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Electric scooter or electric bicycle, what will suit you best depending on what you use it for
The use of electric vehicles is an increasingly popular alternative for urban mobility. Depending on what you are going to use it for, is an electric scooter or an electric bicycle better? Here are the pros and cons so you can decide which suits you best.
If you are thinking of joining the move towards electric mobility and committing to a more sustainable form of transport, it is important to assess which vehicle best suits your needs, possibilities and lifestyle.
Is it better to buy an electric scooter or an electric bicycle? Here are the factors you should take into account.
Electric scooter vs. electric bicycle
If price is the key factor, an electric scooter is the best
If you compare the prices of electric scooters against electric bicycles, a scooter is the best by far.
For between €250 and €400 you will find electric scooters that meet all requirements with regard to design, autonomy and power. Most scooter users purchase within this price range, although as in everything, you will always find more expensive models that can cost up to €900.
In the case of electric bicycles, it is difficult to find models that cost less than €1,000. Folding or compact electric bicycles are less comfortable and less robust, but cost between €600 and €800.
However, if you love cycling and these prices are outside your budget, there is a cheaper alternative that may interest you: Electrify the bicycle you have. Nowadays you can find numerous bike workshops and specialist shops that can transform a conventional bicycle into a model with an electric motor.
More and more people are actually doing this themselves using one of the kits available on the market. With a budget of between €400 and €600 you can buy a complete kit to transform your bicycle into an electric bike.
If you are buying a new model, an electric scooter will always be cheaper than an electric bicycle, but with these kits there is very little difference in the price between a scooter and an electric bike.
Electric bicycles have more autonomy
If you are looking for maximum autonomy, an electric bicycle is better than an electric scooter. Generally speaking, electric bicycles have an autonomy of around 80 km, whereas with electric scooters this is 25-45 km.
These values are always provided by the manufacturers and are usually measured under ideal conditions: Flat terrain, with no wind and for a person weighing 70 kg. That's why we recommend that you focus on battery capacity.
Electric scooter batteries are between 6,000 and 8,000 mAh, whilst electric bike batteries generally exceed 13,000 mAh. Folding electric bicycles have batteries with a capacity that is similar to that of scooters, between 4,000 and 6,000 mAh.
The most compact is the electric scooter
If you are looking for an urban vehicle that is easy to store and transport, an electric scooter is a better option than an electric bicycle.
An increasingly comfortable folding system together with a lighter weight make a scooter the preferred option for those who need a vehicle that is as compact as possible.
There are also numerous models with removable batteries and this enables the scooter to be easily stored at home or where you work whilst you recharge it.
As they are so easy to transport, many people also use them for what is known as the "final kilometre". This represents the distance between your final destination and where public transport leaves you or where you have to park.
Although it would seem that by taking the car and then an electric scooter you are using more energy, you are actually saving time and money. We can park further away more easily, which means you spend less fuel by not driving around, and you save yourself saving us the stress of not arriving on time and not finding a place to park.
Lower fuel consumption means greater sustainability and greater savings. In fact, you can check how much it costs to charge an electric scooter and you will see that it is a truly economical vehicle.
If you are looking for versatility, it is better to opt for an electric bicycle
When it comes to versatility, an electric bicycle offers more advantages than a scooter. You should not forget that an electric scooter is a vehicle designed exclusively for short urban journeys, whilst an electric bicycle is essentially for making longer journeys.
That is why an electric bicycle adapts better to uneven terrain, enabling you to climb steeper hills and travel longer distances. Even though the latest models of electric scooters have better wheels and enough power for slopes with inclines of up to 15°, they are still much less versatile when compared to an electric bicycle.
Nor should you forget that engines and batteries add weight to the vehicle. Even so, a fully discharged electric bicycle is still a functional vehicle, while a discharged electric scooter is much more uncomfortable to use.
An electric scooter needs less maintenance
After comparing the versatility of an electric bicycle with that of a scooter, we will now focus on simplicity and maintenance. Electric scooters have a more minimalist design focussing exclusively on their urban purpose.
Scooters are vehicles with far fewer moving parts and gears, which makes them much easier to maintain. If you compare an electric scooter with an electric bicycle you will find that there are far fewer components that can wear out or break down. Also, as a general rule, spare parts for scooters are more affordable for a scooter than for a bicycle.
