Last updated: August 11, 2021

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You care about the environment, but are still looking for a way to stay mobile and get from A to B? But you also don't want to have to dig too deep into your pockets when buying a new means of transport? Then an electric scooter could be just what you are looking for.

You can find everything you need to know about electric scooters in our electric scooter test 2021, where we will present the most energy-efficient and up-to-date models and provide you with important tips and tricks on the range, engine performance and mode of operation of the means of transport.

Contents




Summary

  • An electric scooter is a motor scooter with an electric drive and is also called an electric scooter or e-scooter.
  • The e-scooter is an easy and affordable way to get into electromobility.
  • The battery, range, motor power, max. load and weight should be considered when buying an e-scooter.

The Best Electric Scooter: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an electric scooter

What is the difference between an e-scooter and an electric scooter?

E-scooters are available in displacement classes from 50 to 250 cc and look a lot like petrol scooters.

E-scooters, on the other hand, are more compact and look more like a pedal scooter. In contrast to electric scooters, e-scooters have a low dead weight, which makes them easy to transport.

E-scooters are available in many different models and designs. (Image source: pixabay.com / moosjeplossje)

Electric scooters are powered by a DC motor with a maximum power of up to 1kW/1.35 hp, which allows acceleration to a maximum of 25 km/h. The integrated rechargeable battery provides the rider with a maximum speed of up to 25 km/h. The integrated rechargeable battery offers the rider a range of up to 35 km on a single charge.

In the case of electric scooters, a quiet three-phase motor from 1.5 KW/2.03 hp upwards provides propulsion, accelerating to a minimum speed of 25 km/h in just a few seconds. The range of e-scooters is up to 150 km, depending on the battery used and the fuel efficiency of the motor.

Since e-scooters are smaller and have significantly less power, they are generally cheaper to buy than electric scooters.

With a few exceptions, e-scooters do not have a road permit. Electric scooters are therefore only legal to drive on private property such as campsites.

If you want to use the e-scooter on public roads, get a model that falls under the vehicle category of moped. Of course, this is provided that you have the appropriate driving licence.

E-scooter E-Scooter
Similar to petrol scooter Similar to pedal scooter
Higher weight Low dead weight
Three-phase motor Direct current motor
Max. 130 km/h Max. 25 km/h
Max. 150 km Max. 35 km
Street legal Rarely street legal
Storage space No storage space

E-scooters generally have a road permit and are therefore considered to be utility vehicles. Thus, in contrast to electric scooters, electric scooters are a real alternative to combustion scooters.

The electric scooter rider can easily store smaller pieces of luggage in the storage space under the seat. This is an option that is lacking with e-scooters.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-scooters compared to conventional scooters?

The electric drive of automatic scooters ensures that the vehicle runs almost silently, which significantly reduces traffic noise.

Since the electric scooter does not emit any toxic exhaust gases compared to the petrol scooter, the e-scooter also contributes to better air quality.

However, e-scooters are not only ahead in terms of environmental protection, but also in terms of costs. Because of low maintenance and low operating costs of less than one euro per 100 km, electric scooters are significantly cheaper than scooters with combustion engines.

Advantages
  • Almost noiseless
  • No exhaust fumes
  • Low operating costs
Disadvantages
  • High purchase price
  • Limited range
  • Longer recharging time

Petrol scooters are far cheaper to buy than electrically powered scooters. This is due to the expensive drive and battery technology, which has hardly become cheaper in recent years. In addition, the range is still too limited.

While petrol scooters can travel up to 300 km on a single tank of fuel, good electric scooters run out of energy after only 100 km. For many, recharging the e-scooter is also a problem.

This process can take up to eight hours (depending on the type of battery) and there are only a few charging stations in Germany that supply the electric scooter with electricity. However, a normal household socket is also sufficient to charge the batteries.

Did you know that electric scooters require less maintenance than conventional scooters?

Since the combustion engine is replaced by a battery, fewer parts can break down.

How do electric scooters work?

Electric scooters do not have an internal combustion engine like petrol scooters, but an electric hub motor.

In addition to the electric motor, a battery, a control unit and a frequency converter are needed to make the electric drive work.

To power the electric scooter, an energy storage device is needed. A traction battery, which consists of many highly efficient storage cells, is such an energy storage device. To ensure that the battery lasts for a long time, care should be taken never to run the battery completely flat.

Are electric scooters easy to drive?

Electric scooters are basically easy to operate. You do need a sure instinct, but with a little practice, riding an electric scooter is as easy as riding a bicycle.

You apply the brakes in exactly the same way and all you need to do to whizz forward is to gently turn the right handle.

Compared to conventional scooters, the rider of an e-scooter does not have to change gears when accelerating.

Who is an e-scooter suitable for?

Electric scooters are suitable for all those people who want to do something good for the environment and their fellow human beings.

Ignorance doesn't look good on anyone. So why not ensure greater well-being in one's surroundings oneself by reducing noise and stench through the use of an electric vehicle.

Whether for long or short distances, the e-scooter is basically suitable for anyone who wants to save money because of the low travel costs.

