
If your battery runs out in the middle of a drive, you will likely have to get another means of transport or push the scooter.
Read the full guide on whether electric scooters can be used manually to find out more.
Best electric scooter battery brands
The battery manufacturer can be the most important thing about the battery. Batteries from the best manufacturers, even if they have lower voltages or charges, will perform better than batteries from lower-quality manufacturers with higher performance specifications.
According to the majority of the electric scooter community, the best manufacturers today are Samsung, closely followed by LG and Panasonic. These two are the best options easily.
Many of the European/Japan/Korean brands will fall into the middle-high quality range. This category includes Sanyo, Toshiba, and Blue Energy.
I don’t want to exclude Chinese manufacturers completely. They do have some decent battery manufacturers. Brands like Amperex, BYD, BAK Group, AESC, and CATL produce millions of batteries each year and keep getting better and better.
Still, on average, they will typically be inferior to all the manufacturers above.
If going with a scooter with Chinese batteries, try to make sure they’re not some generic low-quality brand, since they will usually wear down very fast.
One huge and very popular manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries is, of course, Tesla. But they only use their proprietary batteries in their vehicles. It would be interesting to see if some attempt is made to use their batteries in an electric scooter, or if they try and design an electric scooter of their own.
What does the battery mean for an electric scooter?
The most important thing that will depend primarily on the battery of the scooter will be the maximum range that the scooter can go on a single charge.
Specifically, the electrical charge, and by extension the battery storage capacity, will be the most important measurement when it comes to range.
This is an oversimplification, but usually the higher the charge/capacity, the greater the range. It makes sense when you think about it – the bigger capacity for storing energy the battery has, the more energy it can provide over time.
For many users (myself included), this is by far the most important feature, and exactly why the battery is so important in an electric scooter.
Besides the range, the battery affects another critical feature of the scooter, and that’s its power. Power will determine the maximum speed that the scooter can achieve, and how well it will climb hills.
These are also critical performance features, and for some people, they are even more important.
But the battery will only play a supporting role here. The scooter’s motor will be the more important factor by far.
What will determine how much power can the motor get from the battery will be its voltage. The voltage of the battery must be no bigger than the voltage of the motor, and usually, it needs to be a few Volts smaller.
The battery can sometimes be a limiting factor, in scenarios where the motor can use more voltage but the battery doesn’t provide it.
But voltages don’t usually vary much and go above certain values by a lot. Many scooters have voltages of 36 V or 48 V, but even the most powerful scooters have batteries with around 60 V. Which is more, but not by a lot.
Meaning, while a bigger voltage will provide both greater range and power, it will usually not be able to do so by that much.
The future of batteries for electric scooters
We can’t be sure what the future holds, but we can certainly be very satisfied with the progress we’ve seen in battery lifespan over the last few decades.
We went from scooters having almost toy-like ranges of just a few kilometers, to now seeing scooters with huge ranges, some even more than 150 kilometers on a single charge!
That’s all thanks to improvements in battery technology.
It is possible that electric cars made the need for true leaps here, but electric scooters contributed a lot to it as well. For a while now, electric batteries seem to even follow some variation of Moore’s law – their performances increase, while their prices go down.
Let’s hope this trend continues.