For those of you that read the headline and now think - what is this all about - here comes my explanation: for me, the year 2022 will see electric mopeds as the favorite vehicle in personal transportation. The year 2022 will be the Year of the e-moped.
Individual traffic has increased in the last months, following various lockdowns in Europe while fighting COVID. For most, the vehicle of choice was the private car, public transport was seen as an unnecessary risk for the ride to work. European municipalities were trying to fight the growing use of private cars, leading to even more standstill and pollution in their cities. But then there came the war in the Ukraine, rising petrol prices and a shocking cost explosion for private drivers. It’s time for a smaller solution, it’s time for the electric moped.
What is an E-Moped?
When moped, we think of the small alleys in the cities of Rome, Barcelona or Lisbon, where young Europeans are scootering with friends to the coffee shop in town, to the beach or evening venue. Mopeds are a means of mass-transportation in India or Taiwan with local manufacturers step by step increasing their electric share. And even in the US, the e-moped has risen to be an accepted means of transportation. In NYC, Washington and on the West Coast, e-moped sharing startup Revel is growing fast by the day. How is this electric vehicle faring in Europe and why is there a chance to overcome traffic burdens with these vehicles?
E-mopeds are climate-friendly, electric two-wheelers for the city and the countryside alike
E-mopeds are electrically powered mopeds and are called scooters by some. Not to be confused with e-scooters, e-mopeds offer one or two seats and provide an average of 15 km use-case. One-way, every day.
They are powered by a battery instead of an internal combustion engine. Batteries supply the e-mopeds with power for a certain, limited runtime and most manufacturers offer rechargeable batteries in order to allow users to charge these in their apartments. E-mopeds have a digital display on the handlebars, on which the current power level can be read. If the battery is empty, it must be recharged at a power outlet.
Do you need a Helmet on an E-Moped?
The obligation to wear a helmet on an E-moped vehicle is handled very differently in European countries. Whereas the Germans insist on drivers wearing such a helmet, other European countries are more relaxed. For example, in the bike stronghold Netherlands driving a-moped is allowed up to a speed of 30 km/h without a helmet. Some of the sharing providers offer faster e-moped vehicles, such as felyx or Check - whose vehicles can reach 45 km/h. Here, helmets are compulsory and these vehicles are no longer allowed to ride on the bike path.
The range and top speed for E-Mopeds
The average range of the most popular e-moped models is between 50 to 150 kilometers per charge. At home or in your own garage, charging the batteries takes between five and eight hours. Most sharing vehicles have a limited top speed, as they are mainly used in cities.
But for many consumers, the top speed of 45 km/h is not enough - they want to go faster. Even in the city, a faster e-moped proves very useful, especially on ring roads or city highways. Electric mopeds are therefore on the rise, especially the faster vehicles, which can easily reach 80 to 100 km/h. Those drivers owning a motorbike license don’t need another license on top. However, those with a driver's license for a car only, need an extension to drive a vehicle in the larger cubic class.
How do I find the right e-Moped?
There are various ways to get your hands on an electric moped. Let us describe three means and provide some examples here. You can either buy one, use it in a sharing model or - the latest trend - become a subscriber of an e-moped.
Purchase your own E-Moped
If you plan to buy your own e-moped, there are several players in Europe. Looking at the larger cubic classes, the Niu NQI GT, the Kumpan 54i:gnite, the Seat MÓ 125 or the INOA SLi 8max from Nova Motors are just a few names in this growing market segment. Most of these vehicles mentioned are sporty mopeds for everyday use. Modern entry-level models currently cost around € 1,000. The top models from various electric scooter manufacturers can cost up to € 8,000. Common battery systems are either permanently installed or removable. If you do not have a permanent parking space with charging facilities, we recommend investing in a model with a portable battery system. This can be charged at any standard power outlet. They are either known for their easy handling, their retro-look, modern digital connectivity features or a bit of everything.
The European Sharing Market discovers e-mopeds
A few years ago, only a handful of sharing operators were offering electric mopeds in bigger cities such as Paris, Berlin, Barcelona or Madrid. They usually offer their vehicles in the L1E category (equivalent to a 50cc petrol engine), with speed limited to a city-friendly 45 km/h. Fully-electric vehicles mean no clutch and no abrupt starts or jolts. These e-mopeds are easy to handle and offer a serene driving experience in urban spaces, even for inexperienced riders.
The first movers were mainly mobility startups such as Cooltra, Cityscoot, emmy or coup, the later one even going insolvent. Today, we find a good dozen additional players in this segment with some micro-mobility sharing giants, such as TIER Mobility, now offering e-mopeds within their vehicle fleet. From the Netherlands, there are three players alone with Check, felyx and GO, there is Yego from Barcelona and even the well funded US American sharing companies such as Lime and Bird now offer e-mopeds.
The vendors of these e-mopeds to share include Askoll EVA S.p.A., emco electroroller GmbH, Gogoro Inc., Govecs AG, Niu International, Scoot Rides, Inc., Silence Urban Ecomobility, Torrot Electric and WeMo Corp. Thus some names sell their own machines and also provide them to the sharing market.
E-moped subscription now pushed across Europe
The latest trend is that E-mopeds now can be subscribed to. A few days ago, e-bike subscription specialist Dance from Berlin announced the expansion into e-moped subscription services. The so-called Dance Moped can transport up to 2 riders and supports up to 165 kg in weight with a top speed of 45 km/h. The electric mobility subscription company is growing to span five cities and three countries while expanding its vehicle fleet, ushering in a new way to commute for residents of Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, and Paris. Dance picked an e-moped as a second vehicle after its very successful start with e-bike subscription. The moped is a customized model of NIU and follows the acquisition of Rollich, a Berlin-based e-moped subscription company. Dance E-mopeds start at € 89 per month for a yearly subscription or € 119 per month for a flexible subscription.
E-Mopeds Are Here to Stay
While mopeds with a combustion engine were primarily popular in Southern Europe with Italy, Spain and Portugal leading the way, electric mopeds are certainly gaining market share across all European countries. They provide an easy ride in urban spaces as much as a lot of fun when getting from A to B.
Sharing providers have measured an average use case of 12-15 km per ride, clearly providing a viable alternative to the use of an own car in the daily commute. Not to forget the travel market with tourists getting a better and broader experience while seeing a lot more of a city or place.
Taking the e-mopeds in the larger cubic classes, an ownership makes a lot of sense. These e-mopeds take you the distance, a speed of up to 100 km/h allows for longer distances while having a lot of fun on your way. They are the fun-alternative to an own car with other benefits such as lower operating costs.
And for those of us who can’t wait and insist on the flexibility to potentially exchange their vehicle, a subscription of an e-moped makes sense. Here you’ll enjoy the flexibility of a monthly rate and a concierge service like a next-day delivery straight to your door. Insurance and maintenance of the vehicle included in the monthly cost.
I can’t wait to explore a new city in Europe on one of these electric mopeds. For me, the perfect vehicle for the European summer. So much fun and too easy!
Images courtesy of Michael Brecht, and DANCE GmbH (header image).