But which mode of transport is better for you?
There are a few different things to consider before spending your hard-earned money on an e-scooter or e-bike. As someone who's ridden both, I decided to compare the e-scooter and e-bike in 6 major areas:
This is an important one. How far is your electric vehicle going to last before you need to plug it in? You definitely don’t want to be caught short without charge, as both will become an expensive pile of metal that you'll struggle to lug around.
The range of an e-bike varies hugely. You can be really economical with your battery, by only using it when you really need to, and get a range of around 100km. This is impressive. On the flip side, you can ride around with the battery at maximum power and get a range of around 35km. This makes the e-bike super versatile when it comes to getting as far as you need it to take you.
The main positive for the e-bike here is that you can ride it without charge and still travel fairly quickly. Quicker than walking pace anyway. Although your legs will definitely feel tired for it the next day!
The range of an e-scooter also varies depending on usage, rider weight, road surface etc. However, the standard range of an e-scooter is expected to be around 35km. This makes them ideal for short journeys in cities. If your journey is 35km or longer you’re going to have some nervous moments trying to get home.
E-scooter 0 | E-bike 1
This category is an even match for the e-scooter and e-bike, with both vehicles being limited to 15.5mph by law.
An e-bike can travel faster than this, however you'll find that the motor will disengage and provide you with no assistance. You then have a normal, albeit heavier, bicycle.
On the other hand, an e-scooter is firmly limited to 15.5mph. Even when going downhill it won’t go any faster. This can feel like quite a strange feeling when gravity isn’t working as it should! The main positive in terms of speed for the e-scooter is its acceleration. Starting from traffic lights, or a junction, the e-scooter immediately glides away very smoothly, and you'll leave all of the cyclists in your wake.
E-scooter 1 | E-bike 2
I mean this area isn’t really a competition is it?
Riding an e-bike involves much more excretion than riding an e-scooter. An e-bike only functions when you pedal, so technically you’re getting the same cardiovascular workout as riding a standard bike, just with some added assistance.
E-bikes have introduced cycling to a whole new demographic, who might have previously thought that cycling was too difficult or a sport for lycra-clad roadies. An e-bike is a perfect tool for removing some of the barriers for people getting into cycling and active living.
In terms of the e-scooter, you definitely won’t turn up to work having had a thorough workout. But not needing to jump in the shower after your journey is also a huge plus!
E-scooter 1 | E-bike 3
E-bikes start at around £1,000, whereas e-scooters start at around £300. This is a huge win for the e-scooter which provides a cheap alternative to a car or public transport.
Whilst these are the cheapest prices, what you spend can vary hugely depending on make, model and lots of other gadgets & modifications. A premium e-bike can cost up to £10k!
E-scooter 2 | E-bike 3
Jumping between meetings, in and out of buildings, if you’re using your e-bike or e-scooter to make short journeys in the city, it has to be portable.
The e-scooter excels in this department. Its lightweight design means it can simply fold up and be carried. One of the lightest e-scooters around is the Unagi Model One, weighing in at around 10kg.
As a comparison, the average weight for an e-bike is around 30kg. If you’re looking for the most portable e-bike, this electric Brompton comes in at around 16kg. The Brompton retains its ability to fold into a carriable cube, with the added advantage of a detachable 300wh battery. These premium machines come in at a tidy £3,000.
E-scooter 3 | E-bike 3
It’s definitely worth mentioning that e-scooters aren’t yet legal in the UK. They’re currently on trial, meaning you can use one that is available as part of a fleet set up by e-scooter hire companies. To ride an e-scooter you need a driving license, either full or provisional, but you don’t need to wear a helmet. The e-scooters are allowed to be ridden on roads and cycleways, but not on pavements or shared-use cycleway/pavement combos.
E-scooters are a new phenomenon, and we simply don’t have the data on e-scooter safety yet. As e-scooters become a major way we get around our cities, they will have to become safer.
Riding an e-bike just feels like riding a normal bicycle. So if you've ridden a bike before you should find it a really safe way to get around.
E-scooter 3 | E-bike 4
After having compared both the e-scooter and the e-bike, it's the e-bike that comes out on top overall. It's quick, it has an impressive range and it feels super sturdy to ride.
Although it really is a personal choice. I'd urge anyone who's thinking of buying an electric bike or electric scooter to hire one and see which is for you.