Electric Scooter Motors: A Technical Guide

Buying an electric scooter is arguably one of the best purchases you’ll ever make. It’ll get you to work quicker, you’ll look pretty cool while riding your scooter, and you won’t be contributing to global warming, thanks to the electric scooter’s lack of carbon emissions!

However, when buying an electric scooter, it’s important to remember that there are several components of a scooter that you must assess before making your final purchase, one of which is its motor.

An electric scooter motor is what thrusts the scooter forward. Once it gets going, it plays an essential role in taking you wherever you need to go, but it can be something that people overlook. It also affects your scooter’s performance, acceleration, power consumption, and top speed. Every scooter has at least one motor, and it’s important to know how it works and what it does.

This guide will walk you through a comprehensive explanation of electric scooter motors. We’ll examine types of electric motors, motor wattage, electrical power, and motor torque.

If you’re in the market for an electric scooter, check out our comprehensive list of the best electric scooters with dual motors.

How does the electric scooter motor work?

Before we get into the technical aspects of the motor, let’s take a quick look at how the electric scooter motor works.

The motor’s type depends on how it works.

When you set out to ride your electric scooter, you control it and feed it information through a component called the controller. For instance, if you want to move forward, you will hit the throttle on the handlebar. The motor receives a signal from the controller and energy from the scooter’s electric battery simultaneously and starts moving the scooter forward.

An electric motor has a pretty simple job: it exists to power your scooter and takes you places through propulsion.

Types of Electric Scooter Motors

Now, let’s look at the two different types of electric scooter motors.

Brushed DC motors

Brushed DC motors, or brushed direct current motors, were invented way back in the 1800s and are actually one of the oldest representations of motor technology that we have today. They were also one of the more common motor types before the BLDC motor (brushless direct current) came along. The brushed DC motor was known for converting electric power into mechanical energy!

Every brushed DC electric motor has different electromagnetic coil phases inside it. These phases are powered by mechanical brushes that drag inside the motor. The dragging motion creates friction and powers the coil phases.

However, the friction causes the mechanical brushes to wear out over time, affecting the motor’s efficiency and voltage. Since the motor draws energy and power from the brushed motor, it can eventually become unsafe to use an electric scooter with a brushed motor.

Brushless DC motors

While brushed DC electric motors have been around for a long time, brushless DC motors are much newer.

A brushless DC electric motor performs much better than brushed motors because digital switching circuitry replaces the power phases and mechanical components, providing the motor with more power.

Brushless DC motors are more long-lasting, have efficient energy use, and durable. It’s also worth noting that the average brushless motor is much quieter and overheats less than brushed motors. If your budget is higher and you want to invest in higher-quality electric scooters for yourself and your family, purchasing a scooter with a brushless DC motor would be best.

Hub Motors and Chain Drive Motors

As science, engineering, and technology have developed over time, so have electric scooter motors. Most companies manufacturing electric scooters now include hub motors on their products.

Wheel hub motors on electric scooters are usually placed on the rear wheel. These types of motors are not expensive to manufacture, and they are lightweight.

There are two main types of hub motors, gearless hub motors, and geared hub motors.

Geared hub motors

Geared hub motors are a lot less powerful than gearless hub motors. However, they produce higher amounts of power and provide more leverage to the scooter’s performance. This means that a geared hub motor can make a scooter much more energy efficient and powerful.

Geared motors also have low-end torque, allowing you to accelerate quickly. As the name indicates, a geared hub motor creates a type of movement that transfers to the electric scooter’s wheel system through a gear mechanism.

Unfortunately, the gears often cause excessive friction, which gives this type of motor a shorter lifespan. The friction means that your scooter could probably spend more time at the repair shop than at home.

Gearless hub motor

On the other hand, gearless hub motors are a powerful electric scooter motor option. They generate more power and maintain speed effectively.

While this type of motor is heavier and doesn’t include any kind of mechanical component like its gear counterparts, its weight helps the scooter maintain stability.

It’s important to note that you might not be able to climb hills as easily with a gearless hub motor, but you’ll definitely reach work every day safely and on time. An added bonus is that gearless hub motors also have regenerative braking, thanks to the electromagnets in the motor.

Chain Drive Motor

Chain drive motors are used in both electric motorcycles and scooters.

