Before I bought my first electric scooter, I always wondered about electric scooter components and electric scooter materials.
The general materials seemed a lot like what is used for bicycles, so I already had some ideas and assumptions, but over the years, I learned a lot more. In this guide, we will take a deep dive and answer the question what are electric scooters made of.
What are electric scooters made of?
The frames of most electric scooters are made of aerospace or industrial-grade aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, or titanium. Their electric motors are made of metals, copper wires, and magnets. The batteries are made of various metals and minerals. The details and supplementary parts are made of steel, plastic, rubber, and silicone.
Read on to find out how to recognize a well-built electric scooter, and a low-quality one.
Electric scooter parts
Every electric scooter will have the following parts by definition:
- chassis (stem + deck)
- electric motor
- battery and controller
- electronics and wires
- throttle mechanism
- brake mechanism
Besides the essential parts, some scooters may have:
Electric scooter materials and quality
The basic building block of the electric scooter is the chassis, which holds everything together. Simply put, we can think of the chassis as the combination of the stem and the deck.
The majority of electric scooters use an industrial-grade aluminum alloy for their base. This is the same material used for bicycles. Some manufacturers go a step further and use aerospace aluminum alloy, the stuff used for building airplanes. That type of aluminum is lighter and provides benefits for some use cases.
Some electric scooters are made of carbon fiber. These are not very common yet, and many scooters employ a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is both lighter and harder than aluminum, but the drawback is less elasticity. Check out the guide on carbon fiber electric scooters to learn about the pros and cons of carbon fiber, and when you should consider such a scooter.
High-end electric scooters may use similar materials to cheaper ones but are characterized by superior build quality. They exhibit stability, fewer loose parts, and reduced noise during rides, providing a smoother experience. A key distinction is their minimal shaking and vibration, despite comparable weight to lower-end models.
A small number of scooters also use some steel in their chassis, for parts that need to be extra tough. A scooter made of steel entirely is not too practical, as it typically weighs too much.
Everything else that’s non-electronic in the scooter is made from:
- steel or other metals (wheels, rims, disk brakes, screws, nuts, bolts)
- plastic (fenders, throttle button, brake lever, supplementary parts)
- rubber or silicone (surface of the deck, handle covers, tires, caps)
As a general rule of thumb, higher-end scooters will use sturdier, more expensive materials. They will frequently use silicone over rubber or plastic for many parts.
Some scooters put sandpaper-like grip tape on the top of the deck for increased grip.
Even the best electric scooters for kids will often include more plastic or other cheaper materials in their build.
Electric scooter electronics
Electric scooters feature motors made of copper wires, magnets, and metals. These motors can be hub motors within the wheels or external with chains connecting to the wheels.
Scooters with high-quality motors will be very responsive to your commands, provide lots of raw power that is easily felt when accelerating or going uphill and will generally not make loud sounds. You can check out the electric scooter motors guide to learn more about quality motors.
Also, every electric scooter, by definition, has a battery. Most modern scooters will have a lithium-ion battery, which is made from carbon, lithium salts, and metal oxides (source). High-quality batteries are found in scooters with long ranges, and are often made by Samsung or LG.
You control the electric scooter with the throttle button and commands on the screen. All of the electronic parts are connected with electric wires, and the controller is what transfers the commands you give with the throttle and the screen to the motor and the battery.
If you are interested in seeing what they look like you can check this video of Ninebot Segway series electric scooter parts and accessories.
Electric scooter tires
Most electric scooters have rubber air-filled tires, aka pneumatic tires. They are further divided into tubeless tires and ones with an inner tire.
Some scooters come with solid tires, which are made from rubber or silicone. The main advantage solid tires have over pneumatic ones is that they don’t suffer from flats. However, the drawback is that your rides will be shakier and less stable.
To know exactly which scenarios are perfect for a scooter with solid tires, check out the pneumatic vs solid tire comparison.
Electric scooter tires will come in various sizes and diameters, ranging from 6 to 11 inches or more.
Additional electric scooter parts
One of the most useful accessories an electric scooter can have is a seat. It is a very in-demand feature of scooters, and even models that previously didn’t have a seat are now being redesigned to support one. The seat will usually be optional, and easy to add and remove.
Another useful addition is a basket or a trunk. Adults with jobs and responsibilities love this feature (I wish mine had one, and I will probably try and install a basket soon).
If you’re looking for a scooter with both a seat and a trunk, make sure to check out the article on the best models here.
Check this video from Bike Zone to review some accessories for electric scooters that are simply made to make the rides safer, swifter, and more enjoyable in all situations.
The majority of scooters will come with some sort of a sound-signaling part, either a bell or a horn. A few scooters will not include this out of the box, but you can easily buy one for cheap and install it (you can check out the very popular, very loud Airzound on Amazon).
Also, a very simple yet extremely useful feature is a rear-view mirror. The bad news is that not a lot of scooters include this out of the box, but the good news is you can find one for very cheap and easily add it to your scooter.
Check out the electric scooter accessories post if you need an additional horn, bell, or mirror, and to see some other cool accessories ideas.