Electric scooter motor guide
The electric scooter motor is a key component. When buying a motorcycle, deciding on the type of motor will be one of the biggest decisions you will have to make. That’s why I made a complete guide to electric scooter motors to help you understand everything you need to know about them.
Electric scooter motor
The actual power of the electric scooter motor is usually between 250W and 2000W (some are even more powerful). The most important differences between electric scooter motors are: power level (actual power and peak power), hub and chain drive motors, gear and gearless hub motors, brush and brushless DC motors.
Simplified diagram of a motor with magnets
In any case, you don’t need to be a mechanic or an expert. However, as long as you are familiar with the basic knowledge of electric scooter motors, it can help you understand your needs, and finally choose a better model and save money.
Let us briefly answer some of the most common questions and cover each of the main attributes.
Does the electric scooter have a motor?
By definition, every electric scooter will have a motor. If the vehicle does not have a motor, it is not an electric scooter. The same goes for batteries, every electric scooter will have one.
What kind of motor does electric scooter use?
Today, most electric scooters will be equipped with in-wheel motors, which are motors embedded in the wheels. Newer models tend to use brushless DC motors because this technology has some advantages over older brushed motors.
Electric scooter motor specifications
Real power watt (W)
Peak power Watt (W)
Motor voltage Volt (V)
Torque Newton meters (Nm)
Number of revolutions per minute (RPM)
A good way to understand the quality of electric scooter motors is through specifications. Generally, manufacturers list the power (actual and/or peak value) of the motor in watts, which is the most useful indicator for determining the capacity of the motor. The voltage of other useful specifications of the motor is in volts, its speed is per minute or revolution per minute, which is expressed as a number (sometimes followed by “RPM”), and the torque of the motor is expressed in Newton-meter, or Newton-meter, or Niu Meter.
How does the electric scooter motor work?
The way the motors work depends on their type. Usually, the motor listens to your input through a component called a controller. When you step on the accelerator on the handlebar, the controller sends a signal to the motor to start running.
The motor then draws energy from the battery and starts to produce movement.
The most common motor used in daily commuting scooters is a brushless DC gearless hub motor. This is a very useful video explaining how it works. As we have already mentioned, the motor consists of two cylinders, one in the other cylinder. The outer cylinder, also called the rotor, is just a permanent magnet.
The inner cylinder, also called the stator, is made of copper wire coils. When it is energized, it will energize and become an electromagnet.
The interaction between the permanent magnet and the electromagnet causes the rotor to rotate. When a coil is energized, the opposite poles of the rotor and stator attract each other. When the rotor rotates, the energized coil is de-energized, but its adjacent coil is energized. As this process is repeated, the rotor continues to rotate. A useful analogy is to imagine a dog chasing its tail.
Electric scooter motor power
The most useful specification of an electric scooter motor is its power level. Power is measured in watts.
The motor power determines many performance characteristics of the scooter. Higher motor power usually results in: Higher top speed
Better climbing angle
Higher load capacity
In a way, the longer range
Higher power levels usually require larger batteries, which means that these models tend to be heavier.
In addition, because the batteries are larger, they will require more time to charge.
What is the power of the electric scooter motor? What are the capabilities of each power level?
Power level of electric scooter motor
The power levels of adult electric scooters range from 80 watts to 12,000 watts. Most budget or typical commuter scooters have power levels between 200 and 500 watts. In fact, this is the case for about half of the models today. The most common power levels are:
250 watts-usually a top speed of 15 mph / 25 kmh or less
350 watts-usually the top speed is between 15-22 mph/25-35 km/h
500 watts-usually the top speed can exceed 25 mph/40 km/h, some models can even reach 38 mph/60 km/h
Electric scooters with power levels above 1000 watts can usually provide a maximum speed of at least 30 mph / 50 kmh.
However, the way brands and manufacturers report the power levels of their scooters can sometimes be misleading. This brings us to the concept of actual power and peak power in the motor.
Actual power and peak power
The power produced by the motor will change over time and depends on several other factors. The most important factor is the motor temperature, because the performance of the motor starts to degrade as it heats up. This makes a difference between the so-called actual (continuous) and peak motor power.
In perfect conditions, that is, a straight, long and flat road with no obstacles on it and ideal temperature, the scooter will be able to produce the maximum power. This is called its peak motor power.
But you rarely ride in ideal conditions, and most motors usually start to overheat.
The power generated by the scooter most of the time, in the actual real world, driving in traffic, frequent parking, turning and avoiding obstacles, up and downhill, will be its real power.
Brands always want their scooters to look better. They know that users want their scooters to get as much power as possible. So they sometimes take advantage of this and only report the peak power of their scooters. In most cases, they usually don’t even mention that this is peak power. They only say “this is the power of our scooter”.
This is why it is difficult to obtain real data for these models.
My approach is to always assume that if only one power level is specified, it is the peak power level.
There is no doubt that in some cases this is wrong. But considering the brand’s motivation to report power in this way, and its shortcomings are not many, I think this is usually correct.
If you only know the peak power, a good rule of thumb is to assume that the actual power is between 30% and 90% of the peak power. On average, the actual power is about 57% of the peak power level. If you want to find out the peak power of the scooter based on the actual power or other methods, please refer to the actual and peak motor power converters.
Power of electric scooters and other electrical appliances
In order to let you know the efficiency of electric scooters, the following is the power wattage of common household appliances.
