How Hard Is It To Make Electric Scooters Lightweight?
Lightweight electric scooters are the future for transport, matching performance with portability. But how hard is it to make an electric scooter lightweight? The challenge involves engineering every component, ensuring that losing weight doesn't compromise speed or safety.
What is a lightweight scooter?
Lightweight electric scooters are increasingly popular in the United States and Europe, and with good reason. Few other modes of transportation can provide the same level of speed, efficiency, and portability.
Why get a lightweight electric scooter?
Not all scooters are equal when it comes to portability. Models with foldable or retractable frames don't necessarily mean that they're easy to bring along with you. Weight also plays an essential factor. Electric scooters need motors, batteries, and other components to run correctly. All of these parts significantly affect the weight of the scooter.
Generally, heftier models mean bigger motors and batteries for faster speeds and a higher maximum range. But, not everyone needs these kinds of models. For example, commuters in cities need lightweight transport to fold and store away.
People who use electric scooters to commute or travel over shorter distances prefer portability instead of power. This is the main selling point of lightweight electric models. They provide the conveniences of a powered scooter while being light enough to carry comfortably.
Electric scooter weight vs. portability
Weight and portability for electric scooters are related but different things. Weight is probably the most crucial factor determining portability, but it's not the only one. Other factors that affect portability are the scooter's volume when folded, its folding capabilities (do the handlebars fold, can it be pulled while folded), whether the scooter has weird pointy things sticking out of it, is its center of gravity natural, does it provide an easy way to be carried, etc.
While light electric scooters tend to be portable, it does not always mean that they are comfortable to carry. Before buying an electric scooter, you should always research and ensure the features and requirements you need are present in the scooter you buy.
It's a win-win situation
If you are using your electric scooter to get around town- to the shops or work- then it's time to switch to a lightweight, foldable electric scooter.
With foldable electric scooters, you reduce time spent in traffic, reach places faster, and contribute towards a healthier environment, so overall, it's a win-win situation.
Advantages of a foldable electric scooter
No need for parking
Now, no need to fret about reaching your workplace on time. We tend to lose a lot of our time looking for parking space when arriving at the destination, and several places in the city also ask for parking fees.
And that's when foldable electric scooters come to your rescue. All you need to do is ride on your e-scooter and then fold it up and keep it in a safe corner.
Portable and convenient
When you fold an electric scooter, it becomes compact; you can store it anywhere. You can also tag it along with you in subways or put it under the desk in the office. Hopefully, you aren't reaching late for work anymore.
You can also take it along and keep it in the car trunk for vacay. Whatever is your travel purpose, you have the convenience of carrying it with you anyplace.
Bicycles and mopeds often get stolen when parked on the street, even if you chain them up. But with a portable electric scooter, you can take your scooter with you and store it under a table or desk.
You will carry the folding electric scooter along wherever you go, so chances of it being robbed are none. Also, you will not stress out on the thought of your e-scooter getting stolen.
Unagi has the best lightweight electric scooters
Designing a sleek, stylish personal electric scooter with the right balance of range, speed, and weight involves some delicate engineering. Unagi strikes a unique balance between all three factors.
Lightweight can be strong
Firstly a lighter weight does not mean less sturdy. The Unagi Model One is built to last. Its aerodynamic carbon fiber stem and machined aluminum deck make its build quality comparable to some of the fastest, strongest, and lightest racing cycles.
Unagi engineers have carefully thought about the design - how the rider will need to fold and carry their scooter around town. They have not cut corners on the strength, performance, or user experience. Unagi Scooter ticks all the boxes.
Lightweight can be powerful
Despite Unagi's lightweight, it handles all adult riders with ease. While typical e-scooters state 225-pound weight limits for rider and cargo, the Model One can carry up to 275 pounds, a tribute to the e-scooters deck strength and motor torque.
This can be owed to the fact that the Unagi is the lightest dual motor electric scooter money can buy. No more minor, with 1000W peak power, exceptional torque, and hill-climbing ability.
A final step further, the Unagi is a high-speed lightweight electric scooter, going 20mph instead of the industry norm of 15mph.
Unagi Scooters even have a lightweight battery
So why should you care so much about a portable, lightweight folding electric scooter? Most trips made by electric scooters are short, under 3 miles. Unagi's 15.5-mile range is more than sufficient for the overwhelming majority of uses, from grocery runs to local excursions. You can buy electric scooters with a more extended range, but this typically comes at the cost of a larger battery and thus a heavier vehicle.
