From voltage, amp-hours, and watt-hours, to 18650 and 21700 cells, there’s a lot to know when it comes to electric scooter batteries.
To help you understand how battery power is measured, as well as different types of electric scooter batteries, we’ve created this guide.
We also give tips on how to prolong battery life and share the key things to look out for when maintaining and replacing a battery.
How is Battery Power Measured? - 3 Metrics You Need to Know
Battery voltage is the amount of electrical potential that a battery holds. Commonly referred to as electric pressure, it’s the measured strength of electricity flowing through a circuit.
Electricity is the flow of free electrons from a positive to a negative terminal, and voltage pushes the electrons to move in the same direction resulting in an electrical current. Without it, the electrons would move around randomly.
To simplify this, think of the circuit as a garden hose. The voltage flowing through the circuit (i.e. from a battery to other electrical components) is the water pressure in the hose. It’s this pressure that makes current flow, thereby delivering power.
Typically, electric scooter batteries fall into one of these six buckets: 36V, 48V, 52V, 60V, 72V, or 84V.
In general, the higher the voltage, the more energy that’s stored and the greater the electrical pressure. An example of this is battery power being funneled to a motor. Here, a higher voltage means a faster acceleration because of the high electrical pressure.
An amp-hour (Ah) is a unit that tells you how much electrical charge can be supplied within an hour. It's calculated by multiplying the number of amps by the time they're supplied.
For example, if a battery is rated as 1Ah, it can deliver a current of 1 amp for an hour. However, it's not always that simple; if you have a 10Ah battery attached to a device that requires 10 amps of current, it will last for one hour. But if you connect it to a device that requires 5 amps, it will last for two hours.
The higher the amp-hours of an electric scooter battery, the greater the capacity of energy stored. Here, a higher figure equates to longer mileage.
Watt-hours are used to measure battery capacity. They are a measurement of electrical energy that’s equivalent to one watt of power expended for one hour.
It’s calculated by multiplying the battery's voltage by its amp-hours.
For example, a 36V 10Ah battery has 360Wh of electrical energy. This equates to approximately 25-30 miles of range.
Like amp-hours, the higher the watt-hours, the greater the capacity of energy stored. Here, a higher figure equates to longer mileage.
Ultimately, watt-hours is the key metric used for comparing battery performance.
Understanding Different Batteries
Types of Batteries
Lithium-Ion batteries are the most common type of power supply used in electric scooters. They are a relatively recent development but have become more popular than other battery types such as those that are lead-acid.
When you discharge a lithium-ion battery, lithium atoms on the negative side of the battery become ionized. The electrochemical potential of this reaction starts a flow of electrons around the circuits attached to the battery. Lithium is used for this because it’s highly reactive and gives up its electrons easily, acquiring an electronic charge in the process.
These types of batteries are generally more expensive than others but offer a range of benefits, making them the go-to option for electric scooters. Not only are smaller and lighter than others, but they also require less maintenance, last longer, and are significantly more efficient.
Lead-acid batteries were first used in the 19th century and are less expensive than those made with lithium. However, despite their low price, they're not as commonly used because they're larger, need relatively high levels of maintenance, and are less efficient.
Inside a lead-acid battery are tightly packed sheets of lead that are submerged in sulphuric acid to allow for a controlled chemical reaction. Here, the lead gives up electrons which then flow through the electrical circuits that the battery is attached to.
Most manufacturers consider lead-acid batteries to be too big and heavy to use in their electric scooters. However, because they're so much cheaper than lithium-ion batteries, you can still find them in some budget and kid's scooters. For example, Razor offers a range of affordable kid's scooters that run on rechargeable 12V sealed lead-acid batteries.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries were the next step in innovation from lead-acid batteries. They utilize nickel hydroxide and another metal to produce a flow of electrons through a circuit from negative to positive. They are about 30% lighter than most sealed lead-acid batteries and last longer.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are better suited to electric scooters than lead-acid batteries because they save weight and can take you further on a single charge. However, they've mostly been replaced with lithium-ion batteries because they're still relatively heavy, can discharge when not in use, and are likely to deteriorate after just 200 cycles.
Battery Brands: FST vs Name Brand (LG, Samsung, Dynavolt)
FST batteries tend to be lithium-ion batteries manufactured in China. They're relatively cheap and are often selected by electric scooter manufacturers when they want to keep costs down.
However, while they're safe and effective in the short term, they aren't built to the same standard as high-quality batteries from name brands like LG, Samsung, or Dynavolt.
Name-brand batteries are designed to deliver their peak performance for up to 500 charge cycles. This gives you 3 to 5 years of charges that deliver identical performance to the first time you used them.
A simple way to think about this is to imagine charging your phone. Just as your phone battery decays the more you charge it, the cheaper FST cells used in scooter batteries do the same. In brief, this means that your scooter’s maximum range will consistently get shorter the more times you charge it. High-quality batteries, however, prolong battery life meaning they deteriorate at a much slower rate.