These types of motors are smaller and more compact than hub drive motors. They can allow you to go at top speed, but you can only do so by manipulating the scooter or motorcycle’s controller.

Motor Power

Since all electric scooters are powered by electricity, not fuel, we know they have a power rating. These ratings are given in watts.

Wattage helps give potential scooter owners an idea of how much power an electric scooter requires.

If an electric scooter has a high wattage motor, it means that scooter performance is probably higher, and it consumes more power in a relatively short period of time. You must also remember that the amount of energy a scooter motor consumes depends on the amount of mechanical power it will produce.

Therefore, scooter motors with higher motor wattage have more mechanical power and hill climbing ability and can carry riders that weigh more than average.

While most scooters today come with information about wattage and motor power, you might want to calculate motor power yourself. You can do so by using an easy-to-follow formula. You must:

multiply current (amps, or A) by motor voltage (volt, or V)

It would be best if you also remembered that two motors with the same wattage rating might not produce the same mechanical power. Electric scooter motor power is not always an indicator of the motor’s efficiency, which is where torque comes in.

Motor Torque

In simple terms, torque is the twisting force produced by a scooter motor. It causes something to rotate. In this case, torque will cause the scooter’s wheels to turn and move you forward as your begin to ride your scooter.

An electric scooter motor affects torque in a significant way. The higher the scooter motor’s wattage, the more torque it can produce, and the faster your electric scooter moves. The electric scooter motor has a crankshaft. The crankshaft produces the rotating force that makes the wheels move. This means that if the electric scooter motor produces more torque, the better the performance is.

Unfortunately, the majority of electric scooter manufacturers don’t provide customers with the exact amount of torque that their scooters produce. However, you can roughly calculate torque output based on a simple formula stating:

power (W) = Torque (Nm) x Revolutions per second (RPS)

DC motors produce max torque at zero revolutions a second, which is also known as stall torque. DC motors also produce zero torque at their maximum revolutions a second.

Motor Performance

In most cases, motor power isn’t always an accurate indicator of how well or badly a motor will perform. In an ideal scenario, the scooters with the most powerful motors should be the ones that perform the best. They should be able to carry heavy weights and accelerate much faster than other scooters available on the market. These scooters should also be able to perform at a higher level using less motor power.

However, since motor power does not account for the scooter’s efficiency, it would be best not to use the motor’s performance when comparing motors.

It is also worth remembering that there isn’t a specific set of parameters or formulas that you can use to measure or compare the motor’s performance accurately. For example, if you examine a range of scooter motors, you’ll learn that different manufacturers measure motor wattage differently.

Therefore, if you want to try and assess motor performance on a range of scooters and draw comparisons, the best way to do so would be by looking at how manufacturers measure wattage.

Measuring wattage will help you understand that not all motors perform the same way. Remember to keep power output in mind!

When comparing or examining motor performance, an important factor you must remember is the difference between peak power and continuous power.

Peak Power

Peak power is nothing but the maximum amount of power that a scooter motor consumes in a limited period of time. Attempting to measure peak power isn’t the most effective way of comparing the performance of different scooters. This is because there is no set universal formula or method to measure it.

Peak power is also often greater than continuous power, making comparisons between scooters a lot more difficult.

Continuous power

On the other hand, continuous power, which is also sometimes referred to as sustained power, refers to the maximum amount of power a motor consumes over an indefinite time period. When experts and scooter salespeople refer to continuous power, it is often because they are listing the scooter motor specifications.

While peak power isn’t the most effective way to measure motor performance, continuous power will give you a much clearer idea.


Most electric scooters today are sleek machines offering customers a smooth ride. They have special features, like a hill climbing ability and the chance to ride to one’s destination at top speed. However, those fancy features are all dependent on the motor. The most powerful electric scooter has a powerful motor.

In this guide, we examined how electric scooter motors work.

We looked at types of motors, namely, brushless dc motors and brushed motors, motor torque, performance, and how these factors affect how a scooter and motors perform overall. Most scooters today are manufactured with BLDC motors. If you want to buy a scooter, remember to consider the motor’s power to help you draw comparisons and assess scooter performance. You must also remember to consider the scooter’s electric energy consumption!

Buying an electric scooter can feel intimidating, especially if you don’t know much about the mechanics. Hopefully, now you’ll feel more confident about making your first purchase.

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