Can Electric Scooters be Used Manually?

Many people who wonder about this question end up learning the hard way—can electric scooters be used manually? If you are well on your way to your destination and all of the sudden your battery runs out, you’ll quickly find an answer to this question.

Most electric scooters have been designed to run solely on electricity. While they can be moved manually in situations where the battery or motor fails, it’s not ideal for either the electric scooter themselves or the riders.

Some of the design elements that make movement so easy with kick scooters aren’t found in electric scooters, making it quite the workout should a rider try. Similarly, the way that the motor is designed allows it to be powered by electric, not leg power. 

Fortunately though, there are some electric scooters on the market today but can be used manually. We’ll explore how that’s possible and give you our top recommendation for a hybrid electric scooter.

Using an Electric Scooter Manually

Electric scooters have quickly become a popular mode of transportation for many people around the world. Not only do they allow riders to zip through congested traffic, but they’re also fun to ride. Imagine this: you’re beating rush-hour traffic, the wind is blowing through your hair, and you’re not having to exert any effort to get from A to B.

But what happens when your battery dies? How easy would it be to use your electric scooter manually?

I think many of us probably remember when kick scooters became popular—who remembers Razor scooters? A few decades ago, these were all the rage, one of the most popular toys and a revolutionary way to get around. 

However, if anyone remembers using a Razor scooter, you’ll probably be quick to remember how much of a workout your trip or around the neighborhood was. Electric scooters have been the saving grace for tired legs and sore knees.

Electric scooters are great for one main reason—they require no to little effort to run. However, all of those changes when your electric scooter unexpectedly runs out of battery and you’re forced to use it manually instead. 

Many electric scooters are designed to run on… well, electric. For the most part they end up being rather burdensome when they have to be used in another manner (ahem, leg power). While your electric scooter won’t spontaneously combust or lock itself in the middle of the sidewalk if it’s used manually, it probably won’t make for a very enjoyable journey.

Manual Moving

So, you’re on your way to a local café and something goes wrong. Either your battery dies, your electronics malfunction, or you notice brake problems. You want to make it to your final destination and have a bulky scooter to get around—how do you make this happen? 

In theory, your electric scooter is able to be used manually. Most electric scooters has been designed so that the electric motor becomes engaged when the rider reaches a certain speed—typically at least 1.8 MPH (3 km/h). That being said, electric scooters can handle at least some movement that’s the product of your legs.

The problems arise during longer distances of travel. As we mentioned before, electric scooters are designed to be powered by electric, not by your legs (no matter how many squats you did leg day at the gym yesterday).

There are a few reasons your electric scooter might not be as enjoyable when it’s powered by you.

Why Electric Power is Preferred for Most Electric Scooters

You know those razor scooters we mentioned earlier? If you think back to the early 2000’s, you might remember how light and mobile these scooters were. They only weighed a few pounds and their design was so sleek enough to make any journey streamlined.

Electric scooters can be manually pushed or kicked but doing so definitely isn’t as fun as it was when you were a kid.

Weight

Most of the electric scooters on the market today weigh considerably more than their manual kick scooter counterparts. Many scooters sold today weigh anywhere from 26 to 33 lbs (12 to 15 kg). Some kick scooters can be as low as 8 lbs (4 kg)—which makes them significantly easier to move around. 

Not only does the battery add additional weight, but so do the electric motor and the heavy-duty frame. These features help you get to your destination when using electric, but unfortunately, they make it a little more difficult if you run out of juice. 

Height

Electric scooters tend to have larger wheels which means that riders are higher off the ground. While this is fine for just a few kicks to get your electric scooter moving, sustained pushing could get really uncomfortable really quickly. Not to mention, long periods of moving without being able to bend your knees not only causes discomfort but could also end up producing long term issues. 

Comfort

As the electric motor is directly connected to the tires, there is some resistance when it’s pushed manually. This isn’t much of a bother if you’re pushing for just a short distance, however it can get annoying during a longer trip.

When faced with a dead battery or another problem that requires a rider to manually move the scooter, many actually prefer to get off and walk it to the destination, rather than manually push it. 

While you’ll by no means be forced to leave your scooter and pick it up later, you’re most likely have to walk it to where you’re going. Fortunately, scooter manufacturers are realizing that dead batteries have proven problematic for some riders, and hybrid, or dual motor, electric scooters have become more popular recently. 

Hybrid or Dual Motor Electric Scooters

One of the biggest problems with using an electric scooter as a kick scooter is the potential for damage. Not only is it uncomfortable and difficult to power an electric scooter out without electricity but it can also end up damaging the motor over time. The bearings can become compromised when the electric scooter is being operated manually and it could lead to other problems over time. 

Hybrid scooters alleviate these issues with a mode that disconnects the motor. This allows the wheels to turn freely and not only makes your trip easier but also helps protect your scooter and its motor.

As the name suggests, a hybrid electric scooter is one that is designed to be driven by either a motor or your feet. With a hybrid scooter, you can turn off the power and use kick-power instead. This type of scooter comes in handy when the battery dies.

With a hybrid or dual motor electric scooter, you won’t have to worry about damage to the motor or damage to your hard-working legs! Dual motor scooters are designed to be lighter, and lower to the ground making manual use much easier, and safer on the scooter. 

Want to know our favorite battery-powered or human-powered scooter right now? We’d have to say the Zumaround Electric Hybrid Kick Scooter by Sidewalker. We love how this scooter can achieve 5 hours of use with its 250-watt motor—or can be used for an excellent workout instead. 

Get Scooting! 

The key takeaways from this article are this—most electric scooters are designed to be operated using electric. Not only will manual use be uncomfortable, but it could actually end up damaging the motor of your electric scooter. Fortunately for riders around the world, there are now many electric scooters that come with hybrid or dual motors that allow for both electric and manual use. If you are someone who currently forgets to charge your electric scooter, we recommend you check out a hybrid electric scooter. Start with the Sidewalker Zumaround Electric Hybrid Kick Scooter, our favorite pick right now.