The absolute truth about electric scooters
Must read article before purchasing an electric scooter
All scooters no matter what size they are (or electric bicycles), in accordance to Canadian law, cannot have a larger motor than 500 watts.
To compensate for the additional weight of the larger electric scooters, the battery size must be increased from 12ah to 20ah, thus increasing further the weight of the scooter and also increasing your cost to purchasing new batteries. All SLA batteries last you the same number of years (battery life), whether 10ah, 12ah or 20ah. All lithium batteries last you the same number of years, whether you have a 36v 10ah lithium battery or a 48v 20ah lithium battery.
Of course, battery life partially depends partly on you. For battery maintenance you MUST follow these rules;
For SLA batteries, no matter how little the distance travelled (even around the block), you must immediately charge the batteries. NEVER stop the charging cycle until the charger led turns green. A sign of batteries reaching the end of their life cycle is when you plug in a charger to charge your batteries, but the charger's led (light) never turns green, and if you touch the batteries they are warm (or hot). During winter, charge your batteries every month. For SLA batteries, prior to charging them, you may first discharge the batteries by adding a 48v bulb to the battery's output, or simply run the motor for a few minutes (while the bike is on the stand). For lithium batteries, you may partially charge the batteries but at the end of the day always fully charge them. In the winter, charge them every month.
When it comes to large electric scooters there are additional expenses involved. Due to the heavy weight of the scooter, for obvious safety reasons, a pressurized brake system is installed, like the brake systems in motorcycles or cars. Additional expenses apply to such systems, like brake fluid and brake pads. In the switch100 electric scooter (but not in all models), you simply lightly press on the brake and the reverse rotation of the motor (called regenerative braking) stops the bike , practically not using any brake pads at all. You will need brake pads sooner only if you always apply hard on the brakes to stop the bike at the very last moment.
Theoretically, SLAs can be charged about 300 times, while lithium batteries can be charged about 700 times. SLAs are very heavy and very cheap (about $240 for 48v systems) to replace, while lithium batteries are very light and expensive to replace (48v20ah batteries can go over $1000).
You should know that the range (distance travelled per battery charge) on small or large scooters having SLA batteries is relatively the same. The larger scooters are heavier, thus they have larger, heavier batteries (eg; 20ah), to compensate for the extra weight, in order to give you the same range that a small scooter gives you. A small scooter (like our switch100) being lighter, uses smaller batteries (eg; 14ah) giving you the same range as the larger scooters.
So the size of the electric scooter comes down to personal preference, not quality or range. Now, for electric scooters that have lithium batteries the range varies. For example, a 36v 10ah battery has a shorter range than a 48v 20ah battery, and a 48v20ah battery has a shorter range than a 48v30ah battery. A 48v30ah lithium battery on a large scooter gives you an average range of 100 km.
Parking your electric scooter almost anywhere is a great convenience. The switch100 is small enough to park on any sidewalk and go to any bicycle path, while the bigger scooters definitely cannot be parked on the sidewalk, and when driven in a bicycle path, you may get some complaints from other cyclists.
The 48v20ah lithium battery on the switch100 gives you a 70km range while the 48v SLA batteries give you a 20-30km range (if the batteries are new). Although the lithium battery packs are very expensive (almost the price of purchasing another scooter) in our opinion, if you can afford paying about $1000 every 4 or 5 years (battery life) they are worth every penny.
When it comes to repairs, you will not require any repairs on electric scooters. If the bike will work for the first month, chances are you will never need any kind of repair. The 3 major components in a electric scooter or electric bicycle are the battery, the controller and the motor. Like we mentioned the batteries will need to be replaced when their life cycle expires. The controller might need to be replaced once, and the motor will last the life of the scooter. TIP: If the scooter does not work, the first thing to check is if the fuse has blown. The switch100 that we tested, has gone for 5 years without any repairs, so far (never driven in the rain, never left outdoors during the night, and always parked in a heated garage during the winter months).
Disadvantages of all electric scooters (small or large), if they brake down, you must walk them back home or tow them if you are far away from home. That's where electric bicycles come in. If the electric system on a bicycles will stop operating, you can always pedal your way back home.
So what are your costs to owning an electric scooter or electric bicycle?
The battery replacement every 3-5 years.
Brake fluid and brake pads (for large electric scooters only).
So far, no drivers license, no insurance, no license plate.
Our recommendation: Purchase the smallest scooter or ebike with the largest lithium battery you can fit, in order to give you a long battery range of at least 60km per charge.