E-Ride Glossary – Common Terms in scooters, ebikes and more

Brushless motor

Some motors have what are called brushes in them, which constantly rub against the moving part inside. Brushless motors don’t have this and as such, that part can’t wear out, making for a longer motor life. This kind of motor is also popular because it’s quieter and lighter.

Drive Inverter

While it sounds like something from StarTrek, a drive inverter has a fairly simple job. These devices are used with electric motors to control the speed and torque of the motor. They sit between the power supply and the motor and are also known as Variable Speed Drives (VSD) or frequecy converters.

They control how fast or slow the motor goes as well as making power consumption more efficient. There’s a really good explanation of drive inveters here. A drive inverter increases the power that goes into the motor.

With something like an e-scooter, this means you can pull away, or stop gently rather than firing off awkwardly!

Ground clearance

The distance between the lowest part of the frame and the ground. This is worth checking out as some scooters don’t leave enough space here. The reason you need clearance here is to deal with potholes and other uneven surfaces.


A hoverboard is an electric vehicle that, despite its name, has two wheels and doesn’t actually do any hovering. It’s a horizontal board with two wheels no either end. Normally this would be impossible to ride but these electric vehicles use self-stabilising technology (the same as Segways) to keep your balance. They can also be converted into go-karts with one of the many commercially available kits.

Payload / Max Load

This is the maximum weight (in KG) that an electric scooter can take. Its worth noting however that this isn’t the optimal load. If your e-scooter says it can take 120kg, it can. But it doesn’t mean it will bomb up a slope happily at top speed with that load.

Regenerative brake system

This is a kind of brake technology that’s often found on electric vehicles and is common in cars and electric scooters. The main idea is to conserve energy. When braking, a lot of energy is wasted. A regenerative brake recycles that energy and adds it back into the battery.

The benefit is that you’ll have to charge your scooter less, and will enjoy a longer ride on each charge. Regenerative braking is also often combined with other types of braking, such as friction braking.