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Let’s face it, most of us who buy an electric scooter secretly love the thrill of speed. But, we quickly become complacent with how fast our scooters are and we start to think – how can we get more speed from our scooter?
The question is – CAN we get anymore from our electric scooters?
The subject of getting your scooter to go faster is likely to be met with “can” your scooter go faster – and, that will depend on the make and model of what you already have.
I write this simply because, some scooters are easy to hack to get them to unlock that extra bit of speed, whereas some scooters simply cannot be made to go faster.
Making your scooter go quicker can be done in a number of ways, some of them quick, easy and achievable by anyone (without technical knowhow) and some that may require an element of “geek” or expertise in electronics when it comes to batteries and controllers.
In this short punchy article, we look at some nifty ways you can get more speed and power from your scooter.
Can your scooter be made to go faster?
The question is important – if your scooter simply isn’t capable then your options will be majorly limited to things such as shedding weight and increasing tyre pressure.
So how can you find out whether or not your scooter is “hackable” ?
Well, firstly some things you can check
More Speed Hack Capable
You can access the controllers
The controllers are removable
The battery pack is accessible
Motors are hub-based
Wheels are pneumatic
Most scooters can be made to go faster, but, how many speed hacks are available really depend on whether or not you can access the scooters controllers / firmware and whether or not there is the ability to change controllers or put in another battery.
Some scooter enthusiasts have even been able to swap out hub motors but you’ll really need a good level of know-how to find motors that fit and have the right power rating for the battery and controller.
Electric Scooter Speed Hack 1 – Remove speed limiting cable/firmware
Surprisingly, more than 40% of scooters sold globally in 2020 into 2021 were limited with a speed limiter. This is done so that scooters can be sold in certain geographic regions legally.
For example, the maximum speed a scooter can travel in France is 15.5mph, this is the same speed permitted by escooters in the United Kingdom under the rental scheme.
Various countries have different speed limits – it is this reason that scooter manufacturers often ship their models with limiters on them.
There are 2 types of speed limiter on any electric scooter (made to regulation) and these are:
HARD WIRED SPEED LIMITER
This is usually a wire that bridges a connection between the throttle and controller limiting the controllers power output to the motors.
Various scooter models will have different implementations – but, most manufacturers make it relatively easy to remove the wire (via a clip or plug) that, when unplugged, will remove all power limitations from the controller.
You should check to see whether your scooter has a hard wire speed limiter, if it does you can remove it to unlock extra power / speed.
FIRMWARE SPEED LIMITER
The firmware speed limiter will usually be implemented at a control panel level, but, some scooters also have firmware limiting in the controller. This can get a little more complex.
Firmware speed limiters use the control panel / LCD panel / controllers software to limit power output.
On some scooters with common LCD control panels you’ll be able to access speed and power output settings through “P SETTINGS”, on other LCD panels such as the one that ships with the XIAOMI M365 you’ll have to connect over the APP interface (bluetooth) to push a rom flash that directly updates the scooters firmware.
Many electric scooters have speed limiting on them making them legal for sale – different countries have different rules and regulations around speed.
Removing your electric scooters speed limiting wire or firmware/software will allow you to unlock full motor/controller potential.
MOST electric scooters below £500-£1000 (ones that use very basic LCD panels) are more likely to be unlockable via software flashing over bluetooth apps.
Larger / more powerful scooters that use the generic colour LCD displays (pictured above) typically limit power using P Settings
One of the most popular LCD Displays is the LT01 / QS-S4 LCD Throttle which has a plethora of built-in settings.
The most common P Settings associated with power limiting are P8 (Motor Power) and P12 (Acceleration Speed).
Upgrade Your Scooters Speed Controllers
This is probably out of bounds for most scooter riders – especially as it can be complex finding an aftermarket controller for your scooter.
On top of that, some scooter controllers will also require the battery to be uprated.
However, uprated controllers are another way to increase your electric scooters top speed and acceleration.
Sometimes referred to as an “ESC” or electronic speed controller – they are responsible for power management as well as power distribution to your scooters motor/s.
The controller works on a basic I/O system, the throttle will command how much power is required, the controller will send more power to each motor – controlled by your throttle.
Smarter speed controllers will include things such as “bursts” which allow for a higher AMP output to improve acceleration and overall power output.
