In India’s electric vehicle (EV) space, it’s the electric scooters that have caught everyone’s eye. The two-wheelers are compact, affordable, and suit the current infrastructure of the country. As a result, you have tons of electric scooters available in the market. These e-scooters are available at almost every price point and come from renowned brands such as Hero and Bajaj as well as startups like Ola and Ather. This has become quite overwhelming for the end-users or buyers who can’t decide as to which electric scooter to buy. Fret not, we have got you covered. Below we’ve listed some of the important things that you should consider before buying an e-scooter in India.
The most obvious thing to consider before purchasing an electric scooter is the price. Battery technology is still fairly expensive and so are electric scooters. Some of the best electric scooters available in India cost over Rs 1 lakh, which is a lot higher than your standard ICE (internal combustion engine) scooters. Ensure that you research and understand all the aspects including on-road price, financing options (if available), offers, and the kind of tax benefits that you get when you purchase the scooter.
2. Tax benefits
Since the Indian government is pushing for the sale of electric vehicles, you should be eligible for a tax refund and other incentives when purchasing an electric scooter. As per Section 80EEB, you can get tax benefits of up to Rs 1.5 lacs on the interest paid towards the loan taken to purchase an electric vehicle. The tax benefit under Section 80EEB can be obtained if you meet the following conditions.
- The loan for the purchase of an electric vehicle must be sanctioned between April 1st, 2019, and March 31st, 2023.
- The loan must be taken from a financial institution.
You can learn more about tax benefits on electric vehicles over here. Apart from tax benefits, make sure you also take a look at any buy-back offers provided by the manufacturer.
Currently, in the Indian market, you will find scooters that offer a range of anywhere between 50 to 200Km on a single battery charge.
The second most important thing to look at when buying an electric vehicle is range. Just like fuel mileage, there is a difference between the range claimed by manufacturers and the actual range that you get in practice. Check the maximum range the electric scooter provides, and contact owners, if possible, to understand the real-world range. Currently, in the Indian market, you will find scooters that offer a range of anywhere between 50 to 200kms on a single battery charge. Some electric scooters are now shipping with an additional battery pack to increase their overall range. If you’re someone who travels large distances every day, then you should consider something that can offer plenty of range.
While this is a given, do make sure that you ask about the features offered on the electric scooter. You should look at the following features when buying an electric scooter.
- Boot space — Electric scooters can offer a lot more boot space than traditional ICE scooters as they don’t have an engine. Some E-scooters offer space to fit up to two helmets, so make sure you take advantage of this feature.
- Ride ergonomics — This is an important feature and one you can only gauge after taking a test ride. Make sure you’re comfortable riding the scooter and also check for pillion comfort.
- Riding modes — Most electric scooters also offer riding modes, which can come in very handy. Check if the scooter has different riding modes such as Eco, Power, and so on.
- Display — A display on the dashboard is a common feature on most electric scooters. Check whether the scooter you’re purchasing has a normal dash or a modern LCD display with touch input. Apart from obvious information like speed, battery life, certain electric scooters offer displays that can bring up GPS navigation, smartphone notifications, and more.
- Bluetooth connectivity — Modern electric scooters are also expected to feature Bluetooth. This enables one to wirelessly connect their smartphone to get phone notifications right on the scooter’s display. Additionally, it can also be used to connect the native app on the smartphone to keep a tab on your electric scooter.
- Navigation — Some electric scooters also offer inbuilt GPS allowing the rider to get turn-by-turn navigation on the display. This is another useful feature to have on your scooter.
- Charging ports — Check whether the electric scooter has at least one charging port under the seat or in the front. This will come in handy as it can be used to charge your smartphone or other electronic peripherals.
Some manufacturers also offer a reverse charging option for your smartphone, GPS tracking, OTA software updates, and remote monitoring via an app.
5. Charge time
Once your electric scooter runs out of juice, you’ll need some time to recharge the in-built battery. The process is similar to your smartphone or laptop, where your electric scooter has to be plugged in and left for a few hours to fully charge. It’s recommended that you purchase a scooter that doesn’t take a lot of time, if possible within 7 hours, so you can leave it on charge overnight. Also, consider something that supports fast charging, so you can top-up quickly if you’re low on charge mid-commute.
Electric scooters such as the Ather 450 and the Bajaj Chetak Electric take around 5-6 hours to fully charge. Others such as the TVS iQube and the Hero Electric Photon can take around 7 hours to charge from 0 to 100.
6. Charging stations
Electric scooter manufacturers will usually install a home charging station for you, but you should also look at the availability of public charging stations. It is crucial to check whether the EV brand has a good network of charging stations so you can charge while on the road if the need arises. Also, make sure you check whether the electric scooter supports charging via third-party chargers or a standard wall socket, which would make life a lot simpler.
