Electric vehicles are cost-efficient and emission-free alternative modes of transportation. Electric scooters and electric bikes, in particular, have been convenient options during the pandemic. Both of these micromobility solutions have the same technology but they provide different benefits. For a cleaner and safer living this year, which should you choose?
Love them or hate them, electric scooters are fun. The second scooter craze (the first being the ‘90s) is triggered by e-scooter sharing services who have invaded city streets. This turned out to be a bit of a pyrrhic victory for an invention that dates back to the 18th century. People who own electric scooters are very happy to recapture some of their misspent youth. People who don’t think they’re an urban menace.
So maybe you should buy an electric bike instead? Not quite. Electric scooters are foldable, portable, and affordable. A budget scooter can zip at 20-25 km/h and carry you for 25 km on a round trip before it runs out of juice. That’s great for a last-mile solution, especially because it will cost you around $600. And if you fancy some more speed and range, you can find the best electric scooter in Australia at every price range.
- Compact and easy to store
- No need for parking space
- Budget scooters can be modded
- License and registration not required
- Small wheels
- Not ideal for wet conditions
- Not yet fully legalized aside from Queensland and ACT; e-scooter trials are ongoing
Electric bikes aren’t as vehemently hated as electric scooters because bicycles are common. Dedicated parking spaces and bike lanes are spread around the city. So you can easily settle in and not have to worry about leaving it outside or knowing where you should be. Unlike electric scooters, bikes have insurance against theft and accidental damage.
Both regular and electric bikes are expensive, which makes them a great catch for thieves. A dependable U-lock will only afford you time and it can’t stop a determined bike thief with an angle-grinder or ramset. Electric bikes can cost from $800-$1200. The reasonably priced ones are $1500-$3000. Their price tag is as heavy as the bike itself.
Regardless of whether you turn a regular bike into an electric version or buy a ready-made electric bike, they weigh more than 30kg. A high-performance electric scooter with a 40-50km range weighs 18kg and costs about $1500. You won’t be able to carry this electric scooter around for long, but they’re portable enough to take with you on the train or inside a restaurant.
In spite of this, electric bikes are more widely legal. The power output is limited to 200W without a pedal assist and 250W with pedal assist. The speed limit is 25 km/h. Other than that they follow regular bike laws. The main problem is that cyclists can exceed this speed limit with their own power, which makes electric bikes useless except for going up hills.
- Bigger wheels
- Legal in all states
- Dedicated bike lanes and parking spots
- Prone to theft
- Not portable
Both electric scooters have electric bikes have their advantages and disadvantages. The dealbreaker would be portability and price. If you want a practical electric vehicle that you can easily fold, store, and take with you nearly everywhere, then the electric scooter is your best bet. If you want a seated electric vehicle that you can also use for exercise and don’t mind spending over $1000, the electric bike would be a good alternative.