Battery Cells: 18650 vs 21700
The lithium-ion batteries used for electric scooters are made of many single cells combined into one big pack. They almost look like someone has strapped lots of AA batteries together.
The numbers 18650 and 21700 refer to the physical size of the cells in the battery. 18650 batteries have cylindrical cells that measure 18mm in diameter and 65mm in length, while 21700 batteries contain cells that measure 21mm in diameter and 70mm in length.
Because the cells in 21700 batteries are larger, they have more capacity. As a result, 21700 batteries provide more power, meaning significantly longer mileage.
Which Battery is Best for an Electric Scooter?
The best battery for an electric scooter is a lithium-ion battery with 21700 cells, made by LG, Samsung, Dynavolt, or any other well-respected brand. These batteries will be lightweight, efficient, long-lasting, and deliver optimal performance for hundreds of charge cycles.
Pros and Cons of Different Battery Placements
- Further away from the ground, so it's less susceptible to damage
- The stem tends to remain cooler than the inside of the deck because it’s constantly being air-cooled
- Stems with batteries in are thicker than those that don’t have them. If you have small hands, this can make it harder to carry when folded.
- Top-heavy design with the center of gravity shifted toward the front of the scooter as opposed to centrally positioned.
- Weight distribution remains balanced and stable with a low center of gravity.
- Having the battery in the deck, frees up space in the stem, thereby making it more narrow and easier to wrap your hand around while carrying the scooter.
- Deck-mounted batteries are close to the ground, so they are more susceptible to damage. As a result, you need to be careful when going up and down curbs or riding through puddles unless the battery is sufficiently protected.
- Components housed in the deck can become heated because there’s little ventilation. You need to make sure your scooter has appropriate heat sinks to mitigate excessive heat generation.
- Removable batteries are a good theft deterrent because the scooter can't be ridden if they are removed.
- They are easier to charge because you only need to take the battery pack to the power outlet, as opposed to the entire scooter.
- You can purchase additional batteries to extend your range.
- Most removable batteries are stem mounted, making the stem thicker and harder to hold when carrying.
Battery Life: How Long Do Electric Scooter Batteries Last?
Charge Cycles and Peak Performance
A charge cycle is a process of charging a battery and discharging it as required into a load.
The term is typically used to specify a battery's expected life since the number of charge cycles affects battery performance.
All batteries are different, but a good-quality one can provide peak performance for up to 500 charge cycles. The peak performance of a battery is when it's operating at its optimum level and can deliver close to the amount of power indicated by its watt-hour rating.
After a battery has been charged beyond its optimum number of cycles, it will continue to power the scooter, but you'll begin to notice a shorter mileage.
As a general rule of thumb, cheaper batteries deliver fewer charge cycles, meaning performance decay is quicker.
How is the Maximum Mileage Figure Calculated?
The maximum mileage figure given in the specifications of electric scooters is calculated by running the scooter under standard testing conditions.
This consists of a 165 lbs person riding the scooter over flat terrain in the slowest speed setting. The battery is fully charged and then ridden until it is fully discharged. The miles traveled under these conditions are recorded as the scooter's maximum mileage.
How to Calculate Mileage Based on Real-World Riding
Most scooter riders don't weigh 165 lbs, won't stay on flat terrain, and want to make the most of their scooter's top speed.
To calculate the mileage based on real-world riding, a good rule of thumb is to multiply the maximum figure by 55-65%.
This will give you a far better idea of how long a single charge of your scooter battery will last with a heavier rider, undulating terrain, and using the fastest speed setting. For example, a manufacturer's maximum range of 20 miles will be closer to 11-13 miles in the real world.
How to Increase Battery Life
To increase the life of your battery and make it last as long as possible, there are several things you can do:
1. Prolong Battery Life Up to 4X By Using the 80/30 Rule (Depending on Your Battery)
Depending on the battery that your electric scooter has, you may want to employ the 80/30 charging rule.
By never letting your battery drop below 30% and only charging it up to 80%, you can significantly slow its rate of degradation and prolong its life. This is particularly useful for older batteries (especially metal hydroxides) since it’s best to keep batteries operating within a given range and limit their recharge cycles (commonly referred to as the memory effect).
However, the good news is that most modern electric scooters use controllers that are calibrated to work with the battery to protect it from over-voltage, low-voltage, and over-discharge. In simple terms, this means that the controller knows when to limit and stop the charging process to ensure the battery charge doesn’t exceed a preset level, whilst also limiting the amount of power that can be discharged to avoid deterioration of the battery cells.
Ultimately, this means that you can charge it to 100% and run the battery until the power fully depletes, and then recharge.
2. Don’t Charge Your Battery As Fast As Possible
Fast charging is convenient and you may be tempted to charge your battery as quickly as possible, but we recommend only using the charger that came with your scooter. Using the wrong charger can damage the battery and shorten its life.
