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Electric Scooter Charging: How to Make Your Battery Last Longer

There is a big difference between how you should think about charging your electric scooter’s battery vs. the battery in your mobile phone. Manufacturers of electric scooters recommend that you charge the battery whenever you need to, but is there a limit? How often should you charge your electric scooter to prolong the battery life over time?

You should store your scooter with at least a 40% charge in its battery. Using your scooter between 30-80% battery charge will extend its lifetime up to four times. Don’t leave your scooter’s battery on the charger for long periods of time after getting to 100%, and try not to take it to 0%.

Taking good care of your electric scooter (“e-scooter”)’s battery is essential to getting maximum performance from the machine. If you treat your e-scooter battery nicely, you’ll make sure you have a reliable mode of transport ready to go at any time. let’s look into some expert tips on the best way to improve the life of your e-scooter battery and enjoy a long-lasting battery.

How to Charge Your Electric Scooter

Electric scooter being charged at home

After you’ve purchased a scooter, you may be concerned about how to properly charge the battery to maintain the value of your costly investment.

Don’t worry; these pointers will enlighten you on the facts and fallacies about charging an electric scooter and extending its battery life so that you can get your battery to serve you perfectly well. Let’s briefly cover the literal mechanics of charging the device, and then we’ll shift gears into describing how you should think about charging, when to charge, and how to manage long-term storage of e-scooters.

1. Start by plugging the charger into the wall

Unless it’s specifically specified in the handbook, connect the charger to the socket first before connecting to the scooter. This is the most reliable method of safeguarding the charger along with its output capacitors.

It is typical for the charger to become hot throughout the charging process.

Make sure your charger is kept open and placed on an edge on a non-flammable surface with good ventilation.

2. Plug in the charger to the charging port on the scooter

Turn off your scooter and take away the protective cover from the charging port.

Check for dust in both the port and the connector, and blow them out if required.

Make sure the charger is properly oriented. Although most chargers are wired to only work in one direction, some are poorly built, and the connector needs to be shortened.

Your electric scooter’s charger should then be plugged into the connector.

3. Allow the scooter to charge

Give the scooter time to charge and disconnect as soon as the charger’s indicator light turns green.

Before a scooter is fully charged, the LED on most chargers will shine green. You’ll know that it’s not yet at 100% if you’re using a scooter with a built-in voltmeter or battery display.

You can either charge till you reach 100% or use as-is if you want maximum distance. Remember: you don’t want to leave it on the charger permanently, so you can set a timer on your watch or phone for a couple hours to come check and see if it’s time to remove the scooter from the charger.

You can also plug the charger into a timer-plug like the Fosmon 24 Hour Programmable Digital Timer Outlet (on Amazon) so that you can put the charging on autopilot while guaranteeing you’re not trickle-charging and damaging the battery over time. This is a great way to automate good habits here!

4. When the scooter is fully charged, immediately detach it (do not leave it plugged in)

Before unplugging the charger from the socket outlet, detach the scooter from the charger. As often as necessary, get the battery charged.

How to Make Your Electric Scooter Battery Last Longer

Prior to diminishing in capacity, a regular Li-ion battery can withstand 300 to 500 charge/discharge cycles. This equates to 3000 to 10,000 miles for an ordinary electric scooter! Remember that “diminish in capacity” does not imply “loss of all capacity,” rather a perceptible decline of 10 to 20% that will worsen with time.

Modern battery management technologies assist in extending the battery’s life, so you won’t have to bother about it being overly cared for.

However, if you want to get the most out of your battery, there are a few things you can do to get the battery to last longer than 500 cycles. Among them are:

Scooter Storage

When storing your scooter for an extended amount of time, keep it at 40% charge in a cool, dry space.

When you store discharged lithium-ion batteries, you risk shortening their lifespan and it is the number one killer of excellent batteries. Battery deterioration is quickened when they are stored fully charged or discharged. When the voltage of a lithium-ion battery falls below 2.5 volts, it begins to degrade.

When you want to store them for longer periods, such as throughout the winter months, keep them 40 percent charged. To ensure that the battery is kept at this level, you’ll have to check and top it up every 4 to 8 weeks because of self-discharge.

Keep your scooter in a cool, dry location. Storing at temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) will shorten the life of the product. It’s especially damaging to store fully charged batteries at high temperatures.

