The range of an electric scooter is one of the most important and sought-after features. For some users, their entire commute depends on the range of their scooters. For me personally, it is the most important feature.
Given its importance, lots of users worldwide want to squeeze as much range out of their scooters as possible. Some just have scooters that have very little range to begin with. Others simply need more. For both of those groups, there are a number of ways to get more range out of any electric scooter.
How to increase the range of your electric scooter – best tips
- ride in the optimal mode and speed for maximum range
- make sure you have no unnecessary electronics running
- clean your scooter
- reduce the weight the scooter has to carry
- inflate the tires
- make sure the brakes are not too tight or cause friction
- never drain the battery completely
- upgrade the battery
- add an extra battery
- rewind the motor (advanced)
- reduce the scooter’s own weight (advanced)
To learn exactly how to apply these tips (and why), let’s go over them in more detail.
Tips to increase the range of your electric scooter
These are all the ways you can get more range out of your electric scooter, starting from the simplest methods that don’t require any modifications to the scooter, all the way to the tips that significantly alter the scooter’s internal parts.
Ride in the optimal mode and speed for maximum range
This is one of the simplest things you can do to get more range. It may also have the added benefit of you getting the best battery life possible.
This may vary across different scooters, but the general rule is that you will have to ride in the slower, power-saving modes with the lower-end scooters, and faster with the beefy, expensive scooters.
That will mean that most scooters out there get as close to the maximum range when driven in their lowest speed mode, usually with the maximum speed available in that mode.
The Xiaomi M365 Pro is a great example of this – its range test was conducted in Eco mode, cruising at 9 mph / 15 kmh.
The counterexamples are some more powerful scooters that use energy more efficiently when ridden faster. An example of this is the Inokim OXO. If you take a look at the specs, you will see that you get 62 mi / 100 km of range in the Eco mode, but 68 mi / 110 km in full speed mode.
However, this is far from a rule, and there are many exceptions. The Dualtron X2, which is the scooter with the longest range in the world, is a very powerful scooter, and its maximum range (93 mi / 150 km) is obtained from a test in its lowest speed mode, cruising at 15 mph / 25 kmh.
Your best move is to research a bit and check which mode is optimal for getting the most range with your scooter.
If you can’t find that information, it’s likely the Eco or power saving mode.
Make sure you have no unnecessary electronics running
The most important factor that determines the range you will get is the battery.
The faster the battery gets drained, the less range you will get.
This means you should do everything you can to get more battery juice while riding.
For most scooters, this is a simple and very short list:
- if not riding during the night, make sure the lights of the scooter are turned off
- make sure the bluetooth is turned off
That way, your battery only needs to worry about your scooter running.
Clean your scooter
Sounds too simple to be true, right?
Let me tell you a little story.
One time I noticed my Xiaomi M365 Pro was peaking at much slower speeds than usual, while at the same time it seemed like it is struggling more. Seemed like the battery was getting drained faster too.
I thought I’d give it a day or two and see if it goes back to normal, but it didn’t. Finally, I decided to take a closer look at my scooter. There was nothing wrong with it, except…
There was this piece of garbage, made out of chewing gum, dust, sand, grass, leaves and tiny branches, that was stuck between the rear wheel and the fender.
It didn’t produce any unusual sound, but it had obviously caused some extra friction.
Removing it felt like I woke up my scooter out of a coma.
The wheels are usually vulnerable to these sorts of things. Make sure they are squeaky clean, otherwise you might be impeding the maximum range you can get. If your scooter has disc brakes, check them as well (not important for range but still good maintenance form).
Other than cleaning the exterior of the scooter, it may be a good idea to clean the battery every now and then.
This tip should come with a warning – some scooter manufacturers may void your warranty if you as much as unscrew a screw. But warranties usually last a year, and you will likely not notice range decreases in the first year because of battery filth.
If the battery gathers a lot of dust or gunk around it, it will heat up faster when you drive, which will make it less efficient. Simply wiping it with a dry towel or a toothbrush will bring it back into shape. This is especially true if you live in a dusty or polluted area.
Reduce the weight the scooter has to carry
Very simple physics: the more weight your scooter has to carry, the more power it needs to use in a shorter period of time. The more power it uses in less time, the less range you will get.
Before we go into detail, a warning: never sacrifice safety for range, nor for any other feature for that matter. Always have all of your safety equipment on you when riding, especially your helmet.
That said, if you are after optimal range, try to travel as light as possible.
A friend of mine swears he got some extra range when he stopped carrying his heavy backpack back and forth and just bought some extra things he kept at work.
Few users online report they’re definitely getting a few extra mi / km of range after they’ve lost significant amounts of body weight.
It may not be much, but the load that your scooter carries does have an effect on the range.
Inflate the tires
The less inflated a tire is, the more of its surface touches the ground when riding. That results in more friction your scooter has against the ground (Wikipedia article on rolling resistance goes into detail). That, in turn, results in less energy efficiency, which results in more battery power used to cover the same distance, which results in less range.
Thus, inflating the tires will improve your range.
Naturally, this doesn’t apply to scooters with solid tires.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t inflate the tires too much. Check your scooter’s recommended tire pressure, and use a pump that can measure the pressure when inflating the tires.
If you really need extra range, try going a little over the recommendation, but be aware that the more you inflate your tires, the more slippery your ride will become. That’s the price we pay for less friction, so weigh your options carefully.
If you are not that experienced with your scooter, keep tire pressure at the recommended level and worry about extra range once you fully master your scooter.
Make sure the brakes are not too tight or cause friction
If your scooter has cable brakes and you tighten them up too much, they may cause friction with the wheel even while riding.
