The electric zap is looking to take “charge” (pun intended) of almost the entire spectrum of modern-day mobility. It is beyond doubt that the EV technology is going to dominate one particular mode of transportation in the subsequent years, that is the Two-wheelers. Battery-powered scooters have been on sale in India long before the hype for EVs got real. It’s just that electric scooters were not able to rise to fame over the supremacy of petrol scooters, until now.
As people all around the world began to realise their responsibility towards the environment more vividly, the idea of a new era of mobility makes more sense now. Two-Wheelers in Indian account for around 74% of the total vehicles on the road. Hence, a transition of two-wheelers to electric technology can contribute tremendously towards the Green India Mission (GIM).
While there are plenty of two-wheelers buyers made the switch to electric scooters as a substitute for Internal Combustion Engine(ICE) powered scooters. But, the question still remains, should you be buying an electric scooter in 2020? We compare an electric scooter with an ICE one to find out just that.
Prices of the Scooter | There is a significant difference
New technology always comes at a premium. Hence, the current generation of electric scooters come at a premium of at least Rs.10,000 to even Rs. 50,000 at max. For instance, the price of Honda Activa 6G comes at a price of Rs. 66,343 ex-showroom compared to arguably the best electric scooter on sale the Ather 450 which costs around Rs.99,999. Post BS6 update, the Honda Activa 6G also received a price hike. Still, an electric scooter comes at a huge premium over their ICE counterparts.
Despite having all connectivity features, advanced hardware and swift electric motors, the steep pricing does not make for a smart value proposition. Over the years, if manufacturers are able to bring down prices in accordance with the subsidies offered by the government, then electric scooters undoubtedly have the ability to turn around the two-wheeler market.
Cost of Ownership | Which one is more peaceful to live with?
The best thing about an EV is that it protects you from the horrors of the fuel prices in India. EVs especially Electric scooters are way too economical compared to petrol-powered mobiles. Fuel prices are sky-rocketing as each day passes. This means spending a huge sum of money on filling up your petrol scooter’s tank. This sum after a point of time can get equivalent to more than half of the price you paid when you bought the scooter in the first place.
In this sense, an electric scooter is far more economical as the electricity rate per unit is far less than the price of petrol. Consider an example of an electric scooter having a battery pack of 2.5 Kwh. The tariff for one unit of electricity (i.e 1Kwh) is close to Rs. 3 in Delhi. Hence, a single charge for an average electric scooter will have the costing in the ballpark of just Rs. 7-10.
Maintenance cost | Now there’s a big relief
More moving parts means more wear and more wear means more frequent maintenance routines. A mechanical internal combustion engine and the other components in a petrol scooter has more moving parts compared to an electric scooter. These parts are prone to more rugged wear and could also require a replacement from time to time. An electric scooter, on the other hand, has lesser components to worry about. Hence, maintaining an electric scooter is more hassle-free and cheaper compared to an ICE scooter.
Infrastructure for fuel | Where would you charge your EV?
A prominent aspect due to which people are still sceptical about owning an EV is the lack of a widespread network of charging infrastructure. Unlike a conventional petrol fuelling station which you can find after almost every 5 Kms in an urban locality. If you own an electric scooter currently and you run out of charge midway, it’s very unlikely that you will find an electric charging station nearby.
In regions like Delhi-NCR, the number of EV charging stations has surely increased but there is still just a handful of them around. In such a scenario, your only resort to keep your Electric scooter juiced up is to use a charging device that you get with the vehicle and make sure to keep the battery levels high enough for your day’s commute.
Range | It’s a bit tense with the Electric scooters
The range anxiety with EVs especially with electric two-wheelers is for real. Electric two-wheelers compared to electric cars, cannot offer enough space to equip big, high-capacity batteries to have an abundant riding range. Electric scooters currently on sale in India do not offer a range of more than 60-80 km on a single charge. Compared to an ICE scooter that can offer you a range of 150-200 km on a full tank, an Electric Scooter’s range does not provide much confidence for daily commutes.
Hence, do make sure to comprehend your daily commuting mileage before you choose between an electric scooter and an ICE scooter.
Specs-Comparison | Is an electric scooter more fun to ride?
For this, we consider the example of the two most successful scooters from the respective segments, the Honda Activa 6G and the Ather 450
|Specifications||Honda Activa 6G||Ather 450|
|Powertrain||109.51 cc, four-stroke SI engine||Brushless DC, Belt-driven motor|
|Power||5.73 kW||5.4 kW|
|Torque||8.79 Nm||20.5 Nm|
If you’re someone who likes things out of the ordinary and expects to fetch a slice of thrill for everything, then simply rest your case and go buy an electric scooter. An electric scooter’s ‘torque-on-demand’ attribute definitely makes it a fun ride. However, even if the initial response is exciting, the punch tends to deplete once greater speeds build up.
Having fun riding without burning fuel and hurting the environment feels good anyway. If you’re able to make peace with the current downsides of owning an EV, then an electric scooter can surely be a fun ride to have in your garage.
Electric Scooter vs ICE Scooter | Features
In the context of features, compared to a standard ICE scooter, a modern-day electric scooter seems like a ride from the future. An electric scooter gets equipped with features like Geo-fencing, Navigation, regenerative braking, smartphone connectivity. Compared to this, an ICE scooter has nothing more than a TFT display and basic connectivity features in the name of features.
However, the technology-rich electric scooters come at a price that is comparatively much steeper.
The Indian market is adapting to the EV revolution at a promising pace. Still, there aren’t many dealerships around the country having electric scooters on offer. Take the case of Ather again, so far they only operate in Bengaluru and Chennai. Even though they aspire to expand their dealership network soon, still they would need some time to expand their operations. Other electric scooter brands have a stronger retail network but it is still not up to the level of two-wheeler giants like Honda, TVS or Hero.
Due to this reason, an electric scooter owner won’t have easy access to physical, one-to-one assistance from a dealership regarding their vehicle.
If you’re someone who sticks to their ride for at least a decade, then buying a petrol scooter in 2020 might just turn out to be bad news for you. Last year, the Indian government considered banning the sale of petrol-powered two-wheelers under 150cc by 2023. Even though the existing vehicles won’t be affected by this ruling, ownership of petrol-powered two-wheelers under 150cc might just get tricky if this comes into play.
In such a case, buying an electric vehicle makes for a future proof decision.
Considering all the parameters one thing is certain, choosing between an electric and ICE scooter is more or less subjective. Considering everything that makes owning an EV wrong in 2020, an ICE scooter has more practicality on offer. However, If one is able to make peace with the downsides of an EV and only needs a ride for local commuting, then they’ll definitely be better off with an electric scooter.