ERideHero Logo

Electric Scooter Motors: A Technical Guide for Beginners

Paul Strobel
Paul Strobel
November 24, 2020
Kaabo Mantis Pro motor
Table of Contents

The motor that propels your new electric scooter is the heart of your ride. The electric scooter motor provides you with the force you need to move forward. Once you engage the motor, it becomes your servant and will take you wherever you want to go at the speed you want to.

All electric scooters have at least one motor, like the popular Turboant X7 Pro, while some of the more powerful electric scooters have two - the Inokim OxO, for instance. Your scooter's electric motor is a direct current brushless unit that is built into the hub of one or both of the wheels on the electric scooter

Electric scooters with dual hub motors have two motors, a motor in the front and another motor located at the rear wheels. The Dualtron X from MiniMotors utilizes two 2,700-watt BLDC hub motors, so power is seamlessly delivered to each wheel. The rear motor starts first, and the front motor will not start until you press a convenient button located on the handlebars to attain more power or speed.

The power your motor delivers is rated based on its power consumption (in watts). In general, the higher the wattage listed on a motor, the more powerful the motor will be. You will be able to carry more weight, accelerate quicker, go faster, and your electric motor will make it much easier for you to climb hills, or go over any other elevation you need to cover, using your motorized electric scooter.

Unfortunately, more powerful motors use more power over a shorter period of time, making your electric scooter heavier and drain more battery.

Motor Power Ratings

Often, your electric scooter motor's wattage may not always give you the complete picture of how much power it delivers. When the label on a motor reads 350 watts, it means the motor consumes 350 watts. You will know the actual electrical power output of the motor is less because of the motor's efficiency.

Today's finer quality electric scooter motors are generally more efficient than those of poorer quality. They are usually constructed better, or they may have better quality components.

Unfortunately, any motor constructed by the human race has yet to be able to attain 100% efficiency. The best industrial motors on the market today will normally have no more than a 50-60% maximum efficiency ratio.

It is possible to calculate the actual wattage power output of a motor by multiplying the listed voltage (V) times the current amps (A). If a motor runs at 36 volts at 6 amps of current, it would have an actual power output of 36 x 6 or 216 watts.

You can use the interactive calculator below to calculate the wattage. Simply enter the voltage (V) and current (A) and it'll give you the W.

V A = W

Motor Torque

An electric scooter motor's torque is a measurement of the amount of force necessary to rotate your electric scooter's wheel and propel you forward. Torque is measured in pound-foot (lb-ft) in countries using the imperial system, or Newton-meters (Nm) in countries using the Metric system.

Most of today's electric scooter manufacturers do not provide their motors' torque output specifications. However, torque can be estimated using another formula and dividing the motor power in watts by the maximum revolutions per second of the motor.

Final Performance

Usually, the power of an electric scooter motor does not give you an accurate measurement of the true performance of different electric scooter motors. An electric scooter with a more powerful motor should accelerate faster and carry heavier loads than a scooter with less power.

Since the listed power of a motor does not take into account how efficient it might be, it is not the ideal method to compare the performance of one motor to another. If a scooter accelerates faster and carries heavier loads than another carries, it is obviously performing better.

Also, there is no set standard method for measuring each manufacturer's motors to make accurate comparisons. The first manufacturer you check out may measure motor wattage differently from the competition.

We recommend that if you want to compare the performance of an electric scooter's performance with another, use the manufacturer's wattage measurements only as a guide. Never use it as a direct comparison of an electric scooter's actual performance with another's.

Peak vs. Continuous Power

When discussing an electric scooter's motor power, there is a difference between peak power and sustained power. The term "peak power" is the maximum power the motor is capable of consuming for a short time before it begins to overheat. The measurement is not useful for any practical purposes but is only for comparisons between one motor to another.

Also, a motor's peak power is often from 2 to 5 times greater than its continuous power and is often used by manufacturers to make their statistics seem higher than their competition.

Continuous Power, which is often called "Sustained Power," is the maximum amount of power a motor can consume while running for an indefinite period. Most manufacturers use continuous power to refer to their motor's power rating or wattage. It is usually the most useful measurement when comparing the performance of one electric scooter to another. 

Motor Types

Two different types of motors are used in electric scooters. These are called brushless and brushed DC electric motors.

Brushed Motors

Brushed motors are the oldest form of motor technology invented in the early 1800s. The motors were the first commercial application of converting electric power to mechanical energy. The motors were used for nearly 140 years to operate motors for both commercial and industrial uses.

In a brushed DC motor, mechanical brushes are dragged along the inside of a motor to power alternate coil phases and produce motion. However, over time, these brushes are worn down by friction and cause voltage irregularities that can be hazardous.

