Scooter Underground

Gas Scooters vs Electric Scooters

Choosing a Gas Scooter, Electric Scooter, or Power Assisted Bicycle
- Key Considerations


If you want to regularly travel faster than 32km/hr, other than downhill, you need a gas scooter. Most electric scooters that do not require a license are restricted to 32km/hr. Most gas scooters up to 50cc with 4 stroke engines will go up to 60km/hr without performance enhancements. Gas 2 stroke 50cc scooters such as the Yamaha BWS, KYMCO Super 9, PGO Metro, or Peugeot Speedfight, can go over 70km/hr and have many performance enhancements available. (There are some electric scooters and electric motorcycles that will even go highway speeds but these still have relatively short range and require a motorcycle license.)

If you need to go at highway speeds, a scooter with a minimum of of 125cc is more appropriate as a starting point. Scooters such as the KYMCO People 125, KYMCO People 200, KYMCO Bet and Win 150, KYMCO Bet and Win 250, KYMCO xCiting 500, the excellent SYM RV 250, Yamaha Majesty, Honda Silverwing, or larger Vespa models are great bets.


Consider your weight (including riding gear), plus the weight of whatever you normally carry, such as a pack full of books. If that weight is over about 100kg, better think gas. Whatever your choice, you do not want to be straining it all the time or you will decrease its longevity and increase maintenance cost. Also, if you want to carry a passenger, read below.


Our view is that any current electric scooter is primarily a single passenger machine. The exception is some of the super electrics like the Vectrix electric motorcycles. This situation is almost certain to change in the coming years.

Likewise, gas scooters of 50cc or less with 4 stroke engines are best suited to single passenger.

50cc 2 stroke gas scooters such as the Yamaha BWS and the KYMCO Vitality 2T are quite competent with a driver and a passenger as long as the combined weight is not much over 300 pounds. (That’s asking a lot of a little scooter). Even a few 4 stroke scooters such as the SYM Mio are pretty good with a driver and passenger as long as they are not big people and the routes are not hilly.

The scooters in the 125cc-700cc range are all very capable of moving a driver and passenger along at adequate speeds and acceleration. More weight usually needs more cc’s to move it along at an acceptable pace. The SYM RV 250, KYMCO xCiting 500, Yamaha Majesty, and Honda Silver wing, all can be very capable machines for highway commutes, even with a passenger.


If your commute daily is larger than about 30km, better think gas (or a power assisted bicycle where you can do some peddling to extend the range).  Bikes such as the ezeeBike are great choices. With an electric scooter, longer commutes are doable but you may need a spare battery or charging capability while at work. Bikes such as the eZee bike have been used on some epic journeys through Europe and across Africa to prove their distance capability and reliability. On the African journey, the eZeebike was being used for an average of 200 km per day for many days.


If your route is particularly hilly, we favor 2 stroke gas scooters or 4 stroke gas scooters larger than 50cc. Power assisted bicycles are OK but be prepared to dig in and pedal on the hills, especially the long ones. Electric scooters that are overtaxed going up a hill will trip their breaker to prevent them from overheating and doing serious damage. It is very important to test drive a scooter on the type of terrain that you will be riding on with the types of loads that you will be carrying.

Driver’s License

If you don’t have a driver’s license – electric is the only option. As long as the electric scooter is under 500Watts, in most jurisdictions, it is classified as a bicycle. The larger electric scooters and motorcycles will require a licence. It is a fallacy to think that just because it is electric that you do not require a licence.

Most gas scooters of 50cc or less may be operated in most jurisdictions with a standard driver’s license. Most gas scooters over 50cc require some additional licensing or a motorcycle license. We STRONGLY recommend taking a motorcycle training course even if you don’t plan on operating the lager scooters.

Vehicle License/Insurance

Gas scooters need a license and insurance. Electrics (either electric scooters or power assisted bicycles)  under 500 watts don’t.

Access to Roads and Parking

Electric scooters and power assisted bicycles have the edge here and so they should. Many municipalities allow the electric scooters and bikes to operate in the bike lanes and on bicycle commuter routes. Electric bicycles such as the eZee bike which have both ebike (throttle assist) and pedelec (assist only kicks in when pedaling) models are almost always granted access to bike lanes and commuter trails. In some jurisdictions, electric scooters may have restricted access. In Canada, it is very important to keep the pedals on your electric scooter to make sure you meet the bicycle regulations.

Many office buildings and university and college campuses give electric scooters and bicycles the preferred parking areas along with the bicycle parking.


Power assisted bicycles are a great choice if you want to get some exercise on your commute. Many of the ebikes or pedelecs allow you to have a range of gears just like your mountain or road bike plus choose the level of assist via a dial or throttle.

Many of these electric bicycles make really nice bicycles if you just want to leave the battery behind and go for a ride. This is not the case with electric scooters where the pedals are more for emergency purposes or short bursts of peddling to assist with hills etc.

Many people want to get exercise on their commute but work at a place where there are no showers or change room facilities. Power assisted bicycles are great in this situation since on your way to work you can use mostly battery power so that you don't break a sweat. On your way home, you can keep the power off altogether for maximum workout or just use the assist on uphill's and still get a health workout.

Green Factor

In this order:

  1. Power Assisted Bicycle – Best
  2. Electric Scooter – Very Good
  3. Gas Scooter (4 stroke) – Good
  4. Gas Scooter (2 stroke) – Pretty Good

Of course, relative to any car these are all excellent.

Initial Cost

For the most part, gas scooters are more expensive to purchase than an electric scooter or a power assisted bicycle. There are exceptions – a quality electric bicycle or scooter will be as expensive as a cheap gas scooter. Gas scooters also require a license and insurance whereas most electric bikes and scooters do not.

Operating Cost

The electric scooters and power assisted bicycles are the least expensive modes of transportation to operate. Charging costs pennies (and is often done at an outlet where you may not even be footing the bill). The major repair item is usually the battery and that is usually only every year or two depending on how much you ride and how much you follow instructions. Good batteries are expensive – several hundred dollars depending on the type.

Gas scooters only require gas or gas and oil in the case of a 2 stroke. A good check up twice a year will usually keep your scoot purring for a very nominal cost.
You do have to have a license and insurance and that makes them cost quite a bit more than the electrics to operate.

Gas scooters tend to hold their value very well whereas the electrics will depreciate more rapidly because of all the advances in electric technologies that are taking place. We are seeing significant improvements in battery technologies, electric motors, and controllers. Some electric bikes may allow for upgrading whereas others will not.

Talk to the experts at Scooter Underground so we can review your requirements and help you to find the transportation that best meets your needs.


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