However, if you only want to use your electric scooter sporadically, go for an inexpensive model starting at 2,000 euros. For daily trips, on the other hand, a scooter from the higher price segment, i.e. from 3,500 euros, is worthwhile.

People who simply want to have fun while riding are also well advised to choose an electric scooter.

Thanks to the smart motor, which does not allow any transmission loss, and the energy-rich battery, electric scooters go like Schmitz's cat. E-scooters are thus in no way inferior to the nimbleness of comparable petrol scooters. Quite the opposite.

Do I need a driving licence to ride an electric scooter?

If you want to ride an e-scooter at a speed of up to 25 km/h, you will always need a moped test certificate, which you can obtain as early as 15 years of age.

For electric scooters up to 45 km/h, you need a class M driving licence or a class B driving licence due to the small-force status.

Did you know that electric scooters are particularly popular in Asia - mainly in China?

This was initially due to the fact that no driving licence was required for such e-vehicles and led to e-scooters overtaking conventionally powered vehicles as early as 2005.

In the meantime, it is primarily the increasing pollution from smog that is causing a boom in electric vehicles and has practically displaced all petrol scooters.

E-scooters with a maximum speed of 80 km/h are considered light motorbikes and therefore require a class A1 driving licence.

Of course, the German market also offers even faster e-models that reach a top speed of 130 km/h. However, nothing works in this speed category without a motorcycle licence. However, nothing works in this speed class without a motorbike licence.

Speed Driving licence class
Up to 25 km/h Mofa
Up to 45 km/h M or B
Faster 45 km/h Motorcycle

What other legal requirements must be met in addition to a driving licence?

You should have the following legal regulations in mind when buying an electric scooter:

  • Compulsory registration
  • Compulsory insurance
  • Mandatory helmet use
  • Mandatory protective clothing

Compulsory registration

Since electric scooters are motor vehicles, they are also subject to compulsory registration. The e-scooter may only be operated on public roads if a permit has been issued and the licence plate has been affixed.

Compulsory insurance

In order to be able to operate electric scooters on public roads, liability insurance is also required. The valid insurance number plate must also be visibly attached to the e-scooter.

Compulsory helmet

If your e-scooter is travelling faster than 20 km/h, you must make sure that you wear a safety helmet. At lower speeds, helmets are not compulsory, but it is always advisable to wear a suitable helmet to avoid injury.

Compulsory protective clothing

There is no legal obligation to wear protective clothing. However, in the event of an accident, protective clothing is a good idea.

In addition to sturdy shoes, high-contrast clothing with protectors has proven to be the best way to avoid the risk of being overlooked in traffic.

How safe is an e-scooter?

E-scooters are safe to ride with a little practice. In recent years, accidents have often occurred only because e-scooter owners underestimated the enormous acceleration behaviour of the e-motor when starting. Special driving safety training courses for drivers of electric scooters provide a remedy.

Electric scooters seem to be more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. Because of the ultra-quiet electric motor, e-scooters are difficult to hear compared to the loud rattling of combustion engines.

Can petrol scooters be converted into e-scooters?

With the right know-how, it is possible to convert petrol scooters into electric scooters. Hobbyists realise such projects by removing the petrol engine and tank and replacing them with a powerful electric motor plus battery.

However, such a conversion is not only time-consuming, but often ends up being more expensive than buying a new e-scooter.

How much do electric scooters cost?

Electric scooters can be purchased in different price ranges.

From 1,000 euros to 3,500 euros, everything is possible. For motorway scooters up to 130 km/h, however, you have to reckon with final prices between 3,700 and 13,700 euros.

How much you have to pay for your e-scooter depends on the core of the scooter, the battery. Electric scooters with lead-gel batteries are always cheaper. However, this type of battery has the disadvantage of having a short life span.

If you want your battery to last longer, go for NiCd or NiMH batteries, regardless of the higher purchase price.

Can I rent an e-scooter?

In many German cities it is already possible - purely electric scooter sharing. In order to use rental systems such as emmy, coup or scoo.me, registration with personal data is required.

Charges are made by credit card or invoice. At around 19 cents per minute, however, this should be relatively low. In addition to the elimination of the search for a parking space and great models in retro design, this is one more reason to use smart sharing.

Which brands produce electric scooters?

Although the electric scooter market is only growing slowly, there are now a number of popular providers who also want to electrify Germany:

  • Unu
  • Suzuki
  • Bmw
  • Emco
  • Kumpan
  • Charly
  • Innoscooter
  • Honda
  • Niu
  • Evo
  • Sunetta
  • Piaggio
  • Scuddy
  • Yamaha
  • Joka
  • Trinity

Decision: What types of electric scooters are there and which is the right one for you?

You can distinguish between very different types of electric scooters, whereby there are five main groups:

  • One-seater electric scooters
  • Two-seater electric scooters
  • 3-wheel electric scooters
  • Electric scooters with roof
  • Electric folding scooter

In the following, we will explain the different types and their advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the most suitable e-scooter for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a single-seater electric scooter?

A single-seater electric scooter is designed for one person to ride alone.

