Alloy hub motors are located in the hub of the front or rear wheels. You will often find more rear hub motor e-bikes than front hub motors.
Hub motors work by applying torque to the wheels and working independently of the gears.
The mid-drive motor, on the other hand, is located in the middle of the e-bike and is connected to the gear and pedal assembly. The mid-drive motor sends torque to your wheels via a sprocket, which works with your gears for more responsive power and acceleration.
Since the mid-drive motors work in tandem with your gears, they provide a more natural feel and greater efficiency when driving in the proper gear.
An important consideration is a weight and design. Since the hub motor is typically lightweight and located in the rear hub, it offers a range of other e-bike designs, such as folding or AWD e-bikes, that many mid-drive models shy away from.
Mid-drive motor setups are more difficult to design for folding e-bikes, or because of weight, there are many customizable components. Fortunately, many electric fat bikes combine hub motors and mid-drive motors for better performance.
With that in mind, let's compare hub motor and mid-drive e-bikes in terms of efficiency, ride quality, and maintenance.