How to choose a hoverboard, electric scooter, electric bike or other type of electric transport

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular every year. If a couple of years ago the electric unicycle gave the impression of an alien transport, now it is difficult to surprise someone with it. And electric scooters have turned from a fashionable gadget into an everyday means of transportation for tens of thousands of people.

The sheer number of models and an impressive list of features can be confusing when choosing the right model. To prevent this from happening, let’s take a closer look at the main technical characteristics of portable vehicles.

Electric scooters
This type of electric transport is the most popular. This is due to ease of use – there is room for their dimensions even in a small apartment, and an impressive cruising range (up to 25-30 km, sometimes 70 km) together with a maximum speed of up to 30 km / h (in some models up to 85 km / h ) make it equally suitable for weekend walks and daily commuting.

The design of an ordinary scooter is simple and familiar to most users from childhood. Modern electrical modifications are characterized by the presence of a battery pack, control panel, controller and motor, which is an integral part of one or both wheels.

Battery pack
The battery pack is the most expensive component. In case of failure, the repair will cost the user up to half the cost of the vehicle. The battery directly affects the range – the higher the battery capacity, the longer the route can be covered on a single charge. For modern adult models, the power reserve is 20-30 km.

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The figure indicated in the specifications was obtained in conditions close to ideal – flat surface without rises, optimal ambient temperature. In practice, the value may be noticeably less.

The main factors influencing the decrease in the power reserve:
Continuous movement at maximum speed.
Overcoming a long ascent.
Dynamic driving with sharp acceleration and deceleration.
Subzero temperatures.
Battery location. On most models, the battery is located inside the deck. In some – in the steering rack. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage of placing the battery in the steering column is better protection against moisture. Disadvantages: a disturbed center of gravity is more vulnerable to external influences

Electric scooter Hoverbot HY-02 black

[wheel diameter 8 “, 8”, up to 100 kg, 25 km / h, 7500 mAh, up to 22 km]
14499 *
4In stores: in 2 stores
The advantages of positioning the battery in the deck: better weight distribution, lower center of gravity, less susceptible to shock, easier maintenance. The disadvantage is vulnerability to moisture: after being exposed to rain or rolling in puddles, water can accumulate in the deck, which over time will lead to the failure of electronic components.

Electric scooter Xiaomi MiJia Electric Scooter white

[wheel diameter 8.5 “, 8.5”, up to 110 kg, 25 km / h, 7800 mAh, up to 30 km]
39 5
The high cost of the battery makes the assembly an attractive means of reducing the cost of the final product. Unscrupulous manufacturers very often save on this particular element. Determining the quality of an installed battery in a store is almost impossible. However, this can be done even at the stage of selection, paying attention to the technical characteristics.

For example, if you choose a scooter in the price category of up to 15,000 rubles and some copy stands out with a noticeably larger battery capacity, at best it does not correspond to the declared one. At worst, you can run into a model with a low-quality battery that will overheat, have a high self-discharge, and poor-quality soldering. Any of these factors can significantly reduce the useful life.

Even a high-quality battery has a limited resource and gradually loses its factory characteristics. In modern scooter models, lithium-ion energy sources (Li-ion, LFP, LiPo) are more often used. In terms of their performance, they significantly surpass the nickel-metal hydride batteries that were used previously. With the same characteristics, lithium batteries are up to two times lighter, have three times longer resource, they have no “memory effect”. The service life of such cells is 500-800 charge cycles.

To extend the battery life and reduce the likelihood of premature failure:
Avoid puddles and rolling in rainy weather. Some models from the factory have certified moisture protection, but you should not check it again in any case. Due to temperature changes (heating of the battery) and vibrations that occur during driving, the rubber seals wear out.

Avoid skating in low temperatures. They do not have the best effect on battery life. The range on a single charge is reduced by 30-50%, condensation formed inside the case threatens to damage the battery.

In case of refusal from winter operation, do not forget to periodically charge the battery (at least once every two months of inactivity).

The best temperature for storing the scooter is 15–20 degrees. Between a garage, a balcony and a warm apartment, it is better to choose the latter option.

Use only original chargers.

Dashboard and controller
The dashboard is an important element through which the user receives information about the driving mode, battery speed, connected Bluetooth device, and more. In many models, there is a power button on it.

The design of the dashboards is very different: from a few diode indicators that display only basic information, to a display with a speedometer.

Some models support Bluetooth synchronization with a smartphone. By downloading the official application, the user will significantly increase the degree of information content (up to obtaining the voltage values ​​of each battery cell), and will receive additional options for customizing the vehicle. For example, limiting the maximum speed, choosing a driving mode.

The controller is the most inconspicuous part of the electric scooter: it is installed imperceptibly, what functionality it performs is not clear to everyone. Its most important task is to transfer electrical energy from the battery to the wheel motor and vice versa (recuperation).

In addition, the controller is responsible for the motor rotation speed and driving dynamics. It has functions to protect: the engine – from overloads, the battery – from deep discharge, the system as a whole – from short circuits, overheating of components.

When designing an electric scooter, the manufacturer chooses the controller. But this does not mean that nothing depends on the user. At a minimum, before buying, you should read the reviews, look for information on the manufacturer’s official website.

Wheel and motor
The wheel diameters of modern models range from 5 to 12 inches. Small wheels “inform” the driver in more detail about the roughness of the road. Large ones are capable of “swallowing” minor irregularities in the road (for example, tile joints) and provide greater ground clearance, which can be convenient when driving out into the countryside.