And as we've noted, heavier does not necessarily mean more substantial or more powerful. Torque is significant in a high-quality scooter for conquering hills and accelerating quickly. Still, it can also come at the cost of added weight since generating more power requires a larger, heavier motor.
Unagi has a dual motor design
Unagi's dual-motor design generates 500 watts per wheel for 1000 total watts, among the many reasons Tom's Guide ranks Unagi "the best electric scooter you can buy today" in 2021.
When the handlebar stem is folded, it's easy to carry with one hand, making it perfect to go for a coffee, pop into the office or do a quick grocery shop.
Scooters with slightly more range and power can weigh 10 to 20 pounds more than Unagi, making them difficult or impossible to carry around when convenience is what you need most. Moreover, heavier scooters made of bulkier materials tend to fold into a triangular shape, making them harder to store. Part of the advantage of owning a folding electric scooter is the ability to slide it into out-of-the-way spaces when you don't need it.
Let's face it, if your needs are like those of most electric scooter riders – a balance of speed, power, range, and portability – you need a lightweight scooter like Unagi. The Unagi Model One combines all these qualities in a durable, light vehicle that is as beautiful to look at as it is fun to ride.
Fold with one click
The Unagi Model One has a one-click folding mechanism, making it much more versatile than other scooters on the market. A lightweight scooter like Unagi excels at bridging the gaps in transportation options and is especially easy to fold and carry onto subways and buses or toss into a cab.
Press one button, and the Unagi patented stainless steel hinge system folds and locks in one smooth, satisfying click. This engineering breakthrough makes it dramatically easier to fold and carry than every other scooter on the market.
Design and fabrication of lightweight and foldable motorized scooters
The fabrication process of a prototype is based on a detailed drawing. The design has to take into consideration the safety requirements. Most prototypes are built using standard machines and tools.
The structure of most scooters are made from an aluminum hollow tube and plate with high tensile strength. Welding is used for the joining process. Assembly is usually divided into the front, rear, and handle structures.
The system's function and drivability of the prototype motorized scooter must be tested with actual conditions. The testing has been divided into two phases: a functional test, including an engine start test, kill switch test, fuel line, cable brake test, and functional accelerator test. The second phase includes estimating fuel consumption, the endurance on and off-road conditions, and the braking test.
The test will determine the classification and performance to achieve and fulfill the standard safety requirement for consumers.
Types of testing that occur to make lightweight scooters
- Reliability to fold
- Total weight
- Packing and carrying
- Cable Brake testing
- Fuel Consumption test
- Speed test
- Average speed test
- Endurance test: on-road and off-road
- Braking test
What makes an electric scooter lightweight?
The average electric scooter weighs between 12-16 kg, but many are still foldable and easy to carry upstairs. Many things make an e-scooter lightweight, such as:
- Frame material
- Tire size and type
Did you know the lightest electric scooter ever designed only weighed 4 kg and was designed to fit in a backpack?
What materials are used to make an electric scooter?
Electric scooters are usually made from alloy material (mixed metal) because they give greater strength and corrosion resistance. Common materials used include:
- carbon fiber
What is carbon fiber?
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP), or Carbon fiber as it's commonly known, is incredibly strong and stiff for its weight, allowing very lightweight frames to be built.
Carbon fiber is anisotropic. What does that mean? It means its properties are dependent on the direction of the load. And what does that mean? It means frames can be pretty flexible and strong in the design direction.
Carbon fiber comprises microscopic fibers aligned and held in a resin matrix. The fibers are fragile and complex to see with the naked eye making them thinner than human hair. They are bundled together to form a tow.
Together, the fibers work like ropes providing most of the strength. The fibers can withstand tension but would crumple if compressed.
What are the advantages of carbon fibers?
The critical advantage of carbon fibers is that layups can be made to achieve specific ride properties. More frame reinforcement can be done by adding more material in particular areas. Different scooter models can be modified to favor stiffness or compliance for more race or comfort-focused frames.
Another advantage of carbon fiber is that it's able to dampen vibrations. The resin does this by filtering out high-frequency vibrations such as road noise. More vibrations can be absorbed due to the "rubberizing" of the resin. Metals, in contrast, are unable to dampen vibrations because they act like springs.
Carbon frames make the lightest electric scooters.
What are the disadvantages of carbon fiber?
The main limitation of carbon fiber is that it's a brittle material. When a metal reaches its limits, it will bend before failing, whereas carbon fiber will suddenly fail. However, the failure of carbon fiber is improbable in portable electric scooters.
