For many people, an electric scooter is a genuine transport tool. Far from being just an inner-city runaround, an electric scooter can get you from point A to point B in an affordable and fast manner. For example, on your commute to and from work. However, it’s not always sunny when you want to use an electric scooter, so can you use them in the rain?
It’s a common question amongst electric scooter owners: can I ride electric scooters in the rain? And is typically followed by: can I waterproof my electric scooter?
Let’s start with a simple answer. For most electric scooter models, using it during a light shower is fine if the scooter has an IP54 waterproof rating, which is common. If the weather is worse, such as heavy rain, sleet, or blizzards, then it is best to not ride your electric scooter.
When it’s fine to ride an electric scooter in the rain
You don’t have to leave your electric scooter at home whenever it’s raining. Instead, you will have to use common sense and decide which conditions are safe or not. As mentioned, you can ride during light rain and when the ground is wet, but you should consider the following information when deciding:
Are there lots of puddles following a heavy rain?
If it has been raining heavily and the ground is filled with puddles, that can be a problem. Remember, the wheels of an electric scooter are small, which means all important components of the vehicle are low to the ground. It may probably be worth looking at electric scooters with big wheels to avoid being too low to the ground.
It is worth pointing out puddles can form even in light rain, so it is better if you know the area where you’re riding and assess if it tends to get puddles during precipitation. Whenever puddles are too deep, you should avoid riding through them.
Is visibility reduced?
Many people ride electric scooters in built-up areas, such as cities or parks, so you really need to see where you’re going to avoid other vehicles and pedestrians. When visibility has been affected by rain, perhaps it’s best to leave your electric scooter at home for the day or purchase some additional lighting for your scooter.
Could the weather get worse?
Electric scooter owners must become amateur weather forecasters to choose the best times to use their vehicles. Is the rain light in the morning but forecast to get worse? Is there no rain in the morning but a storm predicted for the evening?
You clearly want to avoid storms including lightning and thunder. Check the weather in your area before setting off to avoid your scooter getting caught in torrential rain where it could get submerged and receive permanent damage to its components.
Some good starting rules for safe riding:
- Minimum puddles (don’t ride through any you do encounter)
- Ride in light rain (that is not forecast to get worse)
- Minimum visibility of 100 meters or more (around the length of a city block)
- Don’t ride in freezing temperatures (0 or below)
Weather conditions when you should avoid riding an electric scooter:
- Heavy rain (including storms)
- Low visibility (below 100 meters)
- Freezing temperatures
- If your route has lots of deep and large puddles
Can an electric scooter survive underwater?
While you’re unlikely to ever throw your scooter in a lake or river, torrential rain may catch you out or you may accidentally ride through a deep puddle that mimics the scooter being submerged underwater. In other words, it’s good to understand just how wet your scooter can safely get.
Most scooters on the market come with an IP54 rating, which is an International Protection rating. This is an internationally recognized standard for rating protection against solids and liquids. The first number in the IP rating is for solids and the second is for liquids. Most electric scooters have a solids protection rating of 5 and a liquids rating of 4.
This rating is usually good for protecting against dust and water spray:
IP54 solid protection – Handles limited dust build-up and ingress protection.
IP54 liquid protection – Handles water spray from any direction but won’t protect much against water entering.
Knowing this information about electric scooters, it is clear most models simply won’t be able to survive being submerged. This also means scooters being subjected to a lot of dirt or heavy rain conditions can also be destroyed so off-road electric scooters would suit the harsher conditions.
So, if you have an electric scooter the chances are you should avoid it getting too wet or too dirty. To reach a level of protection where you could submerge it, you would need to have an IP rating of at least 67 and preferably higher. You may have seen the IP67 and IP68 ratings before because they are used by smartphone manufacturers on their waterproof devices.
- Protected completely from dust entering.
- Can be completely submerged in water between 15 cm and 1 meter in-depth for a limited time.
- Protected completely from dust entering.
- Can be completely submerged in water at greater depths and for longer periods.
