Ride against the winter! But how?
Greetings from Istanbul-Türkiye, the city where January temperature record of the last 30 years has almost been broken. Yep, due to the global climate crisis, we are suffering a hot and dry winter until now. In fact, most of the countries are suffering from extreme temperatures either low or high.
Higher temperatures may create a good environment for riding your e-scooter or e-bike in the great sunny spring-ish atmosphere but it’s really a warning for the future expecting all of us. But there are many things we can do to slow down or even stop the change. That’s why you chose e-mobility, right? Ok this is a topic for another blog post.
Now let’s focus on the question: “Can I use my electric scooter in winter?”.
Well, the shortest and non-helpful answer would be “it depends”?! Let’s break down the topics it depends on and what you can do to use your e-scooter in winter.
Geography is Destiny
Even the theory itself is questionable but for e-scooters in winter, geography is destiny. If you live in a warm environment with a softer winter; without any snow, icing etc. then you absolutely have less winter cautions. However in more cold places with a lot of rain, snow and ice; things change rapidly.
If you have snow in winter, maybe you can use your e-scooter. It depends on your scooter’s capabilities. You should check the tips below before deciding to do it or not. However if there is ice, it’s time to put your e-scooter away until you have the right conditions for a safe journey.
Here are the tips to consider before using your e-scooter or e-bike in winter.
Before going out for a winter ride, let’s focus on you, the rider first. The warm breeze that chills you during the summer rides, turns into a cold wind that can do more than chilling. To be more specific, when you are riding your scooter at top speed of 25km/h, you’ll feel the temperature drop as 12-16 Centigrade degrees. You’ll feel the cold air in your hands, eyes, skin and bones. This creates two risks; you can get sick, you can lose control of the scooter. Before going out make sure you protect yourself from the elements outside that can affect your performance bad.
- Wearing thermal underlayers and a windproof outer layer will protect your body.
- Riding goggles is a must to see where you go. You can’t open your eyes in cold wind due to the tears.
- Gloves are also necessary to protect your fingers from cold air. When you don’t feel your fingers, they don’t response as quick as you think. It’ll effect your brake performance obviously.
- Helmet benefits for both protecting your head from possible impacts and keep your head warm at the same time.
Visibility should be a separate topic in winter e-scooter tips because it’s really important. You are sharing the streets with pedestrians, other e-scooters, e-bikes and sometimes with bigger vehicles. Being noticed is even hard in open weather, it becomes harder in winter. Lack of sunlight, dirty windshields and mirrors of vehicles, faces covered up to protect from cold air reduces the seeing capability of people around. You should do whatever you can do to reduce the risk.
- Always wear a yellow high-visibility vests with reflective surfaces
- Clean your front and rear lights and add more lights
- If possible, don’t use your e-scooter at dark weather and night
Electric Scooter’s Mechanical and Electrical Capabilities
Assuming you took all cautions discussed above, now we can discuss what you need to do to protect your e-scooter.
In cold weather you’ll feel some symptoms in your electric scooter. First, your battery capacity will reduce. Due to the chemical compound of Li-Ion batteries, the performance and capacity won’t be the same with higher temperatures. The capacity drop could reach up to 30%, which is a serious amount!
So, you should consider this capacity drop while planning your trip from point A to point B. Maybe you need to carry your charger with you.
Secondly, the grip in the tires will be affected. There are many different products in the market with off-road tire options but when rubber quality considered; I personally don’t think that rubber type is different. You know for cars, trucks etc. rubber compound of winter tires are different and they perform better below +7 centigrade degrees. So cold weather itself reduces the grip and performance of tires
If you took all the cautions, it’s mechanically ok to ride your scooter in slight rain. However, riding in snow means a lot of risk that we don’t recommend.
Regarding rain or snow, there is another huge risk awaits you: water damage! If you have an electric scooter which have been tested against water and dust penetration, it’s ok. Then you should check the IP rating of the e-scooter. First letter of IP stands for Solids and second letter stands for Liquids. After IP you’ll see two digits number following. The numbers are the ratings of I and P. Here is a summary table for IP rating meanings:
|0||No protection.||0||No protection.|
|1||Protected against solid objects over 50mm, e.g. accidental touch by hands.||1||Protected against vertically falling drops of water, e.g. condensation.|
|2||Protected against solid objects over 12mm, e.g. fingers.||2||Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical.|
|3||Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm, e.g. tools & wires.||3||Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical.|
|4||Protected against solid objects over 1mm, e.g. wires & nails.||4||Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted.|
|5||Protected against dust limited ingress, no harmful deposits.||5||Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions, limited ingress permitted.|
|6||Totally protected against dust.||6||Protected against strong jets of water, e.g. on ships deck, limited ingress permitted.|
After reading the table we have below information:
- To ride your e-scooter in rain without damaging the battery or other electrical components, it should be rated as IPx4
- For snow, which we don’t recommend, rating should be at least IPx6
Let’s conclude. Yes, you can use your electric scooter in winter. However, you should consider your own and your scooter’s capabilities and take all the cautions listed above. Also please don’t forget to check our “How to keep my e-scooter healthy during winter” blog post further information. Cleaning and checking the status of your e-scooter before and after each ride is essential.
Have a safe winter!