More than 37 million two-wheelers are on Indian roads, making India the second-largest market in 2017. There are very few households without a bike or scooter for daily errands. Be it students or working professionals, everyone utilizes them.
Technology has been changing forever, and we have had electric two-wheelers among us for a significant amount of time. Two-wheelers have come a long way with daily updates. Bikes are affordable & highly fuel-efficient, but is it the same with electric ones?
Indians are most concerned about the price when it comes to purchasing vehicles, which draws a gap between electric and petrol bikes. Electric two-wheelers appear expensive due to the high price. Petrol two-wheelers are considerably more affordable, but not when we look at the bigger picture.
To help establish a market for electric bikes government introduced subsidy schemes providing incentives such as ₹15,000 per kWh. Unlike electric ones, petrol bikes & scooters are available for a wide price range with their respective engine capacity.
As observed in the Auto-Expo 2020, all manufacturers are now focusing on the future of mobility. EVs are in development, and a lot of time and money is being invested in developing the market and making e-mobility feasible.
An average petrol two-wheeler delivers about 40-60kmpl, which goes even higher with some exceptional fuel-efficient products. The electric bikes provide about the same range but at a lower cost.
In the case of fuel-cost electric ones take the win due to the low cost. We all know how the fuel prices were hiked recently, which makes things even uncertain, making electric two-wheelers the better choice for the long term.
Petrol pumps are available across the nation, which technically makes the petrol bikes range limitless. But considering the distance covered in a full tank, it is significantly higher than the electric bikes.
Electric bikes are good for short runs, such as running daily errands nearby the house. As the charging infrastructure in India is still under development, it is best to use them for short distances to avoid being stranded on the road.
Range anxiety is a significant concern for EVs, be it cars or bikes. The lack of charging stations around makes the user anxious while driving. Different brands are investing in setting up charging stations around the country and some government projects, but it will take time.
As EVs have fewer moving parts, they are easy to maintain. Unlike petrol vehicles, they do not need regular servicing and replacing worn parts. The only critical factor is the battery which needs to be taken care of.
According to research by Morgan Stanley, electric two-wheelers are more affordable to run:
Particulars Electric Two-wheelers Petrol Two-wheelers Vehicle Price ₹115,000 ₹83,893 Life 10 years 10 years Amortised annual cost ₹11,500 ₹8,389 Annual electricity/fuel cost ₹2,127 ₹12,483 Annual maintenance + insurance ₹3,000 ₹4,300 Amortised annual battery cost ₹7,500 ₹0 Total annual cost of operation ₹24,127 ₹25,173 Total annual cost of operation (per KM) ₹3.4/KM ₹3.5/KM
Source: Morgan Stanley
Petrol bikes are pricey to maintain as compared to electric two-wheelers. The price is lesser than the EVs, but the maintenance cost is higher. The respective oil changes and the mechanical components do periodically need maintenance.
The last factor which comes on hand is how convenient are electric bikes. We all are familiar with petrol bikes which need a few minutes to fuel up to get on the go again. But that is not the case with EVs.
According to a poll by Team-BHP, there were various reasons why people do not choose electric two-wheelers. Factors such as limited battery life, not enough options to choose from, range anxiety and the lack of charging infrastructure bothered people while considering EVs.
There are fast chargers available, but they need a couple of hours to fully charge the battery. In addition to that, not everyone has access to sockets in their respective parking locations. Considering the people staying in apartments, it is not necessary to have plug-in sockets in the basement garage.
Even with the option of removable batteries, it is still a hassle to remove the battery, take it upstairs to charge and then put it together again. The whole process requires a lot of time, unlike petrol vehicles which are good to go in a few minutes.