Electric scooter battery guide 2021
Batteries are among the most important components of an electric scooter. The role played by the battery in your e-scooter is to store charge. The charge is then used to power the motor. Your motor then turns the wheels of your e-scooter. In this article we will look into Electric scooter battery guide 2021.
Batteries are of various brands and types. Your electric scooter could be using one of the three types available in the market; lithium-ion, nickel-metal hydride or sealed lead-acid battery.
The three types of batteries have their advantages and limitation. Regardless of their size and type, batteries run out of charge. This is why we have to be recharged from time to time. Small battery capacity has been the limiting factor of all the batteries. Your electric scooter battery capacity varies from one scooter to another. The larger the capacity of your e-scooter battery, the longer the range.
What kind of battery does your e-scooter use?
Though there so many kinds of batteries e-scooter use. However, the most common type of battery you are likely to find in your e-scooter is the lithium-ion type. The SLA batteries, on the other hand, are quite common among electric scooters for kids. Lower-tier e-scooters are also equipped with SLA batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are not like lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are composed of lithium cells. They look like those used in wireless microphones or cameras. The cells are then arranged well to form one battery pack. The charging and discharging of the battery pack takes place through the BMS. In full BMS stands for battery management system This is a system that controls the voltages and current when one is charging or using the e-scooter.
The higher the number of cells your e-scooter has, the larger the battery pack. The larger your battery pack is, the larger the battery capacity. Large capacity batteries are capable of giving long range. They are expensive though. Besides, your e-scooter gets heavier as your battery pack gets bigger.
Lithium-ion batteries are, by far, the most type of batteries you will find in an e-scooter. Compared to lead-acid battery, lithium-ion batteries stores more charge per gram. They are also favored because of their many charge and discharge cycles. It is means they will serve you for many years before failing. When we discussed e-scooters for heavy-weight adults, we came across those that have up to 500-1000 charge cycles.
You will be excited to know that there are many types of lithium-ion batteries. Each type has its application but they sometimes overlap in their uses. The following are the many lithium-ion battery types you might encounter in one of your e-scooters.
Types of Li-ion battery
The first type of lithium-ion battery type is the lithium titanate batteries. Other than e-scooters, you can find them used in solar-powered street lights. You can also find them in UPS, and electric power trains. They are very important.
Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (LiNiCoAlO2); they are used in the medical devices, power train among other places. These are the type of Li-ion batteries found in tesla cars.
Lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2). They are abbreviated as the LCO. These are types of batteries you will find in your phones, cameras, laptops, and tablets.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). This is abbreviated as the LFP. Other than e-scooters, you will find LFP batteries in electric bikes, electric vehicles, and medical devices.
Lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4)-They are commonly employed in power trains, medical devices, and power tools.
Lithium Nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) batteries are found in many e-scooters and e-bikes.
Each battery pack is made of several Li-ion 18650 cells.
Which one is safest and which one is used in e-scooters?
The safest of all the aforementioned lithium-ion batteries is lithium iron phosphate. Many people wrongfully think it is lithium manganese ( INR, NMC ). Lithium iron phosphate is known to output a stable current and they are of high capacity. They live longer than other lithium-based batteries.
However, the one that you will find in your e-scooter is lithium manganese. It is favored because of their little internal resistance. Internal resistance has been the bane of many batteries where a lot of current is to be drawn.
However, the presence of manganese helps reduce internal resistance significantly. This is why you can draw a very large amount of current from this type of battery. And even so, when a large amount of current is drawn from such batteries, there is no notable temperature increase.
Lower internal resistance means not temperature rise when a large amount of current is drawn. This is very important because your battery will never catch fire due to high temperatures. The e-scooters for adults draw a lot of currents. The electrolyte used in lithium-ion is flammable. So, increase in temperature and cell failure can cause a fire.
And what lithium-ion battery is found in your e-scooter? You guessed it right, the Lithium Nickel manganese cobalt oxide. Let us now look into the advantages and disadvantages of lithium-ion batteries.
- Lithium-ion batteries are known for their high energy density. This is to means that when compared to other batteries, 1 g of li-ion batteries holds a lot of power. For instance, are a 12 V 5 Ah lithium battery will be lighter than a lead-acid battery with similar battery specifications.
- They have the highest number of charge and discharge cycles known to man. They last longer.
- You will not have to maintain them a lot. No need to check for anything manually. The BMS will tell you everything about your battery.
- We have established some of them have less internal resistance. So, they are less likely to burst into flames due to overheating.
- Lastly, they do not discharge very fast. So, when you are not using them, you will not recharge them as often as other batteries might require.
- If you damage or puncture it, there is the likelihood of causing an explosion.
- Unplugging them when they are charged to capacity causes them to be less effective. The lithium-ion sticks to the electrodes permanently.
- They sometimes overheat when used continuously. Overheating makes them less effective.
