Electric scooters vs Petrol Scooters – Pros, Cons, Verdict

Electric scooters versus petrol scooters: a new subject for debate. We live in a generation where the only vehicle debate used to be gas vs diesel. But, as cities get more crowded, we tend to think about other vehicles to travel through the city.

Cars are still the best vehicles for long rides outside the city as they provide mobility and comfort, but they aren’t an option in crowded places. With a scooter, you could avoid traffic jams, and then with a foldable electric scooter, you can do wonders. Both electric and petrol scooters are practical for a city of town commuter.

Depending on your region and way to work, you can decide between an electric scooter and a petrol one. Each has its own pros and cons, but most depend on your current situations. We will list the advantages, disadvantages, and how to choose between them. Let’s put electric and petrol scooters head to head and see what’s best for you.

Differences and Similarities Between Electric and Petrol Scooters

The main difference between electric and petrol scooters is that electric scooters have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. The electric motor only needs a controller and battery and has a much simpler mechanism than a petrol scooter.

Petrol scooters have an internal combustion engine, 2- or 4-stroke type, which is much more complex. Additionally, the motor in petrol scooters needs many extra components in order to run.  This isn’t a problem unless the parts need some maintenance; however, they often do.

Cost

The charging cost is almost insignificant, most manufacturers claim that a full charge uses about one kilowatt an hour. This is one of the main advantages, besides the mobility of foldable scooters, over petrol scooters.

Electric scooters may seem great at this point.  They are foldable and lightweight, you can charge them at work, and the cost is small. However, this isn’t the full story as electric scooters have some big disadvantages over petrol scooters, most notably being the range, speed, and charging time.

I know you are excited to get an electric scooter but read the whole post first to see if they match your expectation. Take all the considerations into account when deciding if electric scooters are for you.

Charging vs filling the tank

Petrol scooters, of course, use gas as fuel to run the internal combustion engine. Electric scooters, on the other hand, use electric energy stored in the battery. Though you don’t need to visit the petrol station, the disadvantage of electric scooters is that it takes hours to charge, not minutes. Petrol scooters have a small battery as well, but this is used only to start the internal combustion engine.

There are multiple types of batteries used on electric scooters. The most common ones are:

  • 24V
  • 36V
  • 48V

That is the whole battery cell, but the cell itself can be made of single 12V cells connected in series, but that only tells us half of the story. The number of volts is in direct connection with speed but not with range.

The battery capacity is specified in AH (Ampere Hours) and may vary from 20AH to 40AH depending on the electric scooter and the electric motor.

Electric scooter vs petrol scooter power

The power of the motor tells us how much power the motor can deliver at one point in time. It is the maximum power that the motor can deliver. It’s usually from 250 to 500 Watts, but you can find smaller ones (for children) or more powerful ones (for large adults).

Needless to say, the powerful ones are more expensive, but they are good if you have hills on your ride.

Maintenance

Electric scooters have lead-acid type batteries and are usually very cheap to maintain. They actually don’t need more than checking the screws and lube certain parts if needed.

The battery is charged using a small, lightweight charger that is provided with the scooter. You can carry this with you and charge your scooter at work or at school.

Electric Scooter Advantages over Petrol Scooters

Charging price

Electric scooters are almost free to charge. They only consume a few watts to charge, and it’s probable you won’t even notice a change in the electricity bill. On the other hand, petrol scooters use gas, which can vary in the price the fill.

Even so, petrol scooters use very little gas. You can do about 90-157.7 MPG with an average petrol scooter. In liters, the consumption is about 1.5-2.5L/100 km for most scooters. As you can see, you won’t spend your salary on gas.

It’s also more convenient to charge the electric scooter at work or at home than going to a gas station every time you run out of fuel.

Price

An electric scooter can sometimes be a cheaper alternative than a petrol one. The most expensive parts on an electric scooter are the battery and electric motor. If you have a short ride to work, you can get a scooter with a short range which is even cheaper.

Also, unlike petrol scooters, electric ones don’t have many expensive parts, and the engine doesn’t need maintenance. This will be the next advantage of electric scooters that we will discuss.

Maintenance

Electric scooters don’t need much maintenance. Verifying the suspension screws and lubing some parts once a month is usually enough.  A petrol scooter, on the other hand, has an engine and lots of tiny components to support the engine system. These factors can increase the cost of ownership and cost per mille for a petrol scooter.

Mobility and practicability

Electric scooters are very practical, but I’m referring to the small, foldable ones of course. The normal-sized scooters are about the same as petrol scooters in weight and size.

There is no need for a parking spot, you can fold them in 5 seconds, and put them in your office. They occupy very little space.

Silent

If you want a silent vehicle, an electric scooter is the winner.  Petrol scooters have a 2-stroke engine, so it’s a bit noisy.

Pollution

If you want to be “green,” you go with electric scooters. They lead to much cleaner air, especially in the city’s crowdest places. Deciding to buy an electric scooter is one of the best ways to contribute to the environment and society.

At one point, we all will move to green means of transportation.

Petrol Scooter Advantages over Electric Scooters

red petrol scooter

Charging place

If you want a big, electric scooter, and you don’t own a house or garage, you will have problems finding a place to charge it.  It takes from 3 to 6 hours for a big, electric scooter to fully charge.

If you live in an apartment, this can be a problem. On the other hand, you can fill petrol scooters at the nearest gas station, and you can ride them for at least 100 miles.

The average cost per gallon is about $2.5 so a full refill is about $3.5-$4, which is not a lot of money, but this can add up over time.

You’ll laugh at the gas station when you pay $3.5-4, and those with cars will pay $60 or so.

