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What are the Different Types of Electric Moped?

By Shannon Johnson
Updated May 17, 2024
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The moped is a hybrid vehicle, one of the first really. The name comes from a merger of the words "motor" and "pedal," both of which describe ways to operate the motorbike. Most commonly recognized mopeds are gas-operated, but there are two primary forms of electric moped: power on demand and power-assist. The electric moped is an option for people looking for transportation that has minimal impact on the environment while still allowing for ease of travel. To this end, some even have transportable electric chargers.

Electric mopeds are not to be confused with electric scooters. Mopeds are distinct from scooters in that mopeds can be powered by either the vehicle's engine or by using human power in conjunction with the pedals. Scooters don’t have the option of human-powered movement. True mopeds are rare, and electric mopeds are even more so.

Gears or throttles activate power-on-demand electric mopeds, and moped manufacturers often consider the terms interchangeable. These electric bikes are capable of doing all the work, propelling riders up steep hills or over long distances provided there is enough charge on the battery. Dollar for dollar, the power-on-demand electric moped is among the most economical methods of transportation, particularly in pedestrian-friendly cities such as New York or San Francisco. They’re also ideal for riders who need a little extra help but wish to keep up with friends or family who are using power-assist mopeds.

The power-assist moped is the truest definition of the electric moped, giving riders the option of using power from the electric motor or the physical power of the rider. Power-assist electric mopeds are often smaller and lighter than other mopeds, making storage easy. To activate power-assist bikes, riders must pedal to get the engine running. Like power-on-demand mopeds, the power-assist counterparts are economical and eco-friendly transportation options, whether in a large city or a small town. Rather than take a car to the corner market for a quart of milk, the rider can hop on a moped and save gas, emissions and travel time.

Both power-on-demand and power-assist mopeds fall into a classification of vehicles widely described as electric scooters. Scooters can include three- and four-wheeled models. All versions of electric mopeds or scooters include some type of braking system and can average in speed from 10 mph to 25 mph, depending on model and terrain. Following proper safety precautions, such as a using a helmet and following the rules of the road, make traveling by scooter or electric moped as safe as riding a traditional two-wheeled bicycle.

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