Two wheel electric scooters, also known as electric mopeds, electric bicycles, E-cycles, or E-Bikes are becoming a popular mode of transport and commuting means that is also suitable for persons with limited mobility.
Around the world the movement towards real efficiency and power in electric scooters and bikes is moving forward at an encouraging rate.
Increasingly accepted as capable and appealing forms of transportation, particularly in densely populated urban areas, electric vehicles today include electric bicycles, motorcycles, and two-wheel electric scooters. Along with the two-wheel scooters there are various three wheel and four wheel types. These are largely for usage by seniors, persons with mobility problems or disabilities, hence the name mobility scooters. This article covers information on 2 wheel moped type electric scooters.
Electric scooters are environmentally friendly and are 99% less polluting than any gasoline driven engine. Electric scooters use no energy when stationary at traffic lights, they have no moving engine parts that cause friction, and do not need additional energy sources apart from re-charging of the battery(s).
Electric scooters can differ widely in appearances. Some electric powered bicycles can look just like a standard bicycle with a small motor in the back, while others can look like a moped or scooter with manual crank bike pedals on the side.
Electric scooter motor sizes range from around 200 Watts, to the top performing ZEV7000 electric super-bike - The worlds's current fastest and most powerful production electric motor scooter - with a massive 7 Kw (7000 watts) of continuous output power - 8 kw (8000 watts) of peak power, and 14.6 KW launch or standing start power!
The EVT range of Electric Motorcycles feature more powerful motors and have a longer range (battery life), however most states and provinces require you to hold a current drivers license for this type of electric scooter. The EVT Electric Motorcycle is a street-legal vehicle that can travel in city traffic with speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour.
The less powerful Motor-Assisted Cycles (MACs), as pictured in this article, are two wheeled cycles with a seat, pedals and an electric motor that is either 500W or less, generally a drivers license is not required to ride these scooters.
Regenerative Braking on Electric Scooters
Regenerative braking is taking the energy from braking and harnessing it into recharging the battery. Most scooters driven by electric motors can also use the motor as a generator, this is called regenerative braking. The motor acts as a generator during braking and its electrical output is fed back into the batteries, the transfer of energy to the load provides a braking effect. Regenerative braking was first used on hybrid gas/electric automobiles to recoup some of the energy lost during stopping. This energy is saved in a storage battery and used later to power the motor whenever the car/bike/scooter is in electric mode. Regenerative Braking recharges the battery but also makes it harder to pedal so its often used to recapture energy when going downhill.
Types of Electric Scooter Batteries
Sealed Lead Acid batteries (SLA) - Most electric scooters still use SLA batteries but electric bikes generally use newer battery technology to keep the bike as light as possible. A SLA battery has lifetime of roughly 100-300 full charge cycles, depending on use, size, temperature, quality and many other factors.
* VRLA Gel Battery (valve-regulated lead-acid battery) - Are low-maintenance lead-acid rechargeable batteries, often colloquially called sealed lead-acid batteries. A gel battery (also known as a "gel cell") is a VRLA battery with a gelified electrolyte; the sulfuric acid is mixed with silica fume, which makes the resulting mass gel-like and immobile. Gel batteries reduce electrolyte evaporation and spillage. Gel Batteries offer greater resistance to extreme temperatures, shock, and vibration. Chemically they are the same as wet (non-sealed) batteries except that the antimony in the lead plates is replaced by calcium.
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) - Lighter than SLA batteries. A NiMH battery has about 2 times the life of a Sealed Lead Acid battery, but weights around 30% less. NiMH batteries should be recharged once a month if not in use to maintain their full capacity.
Lithium Ion, Lithium Manganese, Lithium Polymer, Lithium Phosphate - (Li-Ion) are the newest technology in batteries. A Lithium battery has a lifetime of roughly 2-3 times of a Sealed Lead Acid battery. Lithium batteries are the light weighing approximately 50% less than SLA's. Lithium batteries are largely maintenance free. The newest scooter battery technology on the market, lithium iron phosphate, sometimes abbreviated as LiFePO4 has the ability to be rapid charged. A bicycle sized LiFePO4 battery can absorb 1800 Joules in 3 or 4 seconds, and has an extremely long life.
