ClickCease What Is the Difference Between a Moped and an E-Scooter?
02/05/24   |   By

What Is the Difference Between a Moped and an E-Scooter?

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What Is a Moped?

A moped is a type of small motorized vehicle typically characterized by its small engine size, low-speed capabilities, and pedals for manual propulsion. The term “moped” is derived from a combination of “motor” and “pedal.” Moped drivers remain seated during the ride, similar to how you would sit on a motorcycle.

Mopeds are equipped with a small engine size, usually with a displacement of 50cc or less. Most mopeds are gas mopeds, but some modern mopeds may also have electric motors, making them electric mopeds. One distinctive feature of a moped is that, in addition to an engine, it also has functional pedals today. If needed, a rider could pedal the vehicle like a bike., which can be useful when trying to start the engine or to give an extra boost while riding uphill.

Mopeds are generally limited to about 35 miles per hour or below. Despite the speed limitations, mopeds tend to get better gas mileage than cars.

What Is an Electric Scooter?

An electric scooter, also called an e-scooter, is a compact and lightweight personal electric vehicle designed for short-distance transportation in urban areas. They are powered by an electric motor and feature two small wheels. The rider stands during the ride.

Electric scooters are typically light enough to carry if needed, making them a good option for people with limited storage space. Generally, they have only two wheels, one in the front and one in the back; the rider has to balance and learn to distribute their weight correctly while riding. They tend to be better for short trips.

Electric scooters typically only reach speeds of up to 15 or 20 miles per hour — some have even lower top speeds. They usually have less than two horsepower. They are chargeable, as opposed to needing to be filled with gasoline.

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Electric Scooters and Mopeds?

There are many differences between electric scooters and mopeds. Some of these differences include:


  • Mopeds and electric scooters have a different maximum speed. Mopeds reach a top speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour, while electric scooters reach between 15 and 20 mph.

Licensing requirements

  • Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so it’s important to check with your local government to see what the legal requirements are in your area. Mopeds always require a driver’s license, and some states specifically require a motorcycle license. There are slightly different regulations for e-scooters. No specific license is required in some states, and in other states, such as California, they need a valid driver’s license.


  • Today, some mopeds use an electric motor, but more commonly, they are powered by a gas engine. Electric scooters are chargeable and powered by lithium-ion batteries. Because of this, they tend to be considered more environmentally friendly.

Where to use them

  • Electric scooters, like electric bikes, usually must stay within designated bike lanes and bicycle areas. Depending on the jurisdiction, they may not be allowed on the sidewalk. Mopeds, on the other hand, are usually street-legal and not restricted to street bike lanes. Mopeds should never be ridden on the sidewalk.

Do You Need Insurance for Your Moped or E-scooter?


  • Mopeds with gasoline engines may require insurance coverage in many regions, similar to motorcycles. This typically includes liability insurance to cover potential damages or injuries you might cause to others while riding. Depending on local regulations, mopeds may also require registration and a specific class of license, such as a motorcycle or moped license.

Electric Scooters (E-scooters):

  • Electric scooters are generally considered similar to bicycles in many regions, so they may not require insurance coverage. However, this can vary based on local regulations. Even if insurance is not mandatory for e-scooters, you should check with your insurance provider to see if your existing liability insurance (e.g., renters or homeowners insurance) covers any potential accidents or injuries while using an e-scooter.

What About Electric Bikes?

While mopeds and scooters are both popular forms of transportation, electric bikes have also grown in popularity. Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, combine the benefits of a classic bicycle and a motorized vehicle. They have pedals so riders can use them as standard bikes, but they also have a motor for an extra boost.

For instance, people using electric bicycles can actively pedal and use the motor when going uphill. These bikes are different from motorcycles because they have an electric motor, not a gas engine, and therefore are more eco-friendly.

Electric bikes typically have to follow all the exact legal requirements as a standard bike. They must stick to the bike lanes and follow all necessary signage. An e-bike typically does not require a specific license.

While an e-bike can be a great choice for those commuting or traveling along city streets, a mountain e-bike is better for those who intend to go off-roading.

Is a Moped or an Electric Scooter Right for You?

The moped and the electric scooter offer many benefits, and choosing which is right for you can be difficult. As you weigh this decision, consider these elements:

Commuting Distance:

  • If you have a longer daily commute or generally need to travel farther, a moped might be a better choice due to its speed and the fact that it’s allowed on the roads. For short commutes or “last-mile” transportation, an electric scooter with its lower top speed and moderate range is often more practical and cost-effective.

Legal Requirements:

  • Different cities and states have distinct regulations regarding scooters, bikes, and mopeds. Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles website to see the rules in your area, which may help you decide.

Environmental Impact:

  • Scooters are more environmentally friendly if you’re concerned about reducing your carbon footprint. You don’t have to worry about pollution restrictions and can rest easy knowing you’re traveling in a way that is not harming the environment.


  • Evaluate your budget for both the initial purchase and ongoing maintenance costs. Electric scooters may have a lower upfront cost and require less maintenance than gasoline-powered mopeds, helping riders save money.

Ultimately, choosing whether to get an electric scooter, electric bike, or a moped is up to you. Consider your experience level, what you intend to use the vehicle for, your budget, and more when making this decision.

However, with all of these options, there are safety concerns. If you have suffered an injury due to a moped or electric scooter accident due to the negligence of others, contact our scooter accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long to learn about your legal options.

Regan Zambri Long
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Electric Scooter
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