Electric scooters have exploded in popularity over the last five years. The Crooze team has compiled this comprehensive guide including everything you need to know before buying an e-scooter so you can find the best electric scooter for your needs.
What is an Electric Scooter?
Electric scooters are stand-on scooters powered using an electric motor. They are legal for public use in most Australian states, and are a popular choice as personal transport for short and longer commutes. Speed limits vary by state, but generally electric scooters are capped at between 10 and 25kmh when being used on public roads and footpaths.
There is an overwhelming variety of choice for adult electric scooters on the market, with a different style of scooter for every need.
Styles of Electric Scooter
Electric scooters for adults come in two main styles — commuter e-scooters and adventure or performance e-scooters. Commuter e-scooters are designed for personal transport and everyday city commutes. A commuter e-scooter will usually be more lightweight and compact than a performance e-scooter, and is designed to be ridden on footpaths and roads with a top speed of 25km/hr.
Performance or adventure scooters tend to be larger because they are fitted with heavier and more specialised specs. For this kind of scooter, expect to see chunky tyres offering more ground clearance and other offroad features.
Speed & Australian Laws
Each state and territory regulates its own traffic laws. Most follow European laws where e-scooters sold for on-road use are limited to 250 watts and capped at 25km/h.
Adult electric scooters are legal for public use in Victoria, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania. In QLD and ACT, the speed limit for electric scooters is 25kmh. In VIC, NT, WA and TAS, the speed limit is 10km/h and vehicle power is capped at 200 watts.
Power and Range
Power and range is a key consideration for those looking to take their e-scooter on medium or long distance commutes. Most electric scooters run off battery packs. Maximum power depends on the model, with motor power ranging from 250 watts to beyond 6000 watts in some adventure models (although it should be noted that top speed is still capped at 25km/h for public use in most states).
When it comes to range, you can expect entry level models to deliver approximately 25kms, with more powerful adventure models delivering up to 150kms.
A high quality brakes system is vital for safety on an electric scooter. Most electric scooters are equipped with either mechanical or electrical brakes. Mechanical brakes use physical mechanisms to slow the electric scooter down, while electric brakes use the motor itself.
Generally, mechanical brakes deliver a stronger braking force, while models with electric brakes may benefit from less maintenance and adjustment. Many electric scooters feature one electric brake and one mechanical brake, delivering combination braking that reduces the chances of brake failure.
Some electric scooters may have brakes fitted to only the front or rear wheel. Higher end models generally have brakes fitted on both the front and rear wheels, which offers more powerful braking with less risk of slippage.
There are a number of brake types that fall under the mechanical and electrical brake categories. One of the most common and effective brake types are disc brakes, however some models may feature drum or foot brakes which are generally lower maintenance, however may have a lower performance than disc brakes.
Suspension on an electric scooter helps to improve the ride quality, reduce the impact of bumps on the road and make braking, accelerating and handling smoother and safer. Depending on how you plan to use your e-scooter, suspension quality may play a part in your decision.
For adventure and off road use, high quality suspension and tyres is key to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride. For those planning longer commutes on roads, ensuring your scooter has adequate suspension is also important since potholes and bumps in the road can be very uncomfortable with bad suspension.
The main types of suspension are spring, hydraulic and rubber. Generally speaking, high end electric scooters will use a combination of spring and hydraulic suspension. Cheaper and entry level models may forego suspension entirely, relying on large tyres to provide a damping effect.
Weight and Portability
Electric scooters come in a range of weights, with some designed to be more portable and lightweight for travel and convenience.
The most portable electric scooters will fold down to make them easier to transport and store. Most electric scooter models will have a folding mechanism built into the stem, and some may allow for handlebar folding also.
Electric Scooter Wheels & Tyres
Electric scooter tyres come in two main types — air filled (pneumatic) and airless. Air filled tyres will generally deliver a higher quality, smoother ride and be able to perform in a variety of road conditions. However, airless tyres may feature on entry level electric scooters that are accessible at a lower price point, and can also be more lightweight and portable than pneumatic tyres.
Electric Scooter Budget
Electric scooters come at a variety of price points, with quality options available for most budgets depending what you want to get out of your vehicle. Here, we will discuss what you can expect from an electric scooter at each price bracket.
This price point is achievable for children’s e-scooters and entry level adult electric scooters. At this price point, expect a standard e-scooter with a range of about 25kms, around 250 watts of motor power and in wheel suspension.
This price range is what you can expect to pay for a quality commuter e-scooter. At this point, e-scooters have quality suspension, around 500 watts of motor power and a range of about 45 kms.
This is what you can expect to pay for high quality commuter e-scooters. You will also start to see some adventure e-scooter models at this price point. At this price, commuter scooters will include all the accessories, have higher capacity batteries, quality suspension and componentry while adventure models may be more basic.
At this price point you can find the most premium electric scooter models as well as specialty models designed for offroading. At this price point, you can expect a 100km range, around 1000 watts of motor power and quality front and rear braking. All terrain, air-filled tyres are more common at this price ranger.
For top of the range adventure e-scooters, premium models can exceed 4K. At this price, expect excellent power and torque, high speed, off road tyres and front and rear disc braking. You can also expect ranges exceeding 100km.
Maintenance is important to ensure your e-scooter runs smoothly and remains in great condition for as long as possible. The following maintenance tips are recommended for e-scooter owners:
E-scooter maintenance tips
- For models with air filled tyres, check air pressure regularly.
- Keep compontenty clean and clear of debris.
- Charge your battery to 100% after every ride.
- Store your e-scooter in a dry, secure area away from direct sunlight.
- Inspect cables before each ride.