Can electric scooters be used manually?

Nowadays, many people use electric kick scooters for everyday commuting and fun rides. But, someday you may find yourself standing still in the middle of the road because of some technical problem. There should be ways to deal with said situation. This article will give you a view of it.

The shortest answer to the question “Can electric scooters be used manually?” is YES, you can do it and it won´t do any significant harm to you beloved device.

Nevertheless, you may face some inconveniences with manual riding.

Let’s take a look at them!
Can electric scooters be used manually?

Why do electric scooters stand still?

Actually, there are plenty of reasons why e-scooter can stop moving. Here are some of them.

Dead battery

It is the most common reason for electric scooters to stop working. Sure, most electric scooters use high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, but they tend to deplete, too.

Usually, electric scooters may travel around 20 miles (40 km) between charges. The weather, your weight, your average speed, and other factors will affect how far you can go. There´re some tips on how to charge a battery if you don´t have a charger, but you should be careful!

Electronics defects

E-scooter isn´t the most complicated device, but it has electronic systems with some vulnerabilities. For example, wires may get loose or worn out, sensors may go glitchy, etc. Some issues may make your scooter stop, but some (like short circuit) may even completely destroy it.

Brake problems

Sometimes brakes may get loose from aggressive riding, and the rider has to push the scooter manually for his own safety. These braking issues are rather uncommon for the e-scooters, but there’s still a possibility. You should never ride an e-scooter (or any other motor vehicle) with broken brakes, so in this case, you will have to carry it or use it as a kick scooter.

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Loose handlebar

Some electric kick scooters have slight design flaws that may lead to the whole system’s stoppage. For example, there can be internal wires disconnection or folding mechanism malfunction. It can be fixed easily at home. But, if you feel insecure about your handlebar, you should stop the ride.

Rain

If you get caught in rain while riding you should remember that manufacturers don´t recommend using electric kick scooters in the rain as water can damage electronic components. In addition, handling and performance in wet conditions are much more difficult and it can be outright dangerous. So if it rains heavily it´s better to cover your e-scooter with a bag and ride manually.

How can I use an electric scooter manually?

Well, using the e-scooters without starting the engine is possible. Frankly speaking, electric scooters (as the name suggests) are not designed for riding without an engine, but you can do it when in an emergency. Now it’s time to discuss the pros and cons of e-scooter manual operation.

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What are the Pros and Cons of using an electric scooter manually?

Pros

Most people think that when you ride electric scooters manually you keep the battery charged. It is illusory, by the way. Sure, the battery won’t be depleted if you do not use the electric engine, but it won’t save much charge if your e-scooter isn´t equipped with a regenerative braking system.

Batteries used for the e-scooters (Li-ion batteries mainly) reduce their maximum charge with every re-charging. Then, they still drain even when not used (insignificantly, though).

Some e-scooters are provided with regenerative braking systems which recharge your battery while you´re braking. They are a thing now, but you shouldn’t rely too much on them. An average electric scooter recuperates 1 meter of battery run with 10 meters of manual riding on a flat road. It is useful, sure, but you shouldn’t expect miracles from it. It is an efficient system (for its own good), anyway.

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Cons

Speaking of disadvantages, we should mention that using the electric scooter manually is very difficult and tiring for a rider. An electric scooter is heavier than a conventional kick scooter, so you will need more force to make it move. And getting tired makes you less attentive.

Another problem is wearing out the tires. Pressure from riding an electric scooter with its motor on and manually is different, so it is harmful to tires and wheels.

Speaking of wheels: they are connected to electric motors directly, there is no neutral mode. That means that the wheels won´t roll freely. The motor, which is switched off, increases the resistance to manual movement.

Another issue is the larger wheel size, combined with a higher and larger scooter deck. It does not change the balance significantly but is still a factor increasing the resistance and difficulty of riding an electrical scooter manually. Moreover, the scooter bearings may strain with time.

Nevertheless, most entry-level electric scooters can be ridden manually (since they are not much bigger than traditional kick scooters).

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What do manufacturers say about manual use?

Most manufacturers strongly discourage the manual operation of electric scooters.

  • First, they designed electric scooters for use, well, with the electric engine turned on.
  • Second, most manufacturers say in their manuals that riding an e-scooter with one foot on deck is dangerous. And there’s no other way to use an electric scooter manually than constantly kick-push it.

Are there any ways to kick-push an electric scooter without all those flaws?

All these problems with electric scooters make you wonder whether you can do something with them. The answer is: yes, there is a solution!

As we stated earlier, there are some electric scooter models able to recuperate the energy. There is a special brushed DC motor designed for energy recuperation. Said electric motor is never turned off. Of course, regenerative braking works better on flat and smooth terrain than off-road (the battery power drains faster if you ride off-road, too).