- When discharged completely they get damaged with time. You may have come across phones whose chargers won’t work when their phones are completely discharged. Some e-scooters behave the same way
- You are not allowed into a plane with a scooter whose battery is larger than 160 Wh.
We have come across a slightly different kind of lithium batteries know as lithium polymer battery. They are meant for use where the space is very small.
Each of the mentioned types of lithium battery chemistry will give you one or two but not all of the following;
- High current output
- Exceptional safety
- High battery capacity and
- Long-lasting battery.
You are familiar with these types of batteries. They are the ones used in your car to start it. If you are into renewable energy, they have had their fair share in energy storage. Those used in the e-scooters are classified as sealed lead-acid batteries. E-scooters such as the razor power core uses this type of battery. You will never find SLA batteries in the mid-tier e-scooters such as the Hiboy s2.
You know they are very heavy and very bulky. They are cheaper than their counterpart.
They are still used in cars today because they can release a lot of current within a very short time. Such a high current is needed when starting your car.
When used in the e-scooters, they make them heavier than Li-ion batteries would. Some of them charge slowly. I have come across those that take up to 12 hours to charge.
Do not hate them yet. Since they are standard, you can get one and interchange them easily with those in your e-scooter.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries
Electric scooter battery replacement is necessary down the line. However, Nickel-metal hydride batteries are customized for the e-scooters they come with. So, battery replacement for your e-scooter may be problematic in the future if you have this type of battery.
This type of battery is not as good as a lithium-ion battery but it is better than SLA. For instance, they are lighter than SLA but heavier than Li-ion batteries. They also last longer than SLA batteries but shorter than the Li-ion. And yes, nickel-metal hydride batteries are more expensive than SLA batteries.
In other words, Nickel-metal hydride batteries are the middle ground between the SLA and Li-ion batteries.
Just like the Li-ion batteries, Nickel-metal hydride batteries also come in packs. However, if a cell is damaged, replacing it would be a complex undertaking. One mistake can destroy your whole pack. For instance reversing the polarity is very dangerous and will damage you whole battery pack.
Advantages and disadvantages of Nickel-metal hydride batteries
One advantage Nickel-metal hydride batteries have is that they do not explode when you punctured. They also do not leak any toxic materials. They are very safe.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are considered safer than Li-ion batteries because you will never find many active materials in them.
So far, we have found three major downsides to this engineering masterpiece. One, it takes a lot of time to charge to capacity. If you attempt to charge them rapidly, you only destroy them.
Two, they are affected by extreme temperatures just the Li-ion batteries are. When temperatures are too low or too high, the voltage output usually drops.
Lastly, as I said before, they are tailored for a given e-scooter. Therefore, you will have a lot of trouble looking for a replacement. Most likely you will need to go to the manufacturer to get the replacement. There is a possibility that the manufacturer stopped producing them for a given reason.
Electric scooter battery specification is very important when you are replacing it. They are also useful when you are upgrading.
Battery management system
What is a battery management system (BMS)? This is just a set of electronic systems found in your e-scooter which manages your scooter`s battery. When we say management, we mean a variety of tasks. The first role is to keep your battery from overcharging. However, you are always advised to immediately unplug as soon as your battery is full. We saw in our previous article about charging electric scooters, that overcharging destroys Li-ion batteries.
The second role is to monitor your e-scooter. It means checking whether the battery is fully charged, remaining charge and whether it is empty. The BMS also sends the signal to the display LED about the battery condition. It is its role to determine whether the battery is overheating or freezing. The two condition affects how the battery performs. The third role is to balance the battery pack.
Lastly, it is responsible for initiating cooling or warming of your battery when your battery is overheating or freezing. This, however, is only common in electric cars. Electric cars have very large battery packs. Such packs tend to overheat very fast. So, this is the role your e-scooters BMS is not likely to play.
Electric scooter battery capacity
Battery capacity is expressed in terms of Watt-hour (Wh). However, you will never get an e-scooter battery capacity specified in that manner. The manufacturers prefer to use volt and Ah. This, not trouble you at. To get your e-scooter`s battery capacity, just multiply voltage with the Ah.
Battery capacity means the amount of energy your battery can hold. The greater the capacity, the more the amount of energy or charge. Upper-tier electric scooters which are designed with large wheels usually have batteries with large capacity.
Large capacity batteries give a long-range. For instant, a scooter with a 48 v 20Ah battery has a range of up to 45 miles (72 km).
Battery capacity is among the many things you ought to consider when you are going for an e-scooter. If your budget allows you to, go for an e-scooter that has the largest battery capacity possible.
How to charge an electric scooter battery.
The process of charging an e-scooter is not very complicated. The problem is that the manufacturers rarely include the charging instructions. Do not worry, we have got you back. Unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer, you will be safe if you follow the following charging instructions. If you are interested, you can read more on charging an electric scooter by clicking here.
