5 factors that compromise the autonomy of your electric scooter
Not all driving conditions are ideal.
The purpose of an electric scooter is, in the order of priorities, to transport you from point A to point B. The question then arises of its ability to take you more or less far. Autonomy an important characteristic to take into account. The autonomy announced by manufacturers is often denounced as "exaggerated" by users. Why is there often a discrepancy between the announced autonomy and the actual autonomy?
The autonomy of electric scooters is sensitive to many external factors which will reduce or increase its autonomy.
This is due to the fact that most manufacturers provide autonomy information established under IDEAL conditions! These ideal conditions never correspond to the reality of normal use of an NVEI (New Individual Electric Vehicles), autonomy adjusts to each individual in fact. Manufacturers should indicate the standard they used for the battery life test conditions.
A responsible manufacturer will clearly state the conditions and circumstances that result in the specified range. A good example is the recently released Inmotion V10 electric unicycle (EUC). The published range of the V10 is “~70 km”. The manufacturer prefers to take precautions and use the “~” symbol to indicate that it is + or -, approximately. This autonomy is said to be achievable if these conditions are respected:
- With a load of 75 kg
- At a temperature of 25°C
- Drive at an average speed of 15 km/h
- On a smooth sidewalk
They even went so far as to advise that "driving habits, environment, temperature, road conditions, load and other factors will affect range." This careful treatment allows us to understand that the autonomy announced will be very difficult to reproduce in reality.
However, at the moment manufacturers are launching a number of new high-end machines and intend to attract the attention of performance-conscious users by publishing data that is increasingly close to reality.
Many electric scooter manufacturers spare the consumer such details and simply publish a single number for the model. This can lead to customer dissatisfaction when customers compare real data to informative data.
In this article, we'll show you how to calculate battery life and, more importantly, know the factors that can extend your battery life, so you can maximize your battery life.
LET'S BACK TO BASICS
The battery capacity of your electric scooter is analogous to the size of a car's fuel tank. The more fuel you can carry, the greater the distance traveled. For the engine, comparing it to the displacement of a car: the bigger it is, the more powerful it will be but also energy-intensive.
With some basic arithmetic and physics, we can calculate the theoretical range based on battery and motor specifications.
Above: It is possible to calculate the theoretical range once we know the specifications of the electric scooter, such as battery capacity and motor power.
Let's say we want to calculate the range of a mid-sized electric scooter with these specifications:
- Battery: 36 volts (V) 10.5 amp hours (Ah)
- Motor power*: 250 Watts (W)
The first formula is something we all know:
DISTANCE (Km) = SPEED (Km/h) x TIME (h)
This formula states that if we know how fast we are riding (let's assume we are riding at a constant speed) and how long the scooter can maintain that speed until the battery runs out, we can calculate how far it will go can browse.
For speed, we will use the SPEED that we can reach within the limits of the rules of use in urban areas, i.e. 25 km/h in France. Let's use this number for speed.
For TIME , we can calculate it from battery capacity and motor power.
To do this, we need to determine the battery capacity measured in watt hours (Wh). The energy (in watts) indicates what it can deliver in one hour.
Watt-hour (Wh) = amp-hour (Ah) x voltage (V)
The capacity of our battery is therefore 10.5 Ah x 36 V = 378 Wh
Knowing the amount of energy contained in the battery and knowing the power (and therefore consumption) of the motor, we can now calculate the time it will take for our motor to burn this energy:
TIME (hour) = Battery capacity / Power consumption = 378Wh / 250W = 1,512 h
We now have the speed and time to put into our first formula:
DISTANCE = SPEED x TIME = 25 Km / hx 1,512h = 37.8 km.
So, theoretically and on paper, your electric scooter can carry you 37.8 km before its battery is completely depleted.
*Note: Some manufacturers list peak power instead of rated (average) power. If both numbers are shown, use the power rating for a conservative calculation.
Above: Understanding the factors that can impact the range of your electric scooter will allow you to optimize your journeys, go further and extend the life of your battery.
However, this calculation remains theoretical and does not yet reflect reality because we have not yet taken into account external factors which will have an impact on autonomy such as: the characteristics of the battery and the motor, the weight of the pilot , driving style, driving conditions, tire pressure, battery wear and other factors...
Let's find out in detail the factors that have a negative effect on range and what you can do to optimize the range of your electric scooter.
Factors that reduce autonomy
Generally speaking, these factors or conditions tend to decrease autonomy:
Insufficient tire pressure
The gradient of the road (climbs, slopes, etc.)
Aggressive or sporty driving
Store or store your scooter in a warm place
Let’s look at these points in detail.
It is obvious and common sense to think that an electric scooter will consume more energy to move a heavy rider rather than a light rider.
All electric scooters have a maximum safety payload indication. Most can support a maximum load of 100 kg. Some larger capacity models can hold up to 120 kg. Some high-end or “heavy” models can support up to 150 kg. Maximum load is not the same as optimal load. It is common for electric scooter manufacturers to use a weight load of around 75 kg for performance testing. This is understandable, as 75 kg is about the average weight of a healthy adult male.
In other words, any user over 75 kg can immediately expect a lower range than published.
Overloading problems are more evident when it is a large rider who purchases a lightweight scooter for portability reasons.
These lightweight electric scooters can sometimes be undersized for heavier riders, but this may be acceptable if the rider is aware of the loss of range they will experience.
Above: Choosing an electric scooter with motor power that matches your weight and height is a good starting point for getting the best range possible. In this case, it is rather the scooter which is oversized!!
When purchasing an electric scooter, whenever possible, select a scooter with motor power that matches your height and weight. This is particularly important if you are of large build.
Where possible, larger riders should choose a motor power of 350W to 500W or more, so that the electric scooter does not constantly underperform.
