A Complete Overview of Electric Scooter Motors

This article originally appeared on LEVRevolution.com

When it comes time to decide what type of electric scooter you’re going to buy, your motor is going to determine of a number of things, including speed and torque but also your overall wattage. Therefore, the type of electric scooter motor you choose will be one of the more important considerations for you to make before you buy.

The motor, more or less, is going to be one of two types of drive systems. You’ve got your chain drive and belt drive. The different types of electric scooter motors have their respective strengths and flaws, but don’t worry, we’re here to help you figure all that out!

Your Motor’s Drive System

Chain Drive System

The chain drive system typically contains two gears — referred to as a pinion and sprocket — and the chain. There are some electric scooter motors that have a direct link between the driver pinion and the engine. Most, if not all, chain driven machines will also have a centrifugal clutch.

Of the two systems, the chain drive is generally going to be the more dependable. If some obstruction, say a twig or a small rock, gets caught in your chain, the chain will more than likely crush it.

Chain drive systems have an advantage over belt drive systems in that they won’t wear out as quickly, but they will need regular lubrication so the chain doesn’t rust or catch. But if the master link is properly installed, your chain will probably never outright break and will give the rider plenty of warning if they need to be replaced.

It’s not all good though as chain driven electric scooters tend to be much louder while they are being ridden. There are some that maintain that the noise of the chain can be a good thing as it gives warning to other people that you’re driving an electric scooter and if they are in the way, they are should probably consider moving!

Unfortunately, if you’re in the market for a quiet and quaint electric scooter, it’s possible that the chain driven system will not meet your needs.

Belt Drive System

As you might imagine, the belt driven electric scooter motor is going to be much quieter than their chain driven counterparts. Just like the belt in your car’s engine, it will need to be replaced from time to time.

Both electric scooter motors will get you where you need to be. There are a few differences in performance, though. Primarily, belt driven systems have some issues going off-road or on rocky conditions. If some obstruction gets caught in your belt, it can cause serious damage and more than likely lead to you pushing your scooter home.

Your Motor’s Wattage

When we speak of the power of your electric scooter, we are primarily speaking about the overall wattage of a scooter. This is the other consideration you’re going to have to make in terms of your engine.

Each electric scooter motor, whether they are a chain or belt drive, has a difference of wattage. Again, this is all going to depend on your intended use. Most electric scooter motors under 250 watts will be sluggish upon acceleration, have little speed, and will give you some difficulty while getting up hills. If you’re primarily interested in buying, say, a mobility scooter or something relatively safe for young or inexperienced riders, this amount of wattage will probably be fine for you.

But, if you want an electric scooter to replace your daily driver, or if you’re going to be spending large amounts of time riding up steep inclines, you’ll want to up that wattage to 750 or even 2000!

The amount of watts, the type of battery pack and engine drive systems are all going to effect the overall range and speed of your electric scooter. Most electric scooters with newer Li-ion battery packs commonly have around a 45-minute, or about 10 mile, run time on even ground with no hills and at a moderate speed. If you do live in a hilly or steep area, expect the scooter, battery and motor to have to do more work so don’t anticipate much range.

It will certainly be imperative to ponder what your commute looks like in terms of mileage and topography. If you plot out your commute prior to buying your electric scooter, you’ll have a much better idea of what type of engine you’ll need.

All in all, electric scooters are a blast to ride and will be a great addition for anybody who is looking to get started on their Light Electric Vehicle journey or perhaps just trying to be a little more mobile. As always, know what your needs are, do your homework and, most importantly, have fun! Stay safe and happy riding!

LEV Revolution is the definitive source for all information related to light electric vehicles (LEVs).

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