How to find a nearby charging station in India online?
While India doesn’t have a massive network of EV charging stations yet, there are some easy ways to find one nearby. Mobile apps such as EV Plugs, Statiq, and websites such as ChargeList can help you locate a charging station near your location. Some EV manufacturers also have their own apps or services that help one find a charging station right from the vehicle dash.
7. Performance/ power
Since there are plenty of electric scooter options available in India, you’ll also have to look at what kind of performance you want out of the scooter. There are slow scooters that do about 40-50kmph, and there are fast ones that can hit 80-100kmph. If you have a relaxed riding style and don’t need fast bursts of acceleration, then go for the lower-power electric scooters. These also cost less money. It is better to purchase something that matches your performance needs, else you might end up with an unsatisfactory experience.
8. Power modes
Electric scooters usually come with different power modes that also affect the overall range. These are meant to prolong the overall range. Look for scooters that come with multiple modes such as Eco and Sport, which let you choose between the kind of power. For instance, if you are driving in city traffic, you can shift into Eco mode wherein the electric scooter will be slow but offer a longer range. With Sport mode, you’ll get all the performance out of the motor, but the range will inevitably be reduced.
9. Battery life
Battery life is another important factor to consider when purchasing an electric scooter. The battery will lose power over time and is the first thing you might actually have to replace. While some electric scooters come with user-replaceable batteries, others don’t. Therefore, you must find out what kind of battery life guarantee is offered by the manufacturer. It’s also best to learn the type of battery used in the scooter that you’re interested in. Lithium-ion batteries are the best currently, and offer long battery life.
Most manufacturers offer at least 3 years of guarantee/warranty on the batteries, and typically a lithium-ion battery will last for about 6-7 years before it needs a replacement. However, this depends on how the customer users the electric scooter. Over-charging, not charging enough, trickle charging, excessive heat/cold, riding style, and other factors can affect the battery life.
10. Build quality
To keep the price low, several EV manufacturers usually overlook and do not pay a lot of attention to build quality. Thus, it’s your job to read and watch reviews, go through customer feedback, and find out more about the build quality of the electric scooter you’re interested in. It’s also a good idea to take a test ride of the scooter to have a look at the build quality for yourself. Most manufacturers do use similar materials as non-electric scooters and the build is usually good. Make sure you also understand the quality and shelf life of important components and whether they are covered in your insurance.
Before buying an electric scooter, it is important to learn about how reliable it is in the real world. The reliability score of a scooter depends on various factors, such as charging network, battery life, build quality, etc. If the brand doesn’t have a vast network of charging stations, then you might be left stranded on the road if and when your scooter runs out of charge. Similarly, make sure that the brand offers a good service network.
12. Brand value
It’s always a good idea to consider purchasing an electric scooter from a brand that’s been around for a while or has received promising reviews and feedback. Brands such as Ather were the pioneers of electric scooters in India, which means their scooters have been around for a while now. Other brands — such as Bajaj, TVS, and Hero — that, although new to electric scooters, have been around for decades and can be expected to offer reliable products.
13. After-sales service and maintenance
Electric vehicles don’t need to be maintained the same way as conventional ICE vehicles. You will not need to take your electric scooter to the service center every 6-months, as the service intervals are much longer. The maintenance cost is much lesser compared to the ICE counterparts. However, it’s best to understand everything when it comes to after-sales service and other maintenance costs from the manufacturer before purchasing an electric scooter. Make sure that the brand has a good network of service centers as well. If something goes wrong with an electric scooter, a roadside mechanic might not be the best person to fix the problem. Apart from the battery and motor, the other major things you’ll need to worry about are the tyres, which will wear out faster than the batteries.
The most important parts of an electric scooter are the battery and the motor. These are the two major components that may cause a problem in an electric scooter. Therefore, it’s best to inquire about the warranty of these parts. Most manufacturers offer at least 2-3 years of warranty on both the battery and the motor, but there are a few that offer longer period warranties. Make sure you purchase a scooter that offers a long warranty period on the battery and motor.
15. Ownership cost
The overall ownership or running cost is one of the many things that vehicle owners ignore, but one should definitely consider this especially before purchasing an electric scooter. One should look into electricity costs, daily usage, use cases, will it be used for short commutes or long ones, and so on. Overall, the ownership cost of an electric scooter is higher at the time of purchase, but over time the running cost is much lower than an ICE scooter.
Those were some of the most important things to consider before purchasing an electric scooter in India. There are plenty of brands to choose from, and there will be more options in 2022. New companies such as Simple Energy, and even smartphone manufacturers, are working on bringing electric scooters with long-range and improved performance. We hope this electric scooter buying guide helps you choose the best scooter for you.