Household appliances power (W)
Blender 300 – 1200 watts
Microwave 800 – 2000 watts
Toaster 800 – 1600 watts
Hair dryer 1000 – 2000 watts
Vacuum cleaner 400 – 1500 watts
Refrigerator 500 – 1500 watts
Washing machine 500 – 1200 watts
Notebook computer 20 – 100 watts
Desktop computer 200-500 watts
Plasma TV 250 – 300 watts
Electronic game console 40 – 150 watts
As you can see, most of them, especially the larger ones, are either on par with most popular budget and commuter scooters, or far less efficient.
Electric scooter motor torque
Torque is a very useful indicator for determining how much work the motor of an electric scooter can perform. Sadly, for some reason, few manufacturers list this value.
Simply put, torque measures the tendency of the force that causes it to rotate when applied to an object. It is measured in Newton meters (Nm) and is very important for the maximum speed and climbing angle of the scooter, especially the latter.
Wheel hub and chain drive motor
Today, many modern electric scooters will be equipped with in-wheel motors. This means that the motor is built into the hub of one or more wheels.
In-wheel motor patent sketch
Schematic diagram of the in-wheel motor patent
On the other hand, the chain drive motor is located in a separate area of the scooter, usually on the deck. They generate motion there, and then convert that motion into wheels through a chain and gear system.
The advantage of having one over the other is not clear. They usually depend on the specific settings and requirements that the scooter must meet.
However, in general, some use cases are more popular than another.
The main advantage of in-wheel motors is that they do not have additional complicated chain and gear systems. This mechanism is prone to defects. Therefore, the in-wheel motor has fewer failures, is easier to repair, and is easier to maintain.
In-wheel motors can be more energy-efficient. The chain drive motor loses some energy in the friction created by the chain and gears. The hub motor will not be affected.
However, the chain drive motor can be set in some way to make it more efficient than the hub motor. In addition, although they are a more effective technology, they are often cheaper than chain drive motors.
Hub motors are heavier than chain motors. This may be advantageous or unfavorable, depending on your needs, as weight usually brings more stability to the scooter, and it is not always a bad thing.
However, the lack of gears may cause the in-wheel motor to provide less torque. This will result in a lower climbing angle and maximum speed. Chain drive motors are also more suitable for customization. Replacing the sprocket allows you to adjust the maximum speed and torque level of the scooter. In addition, it will be more difficult to replace the wheels on the in-wheel motor.
Gears and gearless motors
There are two main types of hub motors: geared and gearless. Gearless hub motors, also known as direct drives, are motors that use electromagnets to drive the scooter forward by directly rotating the wheels. The part (shaft) that the motor turns is the same as the part that turns the wheel. The geared hub motor generates motion inside it, and then it is transformed into a wheel through a gear mechanism.
Gearless Hub Motor
Generally speaking, gearless hub motors can provide more power. In practice, this means a higher top speed and a better climbing angle.
Gearless hub motors are usually larger. They need to rotate an axis very fast and are built around it. They will increase the weight of the scooter. Due to the use of electromagnets to generate movement, gearless hub motors can also provide regenerative braking.
Gear Hub Motor
Generally, the power of a geared hub motor is relatively small. The gear system provides leverage, so a less powerful motor can actually output more power. This can make geared hub motors more energy-efficient.
Moreover, this will mean more friction and more moving parts. This causes more wear and tear, and may mean a shorter service life and more defects and repairs. The main advantage that geared hub motors usually provide is a longer range.
The following video details the difference between gear motors and gearless motors. It is mainly about motors in electric bicycles, but the same principle applies to scooters. If you want more information, please check it out.
Brushed and brushless DC motors
There are two types of DC or DC motors: brushed and brushless. There are not many brushed motors anymore because they are older technologies. They generate electricity through two sets of electromagnets. The larger one is in the form of a hollow cylinder, and the second smaller magnet is inside. The internal magnet is a rotating magnet. Its movement generates an electromagnetic field between the two magnets, which is then converted into the movement of the parts that rotate the wheel.
Electric current is transmitted through carbon brushes or graphite brushes, hence the name. These need to be replaced because they are worn out.
The brushless motor is a similar but simpler mechanism that does not require brushes. They are more efficient, more reliable, and do not require frequent maintenance. Therefore, they have largely replaced brush motors, especially electric scooters.
What is the most powerful electric scooter motor?
The companies that currently manufacture the most powerful motors for electric scooters are Minimotors USA and Rion. Their most powerful models (Dualtron X, Rion2 RE90) use proprietary motors with a power level of several kilowatts.
Today’s most powerful electric scooter, Rion2 RE90, may have a peak motor power of at least 12,000 watts. Unsurprisingly, it is also the fastest electric scooter in the world, with a speed of 100 mph/160 km/h. If you want to see the craziest electric scooters, check out the post about the most powerful electric scooters.
How to maintain the motor on my electric scooter?
For most scooters, only common sense of general maintenance and care of your scooter is enough, because most scooters will be equipped with brushless DC hub motors that basically require no maintenance. Don’t abuse your scooter by riding at maximum speed all the time, and try not to force it to climb hills that are obviously too steep for it.
Unless there is a problem with your motor, you don’t need any special care. You can take it to the repair shop once a year to make sure everything is in order. As we mentioned, most motors today are brushless and they do not require replacement of brushes.
In addition, most motors are hub motors, and usually gearless motors, which is actually the best combination that must perform the least maintenance and still get the longest motor life. In fact, although electronic defects are one of the most common electric scooter problems, the hub motor has almost never failed, and the real problem is always the battery, wiring or controller, and the motor can keep running well-on Oil machine for many years.If your scooter has a chain drive motor, your only job is to lubricate the chain every few months to make sure everything goes smoothly. However, among the more than 300 models of electric scooters today, only a few popular electric scooters are still equipped with chain drive motors.
If you want to know how the motor works with other parts in the electric scooter, please view the full guide here.