Shared Mobility

E-mopeds vs. E-bikes: everything you need to know when launching a fleet

Introducing a fleet of light electric vehicles to your city can have a massive positive impact on people’s lives...

By
Danilo Cataneo
2 Oct
·
5
min read

Introducing a fleet of light electric vehicles to your city can have a massive positive impact on people’s lives. An eco-friendly extra transport option cuts pollution, noise, and traffic created by cars.

But while the ‘why’ is simple, choosing exactly which electric vehicle will work for your city takes a bit more thought. Your choice will affect both your riders’ experience and your business prospects, so getting it right is crucial.

In this article, we’ll go through the pros and cons of choosing e-mopeds vs. e-bikes. We’ll also highlight a few factors to consider when picking the right vehicle for your city, and talk about why we don’t advocate using e-kick-scooters in a sharing system.

Electric mopeds: the basics

Also known as ‘sit-down scooters’, e-mopeds normally look pretty similar to standard gasoline-powered mopeds. They have a leg shield and body that conceals their electrical mechanics, and often come with storage space for helmets under the seat or in the leg shield.

Like all mopeds, they tend to have more relaxed licensing requirements than larger, more powerful motorcycles.

These days there’s a wide range of e-mopeds on the market that are specially designed for sharing fleets. These come with specific features that make riding more intuitive, so it’s easy for people to get started even without much prior experience.

Pros for choosing e-mopeds vs. e-bikes

Here’s a few reasons why you might pick e-mopeds over e-bikes:

  • E-mopeds are faster. Their top speed is around 45 km/h, while e-bikes are capped at around 25–35km/h.
  • It’s easier to travel further on an e-moped than an e-bike, making them a more viable alternative to cars for longer journeys.
  • No cycle lanes needed — if your city doesn’t have them, go with e-mopeds.
  • 10–15% higher price per minute.
  • Harder to steal as they’re heavier and easier to trace.
  • Driver’s license requirement makes people more invested in riding them, which means more frequent rides per person and lower rider churn.
  • No physical effort to ride = no sweating on your commute.
  • Fits an extra passenger on the back.
  • More storage space.
  • More surfaces makes it easier to give your brand visibility.

Some good examples of e-moped manufacturers for sharing fleets are: Niu, SuperSOCO, Govecs, and Askoll.

E-moped case study: eCooltra

ECooltra was founded in Barcelona as a spin-off of the moped rental company, Cooltra. The company has become a big success across southern Europe, growing its fleet from 250 to 7,400 e-mopeds in just four years. It now also operates in Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Milan, and Valencia.

E-mopeds were a natural fit for each of these cities. They all have a longstanding culture of riding mopeds, with many citizens already relying on them to get from A to B. This means there was solid infrastructure and parking in place for eCooltra’s e-moped fleet.

The mobility culture of your city is an incredibly important factor to take into account when launching a shared fleet. Picking a familiar vehicle makes it easier for people to start using your service, and also lets you take advantage of existing infrastructure.

Electric bikes: the basics

E-bikes are bicycles assisted by an electric motor. You still use your legs to pedal as you would with a normal bike, but the extra electric power lets you ride a lot faster and further with less effort. By combining convenience with the benefits of exercise, they’ve recently grown a lot in popularity.

When used in a sharing fleet, they can be parked freely on the street, at parking stations, or a combination of both.

Pros for choosing e-bikes vs. e-mopeds

Here’s a few reasons why you might choose e-bikes over e-mopeds:

  • Less expensive than e-mopeds generally
  • No driver’s license required to ride, making them more instantly accessible to a wider range of people.
  • Travel further on a single battery.
  • Fewer area restrictions. E-bikes can go anywhere a bicycle can go, while e-mopeds must stick to roads.
  • Simpler and less expensive to insure than e-mopeds. It depends on the model, but insurance for an e-bike is normally around 3–5x cheaper.
  • Easier to transport for servicing.
  • More relaxed parking restrictions, which means less hassle with local authorities.
  • Provides health benefits from exercise.

Some good examples of e-bike manufacturers for sharing fleets are: Arcade, Comodule, and E-flow.

E-bike case study: Billy

Billy Bike is a company based in Brussels, Belgium. Since launching its fleet of e-bikes in 2018, Billy has become a leading provider of eco-friendly mobility in Belgium. The e-bikes themselves have become recognised throughout the city for their sleek, distinctive branding, which has helped make Billy a sustainable business.

E-bikes were a good choice for a compact city like Brussels — over half of journeys made in the city are under 5km, which is a perfect cycling distance.

But Billy’s success also demonstrates that how your vehicles look has a big impact on building brand loyalty. So when choosing a vehicle, keep design and branding at the top of your mind.

Electric kick scooters: why they’re not ideal for sharing fleets

When it comes to light electric vehicles, electric kick scooters are the first type that comes to mind for many people. Companies like Lime and Bird made headlines by launching electric kick scooter fleets in multiple major cities almost overnight. Since then, they’ve continued to grow in popularity across the world.

However, while their portability makes them an attractive choice for individuals to own, we don’t advocate choosing them for your shared fleet. There are a few reasons for this:

  • No clear regulations for how and where to ride them, unlike with e-mopeds and e-bikes
  • Less safe to ride overall
  • Easy to steal and vandalise — they only last a few months before they need replacing.
  • Lack of durability limits eco-friendly benefit, as manufacturing more of them creates emissions.
  • No clear places to park them, creating a mess on public walkways.

A combination of these factors has caused conflict between electric kick scooter fleet operators and city authorities, who increasingly see these fleets as a nuisance. So if you want to impact your city in a positive way, our advice is to stick to e-bikes and e-mopeds.

Final advice on choosing vehicles

Both e-bikes and e-mopeds can fuel sustainable growth for your business when deployed correctly, as the graphic below shows.

Graph based on aggregated data from ElectricFeel’s partners.

Either type should last at least 3–5 years in a fleet before you need to replace them. If things are going well, you should only have to renew around 25–30% of your fleet after 4 years.

Of course, this depends on a number of factors such as rider behavior, vandalism, weather, and your vehicle maintenance routine. So when doing your market research, make sure you form a good understanding of the people and the geography of your city.

Regardless of whether you choose e-bikes or e-mopeds, the most important factors to take into account are:

  • Design that resonates with your brand and your target customers. People seeing your vehicles on the street is a big driver of organic growth.
  • Battery swapping system that works well for your operating team.
  • Durability of vehicles and batteries.
  • Price. E-mopeds start at around 2500 euros, e-bikes at 1000 euros.
  • Estimated range of the vehicle before it needs to be recharged. E-mopeds should be able to travel at least 50km on a single battery, and e-bikes at least 100km.

Want to learn more about how specific e-bike or e-moped models could work in your city? We can help guide your decision, connect you to manufacturers, and even send you a demo kit complete with vehicles and a mobile app.

If you’re interested, get in touch with us here.

By
Danilo Cataneo
Head of Partner Operations @ ElectricFeel
Helping our partners achieve operational excellence