From making sure that your charger has the correct voltage and amps, to following proper charging protocol, there are some simple steps that you can take to significantly prolong the battery life of your electric scooter.
In this guide, you'll learn how to charge, see our recommendations of the best fast chargers, and discover how you can achieve optimal charging performance.
How to Charge
Two Important Numbers You Need to Know Before Charging
Voltage, commonly referred to as electric pressure, is the measured strength of electricity flowing through a circuit.
The voltage of a charger must match the voltage of a battery. Those with higher voltages can charge at a faster rate than those of a lower voltage.
For example, an electric scooter that has a 52V battery requires a 52V charger.
Typically, electric scooter chargers fall into one of these six buckets: 36V, 48V, 52V, 60V, 72V, and 84V.
Amperage is the measurement of electric current in amperes (amps).
One ampere tells you how much electrical charge is flowing past any point in a circuit in one second.
The higher the amperage, the higher the electrical charge that can flow into your battery, and the quicker it will charge.
Most electric scooter chargers have an amperage of 2A, but they can be higher. For instance, a fast charger may reach up to 6.5A.
How To Charge An Electric Scooter: Step-by-Step Guide
Charging your electric scooter may seem straightforward, but to ensure an optimal charge cycle and reduce the chance of damage to the charger or battery, you need to follow the steps below correctly.
1. Plug the Charger Into a Power Outlet
Start by plugging the charger into a power outlet.
It’s important to do this before connecting the charger to your electric scooter to protect it from damage.
Inside a charger is a capacitor – a device that stores electrical energy, has two terminals, and draws current from the input when the output switch is turned on. When a charger isn’t plugged into a power supply it has 0 volts. If you were to connect the charger to your scooter's battery first, it could discharge current into the capacitor. This can result in sparking and cause damage to the charger.
So, by plugging the charger into the power outlet first, you’re able to bring the voltage of the capacitor closer to the battery. This means that when you plug the charger into the scooter’s charging ports, the difference in voltage between both the battery and charger will be much smaller, thereby preventing any undue damage.
2. Connect the Charger To the Scooter's Charging Port
Once the charger is plugged into a power outlet, it’s time to connect the opposing end to your scooter.
However, before you connect it, you should always make sure that the scooter is switched off, and then plug it in.
Most charging ports have protective covers that need to be removed first. Once the cover is off, check for any dust and debris. If it’s clear, push the connector into the port. If your scooter has two charging ports you can use two chargers simultaneously to achieve a quicker charge time.
>It’s also important not to force the connector into the charging port. The vast majority of chargers come with connectors that are shaped and keyed, so they only go in one way.
3. Check For a Red Light on the Charger
As with most rechargeable devices, it's always best to check for the small red LED charging light to make sure that the charger is connected correctly and that the charging process has begun.
4. Wait For Your Scooter to Charge
Once plugged in and charging, you need to wait for the battery to reach your desired level of charge.
You can either check your scooter’s user manual to get an idea of how long that will take, or use our simple equation (further down the guide) to determine charge time.
5. Turn the Charger Off and Disconnect It When a Green Light Shows on the Charger
When the red light goes green the battery is fully charged.
While most electric scooters are equipped with controllers – smart devices that monitor and regulate all of the electrical parts of a scooter – depending on your specific model, you may need to pay close attention to the charge level of your battery to prevent over-voltage (i.e. over-charging).
Typically, a controller will shut down the power supply when the battery voltage exceeds a preset level, thereby protecting it from over-charging as a result of being left plugged in for long periods (i.e. overnight).
However, for scooters that don’t have controllers with battery management systems, it’s always best to stop charging when the battery reaches 80%, or if you need every last drop of energy, immediately unplug the charger once it turns green. Doing so will significantly extend battery life.
Best Fast Chargers
If you aren’t able to purchase a fast charger from your scooter’s manufacturer or retailer, it can be challenging trying to find one by yourself. To help, we’ve compiled a short list of the best fast chargers to give you a head start:
Fast Charger Features That You Need
The best fast chargers should have a range of useful features, including:
Input Voltage Control
The input voltage control allows you to choose the input voltage based on your location (i.e. 110V or 240V). For example, in the US it will be 110V, but in the UK it’s 230V.
Charge Rate (Amperage) Control
This is a feature that allows you to slow or speed up the charge rate by adjusting the amperage of the charger. Most fast chargers with this feature offer you a range of amperage values from 1A to 6.5A. The higher the amps, the faster your scooter will charge.
Charge Depth Control
This is a useful feature that allows you to set the point at which the charger stops charging.
