Ask a Geek: Scott Fullam

Can you hack an electric scooter to make it go faster?

A: Sure, just get yourself a V-8 Hemi and some hot glue . . . Seriously, the most obvious way to squeeze more speed from your electric scooter is to replace its motor with one that's more powerful. You'll need to find a bigger DC (not AC) motor that is rated for the same voltage as your battery pack, or use one that's rated at a higher voltage and simply install more batteries.

If a motor swap seems like too much hassle, just send more juice to the existing motor. Most scooters are powered by a series of 6V or 12V sealed lead-acid batteries, also known as gel-cells. The new batteries should be of a similar capacity (usually measured in Amp-Hours) to the existing battery and wired in series: red to black, black to red. How many cells you can add without burning out the motor is hard to say, but here's a good rule of thumb: Never crank the voltage by more than 50 percent. Also, be sure to charge the added batteries separately from the scooter's original cells. To read about others who have done this, and for more tips, search the forums at visforvoltage.com. Oh, and don't forget the helmet and pads when you're testing your speedy new rig.