Personal electric vehicles are gaining more popularity, and it's not hard to see why; they are practical, affordable and convenient. They are also a great alternative to traditional means of transport, especially for people who live in crowded cities. Traffic can be extremely frustrating in cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and with PEVs, you can snake your way through the chaos without hassle.
A common problem we hear from customers is, “e-bikes vs. electric scooters, which one do I choose?!”
If you've narrowed down your options to e-bikes and electric scooters but can't choose, this simple guide will make it easier for you.
Let’s dive in.
E-Bike VS Electric Scooter Comparison
Before settling on one, there are eight factors that you should consider;
1. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: Comfort
If you plan on riding for long distances, you need to consider the level of comfort and stability that the PEV offers. For example, riding electric scooters is fun, but you have to ride the entire journey while standing, which can leave you feeling fatigued. You're also more aware of your surroundings and can easily get distracted.
Electric bikes, on the other hand, have large tires and a suspension system that absorbs shocks. They also come with a seat, which allows you to ride for long distances. On top of that, an e-bike motor assists your pedalling, so when you pedal harder, the motor assists you more; when you stop pedalling, the motor stops too.
Are you using your PEV to commute to work daily or simply to cruise for short distances? It's something to consider when deciding between the two.
2. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: Portability
How do you plan on using the PEV? Most scooters are compact & highly portable and can even be stashed in the back of your car. You can also carry them with you on public transportation, which makes them perfect for those who plan on using them intermittently.
Most E-bikes are heavyweight and need to be parked when you get to your destination. There are, however, foldable ones like the VALK Volt Folding Electric Bike 20", that are more portable.
Shop one of our most popular foldable electric bikes, the Budtrol 36V 16" Electric City Foldable Bike on Urban Way Collective, $990
3. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: Price
E-bikes tend to be more expensive than electric scooters, mostly because they have a higher entry barrier. While there are pricey scooters, you can find a decent entry level one for under $500, like the Urban Alpha Foldable Electric Scooter 8.8Ah on Urban Way Collective.
Pricing is also dependent on the price-to-performance trend that varies among the two. E-scooters, for example, are part of a recent and unregulated market, so the more expensive a scooter is, the better the range and the speed.
E-bikes, on the other hand, come with standardised speeds and battery sizes, so a high price tag often means lightweight and high-quality components.
However, on Urban Way Collective, we stock a number of affordable, entry-level e-bikes that are lightweight and wallet-friendly for first time e-bike owners.
Our favourites include the VALK Fixie Speed Commuter Electric Bike, On Sale for $990 and the VALK Volt Folding Electric Bike 20", $990.
You can shop the full collection here!
4. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: Speed
E-bikes tend to have higher speeds than electric scooters because their motors are very powerful. On average, their average speed is 40-50 km/hr, while for E-scooters, it's 25 km per hour. Due to technological advances, a select few e-scooters can now ride up to 40 km/hr.
However, depending on your normal riding route and the regulations of your state, such high speeds are mostly for show as you may never get to ride that fast due to traffic.
In Australia, each state and territory regulates its own traffic laws about eBikes and eScooters.
When it comes to speed, most states follow the European laws for pedal-assisted eBikes. This law states that the motor must not exceed 250w and must not assist pedalling past the speed of 25km/h. This is known as the Pedelec standard.
(If 25km/hr sounds slow, you're not alone. Many e-bike owners are just as frustrated with the low speeds and have petitioned for change.)
It is important to check the rules and regulations for your specific state before riding your e-bike on the road in Australia, and keep an ear out for ever-changing regulations.
5. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: The Range
With E-bikes, you do part of the work, so they offer a better range compared to scooters. They're also fully functional, even when they are all juiced out. The E-bike may feel heavy when the power runs out, but it'll still get you home.
When your E-scooter battery gets depleted, it's no longer functional, and you have to recharge it. However, people that use scooters rarely worry about range because it's compact, and you can easily have a cab pick you up when the battery runs out.
6. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: Exercise
If you're looking to double your transportation as exercise, E-bikes are the best option. They enable you to expend more energy because they provide resistance, especially those that have throttles and can be ridden as mopeds.
Surprisingly, people that ride electric bikes tend to exercise more because they ride for long distances and more often.
7. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: The Utility
It's a no-brainer; E-bikes are the best electric vehicles for carrying cargo. Some bikes come with heavy duty cargo hauls, and those that don't can easily be adapted for utility purposes.
There are cargo accessories for electric scooters, but they have limited functionalities. Scooters also lack standardisation and stability, which is why E-bikes are better car-replacements.
8. E-bike vs. Electric Scooter: The Safety
The safety of PEVs is pretty relative and depends on your riding capabilities, environment and skills. On the one hand, e-bikes have large wheels that can navigate road debris and potholes. They also have heavy frames, better stability and great traction, especially on wet roads.
Scooters, on the other hand, are small enough for you to weave in between traffic. You can also hop off with ease to avoid an accident.
While e-scooters have historically gotten lower marks for safety compared to the larger, more sturdy e-bikes, there have been huge improvements in e-scooter design (wider decks, thicker tyres) to contribute to safer riding.
When looking to purchase, you'll want to buy an e-scooter from a reputable shop - one that offers expert advice and returns as well - to avoid buying shoddily made, thin-framed scooters.
On Urban Way Collective, all of our scooters are handpicked for their quality build and safety specs, so you won't have to worry about buying one that puts your well-being at risk.
You can read more about how to increase the safety of your e-scooter here.
An Electric Scooter is the Right Fit When:
- You're looking for a more eco-friendly mode of transportation. They have zero tailpipe emissions and reduce traffic congestion because you can use them on pavements.
- You need a convenient get-up-and-go for your commute. If your school or office is within a 10km radius, an E-scooter should be your go-to option.
- There's limited outdoor space: E-scooters are highly compact and don't need lots of storage space or parking. (However, if you're sold on an e-bike but stuck on this point, we'd recommend going for the foldable option.)
- You're looking for a mode of transportation to get you from the house to the nearest bus stop.
- You live in a crowded city and enjoy going sight-seeing.
E-scooters, however, lack storage space and can't be used for utility purposes. They also come with additional regulations around speed and motor power when it comes to e-scooters that you'll want to read before purchasing.
An E-Bike is the Right Fit When:
- You have a long work commute: e-bikes are perfect for long distance rides both off the road and on-road.
- You want to double up your commutes with exercise.
- You need a low-cost mode of transportation in areas that aren't frequented by public transportation.
- You live in a hilly area.
It's, however, important to note that E-bikes have higher maintenance costs and take more time to charge. Additionally, you are more likely to run into speed regulations with an e-bike, so it's important to have a grasp of what is allowed in your state before purchasing.
What are the Similarities Between an E-bike and an Electric Scooter?
- They're both eco-friendly and have low carbon emissions.
- They're a great option for people that enjoy the outdoors.
- Affordable alternative for public transportation.
- They're affordable and convenient.
- With the foldable e-bike option, both PEVs are easy to store.
- They're both great for picking up a new hobby and enjoying time outdoors!
Which one is right for you?
Both E-bikes and electric scooters have numerous benefits, but they also come with distinct differences. Your choice should then be dependent on personal factors like the level of comfort you're looking for, length of commute, safety, utility, range and speed.
If you have more questions that we didn't answer or you'd like a recommendation of a specific brand of PEV, you can get in touch with our team any time.
If you're in the market for high-quality PEVs that you can trust, you can check out our collection of E-bikes and E-scooters on Urban Way Collective and receive $10 off your first purchase and free shipping across Australia.