And if you can’t store the scooter inside, or maybe you CAN store it inside a shed or carport where there’s still a lot of temperature fluctuations, you may want to pick up a cheap cover that will fit your scooter like the Valchoose Mobility Scooter Storage Cover (on Amazon) which is designed to cover and protect electric wheelchairs, but which will for sure serve this purpose for an electric scooter.

Battery Usage

Only use between 30% and 80% of your scooter’s battery capacity.

If you use the battery between 30% and 80% of its capacity, you can extend your scooter’s battery life. This is known as the sweet zone, and it can extend battery life by up to four times.

When it comes to individual cells, this is the same as 3.36 volts (30 percent capacity) and 3.96 volts per cell (80% capacity) is best.

After charging, don’t forget to unplug your charger

When your scooter gets fully charged, or is at 80%, unplug the charger. Make sure that you know the battery’s total charging times and avoid exceeding the manufacturer’s maximum charging time.

If you leave it plugged in after it’s completed charged, the cathode will corrode and its capacity will be reduced. You can use that timer we discussed above (on Amazon) to get smart about this, making the charging stop after a few hours, or maybe even controlling the outlet to turn it on for an hour every week, thereby maintaining a full charge over time without damaging the battery through trickle-charging.

Don’t run down your scooter’s battery in less than one hour

If your scooter is fast, and you wish to ride at a quick pace, your battery will undoubtedly discharge quickly.

However, if you truly care about your item, you wouldn’t want to use it in such a way that the battery will completely drain in less than an hour (this is known as a C-Rate of 1.0).

If you run at a fast pace for an extended time or under strong torque loads, such as going up a steep hill, you’re more liable to exceed this optimal discharge rate.

Avoid fully charging your scooter in under an hour

If you charge lithium-ion batteries at a slower rate (called C-rate in technical terms), they will last longer. It is advisable not to charge a battery in less than 1 hour for maximum battery life.

Understand the Range and Battery Capacity of Your Scooter

You must get to know your scooter’s battery’s specifications. Whether in the vehicle specs or on the battery itself, there is several important information like ampere-hours (Ah) and voltage displayed.

The watt-hours are listed on certain scooters as well. If not, multiply the ampere-hours by the voltage to arrive at the watt-hours. It’s helpful to have this knowledge at the back of your mind.

It’s also important that you know the distance to which a fully charged battery can carry you so that you can plan your vacations properly.

Always charge your scooter battery with the right charger

Even though purchasing an aftermarket charging cable may appear to be a wise financial decision, using chargers that are not compatible with your battery may end up amounting to more expenses and damage in the long run by reducing battery life.

Even though some aftermarket chargers look to be working, they might harm the battery irreversibly by undercharging or overcharging it.

Replacement chargers are often available from scooter stores and manufacturers. Whenever you want to get a spare charger, reach out to the manufacturers rather than buying one that can drain your battery. A fresh, certified charger will always be less expensive than a new battery.

When to Charge Your Electric Scooter

  • Your scooter does not need to be charged daily or after every ride. The recommended approach is to keep the battery charged between 30% and 80%. However, anytime you’re going on a lengthy journey, make sure the scooter is fully charged.
  • Your scooter must not be fully discharged before you can charge it. Contrary to NiCd or NiMH batteries, Li-ion batteries have different types of “memory” so they don’t need to be fully charged or discharged to maintain their capacity.
  • When the battery’s temperature is around 32 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (0 C to 45 C), it’s time to charge it. If the battery temperature is below freezing, do not charge your scooter; for instance, if you always pack your scooter in the garage or outside at temperatures below freezing.
  • Before charging the battery, wait for it to get warm at a temperature above freezing. When you charge the battery at high temperatures (113 F / 45 C), you risk reducing its life span, although it’s not so damaging.
  • If you want to extend the battery life of your scooter, charge it at a lower C-rate, which means charging it at a slower pace than its maximum capacity. It is best to charge at a C-rate of less than 1. You can manage this on some of the fancier or faster chargers.

One advantage of lead-acid batteries is that they are reasonably priced. However, their energy density is very poor. That means they weigh a lot more than the quantity of energy they store. Compared to lead-acid batteries, Li-ion batteries have about 10X more energy density.

How Electric Scooter Batteries Work

Man is charging his electrical scooter with charger on special parking

The battery on your electric scooter is its “energy tank.” It provides storage for the energy that is used by the controller, DC motor, lights, and other accessories on your e-scooter.