This type is not only convincing due to its low vehicle weight, but also due to its super-slim design, which allows parking in a small space.

Advantages
  • Little space required
  • Manoeuvrable stature
Disadvantages
  • Hardly any storage space
  • Two-way travel impossible

Single-seater electric scooters are available in all speed categories. The choice of your single-seater should therefore depend on your available driving licence class.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a two-seater electric scooter?

A characteristic feature of the two-seater electric scooter is the perfectly shaped two-person seat.

In addition to a large cockpit and heaps of storage space, two-seaters also offer endless room for the feet. With such dimensions, it is not surprising that two-seater e-scooters fall into the category of large-wheeled scooters.

Advantages
  • Experience togetherness
  • Cheaper than an electric car for two
Disadvantages
  • Low range
  • Massive weight

What distinguishes a 3-wheel electric scooter and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A 3-wheel electric scooter stands on two front wheels.

However, this model is not a three-wheeled vehicle for senior citizens, but a kind of mobile that can be ridden by everyone.

Advantages
  • One- or two-person vehicle
  • safety of a car
Disadvantages
  • Expensive purchase
  • A driving licence required

The modern design and the possibility of purchasing the three-wheeler with or without a roof, for two or alone, give you endless freedom.

What distinguishes an electric scooter with a roof and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In California it is already the absolute bestseller - the cabin scooter. No wonder. Because with its unusual design, this model has a lot to offer.

In addition to a closed cabin and a remarkable range of 321 kilometres, the vehicle convinces above all with its upright stand despite only having two wheels.

Advantages
  • Wind and weather protection
  • space for two
  • no need to wear a helmet
Disadvantages
  • Larger parking space required

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an electric folding scooter?

Electric folding scooters can be quickly and easily folded down to a small size, making them easy to transport by hand.

Road-legal models can reach top speeds of up to 45 km/h and ranges of up to 50 km.

Advantages
  • Can be carried on buses and trains
  • Great design
Disadvantages
  • High price
  • Longer exercise time
  • One-person design

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate electric scooters

Below you will find important factors that you can use to compare and evaluate electric scooters.

These buying criteria should show you what you need to look out for when making a purchase in order to find the perfect electric scooter for you.

In summary, these are the following factors:

  • The battery
  • The range
  • The motor power
  • Battery stowage
  • The maximum load
  • The weight

In the following, you will find out what is behind the purchase criteria and we will give you advice for a purchase decision so that you can buy the best e-scooter for you.

Battery

To avoid having to rely on a public charging station, it is advisable to buy electric scooters with batteries that are not permanently connected to the scooter. This way, the battery can be conveniently charged at home or at work.

In addition, e-scooters with lithium-ion batteries are preferable because they have a higher energy density.

Battery congestion

If you want your e-scooter to offer you plenty of storage space, choose a model whose battery is not located directly under the seat but in the lower part of the scooter.

Range

The range of an e-scooter depends on the capacity of the battery. Basically, you should make sure that the energy is sufficient for at least 50 kilometres. If you want to achieve a longer range, it is worth buying a second battery.

However, this is only possible if your e-scooter meets the requirements for the installation of a second battery.

Motor power

If you want to be on the move as quickly as possible with your e-scooter, pay attention to the wattage of the motor when buying it.

For city traffic, your e-scooter should have at least 1000 watts. For other applications, however, this wattage is too low, which is why most manufacturers recommend a 1500-2000 watt electric motor.

Maximum load

Before you buy an e-scooter, ask yourself whether you want to use it alone or together with a second person. If you decide to use it together, buy a model with a suitable load capacity.

Weight

Depending on the type of scooter, you will have to reckon with a different weight, which depends not only on the construction but also on the integrated battery. All weight classes are represented between 15 kg and 145 kg.

With an electric scooter you hardly have any parking problems in the city. (Image source: shutterstock.com / franz12)

Heavier scooters offer more stability, while lighter ones shine with manoeuvrability. But make your choice dependent on your strength, because you have to be able to move the vehicle.

Facts worth knowing about electric scooters

Who invented the electric scooter?

The first electrically powered two-wheeler was manufactured in 1911 to transport goods and people in factories.

Internal combustion engines could not be used for this task because of the exhaust emissions. From 1950 onwards, the production of electric scooters started with manufacturers such as Puch and Peugeot.

Did you know that the first electric two-wheeler was put into service in 1911?

Development in Germany was completed in 1989 in the GDR, but found little demand due to high prices and low range.

Can e-scooters be tuned?

Tuning electric scooters is possible in principle. However, not all tuning is permitted. Illegal tuning measures can be punished with fines of up to 90 euros.

To be on the safe side, limit your tuning to the removal of the throttle to increase performance or visit a workshop that specialises in scooter tuning.

Where do most electric scooters ride?

Around 9.4 million e-scooters are currently on China's roads, making the Land of the Rising Sun the absolute frontrunner. In the rest of the world, just 31,000 e-scooters are in use.

A real tragedy for which politicians and companies are probably responsible.

Image source: pixabay.com / Trinity_eRoller

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