It’s no secret that Americans have been slow to adopt electric scooters and mopeds. Compared to European and Asians countries, such vehicles are far less common on the streets of US cities. But that appears to be changing as electric moped rental programs expand across the US.
And these electric moped rental programs aren’t just expanding geographically, they’re also exploding in popularity.
Programs like Revel in NYC and DC, Muving in Atlanta, Scoot in San Francisco and Scoobi in Pittsburgh all offer electric scooter and moped rentals.
And by all accounts, the programs have been a huge success with tens or even hundreds of thousands of miles driven in each of the cities. Scoot is even approaching 7 million miles in San Francisco.
Each service has its own pricing scheme, but most are not much costlier than public transportation and are usually cheaper than Uber. For example, Scoobi in Pittsburgh charges $5 for the first 15 minutes and then 25 cents per minute afterward.
And unlike electric kick scooter sharing programs like Bird and Lime that have received significant backlash, electric moped sharing programs have largely avoided such negative reactions from the public.
For one thing, unlike electric kick scooters that can be left as tripping hazards all over sidewalks, electric mopeds usually need to be left in street parking or designated motorcycle spots. Yet because of their small size, they are still much easier to find parking for than cars, making them a better city substitute for many commuters. And most programs have worked out parking agreements with cities where the mopeds can be parked for free in any metered parking spot.
While many will argue over whether these vehicles are considered electric scooters, electric mopeds, or electric motorcycles (check the comments below to surely find people telling me I’m wrong), the fact is that laws vary across the country. The exact same vehicle can be considered an electric scooter in California, an electric moped in Georgia, and an electric motorcycle in Florida.
And while many people think the term “moped” still refers to bicycles with pedals and engines, laws have changed around the country and most states recognize electric scooters that don’t exceed 30 mph (48 km/h) as mopeds, regardless of whether or not they have pedals.
Compared to just a few years ago, this has opened up a flood of new electric moped riders across the country. This is largely thanks to the rate at which electric moped rental programs are expanding. While Revel began with just a few dozen electric mopeds last year in NYC, they have increased to 1,000 vehicles this summer.
And just like the electric kick scooter sharing programs introduced Americans to electric scooters, then spawned a wave of riders purchasing their own inexpensive electric scooters, now a number of electric moped and scooter retailers are beginning to enter the US market.
CSC Motorcycles in California has already begun making deliveries of its $2,495 and 45 mph (72 km/h) electric scooter, and NIU is quickly approaching the beginning of retail sales of its popular electric scooter models.
I myself switched to commuting by electric moped (the awesome GenZe 2.0) much of last year and found the experience to be amazing. I was getting everywhere quicker, spending less money and generally enjoying my commute instead of dreading it.
Are electric mopeds and scooters the right choice for every single American? No, of course not. But could many (or dare I say most) improve their commutes (and probably their moods) by making the switch? Absolutely!
The majority of Americans live in cities, which are the perfect areas to take advantage of electric scooters. The effectiveness of these vehicles has been proven without a doubt by Europeans and Asians for years. Now it’s time for Americans to finally wake up and see the light.
Just don’t forget a helmet!
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