Benefits and Drawbacks of purchasing an electric scooter in India
kazam
Nimit Arora

Over the years, air pollution has increased massively in India. One of the main causes of this rise is vehicular pollution. As a result, over the past few years, electric vehicles have seen a rise in popularity in the country. Electric scooters are trending the most these days courtesy of the recently launched Ola Electric scooters. However, if you are planning to buy one, it is important to understand the benefits & drawbacks of electric scooters.

Benefits of Electric Scooter

Eco-friendly

The biggest selling point for electric scooters is that they are environmentally friendly. They do not produce tailpipe smoke. When you opt for an electric scooter, you are contributing to a better environment and a promising future for the next generation. No emission, greener planet, better tomorrow. So, be a change agent and buy an electric scooter.

Low Running Cost

Electric scooters are a bit more expensive than petrol scooters, but the amount of money you will save on fuel in the long term makes this an extremely economical choice. With petrol prices touching Rs.100 with no signs of coming down, more and more people are turning to electric vehicles for lower running costs.

Maintenance

Due to less complex mechanical parts, electric scooters have low or no maintenance issues. Regular oil change and servicing of the different moving parts of petrol scooters would certainly be history as electric scooters become more popular.

Storage Space

Electric scooters do not have many mechanical parts like conventional bikes & scooters. Thus they have considerable storage space. Bangalore-based EV startup ‘Simple Energy’ has launched their new e-scooter ‘Simple One’ which features a 30-litre under-seat storage space, the largest in its category.

Low Noise

Compared to fuel operated vehicles, electric vehicles make extremely low noise. The lack of combustion and mechanical drive train makes electric scooters much quieter and comfortable. Researchers in India have found that vehicle traffic is one of the main contributors to noise pollution.

Lightweight & Convenient

Electric scooters have fewer parts. This makes them light and thus, easier to ride and park. The lightweight also makes it easy for women & young riders. They are convenient as well because they are gearless. For example, the Hero Maestro petrol weighs 110 kg, whereas the electric Hero Optima weighs just 76 kg.

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Drawbacks of Electric Scooter 

Battery Life

Batteries are the soul of EVs. The average life of a lithium-ion battery pack is around 50,000 km, which a rider can achieve in 3-5 yrs depending on the usage pattern. At present, the price of a 3 kWh lithium-ion battery that supports fast charging is around Rs.60,000. The prices of batteries are steadily decreasing and by the time you would need a replacement 4 yrs down the line, the battery pack cost will come down to around Rs.40,000. Even then, replacing a battery pack would seem like a nightmare for nearly every e-scooter owner.

Range

The range is the distance that an EV covers in a single charge. The average range of the top electric scooter models in India is 100 km. Moreover, the range decreases as the battery gets old. It takes a good 5 hours to recharge the battery, so it might not be a great option for long-distance travel.

Repair & Service

Repairs & servicing can be a matter of concern as servicing arrangements are not well-defined and spare parts are hard to find for this new mode of transport. The market of fuel vehicles is many decades old. So it’s easy to find their service centres and repair shops in case your fuel vehicle needs maintenance or repairing.  If any of your electric vehicle parts get damaged or malfunction, you have to reach out to the manufacturer’s call centre and register your complaint. It is a time-consuming process. Most conventional scooter mechanics do not know how to deal with e-scooter problems.

Lack of Infrastructure

A big hurdle in EV adoption is a lack of nationwide charging infrastructure. The availability of charging facilities across India remains inadequate compared to China or western countries, which is making long journeys out of reach. It will take at least a decade to see EV charging outlets like we have petrol pumps in India. For now, it is advisable to charge your EVs at home before you go out.

Untimely Power Cuts

To see a power cut is a daily routine for people in India. If you live in posh areas of metro cities, you are blessed with fewer power cuts which also go unnoticed because of power backup solutions. Power cuts are also seen in many areas when it rains. EV charging becomes difficult during such times.

Slow Speed

Fuel operated vehicles generally provide a top speed of around 100 kmph. Electric scooters may seem like a disappointment in this regard since you get an average top speed of just 60 to 70 kmph. Electric two-wheelers often have smaller wheels than conventional two-wheelers, which has a negative impact on their speed. For example, the TVS Jupiter petrol scooter has a top speed of 90 kmph, whereas the electric TVS iQube scooter has a top speed of 78 kmph.

Conclusion

The efficacy of electric vehicles, especially electric scooters, appears to be increasing with each passing day. Even though market penetration by EVs is much lower than it is in other countries, electric two-wheelers are touted as the most likely drivers of EV growth in India.

With the price gap between petrol scooters and electric two-wheelers closing fast, conventional two-wheeler brands like Hero, Bajaj and TVS have also brought-in electric offerings.

From lower maintenance costs to protecting the environment from harmful emissions, there is little reason why your next two-wheeler shouldn’t be an electric one.

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