Battery Maintenance Tips
Do not overcharge the scooter batteries - 8 hours is about the maximum you should leave the battery charger on. The setup should come with a smart charger, which automatically switches off when the battery is fully charged (the charge light on the charger will change from red to green when the batteries are fully charged). This prevents damage to the battery. However, as a fail safe consider using an inexpensive timer to shut off the power to the charger after 8 hours in case the charger fails to turn off when the batteries are fully charged.
Charge the battery regularly even if the Scooter is not being used. Lead acid batteries can be charged frequently since they have no memory, even after short trips.
Allow the batteries to cool for an hour or more after long rides before charging. Heat will damage batteries so it is helpful to keep batteries as cool as possible during use or charging.
The Electric Scooter is street legal and equipped with 2 wheel disc, or front disc - rear drum braking system, headlight(s), taillight(s), brake light, blinkers, and electric horn for safety and visibility.
The electric bicycle will travel for around 20 to 25 miles on a single charge and travels at speeds up to around 20 miles per hour. A smallish waterproof luggage box usually comes as a standard accessory, larger luggage trunks can be purchased separately.
The Electric Bicycle, Scooter, and Moped's brush-less rear hub motor (No chains or belts) is installed in the center of the rear wheel and is powered by large high-power batteries. The electric scooter motor able to produce a large amount of torque at both low and high speeds. This direct driven hub motor offers a number of advantages including a greater degree of energy efficiency.
Road rules for electric scooters and bikes vary widely from country to country, different states, and even municipalities. For example:
Current Electric Bicycle Laws in the Province of Quebec (from www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/publications/prevention/safe_cycling.pdf) Note: Laws subject to change, check with your local authorities.
Electric scooter laws in Quebec, Canada, are basically the same as for regular non-motorized bicycles provided:
Always wear a helmet!
Head injuries are the cause of death in approximately 60% of fatal biking accidents. If you fall, this part of the body is the most exposed to serious injury. In an accident, the force of the impact is distributed over the surface of the helmet, rather than on the head. That's why it's important to have a good DOT approved helmet.
Correct Helmet Size - Try on the helmet to ensure that the weight, padding and adjustment straps are right. The front and back straps of a properly adjusted helmet come together under the ear and the chin strap is not too tight. Check that the helmet fits snugly. It should remain in position and not slide forward over the forehead or down the back of the neck.
Purchasing an Electric Scooter:
If you are considering purchasing an electric scooter there are many quality manufacturers available. By doing some comparison shopping before you purchase, you'll be able to narrow down your choices, and have an excellent chance of selecting the scooter that will be right for you. Electric scooter and bike brands include - Akai, Bladez, Boreem, Charly, City Bug, Curry, Dash, eBike, eGo, Electra, e-Moto, E-Raser, E-Scooter, Giant, GIO, Go Go, IZIP, LashOut, Mongoose, Motorino, MSBL sports, Oco2, Rally, Razor, Schwinn, Skeuter Condor, Urban Express, Vectrix, Xport, X-Treme Scooters, Zapino, Zappy, Zooma.
Two wheel scooters can run well in almost any weather. However, a too-hot or too-cold climate can reduce the range of your scooter. If you live in an area with lots of rain, look for scooters marketed as water-resistant. Because if you get the standard type, the long-term exposure to water can cause damage to the electric motor (Hall Effect) and thus, shorten its life span.
The two electric motor scooters pictured on this page were recently purchased from EcoMoto Electric Scooters and Bikes (www.ecomoto.ca/eng/index.htm) in Montreal, Canada. EcoMoto carry a range of new electric scooters and bicycles including accessories such as approved DOT helmets and luggage carriers. In addition they offer repairs and maintenance for your new or used electric scooter. If your in the Montreal area and are looking to purchase a 2 wheel electric scooter you will find Patrick, the sales person at EcoMoto, extremely knowledgeable and very helpful when it comes to current regulations and selecting the right type of scooter for your needs. Mention you saw this article on Disabled World and I'm sure he'll provide you with a great deal on your new electric scooter!