An electric scooter is a very important part of sharing business, because it will have to be maintained, recharged, and technically kept in good condition for your future users. So today, we will tell you how to select the right electric scooter for your sharing business.
15 important points while choosing a scooter for sharing
The battery in an e-scooter
The battery is the most significant and expensive part of an electric scooter, which has two parameters: capacity and removability.
The average battery capacity on the market is 10.4 ampere-hours: it is enough for about 30−35 kilometers of ride.
There are batteries from Chinese manufacturers, and LG and Panasonic. LG and Panasonic sell more expensive batteries because they are slower to lose capacity, and have more cycles to recharge (about a thousand).
Chinese batteries have a faster capacity loss from the battery and fewer recharge cycles with maximum capacity. After 500 recharge cycles, it will likely get worse and worse. You can, of course, overhaul it, but that’s an additional cost.
The second factor is the removability of the battery. If your battery is non-removable, like in the Xiaomi M365, then you have to pick up all the scooters around the city, take them to the warehouse, recharge them, and take them back to the city. If you have 15 scooters out of 100 discharged, you will need to pick them up, take them to the warehouse, wait for them to recharge, which is about 4 hours, and put them back in town.
The whole process takes about five and a half hours, and most likely no one will need the scooters anymore: half a day they worked and exhausted their resource, half a day they were charging, and at night they are no longer needed
A removable battery makes it possible to service a scooter in the city right on the spot and keep it running. This increases revenue and reduces the company’s operating costs. That’s why we recommend choosing models with detachable batteries.
Another important parameter is the wheel radius. Your customer’s ride comfort depends on it. If the wheel radius is 8 inches, the scooter users will catch every bump and their experience will be positive only if they ride only on smooth asphalt.
When the wheel radius is larger, say 12 inches, the user will feel less of the surface roughness. Accordingly, their experience will be much more positive, which will significantly improve loyalty to your brand.
External or internal GPS-tracker
When the sharing economy was just emerging and there was a huge boom in the industry, which in principle is still happening today, people often bought such models as the Ninebot ES2 or Xiaomi M365 and hung a tracker on them. It allowed you to send information to the scooter, turn it on and collect data about the device. This solution is still relevant and has undergone significant improvements: now everything is automated, there are good anti-vandal boxes, and the connection has been significantly accelerated. Now you can even find specific scooters that already have outputs for these boxes.
However, Chinese manufacturers have gone even further: they have introduced an IoT device into the scooter, which receives signals and distributes them to the scooter to open or close it, determine its location, read the necessary battery data from it, and so on.
We advise buying a scooter with a built-in GPS tracker: in this case, you only have to insert the SIM card, connect to the software and your business is ready to operate.
Front- or rear-wheel drives
In general, it is not so important for e-scooters whether it is an electric front-wheel drive (FWD) or rear-wheel drive (RWD): the FWD will give a little more balance to the scooter, and the RWD makes it a little more uncomfortable to drive over curbs, but it will not have a special effect on the ride.
Scooter motor power
Motor power is a parameter that ranges from 250 to 750 watts. Our opinion is that the optimal motor power is 350 watts: this power is enough for the user to gain speed uphill, and to ride comfortably enough with acceleration on a pedestrian zone or a bicycle path.
If the motor power is higher, this acceleration will, of course, be faster. But it can be dangerous for pedestrians and riders.
The top speed should preferably be limited, and most manufacturers do limit it. The gold standard in the industry is 25 km/h — check that you have the same.
Nowadays, almost everyone assembles their scooters on anti-vandal bolts, so that no one can come with a screwdriver, unscrew some parts and take them home.
Portability of the scooter
Our opinion: It’s better if the scooter doesn’t fold. Of course, some manufacturers make portable scooters, but we advise removing the possibility of folding the scooter at all because then it would be easier to carry it away or even steal it.
However, if scooters fold, it saves space in your storage area. That is, you will then need a smaller storage unit for storage. Folding scooters can be hung on hooks, thereby saving space.