Aside from your scooters motors, your speed controller can also be a limiting factor.
If you have a scooter with a small / low amp / weak current controller, the power output to the motors will often be less than the motor is capable of taking.
Not for the non-technical users, scooter controller replacement can be a really effective way of making your scooter quicker, but its often quite complex
To unlock MORE speed from your scooter, you may be able to swap out your controller for an aftermarket controller (or a custom controller).
Googling your make of scooter + custom controller / uprated controller might yield options for you to buy a controller off the shelf with an easy install. Buying a custom controller will often allow you to unlock more speed and power settings without having to upgrade the battery.
However – using a custom controller is likely to invalidate your scooter warranty and may not be good for the battery.
If the controller draws MORE current than the battery can support, it could damage the battery.
We only recommend those experienced with scooter technology & battery technology to look at this method to gain speed.
Change your Scooters Battery & Running Voltage
Just changing your scooters battery alone won’t be enough to get that extra MPH / KMH you are looking for, why? because you CANNOT change a scooters battery for a higher voltage battery directly – so a like for like VOLTAGE battery is unlikely to make much difference.
Of course, the exception is only there if your current e scooter battery is worn out, in which case the battery will suffer so much “sag” that the controllers won’t have enough power to feed the motors what they’re capable of – thus resulting in a diminished top speed.
BUT, changing your scooter battery for a higher voltage battery + changing the controller to one that supports the elevated voltage rating is a very effective way of increasing your scooters top speed.
Battery / System voltage is one of the biggest factors in dictating top speed, a 72v scooter will be able to go much faster than say a 48v or 36v scooter.
The more voltage, the faster the current can travel, ultimately allowing the hub motors to spin faster – giving you, you guessed it, a much higher top speed.
Changing the battery and controller again – can be a bit more complex, as your scooters deck needs enough room for both controller and battery – a higher voltage battery will usually be of larger capacity (WH/AH) – so, you’ll need to make sure your deck dimensions can support a bigger battery and controller.
Also be mindful of the limits of your scooters motor/s. Most scooter motors are capable of being over-volted to a degree, however, some motors will require upgraded windings to support a higher voltage.
Increasing your scooters system voltage – sometimes called overvolting is a great way to significantly increase top speed
Above is a basic summary of scooter voltages and typical associated speeds.
Increase Tyre Pressure
It sounds like the most ridiculous thing – but it’s actually very effective.
Increasing tyre pressure decreases rolling resistance – this means LESS of the tyre is in contact with the floor – meaning less resistance for the motors to deal with.
Increasing your tyre pressure to the maximum PSI can increase speed efficiency by as much as 15-20%.
This means you could, in theory add another 3-5mph to your top speed just by increasing pressure.
It’s also key to understand that your tyre type will also be an impacting factor – for example, flatter tyres or off road tyres are generally bigger, heavier and increase resistance, whilst on road / racing tyres and narrow tread road tyres will have a thinner surface profile for the main part of the tyre.
Knobbly / Off Road tyres are less effective on road – so just changing your tyres could make all the difference.
Unfortunately, those of you with solid tyres will have little choice – with these kinds of wheels, the solid rubber is actually already very efficient – meaning you won’t find any tricks here to coax a few mph.
Generally only low performance / little portable commuter scooters sport solid rubber tyres.
Ultimately, Consider Changing Tyre and Increasing PSI to Unlock More Speed
If your scooter sports pneumatic (air filled) tyres then consider on road tyres over off road tyres – you’ll have a narrower surface contact profile – it’s also not uncommon to find higher PSI capabilities for road tyres.
Off road tyres tend to have a wider surface contact area to make them more grippy off road.
Rewind Your Motors / Hub Motors
This is another – more complex/challenging task.
To be fair, very few will have the expertise to be able to rewind a hub motor – but, as with most things, there are usually members of communities who can help. There will also likely be places you can send your hub motors off to for rewinding, saving you the headache.
Rewinding your hub motors will allow for a higher power capability – thus increasing how fast the motor can spin and how fast your electric scooter can go.
To put it into context, increasing the number of windings in your hub motor by 50% can increase speed as much as 75% – but obviously to really benefit from a hub motor winding upgrade, you’d ideally upgrade your battery and controllers to support a higher voltage.