For example, instead of always charging up to 100%, you can set the charger to automatically stop at 80% or 90%.
Automatic Charge Optimization
When your charger is set to reach 100%, it will automatically lower the amperage when it reaches 80%. This optimizes the charge cycle and protects the battery.
A display shows you the amperage and voltage being used during the charging process.
How to Find the Correct Charger For Your Scooter
The best way to find a charger that’s compatible with your scooter is to either buy one directly from your scooter’s manufacturer or retailer. However, if that isn’t possible, here are some useful tips to help you choose the right one.
Operating Limits: Using the Correct Voltage and Amperage
The voltage of your charger must match the voltage of your battery. The amperage, on the other hand, can either match the value of the standard charger that came with your scooter or be higher since this is responsible for a faster charge.
While this is relatively straightforward, it’s essential that you use a charger with the correct voltage and amperage. Getting it wrong could result in a failed recharge or even damage to the battery.
As a rule of thumb, we only recommend using a fast charger on batteries with capacities that exceed 15Ah. Similarly, we recommend a maximum amperage of 4A.
Connector: Making Sure the Charge Connector Matches the Port
Not all chargers are made equal. Various connectors are used for different electric scooters.
You need to check that your new charger matches your scooter’s charging port. The most common connectors are:
This is a circular three-pin connector with a 12.44mm diameter.
It’s made up of three ports that receive three prongs. There’s also a threaded metal locking ring to hold the connector secure to the battery port.
This type of port is extremely common across commuter, performance, high-performance, and ultra-performance electric scooters.
The M16 is a circular three-pin connector that’s similar in appearance to the GX16 but measures 12.5mm and doesn’t have a metal locking ring.
These are becoming more popular on electric scooters since they have raised plastic to isolate the pins and prevent arcing.
Both 3-pin and 4-pin XLR connectors are found on electric scooters.
The 3-pin version is commonly found on a wide range of models, while the 4-pin version is only seen on a few more recent scooters.
Also known as a bullet connector because of its unusual shape, the XT60 is small and has two ports.
There are only a couple of electric scooters that use these connectors.
A DC Coaxial is a barrel-style connector that’s found on many electrical items including a range of electric scooters. It has a single central prong.
These are common on budget scooters.
Although not common, some low-power scooters can be charged via a USB port.
Using Fast Chargers
Charge Settings: Optimal Configuration
Fast charging at a high amperage is more convenient, but it can stress the battery out and take a toll on its long-term performance.
To speed up your battery recharge without excessive heat generation or degradation, we recommend charging at a maximum of 4A.
Battery Size: Can Fast Chargers Be Used On All Batteries?
Fast chargers are only suitable for use on larger batteries with capacities that are equal to or exceed 15Ah.
Any smaller than this and a fast charger can put too much pressure on the battery, causing it to overheat.
Battery Management System: Keeping the Battery Healthy While Charging
A battery management system (BMS) monitors the use of the battery to ensure optimal performance.
By protecting the battery against over-voltage, low-voltage, over-discharge, over-current, and over-temperature, the system keeps the battery operating within set parameters.
Examples of this include disconnecting the battery from the electrical load provided by the charger when it senses that the internal temperature of the battery has exceeded a safe value.
On the other hand, a poorly-made scooter that lacks a BMS will be at risk of overheating since there’s no system to throttle the electrical load.
Pros & Cons of Fast Chargers
- They can halve the charging time of your scooter.
- High-quality fast chargers provide a range of variable charging options to ensure you can tailor the changing process to your battery for optimal charge cycles.
- In some cases, using a fast charger can void your electric scooter warranty. However, it’s highly unlikely that manufacturers will be able to detect their use.
- The faster you charge the more heat that’s generated. Heat is one of the biggest causes of battery cell degradation, so it’s extremely important that you get the balance between slow and fast charging right.
How to Calculate Charge Time: A Simple Equation
Calculating the amount of time it will take your battery to charge is easy.
First, you need to know the capacity of the battery in amp-hours (Ah). This can be found on the scooter or the retailer’s website.
Second, you need to know the amp (A) rating of the charger. This can be found on the charger.
Then, once you have both figures, use this equation:
Amp-hours of the battery / Amperage of charger = Total charge time
For example: 10Ah / 2A = 5 hours
It’s important to remember that this will only give you an approximate charge time and should be used as a rule of thumb. When your battery reaches 80% charge, the charger will automatically lower the amperage to optimize the charge cycle. Therefore, the last 20% of the charging process is slower.
