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Batteries: The Run Down

Batteries are an essential part of our electric scooter, but they’re also quite complex. To start with the obvious, the battery acts as your ‘fuel tank’ for your electric scooter. It’s responsible for storing energy that is used by the controller, motor, lights and every other electrical component of your scooter.

Most electric scooters will have a lithium ion battery pack, this is due to the great energy density and long life-span. It’s possible that cheaper scooters and children’s electric scooter have lead-acid batteries. All electric scooters have a battery pack made of individual cells and other components such as a B.M.S (Battery Management System), a B.M.S is responsible for observing any malfunctions or problems in the battery and will normally deal with these problems by shutting the battery off entirely.

Batteries come in individual cells all joined together to create the desired capacity of your battery. Li-ion are made of 18650 cells, these parts are cylindrical 18mm x 65mm cells. Each cell individually isn’t anything to write home about, generating up to 3.6v with a capacity of about 2.6 amp hour or 9.4 watt-hours, but when put together to work as a team these are extremely effective batteries.

Bigger battery packs that hold more capacity will let an electric scooter travel further, but comes with the cost of increasing the size and weight of the scooter. Batteries are also one of the -if not the most- expensive part of your scooter and costs increase as the capacity of the battery increases.

On top of that, Li-ion have great energy density, which is a representation of how much energy can be stored per the physical weight of the cell. The impressive longevity means they can be emptied and recharged more times than it’s battery counterparts and still maintain the storage capacity.

The individual cells of a li-ion battery are normally manufactured by a handful of well trusted companies. LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sanyo are normally the safest bet for the highest quality cells on the market, although these cells are usually only found in more expensive and high-end electric scooters.

Most cheaper and budget scooters will have generic battery cells manufactured in China, which can vary in quality quite profusely. Normally when the high-end cells are not an option, batteries from reputable electric scooter manufacturers with good QC departments such as Xiaomi and Segway are an alternative option.

Lithium-ion batteries actually refer to a pretty wide variety of batteries that involve different chemical make ups, all containing the lithium-ion, of course. There are 6 different types of li-ion batteries, each having their differences in safety, longevity, capacity and output.

Most electric scooters hold an INR battery chemistry, which is one of the safest chemistries. This make up provides high capacity and output current. Manganese which is present within the cells lowers the resistance inside the battery, which makes way for high current output while maintaining a low temperature. This of course lowers the chance of thermal runaway and combustion.

Electric scooter batteries are rated in units of watt hours (Wh). This measure of energy is rather simplistic to comprehend, with 1Wh rating storing a sufficient amount of energy for an hour. The more watt-hours, the longer the range on your electric scooter. Your usual, run of the mill scooter will be around 250Wh which allows for travel of about 10 miles at about 15mph. High-end scooters have watt-hours reaching the thousands which can allow for ranges of up to 60+ miles.

The li-ion 18650 cells are great, truly. But they demand more respect than some other technological counterparts and can quite literally explode if used with improper care. This is why Battery Management Systems are implemented.

The BMS is a component that monitors the battery pack and controls charging and discharging. Li-ion batteries are usually designed to be operated around 2.5-4V. Overcharging or letting it go fully flat can shorten the battery life or trigger dangerous events within the battery. It’s the BMS’s job to stop this from happening. A lot of BMS’s also stop power to the scooter before the battery is fully flat. More elaborate BMS technologies also have the ability to monitor the temperature of the pack and trigger the power should overheating occur.

When it comes to battery charging, C-rate is a term thrown around quite often. C-rate is a unit of measurement to describe how fast the battery can be charged. In it’s simplest form, 1C means your battery takes one hour to charge. 2C would mean half an hour to charge.

When it comes to battery life, you can normally get around 500-1000 charges before your li-ion battery will drop in capacity. Do note, this limit does not signify the immediate death of your battery, but it does signal the beginning of the end, where you will notice your battery dropping by 10/20% in capacity every so often.

If you want to help your BMS prolong your battery life to it’s absolute limit, there are a few things you can do to help.

  • Don’t store the scooter fully flat
  • Don’t operate the scooter in temperatures below zero degrees Celsius or temperatures above forty-five degrees Celsius.
  • Charge your scooter at a lower C-rate
  • Don’t store your scooter fully charged or with the charger plugged in for a long time.

That’s the rundown of the basics on how your electric scooter battery works. There’s plenty of potential for your scooter to be upgraded to the fullest in the realm of batteries and luckily, we have extremely well trained repairmen with electrician backgrounds that can make your battery upgrade dreams a reality. Have a look in our battery upgrades section and get in contact with us to find out what we can do for you and your scooter!