What are the running costs of a UK road-legal category L1 electric scooter?
What is a “scooter?”
Moped category in law is a two or three* wheeled vehicle, having a maximum speed of 28 mph, maximum engine capacity 50cm3 or maximum power of 4kW. The rider must be aged 16 or over. ECWVTA Categories L1 & L2
Scooter is defined as “having an engine, as an integral part of the rear suspension or the chassis is a step-through type, irrespective of cc or wheel size. Includes all types of transmission. Can be a Moped, Motorcycle or Tricycle.
“Therefore a scooter comes under the moped L1 category as a step-through type, integral engine under 4kw power with a maximum speed of 28 mph”
As in everything in life, “you pay for what you get” so the better the quality the more expensive the product but alas better quality should also equate to longer-lasting. Bear in mind there is a slight premium attached to electric vehicles because it’s considered ”new technology.”
There are so few components in an electric vehicle (compared with petrol engines) that really the most important elements are the electric motor and the battery. The motor is generally a sealed unit and providing the electric scooter has not been ridden in the sea or sandy conditions the motor should remain faithful. The hazard is sea water or sand getting into the electric motor resulting in a bearing failure. New motors are not so expensive, it’s the hassle involved in having your electric scooter off the road. Its worth mentioning at this point that scooter electric motors are, in the most part, located neatly within the scooter’s rear wheel.
Then there is the battery itself. Batteries need regular use otherwise degradation will occur. It is important to read the vehicle user-manual to be aware of how to keep the battery in the best condition and follow that manufacturer’s regime. Batteries range in voltage and ampage but for an electric scooter always look out for claims that the scooter has a “long range.” Generally, a single battery will deliver anything between 30-35 miles per charge but the higher the ampage the stronger the battery. Always check the small print on manufacturers’ claims as the “super range” promised may only be achievable with two batteries. Read the small print.
Cost of battery charging
A 60Volt/24Amp battery should cost about £25 a year to charge depending upon frequency of use. Batteries should be removable and have a carry handle so they can be charged at home or in the office with a domestic 220/240-volt supply. If you’ve seen electric cars in Berkeley Square and other locations around London with cars being charged then just beware electric scooters need a domestic supply only to recharge not the same as cars!
Follow the manufacturer’s user-manual
Batteries don’t last forever and generally have a 2 to 3-year warranty depending upon the manufacturer. Nevertheless, some batteries are better than others and generally, an electric scooter manufacturer will only source batteries from the most reputable brand batteries with the best performance fitted to new motor scooters. At the time of purchasing the scooter, it is possible within a defined time frame to buy a battery care plan from some manufacturers which will provide the buyer with cover beyond the manufacturer’s (2-3 year) warranty period. A battery care plan could be cheaper than purchasing a new battery which might cost a few hundred pounds. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to buy online a cheaper generic battery as using a non-OEM battery could invalidate your warranty with good reason. The UK-road legal electric scoter you purchased has been through the development phase and signed off for EU/UK road use with the manufacturer-supplied battery. It would be advisable therefore to always go for the manufacturers’ battery to ensure performance and that the scooter warranties remain intact.
There is, of course, the periodic maintenance and replacement cost of brake pads, disks and tyres which varies according to usage. Always refer to the manufacturer’s user manual for any matter relating to your vehicle.