How Does An Electric Scooter Motor Work

After you have the scooter and battery, you will need one more thing to make the electric scooter complete – the motor. The market offers various types of motors, which you will find positioned on the hub of the front wheel, the rear wheel or in the middle. 

You have to know how electric scooter motors work so that you can understand what happens immediately the power leaves the battery and it starts getting you moving.

Here is how they function:

The process starts on the controller 

After the electricity leaves the battery and heads to the E-scooters motor, it has to pass through the controller. In all electronic devices, the purpose of a controller is to manage the amount of power the system delivers to the motor. In other words, it determines how fast the motor spins. 

For an e-scooter, things can be complicated depending on the amount of resistance the scooter provides. Say, for example when dropping down a hill, you do not need any power from the motor.

You will only need the braking system. But if you see a hill up ahead, you will want the motor to do all the work. The motor will need more power to spin the wheels to the highest point. 

Mostly, e-scooter producers mount a small display on the handlebars to help you choose the mode and offer information about the rides such as the distance you have covered, the amount of power left and the calories you have burnt. 

Second, the motor is switched on 

When it comes to the motor, e-scooter manufacturers adopt one of two common setups. In the old-fashioned or low-cost setups, the manufacturers install the motor on the rear wheel – known as the rear wheel setup.

So, the motor spins the wheel directly and gives the rider a sense of being pushed forward.

 The more advanced setups employ a mid-drive motor. The motor sits in the middle of the e-scooter and engages the drivetrain of the scooter. That is similar to how you would pedal your bike.

The power the motor generates power, which is transmitted through a chain to the back wheel. That means that the motor interacts with the gearing system to making hill climbs efficiently for the battery and the e-scooter. 

Brushed and brushless motors 

The e-scooter motor might be brushed or brushless DC motor. But the industry’s default is the brushless motors – because they are smaller, quieter, lighter and they do not need any servicing.

Some people in the industry support brushed motors claiming that they are robust and reliable, inexpensive and they make hill climbing easier. 

In a brushed motor, the brush is a piece of conductor that serves as the link between the moving parts in the motor and the stationary wires. That means that the brush will break or wear out as the motor ages.

Apart from being noisy and being prone to sparking, brushed motors are known to jam up from time to time. 

The contemporary brushless motors are not prone to the problems.

They are usually turned inside out – to swap the housing of the magnets that make the motor.

By alternating the energized electromagnets and changing systematically, the brushless motor turns the shaft and propels the e-scooter. 

Types of e-scooter motors and how they work

The market offers a wide range of motors for electric bicycles and e-scooters. By understanding the differences between them and the working of each of them, you will have an easy time when shopping for an e-scooter.

Here are the key types:

1. Crank drive motors 

Crank drive motors were developed in the 1990s in Japan.  They were the first advanced bicycle and e-scooter motors.

As their name suggests, the motors are situated on the crank – the round thing that takes power from your legs and converts it to the energy that moves the bicycle chain and the bicycle forward.

The motors drive more or less power through the gear system. You can adjust this type of motor to match your environment and it is thought to be the best e-scooter motor because it allows the rider to climb hills by varying the gears.

2. Friction drive motors 

Friction drive motors are simple motors that spin a roller pressed against the tire of the electric scooter.

Their power is limited because their acceleration highly depends on the roller maintaining contact with the tire. Only a few scooters will come with this type of engine. They are a good choice for techie individuals who love assembling engines themselves.

The tire and roller wear after a few hundred kilometers. Furthermore, they will not work properly in wet conditions. 

3. Permanent magnet BDLC motors or sensorless motors 

This group of e-scooter motors is a more recent innovation and it has shown reliability. The motors do not require any sensor because the magnetic field detection detects the armature position.

That reduces the number of electronics needed on the motor – the result is high reliability. Permanent magnet BDLC and sensorless e-scooter motors might become the industry standard soon. 

4. Hub motors 

Hub motors are fitted on one of the electric scooter’s wheels – either the rear or the front wheel – and it spins the wheel to create propulsion.

Most manufacturers use this type of motor configuration but the popularity of mid-drive motors is growing rapidly.

Hub motors are available in three types, which are the rear hub motors, mid-drive motors, and the front hub motors. 

Rear hub motors 

The first type of hub motors is the rear hub motor, which pushes the scooter forward. If you are accustomed to riding the conventional bicycles, the rear hub will feel more natural.

It generates power on the rear wheel and the rider varies the power with the help of gears and a chain. And because the weight of the rider lies on the rear wheel, this type of motor spins out less often than the front hub motors do.

In some riding conditions, the motor provides a smooth efficient riding experience. 

Unfortunately, the installation of the rear hub motors is tricky and the same is true during its removal. The motors workaround chains, derailleurs, and cassettes that make some forms of repairs impossible.

You will feel the rear hub generating the power, but it will not affect how you operate the scooter – it will make the rear of the scooter feel heavier than it is.

Moreover, the rear hub motor demands stronger rims and spokes because they generate more torque. 

Front hub motors 

Front hub motors are designed to pull the electric scooter forward.

Unlike the rear hub motors, the front hub motors are uncommon. One of their benefits is that they do not interfere with the drivetrain of the scooter.

When installed on a bicycle, it allows the cyclist to rely on pedal power while getting help from the hub motor. However, front hub motors tend to spin out because the rider’s weight is concentrated at the rear wheel.

That affects the performance of the scooter and can cause spin-off.  

Mid-drive motors 

As we stated above, mid-drive motors are uncommon, particularly when it comes to electric scooters.

However, its popularity is growing. Unlike the rear hub motors that deliver the power to the rear wheel or the front hub motors, which pull the bike, forward, mid-drive motors deliver their power to the drivetrain of the e-scooter.

This type of motor is great when it comes to conquering rocky steep inclines and a good choice for people in need of a balanced riding experience. Its weight sits close to the center of gravity. 


The working of an electrical motor is simple. The battery supplies power to the controller, which determines the amount to send to the motor.

After the right amount of power gets to the motor, it energizes the magnets to spin the e-scooter shaft, turns the gears and movies the scooter and rider forward.

You have to avoid friction motors at every cost unless you are planning to use the e-scooter scarcely.