Moped vs. Electric Scooter: A Close Comparison of Urban Transportation

Moped vs. Electric Scooter: A Close Comparison of Urban Transportation

Electric personal mobility vehicles (PMVs) have become increasingly popular in urban areas. But, with so many options on the market, deciding which type of PMV is right for you can be overwhelming. Two popular choices are mopeds and electric scooters. Both are environmentally friendly, efficient, and affordable. However, each has its distinct features and advantages. In this blog post, we will compare mopeds and scooters, and explore which vehicle is better suited for your urban travels.

What are Electric scooters?

a man in a black helmet is standing on his apollo phanton e-scooter

An electric scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle powered by an electric motor and a rechargeable battery. It typically features a handlebar for steering, a deck for the rider to stand on, and small, low-to-the-ground wheels. The acceleration and braking are usually controlled by a throttle and brake lever on the handlebar.

Electric scooters are known for their portability, convenience, and ease of use, making them popular choices for short-distance travel, especially in urban areas. But it’s not the only string to their bow, they’re also great for exploring new locations, having fun, and connecting with your inner child. 

They can reach speeds of around 15-20 miles per hour (depending on the model), and their batteries can typically last for about 10-40 miles per charge (again, depending on the specific model).

It's important to note that the rules regarding the use of electric scooters on public roads vary by location, so it's crucial to check local regulations before hitting the road.

What are Mopeds?

A moped is a small, low-powered two-wheeled vehicle. Moped is a portmanteau word coined from the combination of "motor" and "pedal," which refers to their early design, where pedals were used for propulsion and to start the motor. It resembled a cross between a bicycle and motorbike in all but name.

an old moped, black and white photo

Photo by Tristan Gevaux on Unsplash

Whereas modern mopeds often don't have pedals and are designed more like small motorcycles, with an engine capacity typically not exceeding 50cc. They usually have a top speed of around 28-30 mph (45-48 km/h), although this can vary depending on local laws and regulations. 

There are also electric mopeds, eliminating the need for gas and making them an eco-friendly transportation option. They typically come with a throttle for speed control and can reach varying speeds depending on their design and power.

Mopeds are popular for their fuel efficiency, ease of parking, and affordability compared to cars or larger motorcycles. They're typically used for short-distance travel, particularly in urban areas. Like electric scooters, the rules for riding mopeds on public roads can vary greatly by location, so it's important to be aware of local laws and regulations.

Mopeds regulations

In the United States, two-wheel vehicles with 50cc engines or smaller that cannot travel over 30 to 35 miles per hour are generally considered mopeds. The definition of a moped and the regulations surrounding them, such as the need for registration, insurance, and a specific driver’s license, vary from state to state​​.

Check your state's moped regulations here.

E-Scooter regulations

In the United States, the minimum age for riding an electric scooter is 16 years. However, each state has different age restrictions. For instance, in Virginia, riders must be at least 14 years old to ride an e-scooter. Utah requires a minimum age of 15 years, and Michigan and Minnesota require a minimum age of 12 years.

Most states in the US don’t require a license to use a private e-scooter, but some states do. Riders should inquire about their local laws for their specific requirements.

For more information on e-scooters regulations in the US, click here.

Mopeds vs. E-scooters

E-mopeds and e-scooters differ in terms of their top speed, weight, seat availability, and safety requirements.

Top speeds

Mopeds have higher top speeds, on average 30 MPH, while e-scooters speeds vary greatly depending on the make, model and intended use, but on average commuter e-scooters have an average speed of 15-20mph. 

Weight and portability

Mopeds can weigh anything between 200-300 lbs, a bit too much to carry them comfortably into the office. On the other hand, e-scooters weigh only between 15-30 lbs which greatly increases their portability and makes it easier to get to work without having to find a parking spot, especially useful in highly-congested urban areas.


Apollo City is your perfect urban companion, offering a thrilling top speed of 32 mph and an impressive range of up to 43 miles. Experience unmatched comfort with its triple spring suspension, and ride confidently with self-healing tires and comprehensive safety features like integrated turn signals and bright lights. 

The Apollo Air, a compact version of the Apollo City, offers a nimble and efficient ride with a top speed of 21 mph and a 34-mile range in eco-mode. Despite its smaller size, it's packed with features like dual fork suspension, puncture-proof tires, IP66 water resistance, and safety-enhancing lights and turn signals, making it a smart, smooth, and safe commuting choice.

Seat

The most obvious difference between the two vehicles is that mopeds come with a seat, while e-scooters, usually, do not. It can be a bummer in case of longer trips. But some brands are coming up with ways to address that issue and make it possible to install a seat on their e-scooter. Look at how Apollo Scooters dealt with that particular issue. Do you like it? It looks rad, doesn’t it?

Safety

Given their smaller size, mopeds might not be as visible when you're zipping around on busy roads with larger vehicles. Naturally, this can up the risk factor a bit. That's why it's super important to stay alert and always wear a helmet - it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

E-scooters can definitely hit some high speeds. But since you're not exactly in the same category as cars or motorcycles, and more along the lines of cyclists, the risks aren't quite as high. Even so, popping on a helmet is still a smart move. It might not be a requirement, but hey, better safe than sorry, right?

Whether you're riding a moped or an e-scooter, remember, every vehicle has its risks - motorized or not. So, keep that helmet handy and take advantage of any safety measures you can. 

Bottom line

When it comes to zipping around the city, electric mopeds and scooters each have their own sweet spots.

Think of mopeds as your long-haul buddies. They're great for those longer trips, and with a seat included, they're all about comfort. They're a bit heavier and faster, but keep in mind, that you'll probably need a license and registration for these guys.

Now, e-scooters, they're perfect for quick hops around town or that daily commute. Plus, you can skip the whole rigmarole of licensing and registration.

So, when it comes down to it, the best pick really depends on what you're after - whether it's comfort, travel distance, or just ease of use. It's all about finding the right ride for your needs.

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Table of contents

    1. What are Electric scooters?
    2. What are Mopeds?
    3. Mopeds regulations
    4. E-Scooter regulations
    5. Mopeds vs. E-scooters
    6. Top speeds
    7. Weight and portability
    8. Seat
    9. Safety
    10. Bottom line