It’s now fairly common to see people whizzing past on electric scooters or electric bikes, especially in major cities. They have emerged as a ‘last-mile solution’ that many cities have been trying to solve for decades. They are also becoming an increasingly popular choice following the COVID-19 outbreak, with some governments even providing rebates to encourage the uptake of e-bike and e-scooter use.
If you’re thinking of buying an e-bike or e-scooter for the first time, then you’re probably wondering what the main differences between them are. They’re both cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and convenient, especially when compared to other forms of transport, making them the ideal transport solution for commuters.
In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
- The benefits of an electric bike
- The benefits of an electric scooter
- Choosing the right vehicle for you
The benefits of an electric bike
An electric bike looks like a traditional bike as it has pedals and a seat, but the main difference is that it’s electrically powered. You may have seen people riding around on an e-bike without moving the pedal and that’s simply because you don’t need to touch them. If you're after a bit of exercise, or concerned you’ll be stuck pushing your bike home if you run out of battery, don’t worry, e-bikes can be also pedalled manually.
E-bikes are designed to get people to where they need to go faster, so for uphill travel or riding into the wind, it’s much easier than a conventional bike where you need to expend your own energy.
You’ve probably seen a lot of delivery drivers on electric bikes because they can get around much faster than on a push bike. But what are the major advantages and disadvantages for the average person looking to purchase an electric bike? We’ll outline those below.
Advantage #1: Speed
While there are plenty of speedy e-scooters available on the market, the e-bike wins the speed battle due to their larger wheel size and battery volume. An e-bike with a 1000W battery can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h (50mph) and can be easily controlled by the throttle.
Electric bikes can also easily manoeuvre around busy traffic and cut down side streets to avoid traffic congestion. In many cities, electric bikes can travel in designated bike lanes making travel even speedier, more convenient, and more enjoyable.
Advantage #2: Better for off-road travel
If you’re embarking on a longer journey or one that involves going off-road, the e-bike is much more suitable for different types of terrain. Some electric bikes are also foldable, so can be easily stored in the boot of a car and assembled when you get to your destination.
You also won’t have to worry about your bike running out of charge as the best quality electric bikes can go up to 80-120 kilometres on a single charge.
Advantage #3: More comfortable - have a seat
Standing can be tiresome sometimes, which is why sitting while riding your e-bike can be beneficial. This is particularly handy if you’ve been running around all day at work and just want to have a rest as you commute home. The best part is you won’t have to break a sweat pedalling.
The benefits of an electric scooter
Electric scooters look much like a manual scooter, except you won’t have to use foot power to push yourself along. Like the electric bike, e-scooters have an electric motor so they can travel at speeds much faster than a regular scooter.
Scooters were traditionally a way for kids to get around their neighbourhood, but nowadays many adults are turning to electric scooters as a way to commute to work. Like e-bikes, they can avoid traffic and are a more environmentally-friendly way of travelling.
Advantage #1: Weight
Due to their simple design, electric scooters are easier to carry and store when compared to e-bikes. The average e-bike weighs about 30 kg compared to 13 kg for an e-scooter. This makes e-scooters much easier to carry onto public transport or to carry up the stairs. Like the Raine One, some e-scooters on the market are also foldable, so they can be easily stored.
Although e-scooters are much lighter, they are still strong and durable, with the Raine One’s aluminium and carbon fibre frame being able to hold the weight of a person up to 120 kg (265 lbs).
Advantage #2: Get where you need to go without breaking a sweat
Rather than rushing across town and trying to navigate traffic, why not ride your e-scooter instead? For people who live in hilly areas, e-scooters make it much easier and faster to get around without you even needing to break a sweat.
Some electric scooters also have bag hooks, so you don’t have to worry about your back hurting from extra weight.
And when it comes to looking stylish, e-scooters beat e-bikes any day.
Advantage #3: Cost
The average cost of an e-scooter is cheaper than its e-bike counterpart. While you can get a cheaper e-scooter for around the AU$400-500-mark, e-bikes start around AU$1,000 and can go up to AU$3,000 or AU$4,000. Some e-scooters can be as expensive as the top range e-bikes, but on average they are much more affordable.
How do electric scooters and electric bikes compare?
Now that we’ve had a look at the best aspects of electric bikes and electric scooters, the million-dollar question is – ‘which one should I buy?’
It really comes down to personal preference and what you feel comfortable riding, but this is what we believe:
For long distance riding – e-bike wins
If you need a vehicle that’s able to traverse all types of terrain both off-road and on-road, the e-bike is the clear winner. It’s got bigger tyres and is able to travel longer distances before needing to be recharged. Also, if you need a quick way to get around for work, such as food delivery, then the e-bike will be able to do the job more effectively.
For everyday commuting – e-scooter wins
If you’re sick of spending a lot of time sitting in traffic or walking to and from your train station everyday, then the e-scooter is the vehicle for you. It’s portable, lightweight and best of all you can store it out of the way while you’re working. It’s also much easier to ride than an electric bike as you don’t need to have ever stepped onto a regular scooter before to know how to ride it. Comparatively, if you never learned to ride a bicycle as a child, an electric bike might be more of a challenge.
The Raine One is one of the best electric scooters available on the market. It’s easy to ride, foldable, and can reach top speeds of 50 km/h.