Charge Time Table (Based on Popular Battery Sizes & Charge Rates)
|5.2 Ah||5.2 hr||2.6 hr||1.7 hr||1.3 hr|
|7.5 Ah||7.5 hr||3.75 hr||>2.5 hr||1.9 hr|
|10.4 Ah||10.4 hr||5.2 hr||3.5 hr||2.6 hr|
|13 Ah||13 hr||6.5 hr||4.3 hr||3.3 hr|
|15.6 Ah||15.6 hr||7.8 hr||5.2 hr||3.9 hr|
|18.2 Ah||18.2 hr||9.1 hr||6.1 hr||4.6 hr|
|20.8 Ah||20.8 hr||10.4 hr||6.9 hr||5.2 hr|
|23.4 Ah||23.4 hr||11.7 hr||7.8 hr||>5.9 hr|
|24.5 Ah||24.5 hr||12.25 hr||8.2 hr||6.1 hr|
|28 Ah||28 hr||14 hr||9.3 hr||7 hr|
|30 Ah||30 hr||15 hr||10 hr||7.5 hr|
|32 Ah||32 hr||16 hr||10.7 hr||8 hr|
|35 Ah||35 hr||17.5 hr||11.7 hr||8.8 hr|
Charging Tips: How to Ensure Optimal Performance
Aside from prolonging battery life by charging at a slower rate, there are a few other steps you can take to ensure optimal charge cycle performance.
Prolong Battery Life Up to 4X By Using the 80/30 Rule (Depending on Your Battery)
Depending on your electric scooter, you may want to employ the 80/30 charging rule.
By never letting your battery drop below 30% and only charging it to 80%, you can significantly slow its rate of degradation and prolong its life.
This technique is useful for older batteries (especially those made of metal hydroxides) since it’s best to keep them operating within a given range of charge to prolong performance.
However, modern electric scooters use lithium-ion batteries and controllers that are calibrated to work together to prevent over-voltage, low-voltage, and over-discharge. As a result, the controller knows when to limit and stop the charging process to ensure that the battery doesn’t charge beyond a preset level. It also limits the amount of power that can be discharged from the battery to avoid deterioration of the cells.
This means that you can charge your battery to 100% and run it until the power fully depletes, and then recharge again.
Don’t Charge Your Scooter As Fast As Possible Just Because You Can
Fast charging is convenient and you may be tempted to charge your battery as fast as possible. However, the faster you charge it, the hotter it will get, and the quicker it will degrade.
Using the charger that came with your scooter will ensure optimal charging, but if you decide to use a fast charger, we strongly recommend that you don’t exceed a charge rate of 4A.
Don’t Mix a Standard and Fast Charger
If you have both a standard and a fast charger, don’t alternate between them. Choose which one works best for you and stick with it.
Similarly, if you have a scooter with dual charging ports, make sure both chargers are the same (i.e. don't use fast and standard chargers simultaneously).
Once your battery has finished charging, you should disconnect the charger immediately to prevent overcharging.
Overcharging is when a charger continues to charge a battery once it’s reached 100%. If this happens it can raise the voltage of the battery and cause permanent damage.
In most cases, however, there are protective measures built into chargers, batteries, and controllers to prevent this, but it’s always worth unplugging following a charge in case they fail.
Charge the Battery When It’s Between 32 F and 113 F (0 C to 45 C)
Batteries produce an electrical charge via a series of chemical reactions. If the temperature around the battery drops too low or too high, it can affect these reactions.
If you charge the battery when it’s at a temperature between 32 F and 113 F (0 C to 45 C) you’ll reduce the risk of degradation.
Store Your Scooter at a 40% Charge
A fully discharged battery degrades faster than one with charge, particularly if kept at 0% for an extended period.
As a result, the optimal charge level for storage is 40%. This puts the least strain on the battery and preserves the condition of its cells. After all, it's no coincidence that most batteries arrive from the manufacturer with an approximate 40% charge.
Store Your Scooter In a Cool, Dry Environment
Keeping your scooter in a cool place will protect it against temperature fluctuations that can otherwise damage the battery’s chemical composition.
It’s also necessary to keep it dry to prevent water and condensation from building up and entering the scooter’s circuitry.
Make Sure Your Electric Scooter and Charger Are Dry, Not Wet
If any part of your scooter – including the battery port – or charger is wet, you must dry it before charging.
A wet battery or charger could cause a short circuit, leading to damage on either part. It also increases the risk of fire and electric shock.
Turn Your Scooter Off While Charging
Keeping your scooter turned off while you charge will ensure that the battery charges correctly.