Some scooters do come with the option of using a fast charger, though. So long as these have been tested with your scooter and are given the seal of approval from the manufacturer, then they can be used.
However, it’s important to note that the faster you charge your battery, the hotter it will become, and excessive heat generation is the leading cause of degradation.
3. Store Your Scooter Correctly
There are two things to consider here: the charge level at which you store your scooter, and the temperature of the designated storage location.
It’s no coincidence that most batteries arrive from the manufacturers with a 40% charge. This is the optimal charge level for when you want to put the least strain on the battery and preserve its optimal performance.
Each battery also has a temperature range at which it performs best. If it's regularly cooled or heated out of this range, it can affect its life and performance. The best temperature for most lithium-ion batteries is 59 ℉.
Battery Maintenance: What to Look Out For
Battery Management Systems
Every electric scooter has a controller – a device that monitors and regulates all of the electrical parts of a scooter – and a battery management system is one of its features. It’s used to monitor 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 the system disconnecting the battery from the electrical load if it senses that the voltage has dropped below a minimum limit to avoid it from depleting all of its energy and becoming completely flat. Similarly, it limits and shuts down the power supply when the internal temperature of the battery exceeds a safe value.
It also reports key information back to the scooter's display unit, allowing you to view things like battery level, temperature readouts, and error codes that correspond to certain issues.
These 2 tips will help ensure that you always charge your scooter effectively:
- Always use the same charger. For example, if the manufacturer offers a fast charger in addition to the standard one, don't switch between them; choose which works best for you and use that every time.
- 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).
Replacing a Battery
When Should You Replace an Electric Scooter Battery?
An electric scooter battery should be replaced when you notice a considerable dip in its performance. This could include; taking longer than usual to charge or discharging quicker than usual.
This change in a battery's performance indicates that some internal parts have begun to degrade and can no longer deliver their peak performance.
Most standard FST batteries can deliver between 200 and 300 charge cycles at peak performance. After this, you’ll start to notice a change in how the battery performs. If you charge your battery two times per week, it will last between 2 and 3 years.
High-quality name-brand batteries – including those from LG, Samsung, and Dynavolt – can deliver 300 to 500 charge cycles before dipping in performance. If you charge your battery two times per week, it will last between 3 and 5 years.
How Much Do Electric Scooter Batteries Cost?
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries cost between $200 and $1,000. Chinese FST batteries are cheaper and name brands like LG, Samsung, and Dynavolt are more expensive.
- Budget Model – A 36V 10Ah battery costs $220 (Example: Turboant X7 Max)
- Commuter Model – A 48V 13Ah battery costs $200 (Example: EMOVE Touring)
- Performance Model – A 60V 18.2Ah battery costs $550 (Example: Mantis)
- High-Performance Model – A 60V 35Ah battery costs $780 (Example: Wolf Warrior)
- Ultra-Performance Model – A 72V 35Ah battery costs $1,000 (Example: Wolf King GT)
Can You Upgrade Batteries?
With most electric scooters, the battery can't be upgraded. The batteries are perfectly matched to the scooter's size, style, and components and can't be swapped for batteries of different voltages or amp hours.
However, some scooter companies do provide ways to get more range from your scooter. For example, the Horizon from Fluid Free Ride comes in two versions; the Horizon 10.4 and the Horizon 13. These are identical scooters apart from the battery. One has a 374.4Wh battery with a 23-mile range, and the other is 468Wh with a 30-mile range.
Other scooters, like the Turboant X7 Pro – which has a removable battery on the stem – have, in the past, offered both FST and name-brand batteries for you to choose from.
Also, Dualtron offers external battery packs for some of their models (i.e. the Thunder 2) that can be fixed to the front of the deck. These bulky additions don't look attractive but can add up to 33 miles to your scooter's range.
Where to Find Replacement Batteries
The first place to check when searching for replacement batteries is the website of the brand or retailer that you purchased your scooter from.
To help you find the correct parts, we've listed some popular scooter brands below and linked to retailers that sell batteries for each.
Which Electric Scooter Has the Biggest Battery?
The Dualtron Storm Limited is home to the biggest battery that we’ve ever seen. Coming in at a whopping 84V and 45Ah, it holds 3,780Wh of energy. This equates to a monumental maximum range of 136 miles.
As to be expected, ultra-performance scooters – like the Dualtron Strom Limited – have the biggest batteries since they need the additional power to keep their powerful motors rotating.
Which Electric Scooter Has the Longest Battery Life?
Again, the electric scooter with the longest battery life is the Dualtron Storm Limited. Not only does it deliver a 136-mile maximum range, but its battery is made up of high-quality 21700 LG cells that promise up to 500 charge cycles without deterioration.
Can You Use an Electric Scooter Without a Battery?
All electric scooters are designed to run on a battery. Without one, they are unable to store the electricity they require to power the motors. You can, however, still use an electric scooter as a standard push scooter if you desire.