While it would be nice to have an electric scooter with an IP67 rating, I don’t know of any and if you see one offering such waterproofing you should question the validity. Besides, even with IP67 or IP68 protection, there are other reasons why you should avoid riding in heavy rain, such as slippery roads and reduced visibility.
Waterproof vs Water-resistant
Many people confuse the difference between water resistance and waterproofing and will often believe a scooter sold as water resistant is actually waterproof. Here’s the simple way to look at it:
Most electric scooters are water-resistant (as detailed above with the IP54 rating) but few, if any, are waterproof. That’s because there’s a difference between the two terms where one means the scooter can handle some water splashing (water resistance) but cannot be drenched or submerged (waterproof).
So, how do you wash an electric scooter?
For some people, washing a vehicle is as easy as getting out a high-pressure pump and letting the powerful water do its work. However, when it comes to an electric scooter, we know they won’t take a good soaking and come out the other side in working order. The IP54 rating discussed above means your scooter will only handle light water spray.
Again, an IP66 rating would allow you to wash your scooter with a water pump, but few (if any) scooters have this level of protection. This means you must wash your electric scooter the old-fashioned way, with a wet rag, sponge, and a bucket of soapy water.
Check the IP rating before buying
While you need to do what you can to ensure your scooter is not exposed to heavy rain conditions and situations where it is submerged, you can’t avoid all water. You could be out riding when a shower hits or accidentally ride through a puddle. That’s why your electric scooter must have at least the IP54 protection rating.
Always check the IP rating of a scooter you plan on buying. At least you should get the basic level of water protection for light rain. If you can find one with a higher rating, that would be fantastic. However, I do not know of an electric scooter that is rated as completely waterproof.
Unfortunately, if your electric scooter is destroyed by water, your warranty will be void even if it has an IP54 rating and was destroyed following light rain. Manufacturers cannot differentiate between a scooter that was flooded by extreme water conditions or because of a defect in its protection.
It is worth checking the terms and conditions of the warranty you get with your electric scooter. The manufacturer will make it clear what circumstances will result in the warranty being void.
For example, Segway Ninebot KickScooter MAX has a warranty that will be voided when the damage is “caused by accident, collision, riding over obstacles, racing, fires, water submersion, high-pressure water spray…”
It’s worth pointing out the Segway Ninebot KickScooter MAX is a high-end expensive scooter (around $800), but it still only has an IPX5 rating. This means it has no dust-proofing rating and is only water-resistant to handle water spray.
Is there an electric shock risk on an electric scooter?
Electric and water are two things that don’t go very well together, and we have seen above that electric scooters are not waterproof. So, how likely is it you get an electric shock when riding in the rain?
Luckily, you can spend time worrying about other dangers, such as falling off, because your chances of getting a shock are very slim. All scooters enclose the electric circuitry within their structure. While they are not waterproof, it is hard for water to reach the circuits. Even if it could, the only two connectors between the electric motor and you are the acceleration and brake levers. Both these points of contacts don’t carry a high current.
While the scooter itself is not waterproof, the battery usually is and even the electrical circuits will have water protection. Because the connection between you and the electronics is low, the most that could happen is a slight shock. Again, it is probably never going to happen but it’s worth talking about the worst case.
The bottom line is the voltage of an electric scooter (24-36V) is too low to cause a shock that would cause serious injury or death.
How do you waterproof your electric scooter?
If you use your electric scooter for a practical reason, such as getting to college each day, what you’ve read above is probably discouraging. After-all, sometimes there’s no avoiding the rain, especially if you NEED to use your scooter for some reason. So, what do you do with your non-waterproof scooter?
Well, you waterproof it of course. Follow some of the tips below to make your electric scooter more at home in the elements:
The easiest way to waterproof
Maybe you must park your scooter outside when at work, so you’ll want to ensure you keep the rain out. The easiest way to do this is by buying a waterproof cover that will allow moisture to run away from the scooter safely. While there are dedicated electric scooter covers on the market, any waterproof cover (such as tarpaulin) will do the job. Alternatively, an electric scooter bag will allow you to carry the scooter with you and keep it dry.
