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What is the Difference Between an E-Bike and an E-Scooter?

Tech - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 9/14/2021

User on phone standing on a green e-scooter

Over the past few years, electric personal transportation vehicles have become increasingly common. Two of the most popular vehicles to emerge from this trend are electric bikes and electric kick scooters. Today we'll be discussing how e-bikes differ from e-scooters in terms of design, engine size and speed, plus we'll be offering a few tips on how to prolong the life of an e-bike or e-scooter battery.

What is an E-Bike?

An e-bike is a bicycle that is equipped with a battery powered motor. This motor helps assist the rider while pedaling, enabling them to travel faster and making it easier to traverse difficult terrain such as hills. Some e-bikes even allow you to run strictly on the motor without having to pedal.

What is an E-Scooter?

It's important to clarify that we're talking about kick scooters here and not the kind of scooters often referred to as mopeds, although a moped and that type of scooter aren't strictly the same thing. Confused, yet? No problem. We have an entire blog breaking down the differences between those two. For our purposes here, you just need to remember that when we say scooter, we're talking about a vehicle featuring two wheels, a platform that you stand on called a deck and a pair of handlebars used for steering.

Just like with e-bikes, an e-scooter takes a vehicle traditionally powered by human effort (in this case, kicking) and adds a motor to the operation. Unlike with an e-bike, however, e-scooters are completely motorized. Most of the time, they are ridden by standing on them, although some models are equipped with seats.

Is an Electric Scooter Faster than an E-Bike?

Most e-scooters for adults will have an engine in the range of 250-500 watts and a top speed of 15-20mph, although some models are capable of hitting speeds of up to 30mph.

For e-bikes, the top speed is governed by the Class of e-bike you have. Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes will stop providing electric assistance while pedaling at a speed of 20mph. Class 3 e-bikes provide assistance up to speeds of about 28mph. For all classes of e-bikes, the maximum engine output allowed is 750 watts. Since e-bikes work on a combination of human and motor power, it is technically possible to travel faster than those speeds, you just won't receive any pedal assistance while doing it.

Do You Need a License to Ride an E-Bike or E-Scooter?

As long as your e-bike has a motor size of 750 watts or less (or 1000 watts in Oregon) and can't go more than 20mph without pedaling, you do not need a license to operate it.

Since they're much newer to roadways, the rules governing e-scooters are much more complex. Some states require a driver's license, while others do not. Other rules such as helmet regulations, DMV registration rules, speed limits, insurance requirements and where you're allowed to drive them will vary from state to state. If you have an e-scooter, be sure to check your local laws for the most accurate information.

What Types of Batteries Do E-Bikes and E-Scooters Use?

When it comes to powering an e-bike or an e-scooter, you have several different options. E-bikes run on either lead acid batteries or lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries. Li-ion batteries will last longer and perform better, while lead acid batteries are more affordable.

For e-scooters you have three different battery options: sealed lead acid, nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion. For a full breakdown of their cost and life expectancy, read the Batteries Plus blog entitled "Which Battery is Best for an Electric Bike or Scooter?" For both e-bikes and e-scooters, the format and size of battery will vary by model.

How Far Can You Travel on a Single Battery Charge?

When dealing with both e-bikes and e-scooters there are a number of things that impact how far your battery can take you before it runs out of juice. Some of these factors include: the weight of the rider, the type of terrain, the wind, as well as the type of battery and engine you are using. As an estimate, you can expect an e-scooter to travel in the vicinity of 10-80 miles per charge.

For an e-bike, the distance your battery lasts will depend largely on how much you use the bike's pedal assistance. With a relaxed pedaling, you can expect your battery to last around 22-50 miles on a single charge.

How Long Does an E-Bike or E-Scooter Battery Last?

As mentioned above, your battery's performance will vary based on a number of different factors, however, as a ballpark average, you can expect the battery for an e-bike or an e-scooter to last about 300 charging cycles. A single charging cycle is completed when your battery goes from a full charge to a state of complete discharge.

In order to get the full lifespan out of your battery you need to maintain it properly. Avoid using e-bikes or e-scooters in extreme temperatures as this can have a negative effect on your battery. You'll also want to be sure to keep your battery charged when your bike or scooter is in storage. For an e-bike, make sure that your battery maintains a charge of between 40-70%. For an e-scooter, try to keep your battery around a 75% charge and be sure to recharge it any time it drops below 25%. Also, make sure to monitor the process any time you recharge your battery to ensure you don't overcharge it.

Batteries Plus is Your Battery Headquarters

Looking for a replacement battery for an e-bike or e-scooter? Shop Batteries Plus' selection of SLA battery options online. Interested in personalizing your e-bike? Check out our favorite e-bike accessories. If there's something else you need, visit us online for our full selection of energy and lighting solutions. Or, stop into your nearest Batteries Plus and have your questions answered face-to-face.

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