Brushless Motors

In a Brushless motor, digital switching circuitry replaces the mechanical component and powers alternate coils in the motor. Brushless DC motors came on the market in the 1970s. Also known as electronically commutated (EC) or BLDC, the motors are more efficient, more durable, and perform better than brushed motors.

Brushless motors also are less prone to overheating and run quieter. Most of the quality electric scooters manufactured today will have a BLDC motor and are much preferred over the brushed type in nearly all electrical applications. For more discussion, see the link, Brushed DC Motors vs. Brushless DC Motors.

Hub, Mid-Drive, or Hubless

Electric scooter hub- vs hubless motor

Most motors on electric scooters today are hub motors. In a hub motor, the motor is typically placed on the rear wheel of the electric scooter, although other configurations are possible. The hub motor is relatively simple, lightweight, and inexpensive to manufacture.

A mid-drive motor has several key advantages over a traditional hub motor. A mid-drive motor drives the crank instead of the wheel and multiples its power. This allows it to take better advantage of the electric scooter's existing gears.

A mid-drive motor also delivers more power and range because of the gearing change. Also, a mid-drive motor is designed for easier service and maintenance. It can be removed and replaced by taking out two bolts without affecting any other aspect of the scooter. This allows for much easier troubleshooting and repairs.

With a hub motor, even basic maintenance tasks, including taking the wheel off to change a flat tire, can become a complicated process.

Most mid-drive motors are positioned close to the center of gravity with low ground clearance to improve handling and to distribute weight more evenly.

A hubless wheel is one that has no center. The axle is hollow and follows the wheel at a very tight tolerance. A hubless motor is reputed to offer better steering and braking characteristics because the forces applied are closer to the contact points of the wheel and the ground.

With the spokes and hub removed, there is also more space at the center, and the rotating inertia of the wheel is reduced. With the extra space, either a DC brushed or brushless motor can be installed to produce a unique and sleek appearance.

However, with the hubless design, higher capacity components are required because of the additional strain, and the wheels are more prone to suffering damage from potholes or other impacts that can bend the wheel rim. Hubless are also more expensive and require high-speed ball bearings that can break more easily under impact. Almost no popular manufacturers use hubless design these days due to those reasons.

Electric Scooter Motor Summary

Most of today's best-quality electric scooters, like the long-range Emove Cruiser, come with BLDC motors. When shopping for an electric scooter and comparing one to another, it can often be useful to use motor power (or wattage) to make a general comparison between the expected performance of different scooters. However, motors with similar wattage may not perform equally as some are more efficient than others.

Still, in general, the more power listed, the better your acceleration, top speed, and hill-climbing ability should be. Keep in mind that many manufacturers measure their scooter performance differently, so always use these figures as no more than a general guideline.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if my scooter motor doesn't work?

An electric scooter motor is usually one of the most reliable parts of the entire build. More than likely, if your motor isn't rotating, the problem might be a battery or controller issue

Can I do my own tune-up to improve my scooter's performance?

A few of today's electric scooters allow firmware hacks to allow you to modify the scooter's power output by making adjustments to the controller. This can improve scooter performance but will usually reduce the distance you travel and the life of your battery.

Will two motors with the same wattage perform equally?

Although the nominal/continuous power rating is a good indicator of how an electric scooter motor will perform, it does not mean they'll perform the same.

A good example is taking the Turboant X7 Pro and the Apollo Light. Both electric scooters have a single 350W motor. However, our tests showed that the Apollo Light was able to reach a top speed of 23.6 MPH (36 km/h) while the Turboant X7 Pro peaked at 19.5 MPH (31.4 km/h). Also, the Apollo Light was able to accelerate from 0-15 MPH in just 5 seconds while it took the X7 Pro 7.3 seconds on average.

To get the best picture of how an electric scooter will perform, factor the motor power, acceleration, and top speed together for a better understanding.

Our Team at ERideHero

At ERideHero, we believe that micro-mobility is the future of urban transportation. It brings everyone sustainable transportation and helps the environment by limiting carbon emissions.

We partner with brands and individuals to help you make the right purchase of micro-mobility scooter products by giving you the best possible guidance and educational support.

Our team tests and review products and creates extensive guides on various micro-mobility topics and cover the rules regarding actually riding these scooters in public.

With years of experience in the field, we aim to make the market transparent for every buyer so they know what they should be looking for in a scooter and what to stay away from when selecting the perfect micro-mobility product. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us today for more information.

Paul Strobel
Paul Strobel

Owner and editor of ERideHero. This website is the culmination of my passion for electric rideables, gadgets, and thrill-seeking. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions.

www.eridehero.com
ERideHero.com may earn commissions when you purchase items through links to external sources such as Amazon. Read our affiliate disclosure here.

You May Also Like

© ERideHero 2021. All rights reserved.