When purchasing, the seller can give you an overview of the engine's towing capacity in relation to the engine's horsepower. If there are hills on your route, it's usually best to go for a more powerful scooter (see "climbing hills" later in this article).
For the scooter itself, make it lose weight by removing unnecessary accessories such as bags, bottle holders and the like to lighten the scooter's load. Some countries may even have regulations limiting the weight of an electric mobility device.
Insufficient tire pressure
It is well known in the world of cycling and automobiles that underinflated tires lead to excess fuel or energy consumption. Without getting into complex physics or mathematics, the simple but factual explanation is that under-pressurized tires distort the tire from its optimal shape. This results in particular in an increase in the contact surface between the wheel and the ground. The more contact surface there is, the more friction there is and the more energy consumed.
No scientific studies have been carried out specifically on the tire pressure performance of electric scooters. But automotive research shows a clear correlation between rolling resistance and tire pressure. The closer the tire pressure is to that predicted by the manufacturer, the lower the rolling resistance. A reduction in rolling efficiency occurs when tire pressure is even slightly lower than the optimal prescribed pressure.
It is important to emphasize that resolving the problem of insufficient pressure cannot be solved by systematically inflating the tire to overpressure, a phenomenon which causes its own problems. The important thing is to maintain the correct pressure indicated by the scooter and tire manufacturer. This pressure is usually indicated in the user manual. The pressure indicated on the tire itself is usually the maximum pressure and not the optimal pressure.
Above: bicycle pump with pressure gauge. Extremely useful for maintaining optimal tire pressure.
If you don't have one yet, get your hands on a tire pump with a pressure gauge. It's very useful. You can check the tire pressure and adjust the inflation pressure according to the recommendations. Check the tire pressure every fortnight and give it a boost if it falls below the optimum pressure. Maintaining sufficient pressure has the added effect of reducing the risk of punctures and increasing the life of the tire.
The slope of the road
The slope of the road will have a considerable impact on the range of your electric scooter. If you cycle, you will know from experience that going up a hill, even when the slope is quite gentle, requires much more effort than riding on flat ground.
Without going into complex calculations, it is enough to state that any incline on your route will considerably reduce the range of your scooter. Consequently, the autonomy will be impacted and will differ from that indicated in the manual of your scooter, the calculations of which have been established on perfectly flat ground.
To illustrate this characteristic, we can imagine that many users buy an electric scooter to avoid the effort of climbing difficult slopes on foot or by bike. Thus, the loss of autonomy due to a slope can be attributed to the effort you would have made to climb this slope. There is always a reward for saving effort, isn't there?
If possible, choose a longer route that has fewer inclines. Unless the detour is excessively long, by avoiding slopes you should increase your range.
Jerky & sporty driving
Physics tells us that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. It takes energy to make a stationary object move, increase its speed or slow it down.
The general energy consumption associated with the type of activity of the electric scooter (from lowest to highest) is shown here:
1. The scooter rotates at a constant speed
2. The scooter brakes *
3. The scooter accelerates from low speed to high speed
4. The scooter accelerates from the stopping position
*only applies to scooters with electric brakes
For electric scooters that use an electric or magnetic brake (as opposed to a physical bicycle-style brake), the battery also consumes during braking because the scooter brakes using the motor to resist movement.
In short, the more frequently you speed up or slow down during your trip, the shorter the distance will be. Roughly speaking, the sportier the driving, the greater the consumption.
When it comes to self-reliance, patience is a virtue. Reach your cruising speed by accelerating gently without haste. Maintain a constant speed for as long as possible. Optimal speed is generally the highest speed that the motor can maintain without the motor seeming to strain. This ideal speed is generally referred to as “cruising” speed; this corresponds to a comfortable speed and certainly not the maximum speed.
If you are riding an electric scooter with electric brakes, whenever possible, stop rather than braking hard. By riding this way, not only will you gain more miles, but it will also be a safer ride. As an added bonus, your tires and brake pads will also last longer.
Expose your scooter to high temperatures.
We do not have control of the outside ambient temperature. However, it is useful to know the ideal temperature ranges to extend the autonomy of your electric scooter. The main concern here is the temperature-sensitive battery condition, which is directly related to distance.
The optimal operating temperature of batteries is similar to that suitable for people. Battery manufacturers generally state that the optimal operating temperature is 20°C or slightly lower. The ideal temperature for optimal operation of your scooter is generally in a range between 20°C and 30°C.
Above: It's tempting to store your electric scooter in the trunk of your car for convenience. But this can expose the battery to unhealthy high temperatures on hot days. Attention.
This temperature range provides the best battery capacity (meaning it can be charged and discharged more fully more easily) and is best for battery life in terms of total charge cycles (duration of life). At temperatures above or below this range, capacity and lifespan may be impacted. As battery capacity decreases, so does your range.
When it comes to temperature, think of your electric scooter as a living being, sensitive to heat and cold, just like you. Avoid storing your scooter in the trunk of the car in the summer sun or leaving it parked for long periods of time in the sun. For storage, it is recommended to put it in a dry and cool place, protected from sunlight and bad weather. By respecting this, you will best preserve the capacities of your battery.
Unless you're the type of user who mistreats or wrings out your electric scooter and repurchases one every year, it's important to know the factors that can affect the range of your electric scooter. By following certain rules, you will go further and increase the life of your battery. And since the battery is the most expensive element in your electric scooter, you will also save money.
It is also important to understand that electric scooter batteries have a limited number of charge cycles (lifespan). This typically represents around 500-600 accumulated charge cycles. Their ability to hold a charge gradually deteriorates over time. So for daily users, it may be difficult to avoid battery replacement after a period of heavy or long use. When the time comes, thank your scooter for the work it has done without flinching and accept the need to revitalize it with a new battery.