If turned on, you run the risk of constantly draining and recharging since the battery can discharge power to the scooter’s electrical components at the same time as its being charged. This can lead to faulty charging and even battery damage.
How Much Are Electric Scooter Chargers?
Standard and fast electric scooter chargers cost between $40 and $180.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Scooter?
To calculate the cost of charging an electric scooter you need to multiply the kilowatt-hour (KWh) value of your scooter’s battery by the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity.
The first step is to identify the watt-hour (Wh) value of your scooter’s battery. To do this, multiply the battery’s voltage (V) by its amp-hours (Ah).
For example: 36V x 10Ah = 360 Wh.
Then, you need to divide the Wh figure by 1,000 to get the kilowatt-hour value.
For example: 360Wh / 1000 = 0.36 kWh.
Once you have completed the steps above, it’s time to multiply the kWh value of your battery by your local electricity rate.
According to Save on Energy, the average residential electricity rate in the U.S. is 15.46 cents per kilowatt-hour.
So, to continue our example: 0.36 kWh x 15.46 cents per kilowatt-hour = $0.06.
Therefore, it costs just $0.06 to charge an electric scooter that has a 36V 10Ah battery. For context, this equates to 25-30 miles of ride time.
What Kind of Charger Does an Electric Scooter Use?
Electric scooters can be charged with standard or fast AC to DC chargers.
They can be plugged into your home AC electricity supply and will convert it into DC for use in your scooter’s battery.
Are All Electric Scooter Chargers the Same?
Not all electric scooter chargers are the same. They come in various shapes and sizes with different voltages, amperages, and connectors.
Different scooter models require different chargers, so you need to make sure that you have the correct one before attempting to recharge your battery.
How Many Charge Cycles Does an Electric Scooter Battery Have?
A standard FST battery will deliver anywhere from 200 to 300 charge cycles at peak performance. However, a high-quality name-brand battery – like those from LG, Samsung, and Dynavolt – can reach between 300 and 500 charge cycles before you notice a dip in performance.
Where is the Charging Port on an Electric Scooter?
The charging port on an electric scooter is usually located on or near the battery.
Most batteries are housed in the deck or stem, so you’ll likely find the charging port on the side of the deck or towards the base of the stem.
However, some scooters choose to place the ports on top of the deck or integrate them into the neck of the scooter to ensure there’s no risk of them becoming damaged as a result of side-swiping against curbs and other obstacles.
Can I Charge My Electric Scooter at Home?
Electric scooter chargers are designed to be plugged into standard power sockets. This means you can charge them at home, at work, or anywhere you have access to mains electricity.
Can You Overcharge a Battery?
Most modern scooters come with automatic overcharge protection that will disconnect the charger once the battery reaches 100%.
However, we always recommend that you disconnect your charger as soon as the battery is charged just in case there are any faults, or your scooter is not adequately protected.
What Happens If You Overcharge an Electric Scooter?
If you overcharge your scooter’s battery, the current will continue to flow into the battery, increasing its temperature and degrading the cells. This may cause permanent immediate damage, or simply reduce its lifespan.
Can I Charge My Electric Scooter With a Power Bank?
You can use a power bank to charge your electric scooter. However, you will need to use a charger that matches both the power bank’s output and your scooter’s input. The power bank must also be able to provide the necessary voltage and amperage.
Can You Make Money Charging Electric Scooters?
You can make money by recharging scooters belonging to rental programs like Bird and Lime.
Electric scooters can be rented in many big cities and it’s relatively easy to set up as a freelance electric scooter charger to earn some extra cash.
How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Scooter Battery?
How long it takes to charge an electric scooter battery depends on the size, voltage, and amperage of your battery and charger.
The vast majority of electric scooters come with standard 2A chargers that can take anywhere between 4 and 20 hours to recharge your battery.
Fast chargers, on the other hand, speed up this process and cut the charge time in half.
Why is My Electric Scooter Charger Staying Green?
A green light on your electric scooter charger indicates that the battery is fully charged.
If the light stays green even when the battery has been discharged, it may indicate a fault and you’ll need to visit the troubleshooting section of your user manual or notify the manufacturer.
How Do You Know If Your Electric Scooter is Charging?
When your charger is correctly connected to the power socket and scooter battery port, you should be able to see a continuous red light on the charger body.
Why Isn’t My Scooter Charging?
There can be several reasons why your electric scooter isn’t charging.
First, it might not be connected to the charger or power socket correctly. Secondly, there could be a fault in one of the connections between the battery and the power socket. Thirdly, the battery may have been over-discharged, or damaged and is now unable to recharge.