Jason Leeman
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Electric scooters are the best last-mile solution for your city commute. There are many instances where public transport can’t get you where you need to go. You can get stuck for hours in a car for a quick errand to the store. The electric scooter is a perfect alternative in these situations. It helps you avoid traffic and crowded parking spaces while having some fun.  

There is a wide range of electric scooters in the market. They’re so popular that some electric scooter brands are a rebrand of somebody else. It can be overwhelming for someone to buy for the first time. Here are five pointers that will help you choose the perfect electric scooter. 

  1. Know your electric scooter laws. 

E-scooter sharing companies took over city streets without educating the public. As a result, the reception towards these personal mobility devices was divisive. Chuck it off the bottom of the nearest river or ride it with reckless abandon helmet-free. 

This resulted in rider injuries followed by bans around the world. 

There are places where you can scoot around the city. The fun police won't stop you as long you follow road traffic rules and follow restrictions. Electric scooters are legal in some parts of the US, Europe, and Australia. Make sure to research your local electric scooter laws first

  1. Rank your needs and get a balanced mix of features.   

There is an entry-level electric scooter for every budget. Manufacturers provide different sets of features for different target markets. You’ll have to determine which set of features you need. 

These are the factors you have to consider apart from electric scooter laws: 

  • Road conditions. 

Your terrain determines the build of your electric scooter - is it flat? hilly? a bit off-road? potholes everywhere? The more uneven your roads are, the more power you’ll need. Combine this with a sturdy build, dual suspension, and bigger tires for a stable ride. 

  • Commuting conditions. 

High-risk conditions in your commute determine the safety features you need. These are low visibility, high traffic, and poor roads.  You need pneumatic tires, a mechanical braking system, bright lights, reflectors, and a bell. If the electric scooter doesn’t have an app, it should have an LED display. 

  • Portability. 

Foldable scooters are portable by design. They can also be ultracompact. This form factor comes with a caveat: less weight = fewer features. The higher performance you need the bigger battery and motor you’ll have. This will change the build of the scooter for it to be safe and stable for riding. Scooters that manage to strike a balance, like the E-TWOW GT, cost more than $1000. 

  • Price-to-practicality ratio. 

While it is great to be practical, there’s another caveat that you need to consider: you get what you pay for. It’s far safer for you to adjust your budget based on your needs, rather than force yourself to adjust to the scooter. The Mearth S Pro is a well-balanced midrange scooter that can go as far as 45 km on 10-inch pneumatic tires. 

  1. Forget about speed. It’s about range and battery.  

In the city, you actually won’t need much beyond 25 km/h. Look at the battery capacity and range instead. Determine the range you’ll need on a daily basis then add 15% on top. For instance, if you need 14 km for a round trip, look for electric scooters that can go for 16-24 km. Combine this with a high-quality battery by brands such as LG and Panasonic. Some scooters have a hot-swappable battery. 

  1. Find out what to expect. 

Electric scooters need little to no maintenance. But low-quality materials will break early and worse, cause an injury. Common problems include unreliable folding mechanism, punctured tires, poor brakes, and faulty electronics. 

Read reviews from owners who have used your electric scooter of choice for 6 months. This will let you know what repairs to expect. Some parts need no maintenance, such as a drum brake and solid tires. Keep in mind though that solid tires are slippery on wet roads. 

  1. Test drive. 

After all this research, you'll find the electric scooter you’re looking for. It’s time to do a test drive. Most of these test drives are in a parking lot or flat pavement. This is understandable for retailers. But you won't get a clear picture of how the electric scooter performs. 

Get a recommendation from a friend or borrow from someone in your neighborhood. Use the electric scooter on a route that you regularly use. Include acceleration and braking tests. Assess overall ride performance. Don’t forget to wear a bike helmet. 

By the end of these five steps, you’ll have a commuter electric scooter that’s perfect for you. You may have asked yourself at some point, “Why don’t I just rent one from Lime?” It’s because it's more convenient, safe, and cost-efficient in the long run. Go ahead, bookmark this page on your phone and go scooter shopping. 

About the author 

Jason Leeman

Jason Leeman is an engineer, tech geek and personal electric vehicle enthusiast. He loves testing the latest in urban personal transportation and sharing his love of wheels with his kids and his blog readers.