Electric scooters and bikes are convenient alternatives to delivering food in a car. Delivering on a scooter or an e-bike allows you to avoid the need for commercial auto insurance. You also save money on gas and vehicle upkeep.
So, should you choose bikes or scooters for food delivery? Use the following guide to compare the features, pros, and cons of e-bikes and electric scooters.
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What Is an Electric Scooter?
Electric scooters are stand-up scooters with two wheels, a deck that you stand on, and a handlebar for steering. Most electric scooters have a brushless direct current (DC) motor that typically powers the rear wheel. However, some high-end scooters include motors in the hubs of both wheels.
The motor is connected to a rechargeable battery that provides a range of 6 to 40 miles on a single charge. Depending on the size of the battery, you may need to wait between 2 and 20 hours to fully recharge the scooter. The top speed of the typical electric scooter for adults is about 20mph. However, the average speed on the typical road is closer to 15mph.
What Is an Electric Bike?
Electric bikes (or e-bikes) are bicycles equipped with a motor and a rechargeable battery. E-bikes come in a variety of styles and designs, including pedal assist (pedelec) and throttle e-bikes.
Pedal-assist e-bikes are the most common. With a pedal-assist e-bike, you can still pedal as if riding a normal bicycle or allow the motor to assist your pedaling. You can achieve speeds up to 20mph with an average cruising speed of 15mph.
Most pedal-assist e-bikes include settings for controlling the amount of assistance provided by the motor. You can travel faster and climb hills with the same effort as riding on a flat road.
Advantages of Delivering Food on an Electric Scooter
Some of the advantages of choosing an electric scooter over an e-bike include:
- Lower cost
- More portability
- Increased maneuverability
If cost is a factor, you can get a reliable electric scooter for less than an e-bike. Electric scooters tend to cost less compared to e-bikes of the same quality. Entry-level electric scooters tend to cost between $300 and $500 while comparable e-bikes start at $800. High-end scooters cost an average of $1000 to $3000 while the top e-bikes can cost up to $8000.
Electric scooters are also more portable compared to the typical e-bike. Scooters weigh between 17 and 30 pounds. E-bikes weigh between 38 and 70 pounds. Many scooters also feature folding handlebars, allowing you easily carry the scooter into establishments instead of chaining it up outside. The increased portability of an electric scooter is convenient and may save time.
Scooters also have smaller frames compared to e-bikes, which makes it easier to maneuver around obstacles. The increased maneuverability of a slim electric scooter is useful for dealing with crowded streets and heavy traffic congestion.
Advantages of Delivering Food on an Electric Bike
While electric scooters provide a convenient way to deliver food, they also have limitations. Here are a few of the benefits of using an e-bike instead of an electric scooter:
- Greater range
- Increased comfort
- More storage options
E-bikes typically offer more range compared to electric scooters. You can travel between 40 and 100 miles on a single charge with an e-bike. Most electric scooters have a range of 6 to 40 miles. The default delivery radius for most food delivery apps is about five miles. E-bikes allow you to complete more deliveries before needing to stop and recharge or swap out the battery.
E-bikes also tend to provide greater comfort when spending half the day traveling around the city. You get to sit on an e-bike while you need to stand on an electric scooter. While you still need to pedal most e-bikes, the motor makes cycling a breeze.
E-bikes also have more storage options. You can find a variety of saddlebags and panniers designed to fit on the sides or back of bicycles. You should have no problem finding an insulated food bag that you can strap to the bike.
Most electric scooters do not provide a spot for securing a bag. If you plan on delivering food on a scooter, you may need to carry an insulated backpack on your back.
What Are the Best Electric Scooters for Food Delivery?
When buying an electric scooter for food delivery, consider the cost, range, speed, charging time, and max weight. Some of the most popular electric scooter brands include:
Unagi, Segway, and Swagtron have quality scooters with ranges of 15 to 40 miles and speeds up to 20mph. These brands also typically have a higher max weight limit. Razor and GoTrax offer budget scooters with limited range and speed. You can travel up to 10 miles at speeds up to 10 miles, which should be enough for a single food delivery trip. Yet, the battery only takes an hour or two to charge.
What Are the Best Electric Bikes for Food Delivery?
You have a lot more options when choosing an e-bike compared to an electric scooter. Here are some of the most popular brands:
- Rad Power Bikes
- Charge Electric Bikes
VanMoof and Swagtron have reasonably priced e-bikes for those with limited budgets. Aventon, Rad Power Bikes, and Charge Electric Bikes stand out for offering more range. You can travel 50 miles or more on a single charge and reach speeds up to 20mph. All five brands also sell Class 1 e-bikes, which are allowed in most cities and states.
The total range, speed, and charging time are also important when choosing an e-bike. However, you also need to consider the type of e-bike and the motor.
Most e-bikes include pedal-assist technology, which includes Class 1 and Class 3 e-bikes. Both types of bikes can have motors with up to 750 watts of power. However, Class 1 bikes have a maximum assisted speed of 20mph while Class 3 bikes have a maximum speed of 28mph. Class 2 e-bikes include a throttle, eliminating the need to pedal.
Before choosing an e-bike, check the regulations in your state to determine what class of bike is acceptable. In some areas, you cannot ride a Class 3 e-bike.
Conclusion: Bike or Scooter?
E-bikes and e-scooters offer separate advantages and disadvantages when it comes to delivering food. Electric scooters make more sense for those who are worried about cost or portability.
Electric scooters are smaller, lighter, and easier to carry. You can zip around the city on an electric scooter and maneuver around tighter obstacles. Electric scooters also typically cost less compared to e-bikes. Decent electric scooters start at $300 while reliable e-bikes start at $1000.
Unfortunately, electric scooters typically offer less range. Some scooters can travel up to 40 miles on a single charge while e-bikes are available with a total range of 100 miles. You may need to stop and charge your scooter several times during the day, limiting the number of deliveries that you can complete.
E-bikes offer more range and allow you to sit. You can also add a bike bag on the back or side of the e-bike, which eliminates the need to carry a food bag on your shoulder or back. Scooters are cheaper and easier to carry, but e-bikes can travel further and carry the food.