Electric bikes and electric scooters are very similar in how they function, but they have some key differences. Electric bikes have pedals and operate like traditional bicycles with a much longer range and higher speed capabilities than electric scooters. On the other hand, electric scooters are designed for short trips and have a smaller footprint. They are typically more portable and easier to carry around than electric bikes. Electric bikes are also generally much more expensive than electric scooters.

The Performance Differences

As a general rule electric bikes are the overwhelming choice if performance is a major concern.  E-bikes are much easier to use for long periods of time, larger distances, and in areas with steeper hills.

Electric scooters typically have smaller wheels and a more compact design than electric bikes. They have a lower top speed and a shorter range on a single charge.

The Difference in Use Cases

Electric bikes and electric scooters have different use cases based on their design and capabilities.

Electric bikes are typically used for:

  • Commuting to work or school
  • Recreational riding on bike paths or in parks
  • Touring and long-distance riding
  • Carrying cargo or passengers
A commuter on an electric bike

Electric bikes are also a good option for people who want to ride a bike but have some physical limitations that make it difficult to pedal.

Electric scooters, on the other hand, are typically used for:

  • Short trips around the city or on campus
  • Short urban distances
  • Last-mile transportation
  • Personal recreation
Electric Scooter riders in Prague
Photo by Marek Rucinski

Electric scooters are more lightweight and portable than electric bikes, which makes them easy to transport, park, and store. They are also more maneuverable than electric bikes.

There are Major Cost Differences

The cost of an electric scooter and an electric bike can vary depending on the brand, model, and features. Generally, electric scooters are less expensive than electric bikes.

A basic electric scooter can cost anywhere from $300 to $800, while a high-end electric scooter can cost up to $1,500 or more. On the other hand, a basic electric bike can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000, while a high-end electric bike can cost $4,000 or more.

It's important to note that the cost of an electric scooter or an electric bike can also depend on the range and the top speed. Electric scooters and bikes with longer ranges and higher top speeds are more expensive.

The last cost consideration is the cost of the electricity used to charge the vehicle and the maintenance cost to keep it running. Electric scooters and bikes are both cheaper to operate and maintain than traditional gas-powered vehicles, but they do require some upkeep and replacement parts over time.

Consider the Safety Profiles

Riding an electric bike and an electric scooter have their own unique set of safety considerations.

Electric bikes have similar safety considerations to traditional bikes, such as wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, and being aware of surroundings. E-bikes can travel at faster speeds, so it's important to be aware of the increased risk of injury if involved in a collision.

Electric scooters are less stable than e-bikes or traditional bikes, so it's crucial to practice proper balance and steering techniques before riding on the road. In inclement weather or in tough riding conditions it is especially important to concentrate and take all precautions when riding an electric scooter.

The Bottom Line

Electric scooters and electric bikes are both great options for eco-friendly transportation, but they have their own set of pros and cons. Ultimately, the choice between an electric scooter and an electric bike will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It's important to consider factors like speed, range, portability, cost, and local regulations before making a final decision.