A waterproof spray will allow you to put a waterproof layer over your scooter. Sprays are available for outdoor clothes and shoes or there are more industrial options that you can get for remote control flying vehicles.
Of course, while these sprays will add some protection to surfaces on your electric scooter, they won’t do much for entry points to the inside of the vehicle.
Waterproofing individual components
Instead of trying to waterproof the whole scooter, you can add protection to the parts that are at risk from water.
- Display protection: The display on your electric scooter is the electrical component that is the most exposed to the elements. Many products are available that allow you to protect the display with a waterproof cover or a screen film.
- Connections: Hardware stores sell grease and sprays that can be placed on electrical wires to make them more water-resistant.
- Ring seal: Like display unit waterproofing, there are waterproof ring seals you can buy to replace the original component. These are usually made from foam and attach easily to the bottom of the scooter to ensure the battery is protected from water spray.
While these tweaks can make your electric scooter more functional in heavier rain, they won’t provide 100% waterproofing. In fact, nothing will, which is why it is always best to avoid riding in heavy rain. I am sure manufacturers are exploring how to make kick scooters more waterproof and we could see those models arrive in the future.
Tips for riding in the rain
Until waterproof electric scooters are available, here are some basic tips to help you ride in the rain. Again, it is only advisable to ride in light rain conditions and to avoid heavy rain and deep standing water.
- Ride slow
When surfaces get wet, they get slippery. This is true of roads, sidewalks, and park routes. Electric scooters have small wheels that are fantastic for whizzing around a busy sidewalk, but they are not very good when the ground gets wet. Traction is limited and braking times are significantly increased. Ride slow to avoid losing traction and crashing into something because you cannot apply brakes in time.
- Turn slowly
Similarly, the lack of brake quality and traction in the rain makes taking corners more dangerous. Don’t ride like you’re on dry ground and make turns more slowly and with a wider turning circle. Scooters with wider tires may perform better than others in the rain but still won’t have the traction you are used to on dry ground.
- Make sure the charging port is closed
If your electric scooter is going to be exposed to water, give it the best chance of avoiding damage. Don’t forget to close the charging port rubber before your ride. If you do forget, it will be much easier for water to enter the electronics of the scooter and will be harder for you to repair your scooter without professional help.
- Dress the part
During this guide I have only talked about protecting the scooter from water, but what about you! Riding in the rain can be a miserable experience so your aim should be to make it as comfortable as possible. Buy a quality waterproof jacket and even waterproof trousers to ensure you can stay dry even if your scooter cannot.
Remember, visibility is often reduced in rainy conditions. Use clothes that are bright or reflective so you can be visible to other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Clean your scooter
With rain often comes dirt and mud, which can accelerate corrosion and damage on your scooter. Whenever you ride in wet conditions, clean the scooter as soon as you can when you get to your destination.
Water damage doesn’t just happen by riding in the elements. Sometimes water can enter a house through flooding or can get to your scooter if it is parked outside. We have already mentioned covering your scooter or using a waterproof case, but what about when storing it at home?
Firstly, a case is still the best place but if you like your scooter to be visible, a dry environment that is at room temperature is best. Under these conditions, the scooter’s components will be better protected, and battery life will be better maintained. Cold temperatures are a drain on your battery, so avoid keeping your scooter in garages or sheds that are frosty.
Humidity or excessive heat is not much better because it can allow rust and corrosion to form and spread more quickly.
Know the laws
Finally, some locations may have laws in place that prevent people from riding an electric scooter during adverse weather conditions. I am not sure where these laws would exist because electric scooter use remains relatively unregulated, but it’s worth checking your local traffic rules to be safe.
And that’s it, all you need to know about using an electric scooter in the rain. The simple answer is you can ride in the rain but should only do so when there is light rain. Avoid heavy rain and deep standing water and protect your scooter with a cover and waterproofing when you can. Most importantly, ride safe and respect pedestrians and other vehicles.