It's a great time to buy an electric scooter instead of a petrol one. Here's why

Buying an electric scooter in India at present instead of a petrol model could be beneficial considering the significantly cheaper cost of ownership o
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TVS Jupiter vs TVS iQube
Buying an electric scooter in India at present instead of a petrol model could be beneficial considering the significantly cheaper cost of ownership over the duration of owning the vehicle.
TVS Jupiter vs TVS iQube
Buying an electric scooter in India at present instead of a petrol model could be beneficial considering the significantly cheaper cost of ownership over the duration of owning the vehicle.

Scooters have truly democratised the personal mobility space in the Indian market. While the motorcycles certainly holds the lion's share in the Indian two-wheeler market, scooters too have been instrumental in ramping up the cumulative sales volume in the Indian two-wheeler segment. In the last couple of years, advent of electric scooters has further expedited the democratisation of personal mobility, specially since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, which influenced people's decision to own a personal vehicle at a great extent.

However, to buy or not to buy an electric scooter remains as a great dilemma for many consumers in India even after the rapid growth of this segment. Influx of so many electric scooters in the market has certainly opened a floodgate of options for such buyers across India over the last few years. However, despite the government's push for electric mobility through various subsidy and incentive schemes, discounts and offers by the OEMs, many consumers often get confused, whether to buy an electric scooter or a petrol powered model.

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While many buyers seeking to own a practical, cost-effective and value-for-money two-wheeler for regular commuting, a large number of customers get confused due to various factors like range anxiety, comparatively higher cost of acquisition, uncertainty about the battery replacement etc.

If you are willing to buy an electric scooter instead of a petrol one but confused if the decision would be right or not, here's why it will not be a regrettable decision buying the EV.

Watch: Ather 450S review: Worthy of its price tag?

Electric scooter vs petrol scooter: Cost of ownership

Let us consider the average daily commuting distance is 30 kilometres, per unit electricity charge is 10 and one-litre petrol cost is 100; to make things easily understandable for consumers from different parts of the country. Based on this, let's calculate the cost of ownership for an electric scooter and a comparable petrol model.

Calculation of an electric scooter

With the daily commuting distance being 30 kilometres, the total distance the rider is supposed to cover in a month is (30 kilometres x 30 days) 900 kilometres. Considering per unit electricity charge is 10 and an electric scooter requires about five units of electricity, the EV commands electricity consumption of ( 10 x 5 units) 50 per charge. If the electric scooter can run a 100-kilometre distance on a single charge, per kilometre electric consumption for the EV is ( 50/100 kilometre) 0.50 per kilometre. In that case, the monthly electricity cost for charging the electric scooter is ( 0.50 x 900 kilometre) 450. The yearly electricity cost is ( 450 x 12 month) 5,400. If we take about 2,000 as the cost of maintenance for the EV, the yearly cost of ownership is 7,400.

Calculation of a petrol scooter

With the daily commuting distance being 30 kilometres, a petrol-powered scooter being able to offer about 50 kmpl mileage and petrol price being 100 a litre, monthly petrol cost for the rider is (30 kilometre x 30 days/50 kmpl x 100/litre) 1800. This results in the annual cost of petrol being ( 1,800 x 12 months) 21,600. Add 2,000 for the cost of maintenance with it and a petrol scooter's cost of ownership for a year is 23,600.

 Electric scooterPetrol scooter
Daily commuting distance30 kilometre30 kilometre
Cost of per unit or litre fuel 10 100
Monthly fuel cost 450 1,800
Yearly fuel cost 5,400 21,600
Maintenance cost 2,000 2,000
Yearly cost of ownership based on recurring charges 7,400 23,600
Annual saving with electric scooter 16,200

What this calculation says

This means, the rider can save 16,200 in a year with the electric scooter over a petrol-powered model. Clearly, that's a significant chunk of money for many consumers. It is also enough to make you decide to buy an electric scooter instead of a petrol-powered one.

Watch: Honda Activa 6G road test review

Electric scooter vs petrol scooter: Cost of acquisition

While it is proven that electric scooters offer significantly lower cost of ownership over its lifespan compared to their petrol-powered counterparts, there are various other factors too that influence the buying decision of a consumer. The cost of acquisition is a major one among them. Due to the high cost of the lithium-ion batteries that are imported from overseas markets, electric vehicles in India are significantly costlier than their ICE counterparts.

The Ola S1 Pro and Ather 450X (3.7 kWh) are two of the most popular electric scooters across India. With the FAME 2 subsidy applied, the Ola S1 Pro and Ather 450X electric scooters cost 129,999 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and 128,671 (ex-showroom, Delhi), respectively.

On the other hand, India's bestselling scooter Honda Activa is priced between rs 76,234 and 82,234 (ex-showroom, Delhi), while the Activa 125 is priced between 79,806 and 88,979 (ex-showroom, Delhi). Another highly popular scooter in India, TVS Jupiter comes priced between 73,340 and 89,748 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Clearly, the electric scooters command a much higher premium over the petrol models.

Watch: Ather 450 Apex review: Better, faster than 450X

Why buying an electric scooter still make sense?

It is true that despite the availability of the FAME 2 subsidy and various state governments' EV policy incentives, electric scooters come priced significantly higher than their ICE counterparts. But, you have to consider the overall cost of ownership, which includes the yearly recurring costs alongside the cost of acquisition. The cost of acquisition for an electric vehicle may be much higher than a fossil-fuel powered counterpart, but in the long run investment on the electric scooter sees faster reach to break-even point than the ICE vehicle. Reaching the break-even point takes even less time, if the commuting distance is higher.

Not only this, in a constantly evolving regulatory framework, and many of them being against fossil-fuel vehicles, owning an electric scooter offers peace of mind to the consumer. When it comes to range anxiety and charging infrastructure related worries, the electric scooters are highly practical for commuting in and around cities across India, not on highways, at least at present scenario. Hence, if you are looking for a two-wheeler for your regular commuting and in dilemma between an EV and an ICE vehicle, choose the first one without worry.

First Published Date: 19 Feb 2024, 16:21 PM IST
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