Electric Scooter Motors Explained – All You Need to Know

hub motor of an electric scooter

An electric scooter’s motor determines various factors of your riding experience including your:

  • acceleration
  • top speed
  • hill climbing ability
  • performance
  • and power consumption.

All e-scooters have at least one electric motor, while high-performance variants have two. Choosing your preferred motor when purchasing your electric scooter is vital to your riding experience.

This guide helps to inform you about electric scooter motors and provides you with all the relevant information you need to make an informed decision.

What Motors Do Electric Scooters Use?

Most electric scooters are equipped with hub motor(s). However, there are some other variants too.

Let’s briefly examine the most common motor types used on electric scooters.

Hub Motor

Most common scooters have single or dual hub motors. As the name suggests, hub motors are located in the electric scooter’s wheels hub.

Hub motors feature modern technology and are a feature of modern scooters. Manufacturers place the motors in your electric scooter’s wheel hub and design them to provide direct power to move it.

Hub motors are perfect for electric scooters since they are:

  • noiseless
  • fast
  • efficient
  • and provide good hill climbing ability.

The motors directly provide your scooter’s wheel with power, ensuring minimum loss of power during transmission.

Hub motors are better than other variants and don’t require much maintenance because of minimal exposure to wear and tear.

Hub motors use brushless technology and can be gearless or geared.

Geared hub motors have a gear system that transmits generated motion to the wheel, making them more powerful than gearless hub motors. Additionally, they have better hill climbing ability, quicker acceleration, and a longer range than gearless hub motors.

However, one downside to geared hub motors is maintaining them is costly because the gear system experience lots of wear and tear over time. Additionally, the motor loses some power because of friction in the gear system.

Gearless hub motors are less complex, provide instant acceleration, and their maintenance is less costly.

Chain Drive Motor (Mid-Drive)

Typically, chain drive motors have a chain and two gears (a sprocket and pinion). Some e-scooter motors have direct links between the engine and driver pinion, and most chain-driven scooters have a centrifugal clutch.

Chain drives are more dependable since they can crush any obstructions caught in the chain.

Additionally, they wear less quickly than other systems like belt-drive systems. However, they’ll need regular lubrication to prevent catching or rusting. Additionally, properly installing the master link prevents your chain from breaking without warning.

Chain-drive motors are loud, but this can be a good thing since it acts as a warning sign for pedestrians and other riders.

Brushed vs Brushless Motors

Brushless motors are better than brushed motors since they are more efficient, produce less noise and heat, and have an increased power output given power input.

This means scooters with brushless motors go further and faster than those with brushed motors, given the same amount of power from the battery.

One advantage of brushed motors is increased torque per watt. Brushless motors have reduced torque per watt. However, brushless motors have other advantages, including:

  • Cheaper to run and buy
  • Higher RPM
  • Lower power consumption
  • Zero maintenance
  • Higher efficiency
  • Hardiness
  • Higher power-to-weight ratio
  • And reduced heat due to lower friction.

Geared vs Gearless Motors

There are two types of hub motors: geared and gearless.

Geared motors are called direct-drive and apply electromagnets to turn the wheels and move the scooter forwards. They create motion that translates to your scooter’s wheel through gears.

Gearless motors are bigger than geared motors, adding to the scooter’s weight. However, they have regenerative braking features.

Geared motors are more convenient since less powerful motors can create more power, making them more energy-efficient.

However, all the moving parts making up the geared motor’s system create more friction resulting in wear and tear. This could mean a shorter lifespan, more repairs, and increased defects.

What are the Specifications of an Electric Scooter Motor?

E-scooter motor specifications are the best way to know a scooter’s quality.

Usually, manufacturers state a scooter’s real and peak power in watts. This metric helps determine the motor’s ability. Other useful specs include the motor voltage (V), the motor’s rotations per minute (RPM), and torque (expressed in Newton meters, Nm).

RPM: RPM refers to the motor’s rotations per minute. Motors with higher rotations per minute are more effective than those with a lower RPM.

Torque: We use torque to determine how much work your scooter’s motor can perform. Torque measures the tendency of a force to make a body rotate when applied to an object. The metric is vital when determining a scooter’s hill climb.

Watt: We use this measurement to determine a motor’s power. For instance, if your scooter’s motor uses 1 joule/s, it takes 1W of power. If it takes 2s, its power is 0.5W.

Motor voltage: It indicates the pressure from the power source that pushes a current through a circuit. Simply said, the higher the motor voltage is, the more efficient is the motor.

Difference Between Real and Peak Power

Manufacturers use real and peak power to inform buyers about an electric scooter’s power.

Real power (continuous power) is the power actually consumed by the motor due to the resistive load. It helps to show the scooter’s power and abilities when navigating on everyday terrain.

Peak power refers to what is the maximum power that the motor can sustain for a short time. Manufacturers often state a scooter’s peak power alongside real power.

The peak power seems bigger than the real power, convincing buyers of the motor’s power when it’s the real power buyers should consider.

What is Torque in Electric Scooter?

We measure torque in Nm, which refers to a motor’s twisting force. The force your motor produces is used to spin your scooter’s wheel and propel you forwards.

Not all manufacturers state their scooter’s torque. You can estimate it by dividing the motor’s power by RPM.

Torque is important for a scooter’s acceleration and hill climb.

Electric scooter motors that provide more torque have more aggressive acceleration. Also, we can use torque to determine a motor’s strength. Motors producing more torque have better hill climb ability.

How Do Electric Scooter Motors Work?

electric scooter motor

Electric scooter motors are DC motors since they receive direct current from batteries. There are two types of motors, brushless and brushed.