It is worth choosing the size based on the tasks:
Wheels from 5 to 7 inches. Suitable for short walks to the nearest park, driving on asphalt roads. Models of this standard size are usually lighter and have more modest characteristics.

Wheels from 8 to 9 inches. These scooter models are ideal companions in the city. Suitable for daily commuting, long riding sessions on various types of surfaces: from asphalt to dirt road. Most of the models on the market are represented in this category.

Wheels from 10 to 12 inches. Designed for an adult, the maximum load reaches 100–120 kg, in some versions even 150 kg. There are models with a seat. In addition to the usual urban modifications, there are many off-road electric vehicle options in this category. They are usually all-wheel drive (an electric motor in each wheel), equipped with a suspension, wheels are noticeably wider than usual, rubber with deep tread.

Models designed for heavy loads themselves weigh more, whiter are cumbersome. Traveling with this in public transport is not always convenient. The weight of “off-road vehicles” reaches 35-50 kg.

There are three types of tires on scooters:
Cast. Such tires cannot be punctured, they have increased wear resistance, excellent rolling on a flat road, and do not require maintenance. The downside is poor depreciation. Because of what, driving on poor surfaces becomes uncomfortable.
Chamber. The option is much more comfortable when driving on tiles or bad asphalt. Wheels require periodic pumping, it can be punctured, rolling is worse than that of cast tires.
Perforated. The most modern version. They combine the advantages of cast and tube tires: they are hard to damage, practically do not require maintenance, at the same time they are cushioned due to the holes in the tire, softening the ride.

Drive selection
Depending on the drive wheel, the scooter can be front-, rear- or all-wheel drive. Each option has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Front-wheel drive. The owners of these scooters celebrate the best driving experience with a calm, measured ride. In addition, in an emergency, breaking the contact of the wheel with the road surface is easier on front-wheel drive models. What can save you from collision.

Electric scooter Ninebot KickScooter E25 black

[wheel diameter 9 “, 9”, up to 100 kg, 25 km / h, 5960 mAh, up to 25 km]
36,999 *
eightIn stores: in 6 stores
The disadvantage is worse handling at high speeds, and with the same characteristics, front-wheel drive models perform worse on uphill slopes. The higher the likelihood of mechanical damage to the wheel motor. In the event of a jam, the rider rolls over the handlebars.

Rear drive. Provides better handling at high speeds, better uphill climbing. Less likelihood of mechanical damage and injury in case of jamming.

IconBIT Trident 120 electric scooter black

[wheel diameter 12 “, 12”, up to 120 kg, 25 km / h, 6000 mAh, up to 20 km]
4 2
Four-wheel drive. Most often these are models of increased power for driving on rough terrain.

Wheel motor
Modern scooter models use a brushless motor located directly in the wheel. This design has proven itself on the good side by quiet operation, reliability, sufficient power and low weight.

The motor-wheel of the electric scooter has a simple design (stator with conductor windings, rotor with magnets). To understand the principle of work, a school physics course is enough. Voltage is applied to the stator, resulting in a magnetic field around the windings. It interacts with the permanent magnets of the rotor, causing it to spin. Continuity of rotation is ensured by sequential voltage supply to different stator windings.

The main characteristic of a motor is power. It is she who determines the dynamics of the scooter, the maximum speed, the angle of ascent. In an electric motor, the power depends on the total number of windings and the number of turns in them. Therefore, a powerful motor cannot physically fit into a small wheel.

In order for the scooter to have sufficient dynamics, the motor power should be selected in accordance with the rider’s weight. There are no strict laws.

As a general rule for choosing the power, you can take: 200-250 watts for people weighing up to 70 kg, 250-300 watts for weights from 70 to 90 kg, 350 watts and more for riders weighing 90+ kg.

Segways and hoverboards
The first type of personal electric vehicle to gain popularity was the Segway – self-balancing vehicles of the company of the same name with two wheels located on either side of the driver.

The first model was presented in December 2001. The developed speed reached 10-16 km / h, and the cruising range was about 15 km. Since then, countless models and modifications have been released, both of the original Segways and the creations of other manufacturers. Segways have become popular with golfers, postmen, police patrols and guided tours.

Over time, the models have been modified. First, mini-segways appeared, in which, instead of a full-fledged steering wheel, a shortened version was used to control the knees. Then the steering rack completely disappeared, giving a start to a new type of device – hoverboards (early 2010s).

The changes were dictated by the market – compact devices are much cheaper – and technical progress, thanks to which the electronics and battery fit in a small case.

At the moment, there are two layouts of hoverboards: two-board and three-board. Dual-board ones work less stably when driving over bumps and when hitting. The three boards have a separate motherboard and two separate motor control boards. Such models are more expensive, but more reliable.

Hoverboard DEXP N3 Color multicolor 12 999 *
The user must also be confident in the strength of the case. This is especially true when a hoverboard is used by an adult. The design of the vehicle assumes the presence of two parts that are movable relative to each other.

If the manufacturer has saved on the quality of the metal, the hoverboard may fold in half while riding. The wheel mounts are also a weak point. When choosing a model, pay special attention to the “maximum load” parameter. It is better to provide a margin here.

Due to the limited space in the case and the need to power two motors at once, the mileage on one charge is less than that of scooters. The typical figure is 12-15 km.

Compact dimensions also had an impact on autonomy. The battery is located in one part of the metal base. And, in comparison with scooters, it takes about 1.5-2 times less space. As a result, the battery capacity on hoverboards does not exceed 4 A * h.