Can We Overcharge An Electric Scooter: A complete overview
Whenever I try to think of all the green technologies available in the market, electric scooters come to my mind first. Electric scooters are pretty portable and easy to store and use. Most importantly, e-scooters don’t emit pollutants into the environment. And here at livelywatt, we always love to talk about these eco-friendly technologies.
Whether you be a regular or a newbie electric scooter rider, you might be wondering this one question always – If we can overcharge an electric scooter or not!
First of all, charging an electric scooter means charging the electric scooter’s battery. And if we can understand the basic functionality of charging those batteries, I am sure we’ll be able to understand this query better. Let’s start by answering the question first.
Can you overcharge an electric scooter?
All the modern electric scooter chargers come with an intelligent charge controlling mechanism. If the battery of the scooter is fully charged, it will automatically disconnect the charging to prevent overcharging issue. However, if you are charging your electric scooter battery without a charge control mechanism, you must avoid overcharging the battery manually. Generally, Lithium-ion or Lithium-polymer batteries can operate normally within an operating voltage range. But overcharge can lead to a high voltage, making the battery unstable.
Before we understand this topic in detail, let’s try to understand the batteries we use for Electric scooters.
Common types of batteries for electric scooters
You have various rechargeable battery types on the market, and you can try out any to see which one serves you the best just for an experiment.
I am sure you’ll find Lithium-ion and Lithium-polymer batteries are the best and most efficient. That is why all the e-scooter manufacturers mostly use these two types of batteries. We will discuss these two types more in detail in the following sections.
Lithium-ion is the most common type of rechargeable battery, and we can see its use almost everywhere, from your mobile phone to your electric scooter.
Lithium batteries have a higher energy density than traditional rechargeable batteries like lead-acid batteries, and thus, it requires minimal space. Because of their lightweight properties, lithium-ion batteries are highly portable, and that’s why e-scooter manufacturers use these batteries to make the scooter easy to use.
Also, generally, these batteries have a quick charging time. Because of all these properties, Lithium-ion batteries are the favorite to use in an e-scooter.
The only drawback can be its high cost than traditional lead-acid batteries. But to get excellent usability and output, that cost is bearable.
These batteries are also prevalent as they have almost similar properties as lithium-ion, except that these batteries use solid or semi-solid substances as electrolytes rather than liquid electrolytes.
These batteries are also space-efficient and lightweight, easy to use, and give excellent usability. However, these batteries can be costlier than lithium-ion batteries.
Next, we’ll try to understand what happens when we try to overcharge these e-scooter batteries.
What happens when you overcharge an e-scooter battery?
You need to work really hard to overcharge an e-scooter battery. Yes, you read that right. Nowadays, all the charging systems are smart enough to cut off the charging once it is fully charged. They can detect full charge by voltage or temperature tracking or various other tracking technologies.
You get to see this same feature on your mobile phone as well. Additionally, smartphones use software and artificial intelligence to track the charging mechanism better. Nowadays, many good e-scooter manufacturers also use software capabilities to track the battery charging. In all the cases, the ultimate goal is preventing overcharging, as we know these batteries can go unstable if we somehow increase the voltage than their operating range.
Additionally, earlier chargers used to have a trickle charging mechanism. When the battery is fully charged, the charger can charge at a very small voltage to match the battery’s discharge rate to maintain its almost fully charged state.
However, modern chargers are smart enough to vary charging rates to keep the fully charged state intact.
To conclude, you can relax and not worry about overcharging if you use the charging system provided by your e-scooter brand.
But what if you overcharge your lithium-ion e-scooter battery anyhow because of the charging malfunction, or if you try to charge up the battery manually without using a charge controller?
Now we’ll try to understand these scenarios as well.
Overcharging e-scooter battery manually or due to malfunction in the charging system
It is possible to charge the battery manually without any charge controlling mechanism, but it can be really risky if you are not measuring the temperature and voltage. Be cautious and never try this experiment at home as it involves significant risk of an accident. Now, when the voltage is too high (overcharged) above the operating voltage range, the electrolytes inside the battery may become unstable and cause a thermal runaway leading to an explosion.
There is another scenario where overcharging might happen. Generally, the manufacturing of batteries goes through various safety ensuring technologies. But nothing is perfect! As many of the battery components are highly flammable, there is always a risk of an accident due to malfunction. However, the risk of an accident is negligible. Otherwise, you could see explosions everywhere as most of the batteries that we use are lithium-ion batteries.
Now, these are two possible ways where you might overcharge your battery. For the first one, you should always be cautious and don’t try to overcharge a battery at home without professional guidance.
For the second scenario, to avoid battery malfunction, we can always make sure we buy electric scooters from a famous brand with great reviews. They will probably have better technology to minimize any risk of battery overcharging. But for an unknown brand, we must review and understand their battery charging technology well and test it before buying.
Is it safe to overcharge an electric scooter battery?
Generally, you can’t overcharge the battery with modern e-scooter charging systems unless some malfunction happens. These charging systems come with intelligent charge tracking and controlling capabilities to protect your battery from overcharging. Also, with artificial intelligence, we are making batteries safer than ever. Additionally, if you have some good practices with charging your e-scooter, you can be stress-free and not worry much about safety. We’ll discuss those good practices in one of the upcoming sections.
But, if overcharging happens, it can be unsafe as we don’t know how it will release the internal pressure due to high voltage. Most of the time, we see it exploding.
What causes battery explosions?
It may happen for many reasons, but thermo-mechanical stress is the main reason. Then again, thermo-mechanical stress might occur due to many reasons, for example: overcharging, malfunction in the charging controller, internal chemical instability due to external factors, etc.
So for your e-scooter safety, it is really important to take care of your e-scooter batteries. Always check battery health and send it for servicing and maintenance every quarter to see how the overall charging system is working.
Best Practices to charge your electric scooter battery
In this section, as I promised, I’ll share some of the best practices to charge your e-scooter battery. It will ensure extra protection if you can make this into a habit.
1. Keep track of the charging bar on your e-scooter display. If it is fully charged, it makes sense to unplug the charging. Although we know it automatically cuts off the charging once fully charged, it’s a good practice to follow.
2. Make sure you are using the correct charger for your e-scooter. You’ll always receive the charging system when you buy your electric scooter. I’d advise you to use that only cause the manufacturer provides the perfect charging system to ensure your electric scooter battery keeps working well.
3. If you are experiencing severe heating issues while charging, please take it to maintenance service at your manufacturer or affiliated shops.
How to extend your electric scooter battery life?
By following some simple instructions, you can ensure your electric scooter battery works for a long time.
1. Do not use just any charger, and make sure you charge with the one that comes with your electric scooter.
2. Try to charge your electric scooter daily if you ride it too often. Even if you don’t ride it often, keep track of the battery percentage, and charge whenever you see it has dropped below 50%.
3. Do not drain the battery to 0%. It will slowly harm your battery life.
4. Charge before you store your electric scooter.
5. Do not expose your battery to extreme heat.
I hope you found these tips helpful!
I hope this article helped clear your doubt. If you follow the best practices to charge your battery, you don’t have to worry about overcharging much. And if you overcharge it somehow by mistake or due to battery malfunction, please try to disconnect charging immediately and take it to the maintenance service before using it again.