No doubt you have been enjoying smooth and perhaps really fast rides on your e-scooter. But can you tell how and why your e-scooter has so much power?
The Motor! Every electric scooter is powered by a motor. Your electric scooter’s motor accounts for the power it consumes, speed, acceleration, climbing ability, and other things. Before talking about hub motors, we must discuss some background information to grasp this subject better. Every scooter operates on a direct current and is either a brushed or brushless DC motor.
Brushless motors are recent technology while brushed motors DC motors are old technology. Brushed motors have mechanic brushes made from graphite to transmit the motor’s power to other components within the motor. This explains why they can be cranky and mildly-loud. These brushes are designed to make contact with other segments and coils as the rotor rotates. This is how power is transmitted within the motor.
Sadly, this (how brushed DC motors work) is a disadvantage as a lot of friction happens between those brushes. This means wear and tear are inevitable. Over time, the friction from the brushes causes irregularities in voltage supply and inefficiency.
Brushless DC motors work on the same principle of operation, but power is transmitted through digital circuitry rather than brushes. As the motor rotates, coils are switched, and power is generated for your electric scooter. With brushless DC motors, you get silent operations (as opposed to loud and cranky) in the motor. Overall Brushless DC motors have more power, more efficiency, and less overheating than the brushed motor DC.
We made all these explanations to say that Hub motors are Brushless DC motors. The bigger puzzle is…
Hub motors are brushless DC motors confined to the hub of the wheels of your scooter. Interesting right!
Asides from featuring modern technology, the hub motor itself is a feature of modern electric scooters. The motor is placed in the wheel’s hub to provide direct power that drives your electric scooter. Since hub motors are Brushless DC motors, they are noiseless, more efficient, faster, and have better hill climbing ability.
Electric Scooters that do not have motors installed in their hub use a chain system to transmit the power that causes motion in their components. The difference is, hub motors provide drive directly to the wheel, and no power is lost during the transmission. The chain motor does not only lose power during transmission; it is susceptible to wear and tear over time. This means it would be costly to maintain.
Yes, hub motors are either geared or gearless. Put simply; we have geared hub motors and gearless hub motors. Do not forget that they are both brushless DC motors.
What’s the difference between geared and gearless motors? Geared motors generate motion transmitted to the wheel through a gear system. This means they are ideally more powerful when compared to gearless hub motors. Nonetheless, they have quicker acceleration, better hill climbing ability, and longer range when compared to gearless hub motors. The gear system causes wear and tear, and this means costly maintenance. Also, power is lost through friction from the transmission in the gear system.
Does it make sense?
The information so far could be confusing, but discussing the gearless hubs system would make it more relatable. Rather than a gear system, the gearless hub motor use electromagnets to cause motion by turning the wheel directly. This means you wouldn’t enjoy quick and immediate acceleration, but speed builds up efficiently once in motion.
Gearless hub motors are less complex compared to the geared hub motors. Although (gearless hub motors) it is heavy, the extra weight offers you more stability on your e-scooter. So, that’s an advantage. Gearless hub motors have excellent hill-climbing ability, but a geared hub motor would perform more efficiently for hill climbing. One of the pros of gearless hub motors is regenerative braking. The concept is simple; your electric scooter is brought to a halt by converting its kinetic energy into a form that can be used immediately or stored for use in the future.
When you think of motor power, what comes to your mind? Most people mistake a motor’s power for mechanical or electric power generation. A motor’s power is a measure of how much power it consumes. The more power it consumes, the more mechanical/electrical power it produces. It also means more power would be consumed in a short time.
Does the power of a motor translate to its efficiency (motor performance)? No. Two machines can be rated the same wattage (power) and still show different efficiency. The efficiency of a motor can only be theoretically measured, but in reality, no manufacturer provides that value. Nonetheless, more power means more energy generated and consumed for work simultaneously.
The best measure of a motor’s performance would be reviews or reality tests. This is because the manufacturer’s disparities in the method of construction are likely to defy theoretical values/ratings. A better judge of motor performance for electric scooters is the continuous power. Continuous power is simply how much power your e-scooter can consume over time. You can then judge if the motor’s performance is satisfactory versus the motor power in real time tests.
Your Hub motor torque is the rotational force that drives the wheel’s movement inside the motor. This value is also not published by the manufacturer but can be theoretically calculated. The theoretical value gives an idea of the torque of your scooter. Torque is measured in newtons meters. Dividing the power by max revolution per second would give you the torque of your scooter. The stall torque is the maximum revolution per second produced by a scooter. Torque measures how much load your engine can bear to generate the power needed to rotate the engine around its axis.
Electric scooter motors are either brushed or brushless. Fortunately, hub motors are brushless DC motors. This means more efficiency and performance. Most modern electric scooters use Hub motors. They are either geared or gearless. Depending on your preference, they both have their pros and cons.