Naturally, this will result in using more power to cover the same distance, which means you will get a reduced range.
Make sure your brakes are properly set. To find out, try spinning the wheels manually and see if any unnecessary friction occurs. If it does, loosen up your brakes a little and try again.
Also, if you have the rear foot-press brake, where you press the rear fender to get some extra braking, make sure there’s nothing stuck between the brake and the wheel, this will have the same effect as tight brakes.
Never drain the battery completely
This is not a direct tip for getting extra range, but it will prevent your scooter from losing range over time.
All batteries suffer from inevitable wear and tear. It is estimated that lithium-ion batteries (the most common one in scooters) last between two to three years, or around 300 to 500 cycles.
So your scooter’s battery is already slowly dying over time.
On top of that, every time the battery is completely drained, it loses some of its capacity.
Drain it enough times, and its capacity will be decimated, way faster than normal.
Do all that is within your power to extend your battery life. Charge it frequently, and never let it get drained completely.
Upgrade the battery
As we said before, the battery is the most important factor for the range you will get.
There are many cases where getting a stronger battery (usually with more voltage) can immediately give you a boost in range.
You should be aware that not all scooters will support this. You can only get a stronger battery if the motor and the controller support voltage levels much larger than your current battery has.
A great example for this is the standard model of the Xiaomi M365.
Its motor and controller can work with voltages up to 63 V.
Its battery, however, works at 37 V out of the box.
Since it is a very popular scooter but it doesn’t have that much of a range (~30 km), people often end up getting a stronger battery of 48 V. These are quite standard batteries that are not hard to find, and they extend the range of the Xiaomi M365 by up to 30%.
Besides the voltage, take a look at the charge of the battery too. This is a unit expressed in Ampere-hours, and the higher it is, the more energy the battery can store. That is important for getting a better range as well.
Finally, there will probably come a time when your battery has had too many charging cycles and needs to be replaced. This is a good time to consider getting a stronger battery if you need more range – you will already be removing the old battery anyway.
Add an extra battery
Adding an extra battery is the most reliable way to get more range out of your electric scooter.
A few scooters come prepared for adding a second battery. The Ninebot ES2 is the most famous example of this – without the second battery, it has a range of only 15 mi / 25 km, but after adding it the range almost doubles and reaches 28 mi / 45 km.
With scooters like the Ninebot ES2, which come prepared for the second battery, installing it is easy, it’s just a matter of screwing a few screws.
Most scooters don’t have the frame and setup ready for adding a second battery. You need to do some customizations to enable this.
You can add batteries in series or in parallel. Both will increase your range, but adding a battery in parallel will be better for range since it will increase the total capacity of your battery.
Adding a battery on your own requires a little bit of know-how, and we’ll address that in a post dedicated to it.
Rewind the motor (advanced)
One advanced technique that can get you more range if you’ve had your scooter for a while is to see if you need to rewind the motor.
This is a complicated mechanical procedure, and the details of it are outside of the scope of this article.
In simple terms, motors, like all mechanical parts, are subject to wear and tear over time. Rewinding a motor is like refreshing it, and if the motor needs it, it will increase its efficiency. New scooters will rarely need this.
Unless you know how to do this and have the necessary equipment for motor rewinding, you will need to take your scooter to a professional.
Reduce the scooter’s own weight (advanced)
The weight that your scooter pulls doesn’t need to come off the load on it. Making the scooter lighter itself will make it more energy-efficient, hence give it more range.
There are several warnings when it comes to this method:
- modifying your scooter’s weight will most likely void your warranty
- modifying your scooter’s weight can decrease its stability, and thus its safety, as scooters are tested for safety with their normal weight, and making them lighter may cause them to shake more (see the list of safest electric scooters if safety is your biggest concern)
- you either need to know exactly what you’re doing, or find someone who does
That’s why I don’t really recommend it. You may shed a few pounds by getting lighter tires or fenders, or trying to replace an aluminum part with a carbon fiber one (not a good idea!), but it’s really not worth it in my opinion.
Only consider it as one of the last resorts, no matter how bad you think you need those extra few kilometers. I would even recommend getting a range-optimized scooter rather than heavily modifying one that wasn’t supposed to have a great range in the first place.
How can you reduce the weight of your electric scooter without heavy customizations?
There’s not that much you can do. Remove all extra accessories like holders and don’t carry bags.
Further modifications and customizations (advanced)
Here’s something impressive – Albert Nario builds his own fully custom electric scooter, which he claims goes about 45 mi / 73 km with using 30% of the battery. That would give us an estimated range of about 124 mi / 200 km total.
While the motor he uses is only 800 Watts, the construction is probably as light as it can be, and the battery is pretty strong too at 72 V, which might make reaching 124 mi / 200 km on a single charge, well… possible. Maybe.
I don’t suggest building your own electric scooter by any means.
You should be aware, however, that you can get a much greater range if you are willing to customize your scooter for it.
How much range do electric scooters get
A very common question, with a not so simple answer.
Your average consumer-grade electric scooter will get anywhere between 8 and 18 mi / 15 and 30 km on a single charge in the real world.
The manufacturers will advertise the range of these scooters under test lab conditions, which are never a good representation of the environments scooters are really used. Those ranges will typically be about 3 to 6 mi / 5 to 10 km more than what you can expect to get (see the electric scooter real range calculator to figure out exactly how much range you will get from your specific scooter).
However, we’re talking about the regular scooters here. There are many, many higher-end models, with more power, that are able to get much more range. A few can go more than 100 kilometers on a single charge!
Check out the detailed guide on long range electric scooters to learn more.