Charging time

It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to charge an electric scooter, and some take even more time. I have an E-Twow foldable electric scooter which only takes 2.5 hours to charge, so I can charge it at work. Bigger electric scooters have a charging time of 5-6 hours. An e-bike charging time can be even higher, about 4-6 hours.

But, if you need mobility throughout the day, you should go with a petrol scooter. You can refill the tank in a couple of minutes, and you can go 60-100 miles with that.

As we saw in the “Electric Scooter Range” article, a good electric scooter can go about 20 miles, and some expensive ones can go up to 60 miles. Remember though, I’m talking about the small foldable scooters here.

With petrol scooters, there is a limited space to put the engine, fuel tank, battery (yes, they need it to start), and other components. The fuel tank is usually smaller than a motorcycle one. An average petrol scooter has a fuel tank of 1.4 gallons or 5.2 liters.

Speed

The speed of petrol scooters depends on the cylindric capacity (cc) of the engine. Most scooters are 50cc.  Even with a small cc, they can easily reach speeds of 27-30 miles per hour. This makes them faster than most, if not all, electric scooters.

If you have a long way to work that extra mph can take its toll.

Harder to steal

Petrol scooters are usually bigger than electric scooters making them harder to steal. Foldable electric scooters, for example, don’t have any “key.” If you grab one, you can easily power it up and run. Petrol scooters usually have this, which is a form of protection against theft.

Reliability

Even though electric scooters have been used since the ’90s, the recent electric scooter technology is still relatively new, and some electric scooters are not reliable.

I would suggest investing in a quality scooter for which you can find parts online and a good service in case something breaks.

Another reason why electric scooters are considered unreliable is the battery. As we saw in previous posts, the battery is the most expensive part of an electric scooter. Usually, it’s at least one-third of the entire scooter price. Batteries have a limited life, between 500-1000 cycles of charge. This makes them expensive to replace when needed.

On the other hand, there are no expensive parts on a petrol scooter, but the maintenance will be higher on these.

Range

The best electric scooters can get 60 miles of range which is incredible, but it is still a bit low compared to petrol scooters.  Petrol scooters have a fuel tank of 1.4 gallons (5.2 liters) and 90-157.7 mpg. Unfortunately, with current battery technology, electric scooters can’t beat that range.

2 people

Just to be clear, you should never ride with another person on small, foldable scooters. I’m talking about the big ones here that are made with an extra seat.

Petrol scooters are more powerful and can carry two people easier than an electric scooter.

The summarized advantages of electric scooters are:

  • Electric scooters can be charged with little to no money
  • Electric scooters don’t need much maintenance
  • Electric scooters don’t pollute the air
  • Electric scooters may not include registering, paying taxes, and/or insurance
  • Electric scooters may not need a license to ride
  • Foldable electric scooters are very convenient and offer great mobility

The summarized disadvantages of electric scooters are:

  • Electric scooters are not very powerful
  • Charging of big electric scooters take a lot of time (4-6 hours), but small, foldable ones can take 2-3 hours. Petrol scooters need 5 minutes
  • Big electric scooters need a place to charge, hard to find if you live in an apartment.  Foldable ones can be charged at your apartment without problems
  • Batteries are expensive and may need replacing after 500-1000 cycles of charging
  • Lower Speeds
  • Hard to climb steep ascents
  • Big electric scooters don’t have a big price advantage over petrol scooters.  The price is about the same.

Power of Electric Scooters vs Petrol Equivalent

Petrol scooters power is usually measured in Horse Power (HP), while electric scooters power is measured in Watts (W).

A typical electric scooter has a power of about 250-500W. Meanwhile, petrol scooters have about 7HP or 5200W which is a lot more than an electric scooter.

Petrol scooters won’t have any problems with a steep ascent, but electric scooters may fail here. On a level ride, electric scooters are fine. If you have a lot of ascents on your ride, consider getting a more powerful electric scooter.

How can you decide if you need an electric scooter or a petrol scooter?

You must consider your situation, your ride to work, and the pros and cons presented here. I basically would buy a petrol scooter if I need speed or range. If you want a last-mile vehicle, a small, foldable electric scooter will be the best option for you.

For short distances: Electric Scooter, preferably a small, foldable one

For long distances: Petrol Scooter

Costs

Depending on local laws and regulations, you may need insurance for both electric scooters and petrol scooters, but for small electric scooters, you may not need this. Check your local laws to be sure.

Also, in most countries, electric vehicles are highly encouraged and are tax-free.

There will be less maintenance on an electric scooter as there are no big parts that break often and no maintenance for the engine, but, there’s a caveat to this: the battery. Batteries are expensive, and if you ride your scooter often, you may need to change it after about 2 years.

 

Where to buy one?

Dealer

The big scooters, both electric and petrol, can be found at dealerships. The price of these vehicles is high, so consider riding both of them to get a good feeling of what’s right for you.

Online

You can find small electric scooters or small petrol scooters online at Amazon and other websites. Being lightweight, you can even return the scooter if you don’t like it. I will list here some popular small electric and petrol scooters.

Conclusion

Both electric petrol scooters are good alternatives for city traffic. If you don’t have the nerves to drive a car in a traffic jam, you can consider getting one of these two.

If you want to go full “green,” and you have a short ride to work or school, go with an electric scooter. But, if your ride is long, and you need speed or range, a petrol scooter is the best alternative.

Always consider all costs before making a purchase. The cost of ownership for an electric scooter was discussed in this article. Also, if you’re interested in electric scooter range, read this post.

What do you prefer? Electric or Petrol Scooters?