What Determines the Speed of an Electric Scooter?

If you’re considering an electric scooter, you’re likely wondering what determines its speed, especially if you’re eyeing those zippy 20mph models. Speed is a major selling point for electric scooters, and several factors affect how fast your scooter can go. Understanding these can help you make a more informed decision and get the most out of your ride.

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The Motor

The heart of any electric scooter is its motor. The motor’s power, measured in watts, is a primary factor in determining the scooter’s top speed. Scooters with more powerful engines, such as 500W or 1000W, can reach higher speeds more easily than those with lower wattage. For a scooter to reach 20mph, it typically needs a motor with sufficient power output, often in the 500W range or higher.

The Battery

The battery in an electric scooter is closely linked to the motor’s performance. The battery’s voltage and capacity (measured in amp-hours, Ah) affect how long and well the engine can run. Higher-voltage batteries can provide the power needed to sustain higher speeds. For a 20-mph electric scooter, look for a battery with a higher voltage, usually around 36V or 48V. The battery capacity also influences how long you can ride at top speeds before needing a recharge.

Weight of the Rider and Scooter

The combined weight of the rider and the scooter significantly impacts speed. Heavier riders may find that their scooter needs to reach its advertised top speed. Similarly, a heavier scooter can be more stable but might accelerate slower. Manufacturers typically provide weight limits for optimal performance, so staying within these limits can help you achieve the maximum speed.

Terrain and Incline

The type of terrain you ride on can either help or hinder your scooter’s speed. Smooth, flat surfaces allow for higher speeds, while rough or uneven terrain can slow you down. Inclines are particularly challenging; going uphill requires more power and can reduce your speed, whereas downhill rides can boost your speed. If you often ride in hilly areas, consider a scooter with a powerful motor and battery to maintain higher incline speeds.

Tire Size and Type

The tires on your scooter also determine speed. Larger tires can provide a smoother ride and better stability, allowing you to maintain higher speeds safely. The type of tire—whether solid or pneumatic—can affect grip and comfort, influencing how fast you can go. Pneumatic tires usually offer better shock absorption, providing a more stable and faster ride on uneven surfaces.


While it might not be the first thing you think about, aerodynamics can influence your scooter’s speed. Scooters with a streamlined design face less air resistance, allowing them to go faster. The rider’s posture can also affect aerodynamics; leaning forward slightly can reduce drag and help you reach those higher speeds more efficiently.

Maintenance and Condition

The condition of your scooter affects its performance, including speed. Regular maintenance, such as keeping tires properly inflated, ensuring the battery is in good health, and checking for mechanical issues, can keep your scooter running at its best. A well-maintained scooter will more consistently hit its top speeds than one neglected.

Weather Conditions

Lastly, weather conditions can impact how fast your scooter can go. Wet or icy roads reduce traction, making it unsafe to ride at high speeds. Wind resistance can also slow you down, particularly if you’re riding into a headwind. Always consider the weather when planning your ride to ensure you can maintain a safe and consistent speed.


In summary, the speed of an electric scooter is influenced by several key factors: the motor’s power, the battery’s capacity and voltage, the weight of the rider and scooter, the type of terrain, tire size and type, aerodynamics, maintenance, and weather conditions. Understanding these elements allows you to choose the right scooter for your needs and maximize your riding experience. Whether you’re commuting or enjoying a leisurely ride, knowing what determines your scooter’s speed will help you get the most out of your electric scooter.