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5 important things to keep in mind while buying an electric scooter in India

Two-wheelers are one of the most commonly preferred transport modes in India. In 2021 year, 15.12 million two-wheeler units were sold in India. The numbers are quite high, also the Government of India is concerned about the pollution caused by them and that is why the Government is encouraging for an alternative to a two-wheeler that is an electric scooter. The consumption of fossil fuel needs to be cut as it will reduce pollution, creates a green environment, and eliminates our dependency on crude oil export. Electric vehicles have multiple benefits that include low running cost, less road tax, silence in operation, higher efficiency, highly reliable.

Electric scooters in India are not much popular but they are going to be commonly available in the next 5 years. Although electric scooters have more advantages and benefits they are less seen on Indian roads due to high price tags and limited charging stations. In India, electric two-wheelers are categorized as high-speed electric two-wheelers and low-speed ones. The high-speed electric two-wheelers can run at speeds greater than 25 km/h and they require a driving license whereas low-speed electric two-wheelers have a maximum speed of 25 km/h and they require no license, no registration.

Between Jan-Dec 2021, there were 2,33,971 electric two-wheeler units sold in India of which the high-speed electric two-wheelers had a 425% growth rate while the low-speed electric two-wheeler grew by 24%. This is good news because 1,00,736 electric two-wheeler units sold in 2020.

When it comes to buying a two-wheeler it becomes a bit easy to choose a conventional two-wheeler with a petrol engine as there are a lot of options available in the market, but for electric two-wheelers, the choice becomes hard as most of the electric two-wheelers are electric scooters with low capacity or we can say they are less powerful. You may still be confused about whether to buy a new electric scooter or convert your existing petrol scooter to electric. In this article, the details about the main features that need to be considered are discussed and compared with the conventional petrol scooters.

1. Motor power

An electric motor is the focal part of an electric propulsion kit because within the motor a back emf which is magnetic in nature is generated by the coil and this magnetic force creates torque and this torque propels the scooter. A wide range of electric motors is designed based on applications that demand different output powers. Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) is used in the electric scooter because they have high efficiency, produce less noise, and have variable speed.

A motor should produce enough output power to propel the scooter bearing the load. It should also produce enough initial torque in order to overcome potholes and road breakers on bad roads.

For petrol engines, we use the term cubic capacity(cc) of the engine volume which means more cubic capacity of the engine more is the volume available for fuel combustion and more is the output power.

The electric motor has a rating in Kilo Watt(KW), which means the more the KW rating of the motor, the more it is powerful. It has been found that a 4 KW Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) can produce the same output power as that of a 125 cc petrol engine.

So if you are looking for an electric scooter or planning to get a petrol scooter converted to electric go for a motor rating of at least 4KW and above that is most suitable for 2 seaters.

2. Battery Capacity

In a petrol scooter, the petrol storage in the fuel tank comes into the picture while in an electric scooter the electric charge stored in the battery comes into the picture.

The capacity of the battery is measured in Amp-hr, it is defined as the total amount of electricity generated due to electrochemical reactions by the electrodes in the battery. Total electric energy is the total number of electric charges or electrons.

Whereas battery power rating is the total amount of energy that a battery can store and is expressed as Wh(Watt-hours). Battery power is mathematically expressed as

Wh = Voltage * Amps * hours.

You should note that a battery with a power rating of 2 Watt-hours is capable to propel the scooter for a distance between 70-100 km with a 2 seater load.

Make sure the electric propulsion kit has a battery power rating of at least 2 Watt-hours because some electric scooters that are utilized for short-distance delivery have a battery capacity of fewer than 2 Watt-hours.

3. Motor Type

Usually, electric vehicles use two kinds of motors; Hub motor and Mid-drive motor. The mid-drive motor has more advantages and favorable properties that best suit electric scooters.

The hub motor is integrated directly into the wheels and it directly applies torque to the wheel and is independent of bike gear.

A mid-drive motor is installed between the pedals and is influenced by the gearing concept that gives more controlled differential output power.

Mid-drive motors give a comfortable and quality ride along with a good balance and due to the gear system, they offer good efficiency.

4. Battery Technology

Modern batteries produce electric charges using different technologies. A lithium-ion battery(Li-ion battery) is a rechargeable battery that has been found in various applications due to its suitable properties. Li-ion batteries are more stable and can be recharged hundreds of times. Compared to other rechargeable batteries they have a higher energy density, voltage capacity, and lower self-discharge rate and this makes them highly efficient.

So for your electric scooter go for Li-ion batteries as they are reliable and have advantages.

Advantages of Li-ion battery

  • They have the highest energy density compared to other battery technologies with 100-265 Wh/kg or 250-670 Wh/L.

  • They can deliver large amounts of current for high-power applications.

  • Have low maintenance.

  • They do not require scheduled cycling to maintain their battery life.

  • They have a low self-discharge rate of around 1.5-2% per month which is quite impressive.

5. Price

In order to bring technology revolution, it should be affordable, easy to use, and commonly available. The price matters a lot, we had earlier stated that due to the higher price tag compared to petrol engines the sale of electric scooters is not gaining pace, but in India, we have good news from the Government.

While replying in the Lok Sabha on the Demands for Grants for Road Transport and Highways Ministry, 2022-23, Union Minister Gadkari said, "I can say within a maximum of two years, the cost of electric scooter, car, autorickshaw will be same as a petrol-driven scooter, car, autorickshaw. Prices of lithium-ion batteries are coming down. We are developing this chemistry of zinc-ion, aluminum-ion, sodium-ion batteries. If petrol, you are spending ₹100, then on the electric vehicle you will spend ₹10 (for using)."

Buying a petrol new petrol scooter will cost at least ₹1,00,000, whereas converting your petrol scooter to electric cost will not exceed more than ₹65,000. If you opt for only electric propulsion kit with battery on rent it will even cost less which is around ₹35,000.

Apart from the 5 points mentioned above, there are other factors you need to consider while choosing an electric scooter in India like charging stations, maintenance cost, tech support, build quality, warranty, maximum load, charging time, noise, brakes, license, and registration requirements.

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