- Allow your scooter to cool down first if you have been using it.
- Turn off your e-scooter. you can do this even when it is cooling off.
- Use the manufacturer’s charger always. The DIY chargers are a bad idea and they might ruin your e-scooter.
- Make sure the area you are in is dry and cool. Wet conditions are not ideal for many reasons.
- Any power outlet can be used to charge your e-scooter so the long as the outlet voltage is not less than 110 V.
- Unplug immediately after the battery level hits the 100% mark. Keeping your charger connected when it is already full leads to overcharging. We have already established that overcharging is harmful to your lithium battery.
- Allow your battery to down after unplugging. You can now use it after it has cooled down.
You should never deplete your battery completely. This is one of the reasons lithium-ion batteries are destroyed.
How far can an electric scooter go before recharging?
The distance you can cover ranges between 10 miles to 45 miles depending on your scooter. The distance your e-scooter can cover between charges is determined by many factors. However, there is the range that the manufacturers usually indicate in the manual. This is the distance your scooter can cover in ideal conditions.
You can cover more distance than is indicated. However, more often than not you are likely to cover less than distance. There is an article where we have covered a similar topic on how far an e-bike can go. The e-scooters and e-bikes share a lot of similarities. Therefore, the factors that are likely to affect an e-bike will also affect an e-scooter.
Factors that affect the range of your e-scooter
Such factors include your weight or your load. What do we mean by this? If you are 60 kg, you are likely to cover more distance than a person weighing 90 kg under the same conditions. heavier loads require more torque and hence more power to carry.
The second factor is your terrain. Hilly terrain will have the distance you can cover reduced significantly. Why? When you climb a hill or stairs, you get tired very fast because of the high amount of energy needed. This also applies to your e-scooter.
The third factor is the weather! Yes, you read that right, the weather. Tailwind will give you a push such that you will need less energy. It will help you cover more distance. A headwind, on the other hand, will reduce your range significantly. Headwind opposes you causing your scooter to spend a lot of energy to overcome additional force.
The fourth factor is the capacity and condition of the battery. When you have a high-capacity battery, you are bound to cover a considerably long distance. Vise versa is true. Old batteries are worn out and tend to discharge very fast. So, the older the battery, the less the range you can cover.
Fast charging vs slow charging
When we cover the e-scooter design for use in winter, we discovered that the e-scooters come with two types of chargers. The first charger is the standard charger. The second type of charger is the fast charger. You can charge with the two chargers at the same time to save time.
The standard charger is designed to charge your battery at the correct voltage and ampere rate. They are quite slow. However, they are the chargers that experts recommend for use. They are good for the health of your battery.
In fact, during the winter, it is recommended that you keep your e-scooter connected power outlet using a standard charger. They keep the battery warm. A warm battery is ripe for use at any moment.
After examining manuals of several e-scooters, we realized standard chargers are the rate at most 1.5 A on average. So, you can imagine how long a 48 V 20Ah battery will take to charge. Most likely 12 hours at best.
What this means is that you are likely to use your e-scooter just once per day. It is not very ideal for most people. The need to use your e-scooter for an extended period the limited range of some scooters cause one to discard the idea of slow charging.
The benefit of using a standard charger is that the chances of overheating are limited.
If you are a delivery person and an e-scooter is your mean of transport, you will, without doubt, need a fast charger.
Faster chargers have amperage between 4 A and 8 A. So, an e-scooter that would normally take 8 hours to charge using a standard charger, will take about two hours to charge.
Using a charger with higher amperage forces more current into the battery. This is what reduces the time it takes to charge to capacity.
The only problem is that there is the likelihood of overcharging. When you are not in a hurry, it advisable to use the slow charger. It extends your battery life.
If your battery wears off fast, you will need to hunt for your e-scooter`s battery specifications to replace it.
How much does it cost to replace your e-scooters battery?
The e-scooter battery replacement process is not a lengthy one. However, you will have to part a few dollars since battery packs are costly. If you are replacing a nickel-metal hydride or SLA battery, you will not have to pay as much as you would if going for a Li-ion battery.
A good Li-ion battery pack will cost approximately $ 140 in the market. You can check the price here on amazon. Purpose to buy replacement batteries from credible manufacturers. They will offer you a quality product that will serve you for an extended period.
I prefer going for a new e-scooter altogether. In the long run, a new e-scooter is better in many ways. They come with additional features. If you are lucky you may come across an e-scooter with suspension at an affordable price.
How to should you maintain your battery to the maximum on its output?
- Charge your e-scooter with the original charger, preferably the standard charger where possible.
- Do not use your e-scooter until its battery is flat.
- Once it is fully charged, unplug it from the power outlet. Overcharging and depleting the charge complete usually destroys your battery.
- When you are storing it without use for some time, do not discharge it completely.
- Avoid extreme temperatures. They accelerate the degradation of your battery.