What is Aluminium?
Alloyed aluminum can be as strong as steel, but it's much lighter at a third of the weight. It's suitable for making many vehicles such as cars, boats, planes, and electric scooters.
Aluminum is used extensively in the transport industry due to its unique properties. It is a versatile metal and can be used in complex designs. It's also a great conductor of heat and electricity and can be used in LED lights, electrical products, computer motherboards, etc.
You can find aluminum in everyday objects, including cans, foils, window frames, beer kegs, and kitchen utensils. It's low density, non-toxic, and can be easily cast. Aluminum is also the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust at 8.1%.
What are the advantages of aluminum?
Aluminum is durable as it's weather-proof, corrosion-resistant, and is not affected by UV rays, so it has a long lifespan. It's also a very flexible material and can be easily shaped in different industrial metalwork processes such as rolling, extrusion, forging, and casting, so it has unlimited design potential.
Another great advantage of aluminum is its lightness without compromising safety or comfort. Its natural oxide coating is a barrier against the elements such as water. Lots of marine equipment is made of aluminum for this reason.
It's environmentally friendly as it's 100% recyclable and uses only 5% of the energy to make the original product. Currently, around 95% of aluminum in cars is collected and recycled and accounts for over 50% of the material value of the vehicle once it's traded in.
As aluminum production has advanced, it's become more affordable and more adaptable, with breakthroughs happening that would have seemed impossible only a few years previously.
What are the disadvantages of aluminum?
There aren't many disadvantages to aluminum, but it's rarer and more expensive than steel. It can also be abrasive to the tool, where the aluminum oxide that forms upon it is prone to severe spring back.
What is titanium?
Titanium is used in a wide variety of applications including, welded pipes, aircraft, naval vessels, and even aircraft because it's lightweight and temperature-resistant. It is silver in color and is characterized by its low tension and high strength. The unique properties of titanium make it ideal for various applications. Titanium can also be used in joint replacement implants, such as the ball-and-socket hip joint.
What are the advantages of titanium?
Titanium's strength is its most significant advantage over other metals. It's one of the most durable metals on the planet, so it's used in many industrial applications. Titanium has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element on the periodic table, which is why it's the preferred choice of many professionals.
It's also naturally resistant to rust and corrosion. When exposed to moisture, other metals can go through oxidation, which leads to corrosion. However, this does not occur in titanium, making it an excellent material choice for something designed to be long-lasting, like an electric scooter.
What are the disadvantages of titanium?
A limitation of titanium is that it's difficult to cast. Casting is when liquid material is poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape and then left to solidify. This doesn't happen with titanium due to its strength. Other metals like aluminum or iron do this much better. It usually has to be machined to shape from a forging, which is expensive to cast titanium. Forging is when a metal object is made or shaped by heating it in a fire or furnace and hammering it.
Titanium is also quite expensive compared to other types of metals. Steel, iron, aluminum can be bought cheaper. While it's not considered rare, it is much rarer than other metals, causing its price to go up.
Many people think that light electric scooters are less powerful
In many cases, lightweight scooters are more likely to travel less on a single charge, so paying attention to battery capacity is essential. However, as engineering and technology improve, putting together a powerful and lightweight vehicle has become possible.
Producing solid and lightweight objects is a balancing act. Lighter materials tend to be weaker, and more robust materials tend to be heavier and sometimes brittle. For example, if you try and bend a windowpane with your hand, it won't snap, but if you drop it on the ground, it will shatter into a million pieces. Therefore, materials will often be mixed to form a more robust compound when designing transport vehicles.
How do electric scooters reduce their weight?
It all comes down to the engineering of the electric scooter that helps reduce its weight. We spoke before about the materials that make an electric scooter lightweight. Engineers are constantly finding new ways of making e-scooters lighter and more powerful.
New battery technology is making scooters lighter. Lithium is light, so many electric scooter companies are using lithium-ion batteries to reduce the total weight of their scooters. Lithium batteries are also easy to recharge and need very little maintenance.
The downside to these batteries is they are expensive to manufacture - about 40% higher in cost than nickel-cadmium, and the battery can age even if not in use. Therefore, scooters should be stored in a cool place to keep the battery from deteriorating faster.
Can you fold an electric scooter?