The same happens with the battery for both vehicles. Batteries for bicycles have a greater capacity than those for scooters, which is an advantage with regard to time of use. However, if you have to replace it, a scooter battery is much cheaper than a bicycle battery.
An electric bicycle safer
Even though the latest models of electric scooters have greatly improved with regard to safety, bicycles are still safer.
The fact that bicycles are larger in size compered to electric scooters makes them more stable as well as being more visible for the other vehicles on the road. Larger wheels also mean that bicycles are better at absorbing irregularities and bumps in the road. Even though scooters are beginning to have more robust and anti-puncture wheels, they are still much less stable than bicycles.
With regard to lighting, both vehicles are already beginning to be similar. As a general rule, both scooters and electric bicycles now come from the factory with the necessary (and mandatory) lighting for the vehicle to be used when the light is poor and at night: A white front light and a red back light.
Furthermore, many electric scooters also include additional features to improve visibility, such as reflective panels and bottom lights.
Scooter batteries take less time to recharge
Battery capacity is closely related to charging times. An electric scooter battery is normally fully charged in 4 or 5 hours, while a standard battery for a bicycle we will need at least 8 hours.
It is very important to take into account when and for how long you usually recharge your electric vehicle. Based on this you can adapt your electricity tariff to maximise savings.
For example, if you charge your scooter frequently, it is in your interest to have a tariff like Tempo Happy 2 hours that gives you 2 consecutive hours of electricity free of charge every day.
If you charge for longer, it is in your interest to take advantage of the time bands at night when electricity is cheaper, as with the One Luz 3 Time Periodos tariff.
If you prefer not to have to worry about time bands for electricity, both to recharge your electric scooter or bicycle as well as everyday consumption, it is in your interest to choose one of the new flat-rate electricity tariffs.
We hope that this comparison between an electric scooter and an electric bicycle will help you decide which type of vehicle best suits your needs, and encourage you to explore new, more sustainable transport solutions.
|Electric scooter vs. Electric bicycle|
|Price||Scooters are much cheaper vehicles|
|Autonomy||Electric bicycles have greater autonomy|
|Size||Scooters are more compact and easy to fold|
|Versatility||A bicycle is more versatile and can be used on different types of roads|
|Maintenance||A bicycle is more versatile and can be used on different types of roads|
|Safety||Electric bicycles are larger and more stable than scooters|
|Charging time||As they have more compact batteries, scooters take less time to charge|
Before finishing, it is also important for you to understand the legislation and regulations for these types of vehicles.
Legislation governing scooters and electric bicycles
Although these are very different ways of driving, electric bicycles and electric scooters need to comply with practically the same traffic rules:
- They need to be driven on the roadway: Within an urban environment, both bicycles and electric scooters need to go along the roadway, with very few exceptions where they may use the pavement or pedestrianised streets.
Generally speaking, bicycles may only go on the pavement if they are not being ridden and only being transported.However, some electric scooters have a low speed mode (maximum 6 km/hr) that makes them like recreational scooters that are allowed to be ridden on the pavement. But it is important to be well informed of the regulations in your place of residence since they may vary.
With regard to electric bicycles, just as for those that do not have an engine or assisted pedalling, they may be ridden on interurban main roads and on the hard shoulder on some motorways, providing this is not expressly forbidden.
- Speed limit 25 km/hr: Within cities, there is a speed limit of 25 km/hr for both electric scooters and electric bicycles. Unlike other vehicles, this top speed is usually controlled by a speed limiter on the scooter or bicycle itself.
Some bicycles have riding modes that exceed that speed, but this can only be activated outside the city or urban environment.
- They do not need insurance: For the moment, bicycles and electric scooters do not need compulsory insurance to be ridden in most Spanish cities. However, the legislation for this type of vehicle is very changeable and possibly in a few years compulsory insurance will be required all over Spain, something that is already happening in some cities like Alicante, Barcelona and Benidorm.
Even though insurance is not compulsory, it does not mean that in the event of an accident you are not obliged to pay any expenses arising from your responsibility. This is why it is always recommended to take out third-party liability insurance. This is currently quite cheap and protects you both in cases of compensation to third parties as well as material damage.
- Obligatory helmet and lights: It is obligatory to wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter in all cases, whilst for bicycles it is only obligatory for children under 16 years of age. Nevertheless, it is such a useful safety measure and so easy to wear that we recommend you behave as if it were obligatory.
With regard to lighting, it is obligatory to have a white front light and a red back light when riding under conditions of poor visibility and at night.