Why are Electric Scooters so Expensive? – The main reason

Electric scooters are pretty expensive, no doubt about that. But what makes the price so high? Electric scooters are a great means of transportation in at least 3 seasons.

Even if you are using them for last-mile or for a full ride to work, you know they are expensive. There are different ranges or price for electric scooters, but an average good scooter is between 400-800$. I will explain in a bit what I mean by a “good” electric scooter.

If you only want a “last-mile” vehicle, the electric scooter will be easier on your wallet. The main reason why electric scooters are expensive is the battery. If you want to read more about how much are electric scooter’s batteries go on this post here.

I will put a link to Amazon if you want to see all details and specs for each scooter.

Average Adults Electric Scooter’s price

SWAGTRON City Commuter Electric Scooter$ 399.99

TianRun Electric Scooter$ 248

NANROBOT D4+High Speed Electric Scooter – $ 1300-$ 1500

GOTRAX GXL Commuting Electric Scooter$ 350

USCOOTERS Booster Plus S$ 1000

E-twow USA USCOOTERS ECO Model Electric Scooter 24V 6.5 Amp Black – $ 629

Kids Scooters Prices

HOVERSTAR Electric Scooter for Kids$ 99

VIRO Rides VR 550E Rechargeable Electric Scooter – Ride On Ul 2272 Certified – $ 108

Razor Power Core E90 Electric Scooter $ 118

Why the huge difference between models

There is a common denominator between the price differences: battery autonomy and motor power. Still, I would go with the battery as being the main cause of the price difference.

So, why are electric scooters so expensive?

  • Battery
  • Electric Motor
  • Other parts
  • Research and development of the control unit & software

Battery

As I said in a previous article, the battery makes up to 30% of the electric scooter’s price. Batteries are expensive, particularly larger ones. While you may get away cheap with a smartphone’s battery, we all know that bigger batteries like ones for laptops and cars are quite expensive.

Batteries consist of smaller batteries named cells and the main controller. The controller is responsible for pumping the energy from cells in a controlled manner. Simply said, power management.

It also checks the outputted power, health of the cells and prevents electric shocks.

Electric Motor

The electric motor is not that expensive but is driving the price up because it needs to be reliable. While most electric motors like the ones in the washing machine are in a static position, electric scooter’s motor is prone to shocks and road conditions.

They also have some special functions that drive the price up like:

  • Regenerative braking
    • The electric motor is able to regenerate the energy, otherwise lost by braking, and charge the battery when braking
  • Electromagnetic brake
  • Special bearings in order to fit well inside a wheel

Other parts

Other parts influence the price of electric scooters too. The cheapest electric scooters use cheap materials and they are not so reliable. I see a lot of electric scooters using plastic covers which are not reliable because when riding an electric scooter there are a lot of shocks.

You may not notice the difference in a week or two, but after 6 months of riding, the cheap components will say their toll.

The most expensive electric scooters use metal components like aluminum and stainless steel to make components reliable. You can see the quality of their components from the moment you get your hands on them.

Research and development

Research and development are costs that are huge when creating a new product. Electric scooters aren’t so new, but you need to produce and sell a lot of them to cover the cost of R&D. The R&D work includes:

  • Controller, software, mobile apps
  • Hardware research
  • Testing components reliability
  • Testing

Becoming more popular the cost of R&D will be covered by selling more units. So, electric scooters will become much cheaper than they are now.

Other reasons

Demand is a huge factor driving the price of electric scooters up. Electric scooters are still not as popular as cars and motorcycles. If they get some traction and will become more popular the manufactures could scale the production, thus, making them much cheaper. Cars and motorcycles are mass produced, so that’s why the price is very low, but this was not always the case.

Every new product is more expensive because it lacks scale. When you are producing a lot of items the cost can drop because the research and development cost amortize.

But, the good news is that electric scooters are becoming more popular nowadays. More and more people are willing to try them and once you try them, you will be in love. Electric scooters are great for small distances like commuting to work or school.

Overall costs

In the long run, maintenance costs are smaller compared to a motorcycle, gas scooter and let’s not even start with cars. Even if the buying price is a bit high thinking it’s not revolutionary technology or special parts (maybe except battery), the overall price of ownership will be a lot lower than those.

For an average electric scooter, the battery is the most expensive part, and that will probably need replacing after 1.5-2 years. The lithium batteries used for electric scooter last between 500-1000 cycles.

But remember, you won’t ever need:

  • Gas and going to the gas station
  • Engine oil
  • Gearbox oil
  • Brake pads
  • Revision costs
  • You won’t pay taxes, insurance, and other costs
  • Other vehicle costs, etc

You will need electricity, which is much cheaper than gas and the electric motor is twice as efficient as the gas engine.

Actually, you will need to replace some worn parts once in a while, but less often and they are not so expensive as a motorcycle or car ones.

Are electric scooters replacing cars?

Yes and no. While electric scooters are good for short distances, cars will always be better for long distances.

City

When we talk about city riding, they will probably replace the cars and will make public transportation much better as they are used as “last-mile” vehicle. They are also reliable for rides of about 4 miles or 6 km or up to 7 miles or 10 km if you have straight lines to work, school or wherever you are going.

If you need speed, cars are still a lot faster if you have parking spots available. Of course, cars are prone to traffic jams and won’t deliver a linear time, but once they get going they are really much faster than electric scooters.

Still, electric scooters have a linear travel time, so you can predict your arrival time much better. And, their main advantage is they don’t need a parking spot because you can fold them and take them with you.

Winner: electric scooters for short distances

Outside the city

Owning an electric scooter is useless when traveling to another city. So, they can’t truly replace the cars. As much as I hate “cars” for city rides, they are excellent vehicles outside the city, highways and other long distance rides. Ride-sharing is another thing that makes cars great for long-distances. You can share the ride with someone else and avoid one passager cars.

Electric scooters lack the speed and autonomy needed for a long distance ride.

Winner: cars and motorcycles

Conclusion

As a wrap-up, electric scooters are indeed expensive but this will not always be the case. Once they gain more popularity the price will drop. Even now, considering they don’t need a lot of maintenance and paying taxes for them, they are a reliable option.

Always compute the cost of ownership of a vehicle.  While a motorcycle may seem a better option, there are some advantages like the portability of an electric scooter.