Many electric scooter riders want a light model and one that is compact and can be easily carried and stored. Cities worldwide are trying to stop people from driving into the center of town for work, so electric scooters are a great option, primarily if you work in a small office. You can simply fold it up and put it under your desk out of the way and charge it while you're working. Many cities have dramatically increased parking, so riding an electric scooter to the train station is a much cheaper option.
Another advantage of foldable electric scooters is that they almost always have significantly improved wheels, suspension systems, and larger standing space. Many also feature overhauled braking mechanisms and quicker recharge time.
Some of the best electric scooters on the market are lightweight and foldable. E-scooters that are more lightweight tend to be foldable as they are easier to carry. Many people choosing to buy electric scooters are looking for foldable ones because it makes their commute even more effortless. A foldable electric scooter should be able to fit in the boot of your car easily and be light enough to carry.
If you buy a foldable electric scooter, make sure you read the instructions on how to fold it so you do it properly. You may think that a folding electric scooter will add more time to your day, especially if you're running late in the morning, but they take mere seconds to unfold.
Some e-scooters even have a button you can push to fold/unfold it, so you don't need to do anything yourself.
Can I damage my electric scooter by folding it?
If you fold it correctly, then you shouldn't cause any damage to your electric scooter. Of course, only fold it or unfold it when you need to use it. Even though electric scooters may seem like adult toys, they serve a purpose, and to maintain the longevity of your scooter, you should treat it with care.
Always read the manual that comes with your electric scooter. If you lose it, there are plenty of videos on YouTube to help you.
Are electric scooters suitable for kids?
Some people seek a lightweight electric scooter as they believe it will be more suitable for kids. Electric scooters are made for adults and children but consider more carefully when buying for a child. Ensure the child is comfortable riding a manual scooter before riding an electric-powered one because they go much faster. They must develop the motor skills needed to steer and push a scooter on their own before riding a more sophisticated model.
Most places only recommend children eight and above to ride an electric scooter. Child-friendly electric scooters are usually much less powerful than adult ones and have lower battery lives. Make sure you keep an eye on your child when they first start riding it, or join them when they go riding to ensure they don't injure themselves.
Also, make sure you check your local riding regulations as there may be restrictions on the minimum riding age for your area.
What are the advantages of a Unagi lightweight electric scooter?
Save money on your commute
Petrol prices, toll roads, parking prices, finding car parking, I could go on. Driving is stressful, especially when you're going into the city. Why spend hundreds of dollars a year paying for petrol when you can ride an electric scooter?
Some scooters are built to have a range of 40 km or more, and when you're at work, you can charge it for your ride home.
Portability and convenience
Many lightweight electric scooter models are foldable, so you can take it on the bus, store it in the hallway or park it somewhere out of the way.
They are perfect for taking with you onto public transport to then use as a 'last mile solution.'
Save time on trying to find a space in a crowded parking lot by riding an electric scooter. They're easy to ride and make it easy to navigate peak hour traffic. It'll also cut down your time getting to and from public transport, especially when compared to walking.
If you're not willing to commit to buying an electric scooter just yet, then test out a shared e-scooter scheme if one is available in your city or town. Companies like Bird and Lime have run shared electric scooter schemes in different cities worldwide with a lot of success, and they are a great way to try before you buy.
What are the electric scooter features that make Unagi lightweight?
Here is a list of features that make it one of the most lightweight electric scooters available on the market:
Unagi leverages TORAY carbon fiber from Japan to strike an unprecedented lightweight and heavy-duty strength balance.
The composite is anisotropic, a technical term meaning it's laid down by hand in a painstaking process that optimizes strength by distributing layers of the fiber where it's needed most. You don't have to tell your friends that your scooter uses the same carbon fiber as Elon Musk's Space-X rockets, but we can't blame you if you did.
Unagi is powered by high-quality electric batteries that we continually strive to improve. Coupled with our custom-designed management system, it provides the highest energy density and lowest charging time of any battery its size. Like everything on our scooters, longevity, and reliability are our primary focus. The batteries will last for many years with continuous daily use.
Press one button, and the Unagi patented stainless steel hinge system folds and locks in one smooth, satisfying click. This engineering breakthrough makes it dramatically easier to fold and carry than every other scooter on the market. We know because we tested them.
Lightweight electric scooters are a winning choice
With petrol prices and traffic congestion getting worse and worse in busy business hubs, traveling by car makes very little sense. Electric Scooters save you time, money and are great for the environment. A foldable lightweight electric scooter is perfect for your commute. They are nippy and fun, and we can't think of a reason not to get one.