In this guide, we answer all the major questions people have about electric scooter batteries.
An electric scooter battery is unquestionably the most important part of your electric scooter. It’s the key feature that makes the electric scooter distinguishable from its less impressive non-battery brothers and sisters. Without a battery, your electric scooter won’t get very far.
While every electric scooter needs a battery to operate, not all scooters use the same battery types. If you’re new to the world of electric scooters and want to learn more about the batteries that power this quick, convenient mode of transport, this mega guide to electric scooter batteries should provide you with all the answers you need.
Learn what an electric scooter battery is, how much they cost and how long the best electric scooters can go on a single charge here.
E-scooter battery types are usually one of the three:
Note that you may often hear these referred to by their acronyms by manufacturers who assume we’re all as in-the-know about e-scooter batteries as they are. For lithium batteries, listen out for the shorter li-ion or LEP. Sealed lead-acid batteries may be shortened down to SLAs, and Nickel-metal hydride batteries are often referred to as NiMHs.
Here’s what you need to know about these three common types of battery for electric scooters:
The lithium battery might be the most recent available option for electric scooters, but it has quickly become the most popular. You’ll find that generally, a lithium battery pack is far more expensive than the other battery types – but you do normally get what you pay for.
So, what exactly makes lithium-ion batteries worth the hype? They’re the lightest type of battery available, for starters. They’re also long-lasting, and you won’t need to replace them as quickly or charge them as frequently as you’ll need to charge lithium batteries and sealed lead-acid batteries. Additionally, you won’t need to perform regular maintenance on them between uses, making them an easier battery to own in the long run.
It’s worth knowing about the two sub-categories of lithium-ion batteries that you might find in a newer electric scooter. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are marketed to have an even longer lifespan than standard lithium ions – and they’re also supposed to be a safer option. Lithium polymer batteries are manufactured differently to standard lithium ions and have a much smaller, flatter design that makes them ideal for fitting in a smaller, more compact scooter.
The sealed lead-acid battery has been around a lot longer than the lithium-ion battery. These batteries tend to be the heaviest of all, which is why they’re gradually losing popularity as an option for electric scooters. Still, their inconveniences with weight do make them a much cheaper alternative if your budget is on the lower side.
Sealed lead-acid batteries also have the advantage of power. They’re used in the auto industry for that very reason, and their ability to produce a high current immediately is perhaps the only reason they’re still a feature of electric scooters. You can certainly get a lot of use out of this type of battery, but expect it to be fairly large and heavy.
As the middle-grade battery on the e-scooter market, the nickel-metal hydride battery has also been a common option for a good few years. This battery type is lighter than the sealed lead acid battery but still doesn’t come close to the ultra-lightness of lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are more expensive than sealed lead-acid batteries.
You’ll often find that a nickel-metal hydride battery is specifically produced for the scooter it comes with, which may lead to annoyances down the line when it comes to battery replacement (more on this later). They last longer than sealed lead-acid batteries, but not as long as lithium-ion batteries.
Replacement batteries vary in price depending on the battery type you’re going for. Lithium-ion batteries cost between the $100 and $500 mark, depending on their quality, weight, lifespan, and so on. Nickel metal hydride battery packs often cost under the $100 mark, while sealed lead acid batteries cost around $80.
When buying a replacement battery, it’s always wise to purchase from a manufacturer you can trust. Even if it means shelling out on a more expensive product, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ve invested in a high-quality battery that’s designed to last. Avoid product prices that seem too good to be true, and always read up on reviews from fellow customers if you’re dubious.
Again, the length of time your electric scooter will last depends on the type of battery you own. It’s inevitable that at some point, the quality of your battery will diminish to the point where you’ll need to purchase a new one, and while there’s no given lifespan of a standard e-scooter battery, you can expect it to last for at least 300 charges. If you were to charge your scooter once every two weeks, that would get you many years of use out of your e-scooter battery before you needed to purchase a replacement.
If you want to prolong your battery’s lifespan, make sure to only ever charge it with a current of less than 2 amps, and remember not to overcharge. Try to store your scooter at around a 75% charge, and don’t use your scooter in extreme heat or cold. You’re also recommended to recharge your batteries even when you’re storing your scooter for longer periods without use. This is because when the battery voltage is allowed to fall too low, it can cause the battery to degrade.
All e-scooter batteries are rechargeable, so you won’t need to worry about buying a replacement battery each time the charge runs out (that would be expensive and unreasonable). Your method of battery recharging usually depends on the type of battery you own. Some batteries will require using a hardwired battery charger unit in the scooter’s internal system, while others will require you to take out the battery and charge it in an external charger.
If your scooter uses an internal charger unit, simply plug the charger into the designated area of the scooter and plug it into your wall outlet. Leave until fully charged. If you need to charge your scooter battery externally, carefully remove it from your scooter and place it in your external charger, then plug it into your wall outlet and leave to charge.
You need to make sure you charge your scooter as per the manufacturer’s instructions if you want it to last long into the future. Even over-charging the batteries – i.e. leaving them on charge for longer than they need – can cause the chemical makeup of the batteries to change, which can reduce their lifespan. It can take up to 6 hours for a scooter battery to charge, but be sure to keep an eye on your charger, which should indicate you with a light when your battery is fully charged.
There is no definitive answer for how far an electric scooter can travel before you’ll need to re-charge your battery. It all depends on a number of factors, including the model of your scooter, the terrain you’re riding on, your body weight, the type of battery you’re using, and weather conditions, and whether you’re riding mostly uphill or downhill.
The average figure for electric scooter travel on a full charge is 15 to 20 miles. Some of the faster high-end e-scooters can go up to around 45 or 50 miles on a charge, though. The Dualtron Thunder is one of those. The longer you use your batteries, and the more charges you subject them to, the more they’ll diminish in capacity. Eventually, you’ll need to consider purchasing a new battery to continue to get the most out of your scooter, as mentioned above.
If you’ve been looking into buying an electric scooter, you’ve probably noticed the excessive warnings that make up a large portion of a scooter’s product description: don’t allow reverse charge or short circuit, store in low humidity, don’t disassemble, keep away from water, remove battery when not in use – and so on. Does this then mean that e-scooter batteries are unsafe?
In a word: no. You may have heard the horror stories of some e-scooters bursting into flames because of battery faults, but those are almost always the cheap knock-off products that use incredibly poor-quality batteries that should never even make it out of manufacturing. If you want to stay safe, you’ll need to be prepared to pay for a scooter with a high-quality battery with proven effectiveness. Always buy from manufacturers you can trust. Look for those with a solid history of good reputation, a good warranty, and plenty of positive customer reviews.
Paul is an environmental engineer turned micromobility expert. With a mechanical background and hands-on experience with more than 150 personal electric vehicles, Strobel is one of the leading specialists in the PEV scene. He handles everything from technical guides on the inner workings of vehicles to industry development news.