And remember about the existence of hybrid kick scooters. What differentiates them from typical electric scooters? Let’s see!

What is a hybrid scooter?

There are very special electric scooters designed for manual use. Its main difference from typical e-scooters is that the hybrid vehicle may have many uses. They give you the option not to use the battery whenever you want. You can kick on flat roads and turn on the electric motor on steep slopes.

Hybrid models (like MaxiZum hybrid electric scooter) have stretched decks and bigger wheels. Actually, hybrid scooters’ wheel sizes can be compared to bicycles’ wheel sizes (said MaxiZun has 26-inch wheels, for example). It’s not surprising that one of the names for said scooters is “kick bikes”. Bigger wheels are also good for all-terrain rides and everyday use in rural areas.

Some hybrid models have foldable handlebars, so it should be easy to take them with you to the bus or the commuter train.

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How can I prevent my electric scooter from standing still?

A work stoppage in the middle of the ride can happen to anyone. Sometimes work stoppage is caused by design or assembly line issues. But, most of the time it is caused by problems during gadget use. Here is the list of the most common problems and ways to prevent them.

Battery issues

The battery usually gets weaker with time. It is easily depleted and may be prone to physical damage. The best way to prevent it is to care for your battery pack. Charge it properly, don’t let it deplete completely, keep it from extreme temperatures and other hazards, and you shouldn’t stop in the middle of the ride!

Another way of ensuring you about your scooter’s possibilities is an extra battery. Extra battery (just like an extra fuel tank) means more energy, so both batteries will drain slower. However, an extra battery also means extra weight, so you should be sure that your electric scooter is able to carry such a weight.

Tire pressure

Just like with cars and motorcycles, extra pressure in the tires helps you to lower the fuel (or, in this case, electricity) use. But be careful: pumping your tires too much may lead to bursting amidst the road. To keep your tires and wheels fit, you should check them once a week.

Keeping the pace

Electric scooters (just like any other vehicle) need less battery if they move at a constant pace on average speed. Prevent the e-scooter from accelerating too much. Also, constant accelerating will make you break more frequently (it is stressful for e-scooter, too).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ride an electric scooter without turning it on?

There’s a technical possibility of using the e-scooter manually. You can kick push from the road, but it is not a good idea. The electric scooter is heavier than the typical kick scooter, its deck is higher, so it’ll take a lot of strength from you to use your e-scooter as a typical kick scooter.

Do electric scooters run out of battery?

Since the electric scooter has a battery, yeah, it runs out of it. There are indicators (or messages on the LED screen) that inform the rider about the actual battery level. It will help you to manage the pace and speed of your ride to keep the battery alive.

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Can you save a battery by riding an electric scooter manually?

Technically, you will not deplete the battery if you don’t turn the electric motor on. However, as we described earlier, using an e-scooter in the role of the basic kick scooter is very uncomfortable.

What are the situations in which an electric scooter might need to be used manually?

The most common cause of stopping the scooter’s motor is electric scooter battery malfunction. It may be caused by different factors (aging, poor treatment, physical damage, etc.) Another common cause is wiring malfunction (loose wiring, short circuits, etc.) Stoppage can be caused by a flat tire, too.

What makes e-scooters unsuited for prolonged manual use?

If you want to ride electric scooters manually, the biggest hurdle is the scooter’s measurements. Most electric scooters are much bigger and heavier than kick scooters. The deck is higher, so it should be uncomfortable for a mid-sized man to kick push all the time. Most manufacturers strongly discourage it for both safety and comfort reasons.

How much power does regenerative braking produce?

Electric scooters with regenerative braking features usually produce a battery charge worth of 1 meter flat-terrain riding for 10 meters of riding on a flat road. It’s not the most important number, but the recuperation braking system is effective on its own.

What should I do if my electric scooter battery dies mid-ride?

First, you should go off the road in order not to be a hazard to other vehicles (ranging from cars to bicycles). Check whether your electrical scooter works properly. If you have some doubts about it, don’t continue the ride and walk with your scooter. You should rather wait for a bus or catch a taxi and take your scooter with you.

What is the difference between electric scooters and kick scooters? Which one is better?

Electric scooters and kick scooters are two very different kinds of vehicles. Classic kick scooters are driven by muscular power, while their electric siblings are designed for use with an installed electric motor. Mechanics of the rides are very different (since said gadgets differ in measures, weight, purposes, etc.) We can’t say which one is better. It’s up to you since they have different purposes. Only you can decide which one suits you better.

Let´s talk in the comments below! Have you ever used your e-scooter manually? Share your experience!

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