Brakes and braking systems
The brakes are also all squarely the same: usually, it is a disk brake like in a bicycle, which presses the pad against the disc and slows the wheel. The second method is the electric brakes when the wheel begins to work in reverse while braking. We like the disc version better because it gives a greater sense of control.
Glass for a QR code
The glass for a QR code may seem a trifle, but in fact, it is a very important element. If it is just a sticker, it can be peeled off or cut with a knife. Then if something happens with a QR code, and you don’t know about it, it is unclear why the scooter is parked and no one takes it. At the same time, users won’t be able to rent a scooter because the QR code or the number is spoiled, due to which they can’t be scanned or entered manually.
To avoid such a situation, buy special protective glasses, which are placed on the handlebar of the electric scooter, and under it put the QR code. These measures will guarantee you that the client will be able to take the scooter and the QR code will be okay.
This is critical because the QR code is the entry point for your customer, through which they sign in to your app and make transactions there.
Production and delivery time
Chinese manufacturers promise during negotiations that the delivery time is about 1 month. When the deal comes to realization, they suddenly declare: you know, we will produce the scooters in 45 days. And this comes as a surprise to many!
Indeed, the Chinese have organized production, but there are some orders they have already taken, and there is their production schedule and plan. So it is advisable to start negotiations early so that you have a month and a half to spare.
Nevertheless, it is possible to negotiate with them. If time is short, you can say: you know, your competitors have delivery in 30 days, or even 15, why do you take so long? Then the Chinese may reconsider something in their plan, and most likely you will be met and agree to 30 days.
Terms of delivery
Terms of delivery are another important point in negotiations with Chinese manufacturers. There are two main types of terms: EXW and FOB.
FOB implies that the producers themselves bring the cargo to the board of the ship, unload it on the ship, and do customs clearance. After that, the responsibility for the goods goes to the logisticians who received the cargo.
EXW means that producers deliver goods to the gates of their factory. From this gate, the logistician picks up the goods and takes them to the port, where they do the customs clearance and load the goods onto the ship.
There are situations when producers think that they work according to EXW, but the client and the logistician think that they work according to FOB. And when the time of delivery comes, there is no one to bring the goods to the port and make customs clearance. You have to understand that customs clearance is a paperwork process that has to be handled correctly, otherwise, the goods will not be shipped out of China.
Usually, all the stages of the shipment of goods are quite fast, because the Chinese understand that if they put sticks in the wheels, the goods will stop being bought in China. In this case, you must have a precise understanding of who is involved in these processes and on what terms.
Solid or pneumatic tires
There is another factor to consider when choosing a scooter: solid (airless) or pneumatic (air-filled) tires.
Pneumatic tires give you a pleasant ride because of the shock absorption. That said, if you are riding an electric scooter with air-filled tires and get a flat, you need to urgently replace the tube inside. And it’s an expensive process because you have to send someone who has the right tube and the tools to replace it.
Another solution is solid tires, which cannot be punctured. That is, if a nail went in, it will stay there, and if it came out, there will just be a hole. With a hole in the rubber, the scooter can still ride.
We advise selecting solid tires.
Chinese manufacturers figured out how to make them softer: they drilled holes, which gives improved amortization.
Nowadays almost all manufacturers protect scooters from water, at least that’s what they say. It’s up to you to check that this is true. To do so, ask the manufacturer to send photos of where the battery container opens and closes. Look to see if the seams from that battery are on the top or the bottom. If they are on top, they should be rubberized and sealed very well to keep moisture out.
Some manufacturers say that everything is waterproof, but when you look at the scooter, it is clear that this is not the case. Caution is the parent of safety!
An alarm is an important part to help ward off fools from scooters, so they are less likely to steal them and hide them under their beds. For some reason, some people think it’s a nobody’s scooter that’s on the street. When a nobody’s scooter suddenly starts beeping and making some noise, the person usually backs away and decides that it’s better not to take any chances after all.
These were the 15 most significant points when choosing an electric scooter. Please pay attention to each of them. We hope that you will successfully buy your fleet of electric scooters, attach them to your software and start a successful sharing business that will help move people from cars to more environmentally friendly and city-friendly transportation!