Twisting the throttle directs the controller to issue a command to the scooter’s battery to release electric energy to the motor. The motor uses the energy to move the scooter forward.

How the scooter works depends on the type of mounted motor. For instance, two types of hub motors are geared and gearless.

Geared motors transfer energy to the wheels through gears, while gearless motors don’t rely on gears to move the scooter. Although they aren’t quite common, some scooters have chain-drive motors.

Chain drive motors are separate from the scooter’s wheel and use a chain to transfer energy from the motor to the scooter’s wheels.

All motor types provide varying riding experiences. For instance, gearless motors provide a smoother experience; however, geared motors are more efficient.

How Powerful Electric Scooter Motors Are?

ninebot f40 e-scooter
Segway Ninebot F40 has a 350W front hub motor.

We measure scooters’ power rating in kilowatts (kW) or watts (W). You can find a scooter’s wattage by checking with its manufacturer or looking at its specification sheet.

The most important thing you should check when purchasing a scooter is its motor’s power rating. It measures the motor’s power to determine how far and fast the scooter can travel.

Cheaper electric scooters have motors with 250-350-watt power ratings. Mid-priced scooters have motors with 500-1,000-watt power ratings. High-end, mostly dual-motor electric scooters, have motors with 2,000 watts or more.

Nanrobot D6+ has 2x1000W brushless hub motors.

Often, the least powerful scooters have a 12-15-mph top speed, while the most powerful ones have a 30mph-plus top speed. You should purchase a powerful scooter if you travel long distances or for daily commuting.

How Motor Power Affects a Ride Quality of an E-Scooter?

Your scooter’s motor power affects your riding experience since it determines speed, acceleration, hill climb, and load capacity.

Scooters with high motor power have higher speeds than those with low motor power. Additionally, they have better acceleration since they have more torque.

Also, scooters with more torque have better at hill climbing and can handle a bigger load capacity. Thus, you should purchase your scooter depending on what you plan on doing.

Scooters with higher motor power are more expensive, but if you live in hilly terrain or plan to carry heavy loads, you can’t rely on a 250-watt electric scooter.

How Fast Does a 1,000W Electric Scooter Go?

1,000W electric scooters have a 25-35 mph top speed. E-scooters with higher wattage usually go faster, while variants with lower wattage go slower.

These scooters have usually an average price of around $1,000-$2,500.

In most countries, 1,000W electric scooters are legal to be used on public roads.

How to Maintain an Electric Scooter Motor?

tools for repairing electric scooter

An electric scooter’s motor is one of its most important components and requires attention for optimal operation and performance.

You should understand what type of motor you have in your scooter to perform proper maintenance. Failure to do this can cause negative effects like little current, insufficient energy, etc., reducing its lifespan.

For starters, you should use your scooter as outlined in its user manual for proper maintenance and performance.

Additionally, you should regularly check the scooter’s connections since insufficient power can lead to poor performance. It would be best to avoid humidity because it could cause your scooter to short-circuit.

You should also clean your scooter regularly. However, you shouldn’t do this with running water since it could short-circuit the wiring or cause rust.

It would help if you also took it to a professional for repairs whenever it stops working optimally. Your mechanic understands the scooter’s functionalities and is better equipped to make repairs.

Can You Ride an Electric Scooter Without Using the Motor?

You can ride your scooter without using the motor. However, it’s impractical and difficult.

For starters, it will tire you out quickly, and manufacturers don’t always recommend doing it. Some bigger scooters have a deck too high off the ground, making it harder to ride, especially if you are short.

Additionally, the scooter’s hub motors may cause some resistance, making it harder for you to ride.

If your scooter has a removable battery, you should purchase a second battery and replace it once the first one dies. You should avoid riding it without using the motor since it could spoil it.

Electric Scooter Motors FAQs

Do Electric Scooters Have Motors?

Electric scooters have motors, and most have brushless, gearless motors on their rear wheel. Some scooters only have one motor, while others have dual motors (1 motor on both wheels).

Do Electric Scooters Have a Throttle?

All electric scooters have a throttle. Most scooters have an index finger or a thumb throttle.

Why is My Electric Scooter Going Slow?

Often, your scooter will start going slow if you have an old or defective battery with 0-10% charge.

A professional should check your scooter to see if it runs slower, especially with a new battery, since it could be faulty wiring or a bad motor.

What Determines the Speed of an Electric Scooter?

A motor determines your scooter’s speed. Motors with more power produce higher speeds and accelerate quicker than those with low power.

However, the speed depends on other factors, including weight, terrain, inclines, wheel size, etc.

Do All Electric Scooters Have a Speed Limiter?

Not all electric scooters have specific speed limits. However, speed limiters are necessary.

In Europe, many authorities require manufacturers to place speed limiters preventing riders from attaining speeds over 20 or 25 km/h.

Can I Make My E-Scooter Faster?

You can make your scooter faster with different tweaks. The most common tricks include removing a speed limiter, adding batteries, and upgrading the firmware.

However, you should consult an expert or manufacturer before doing this.

Can Electric Scooter Have 2 Motors?

Electric scooters can have two motors, one in the front and another in the rear wheel.

The scooter is often designed so that the rear wheel motor kicks in first before the front wheel does when you start riding.

What is the Most Powerful Electric Scooter Motor?

The most powerful electric scooter we managed to find is Dualtron Storm.

It has dual motors (brushless), which have a total of 6,640W of power. The scooter can speed up to 59 mph (95 km/h) and can accommodate a payload of up to 330 lbs (150 kg).

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