Love your e-scooter but want to get a bit more out of it? Stick around as this guide’s for you. We’ll cover everything you need to get set up with the right external scooter battery.
What is an external e-scooter battery?
An external scooter battery is an extra power pack that you attach to the scooter’s frame. They’re Li-ion batteries that you can buy for most electric scooters which increase range, distance, torque and give your ride a real boost in its effectiveness.
They normally attach to the steering column via a mounting bracket that comes with the battery and is generally simple enough to fit yourself at home. It’s not a technical job and you shouldn’t need to pay someone to do it.
What do bolt-on batteries do?
Adding an extra power source to your electric scooter can make for a pretty dramatic upgrade in its performance. Here are the main areas you’ll see an increase in:
- Travel longer – The range on your e-scooter can take a significant boost if you buy an external battery pack.
- Improved speed – adding a bolt-on battery to your scooter doesn’t just increase how long you can ride; you’ll also get improved performance out of your scooter too. In fact, your top speed can be increased by as much as 5km per hour.
- Getting up hills will be easier – If your scooter currently struggles with slopes, adding an additional bolt-on battery will give you an extra power boost that will give you a big bump in performance on hill climbs. You can expect an increased climbing angle of as much as 5%.
- If you’re on the heavy side – If you feel like your weight slows down your scooter, that’s another thing adding an external battery can help fix. The increased power will likely fix any issues you’re having with your scooter’s performance.
Common ways to get a ‘booster battery’ on your scooter
There are three main ways you can go about adding an external battery pack to your scooter. Starting with the easiest, we have:
- Buy one pre-made – There are commercially available ‘bolt-on’ batteries for many brand name scooters. The advantage is that they’re a pre-made solution that’s simple to fix. On the downside, this is the most expensive way to do it.
- Buying a third party battery – A slightly more complicated way of doing it is to buy a battery and connect it to your scooter yourself. You’ll need to carefully match up the voltage and connector as well as hacking around with your scooter to fit it in.
- Creating your own Lithium-Ion battery – If you’re a real dab-hand at electronics and know your way around a soldering iron, you can save a fortune by creating your own Li-ion battery for your scooter. This is the cheapest way to do it by definitely not for anyone inexperienced!
Downsides to external batteries
I’ve covered some of the reasons you might want to fork out for an extra scooter battery but now let’s take a look at some of the downsides.
- They’re not cheap – Assuming you’re not going the DIY route, something like the Ninebot scooter external batteries can set you back well over £100, with some costing up to £165. While it’s a good quality product that has impressive user reviews, one thing most people agree with is they’re expensive. There aren’t exactly any budget options either.
- They’re fairly bulky & don’t look great – No matter how well-designed bolt-on batteries are, there’s no getting around the fact they’re a bit of bulky eye-store. More so on the DIY ones. Scooter batteries are not small so you’ll have to weigh up how much you like that minimal look compared to the hike in performance you’ll enjoy!
- There’s more that can go wrong – Adding anything extra into an electrical system gives it more chances to go wrong. This is more true of the homemade batteries, but things can still go wrong with the pre-built ones too.
- It adds more weight – E-scooter batteries are also definitely not light and will add a lot of weight to your scooter. If you’re trying to increase performance, this will, ironically, increase the load on your scooter’s motor.
- DIY options require more work to charge – If you’re fitting more than one external battery, wired together in parallel, you will have to disconnect each one and charge it separately. Charging them together could cause an electrical fault or even a fire.
- Building your own booster battery can be dangerous – When it comes to batteries, if you’re not sure what you are doing, it’s easy to cause a fire.
Can you make your own booster battery?
If you can’t find an external battery for your scooter, or you don’t fancy paying the top dollar they cost, the other option you’ve got is to roll up your sleeves and make one yourself. It’s definitely not an easy job (unless you’re into engineering or mechanics) but it’s a good way to get a huge replacement battery for your e-scooter.
You can go for a temporary/removable solution – with batteries normally residing in a pouch attached to the frame, or go for a more permanent solution by rigging up a bracket to your scooter.
How do you make your own battery pack?
There are a few important things to remember if you’re planning on building your own battery pack for your scooter. Any scooter can use a DIY booster battery, but the #1 thing to get right is that the battery pack you make must match your scooters voltage.
- Find a compatible battery –
- Move the battery connector outside of your scooter’s frame – You’ll need to remove the connector from the controller under your scooter and get that outside of the frame so you can connect your new battery to it.
There’s a really good video that explains and demonstrates how to rig up an external battery on an e-scooter here:
There’s another good video here that shows you how to create your own Li-ion battery pack for a scooter from scratch, along with important safety tips:
Do you really need an external battery on your scooter?
With a lot of modern scooters having ranges of 45+ km and speeds of up to 20 mph, if you’re buying a new scooter today, you might never need to buy and fit a battery pack to your scooter. If you’re shopping for a new scooter, get one with a good battery and you might never need to buy an external one.
Not everyone needs an external battery, with modern scooters coming with the added performance you’d get from one anyway.
That being said, there’s no getting around the fact that you can see a major increase in how well your scooter performs, especially if it’s an older model, if you invest in a bolt-on battery, or can make one yourself. As long as you don’t mind the cost and hit the aesthetics, it might be the way forward.