Most e-scooters come with a lithium ion-based battery pack because of the outstanding energy density and durability that they provide, while e-scooters for kids and other budget models come with lead-acid batteries.

A scooter’s battery pack is made of individual cells and electronics that make up the battery management system which ensures that it keeps ticking over nicely. The bigger the battery pack, the more the capacity and the further an electric scooter can travel.

The downside to bigger battery packs is that they add to the weight and size of the scooter, thus making it less portable. Moreover, batteries are one of the most expensive parts of the scooter, so there is a corresponding increase in total cost.

Electric Scooter Battery Types

Electric scooter battery packs are comprised of a huge number of individual battery cells. More precisely, they are composed of 18650 cells, which is a size classification used for Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries that have cylindrical dimensions of 18mm by 65mm.  

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Li-Ion batteries have exceptional energy density, which is the quantity of energy per physical weight of the batteries. Their durability is also excellent, so they can be “cycled” (discharged and recharged) many times and still conserve their storage capacity.

Lithium Manganese Batteries (INR, NMC)

Luckily, a great number of e-scooters have INR battery chemistry, which is one of the safest battery chemistries. This battery provides high capacity output current.

The existence of manganese decreases the battery’s internal resistance, thereby permitting high current output and sustaining low temperatures. Subsequently, this lowers the likelihood of thermal runaway and fire.

Lead-acid Batteries

Lead-acid is an outdated type of battery chemistry that is usually present in cars and other larger electric vehicles, such as golf carts. They are also present in some low-priced children’s scooters.

Understanding Industry Terminology around Electric Scooter Batteries

If you haven’t been down this particular rabbit hole before, some of the literal words being used can be very unfamiliar and will likely be used on product listings without explanation. To better prepare you to make a selection on a replacement battery, or to better understand the stats of your battery, let’s briefly review some key terms you may want to be familiar with.

Battery Packs

Building a battery pack with thousands of watts hours of capacity involves the accumulation of different 18650 Li-ion cells to form a brick-like structure, which is observed and controlled by an electronic circuit known as the battery management system (BMS). The BMS regulates the flow of electricity in and out of the battery.

Singular cells in the battery pack are connected end-to-end (series connection) which produces the sum of their voltage. This is why there are scooters with battery packs of 36V, 48V, 60V, and even larger-capacity battery packs.

Subsequently, the many batteries in the series are connected in parallel to boost output current. Through an adjustment of the number of cells, electric scooter companies can boost output voltage and max current capacity.

Changing the configuration of a battery will not improve the total energy stored, but it essentially allows a battery to provide lower voltage and more range (or vice versa).

Voltage and % Outstanding

Generally, every cell in a battery pack is operated from 3.0volts (0% charge) to 4.2volts (100% charge). That means a 36V battery pack is charged from 30 volts (0% charge) to 42 volts (100% charge).

Voltage Sag

Voltage sag is a phenomenon that affects every battery at some point. It occurs as a result of lithium-ion chemistry, electrical resistance, and temperature. It mostly leads to a non-linear performance of the battery voltage.

Once a load is put on the battery, the voltage will drop instantly. This effect can result in the incorrect estimation of battery capacity. It can give you the impression that you’ve lost 10% of the battery capacity or more. Once the load is taken off, the battery voltage goes back to its proper level.

Voltage sag can also happen when there is a long discharge of the battery. This can happen during long-distance trips. It takes the battery’s lithium chemistry some time to get in sync with the rate of discharge.

This can lead to a more rapid drop in battery voltage towards the tail end of a long ride. Allowing the battery to rest returns it to its real and accurate voltage level.

Capacity Ratings

The battery capacity of electric scooters is rated in Watt-hour (Wh) units, which is a measure of energy. Watt-hours are very easy to understand. For instance, if a battery has a 1Wh rating, this means it has enough energy to deliver 1 watt of power for 1 hour.

Therefore, for particular motor sizes, more energy capacity translates to bigger battery watt-hours and a longer electric scooter range. An average scooter has a capacity of about 250Wh and can function for about 10 miles at 15 miles/hour on average.

For extreme performance scooters, the capacity can go up to thousands of watt-hours with a range of 60 miles.

Freddy Madeja

Sunday 6th of March 2022

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