What should you buy in 2021? Petrol or Electric Scooter?

Need for 2-Wheelers

Quick errands to run, peak hour traffic to beat or just a quick comfortable getaway a scooter has always been the pick of people, thanks to their smaller size, agility, and great fuel efficiency. Since scooters were introduced in the markets, they’ve always seen positive demand, irrespective of the buyers’ age or gender. The traditional petrol scooters have ruled the roads for decades now, bringing the complete package of driving ease, comfort, convenience and excellent mileage.

However, as demand grew, these motors began to have an environmental impact. Pollution levels have been skyrocketing. Fuel prices too have touched great heights which has made it difficult for buyers to sustain. Consumers have ended up emptying pockets to keep up with these rising trends .In the middle of this, there has been a considerably more favourable growth in the number of enthusiastic scooter customers. the entry of the electric scooters!

This new segment of scooters brings a breath of fresh air to the environment as they have cut down upon the carbon emissions from the petrol motors as well as making the running expense cut down highly as well as charging an electric scooter costs simply
10% of how much one spends on petrol thus spiking up a buyers interest immensely. Let’s take a closer look at how the electric and petrol scooter fare!

The Costs Involved

The government has been very supportive of increased electric scooter sales. With the plan to maximise the usage of electric vehicles by the year 2030, there have been numerous subsidies being introduced to lower the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle such as the FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrids and EVs) scheme wherein prices of electric scooters decrease by approximately Rs 15000 varying from state to state. The Indian customers are well attracted to products in which they receive discounts and hence makes up for a lucrative deal on the electric scooters.

However, even post-subsidy, the pricing of an electric scooter still ranges higher than the traditional IC engine. For example, a Honda Activa amounts up to Rs 84,999 approximately on-road whereas an Ola S1 would be around Rs 99,999  after discounts. While the cost of purchasing does remain higher for electric vehicles, what makes up well is their running cost. The amount of money spent on refuelling a petrol motor is very high as compared to the cost of charging an electric scooter. Also, the regular costs of servicing the petrol scooters go down as well as no frequent oil changes will be required.

The electric scooter just needs to be charged before it is ready for use. That being said when the expense behind a scooter is being talked about with the entire life of the vehicle in mind, the electric scooter tends to be a clear winner with minimal running costs making up well for the slightly higher cost of purchasing when compared with the traditional petrol scooters. 

Simple Energy One Scooter
Petrol Vs Electric Scooter 2021

The Ride Experience

The ride quality highly varies from scooter to scooter based on their suspensions, whereas its agility is again dependent on its body and engine. However, the main point of discussion remains the range. Once loaded to a full fuel tank, which is a brief ordeal, petrol scooters have been known to cover around 150 – 180 Kms at ease with fuel availability never being an issue. They can cover a week-long usage within city conditions fairly well. However, the sky-high petrol prices are burning a hole in the pocket of the common man as well large businesses which rely on home-delivery of products or goods. As of now, petrol costs well above Rs.105 in metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai. 

On the other hand, an electric scooter requires charging for several hours, or even in the case of fast chargers they still require a longer period. They need to be handled smartly by charging at an appropriate time slot, generally at night, for further assistance, the electric scooters come equipped with smart charge functions which stop the flow of current on its own post full charge. The
electric scooter still tends to give a range between 110 – 200 Kms which is fairly sufficient. However along with planned charging a difficulty to be faced by electric scooter owners remains the availability of places to charge these vehicles. 

India is severely short of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. With a majority of people living in high rise apartments finding places to charge their batteries can become very taxing, and so does the waiting time at the charging station. This tends to become a hassle in case of a quick getaway and the owner may have forgotten to charge overnight or in the case of the battery discharging while being outside somewhere. Also, the petrol vehicle makes for a more apt choice to go for a long ride across the highway as the option to refuel is very conveniently available whereas charging points are still scarce if need be.

That being said, the list of features being provided on the electric scooters remains a clear winner in comparison to the traditional petrol scooters. Ola electric provides the never seen before reverse option as well and majority electric scooters house digital screens, mobile connectivity, OTA updates and proximity unlock among many more lucrative features turning the electric scooter experience a futuristic one!

Maintenance & Resale

Ola charging network
Source: Economic Times

Environmental Concerns

Everyone has been well accustomed to the maintenance and servicing process behind the petrol scooters. Oil change and general vehicle service makes a trip to the service centre on the cards every 3-4 months and brings back a bill of nearly Rs 1000 – 1500. But an electric vehicle does not need it as it does not function on an engine, its source of power is its battery which generally comes with a warranty of around 3-4 years so there is no cost of replacement other than basic service by the choice and riding style of the customer. 

However, the owner of a petrol scooter is going to be far more relaxed by weather conditions as they will not affect their cost of maintenance whilst an electric scooter can face difficulties with water getting in the vehicle during the monsoon. Although, there are claims of them being water-resistant, the components of the vehicle are prone  to be damaged, and the cost of repair is so expensive that it becomes comparable to the cost of maintaining a gas scooter.

And keeping this factor in mind, the life of an electric scooter turns out to be far lower than that of a petrol scooter. The main life of an EV is its battery and it gets worn out after 4-5 years of usage and hence has no value in the second-hand market as getting a new Lithium-ion battery costs Rs 25,000. The petrol scooter brings back at least 30% of its price after 4 years as well making for a good return value after usage thus being a tempting option on this ground. 

Read More: Ather 450X vs Ola Series S vs Simple One

This is one area where the electric scooters entirely outrun the petrol variants. They don’t sport an exhaust pipe, which is one of the finest statements of how environmentally friendly they are. Running on batteries without an engine makes them far quieter on the noise output as well as totally efficient at reducing carbon emissions that harm the environment.

The petrol scooters have had ample engine updates, BS-VI now being the current version to try to control pollution but these efforts have not yielded results as positive as the electric scooters. Naveen Munjal, Managing director at Hero Motorcorp, said in an
interview that by 2027, all new sales of scooters must be in the electric scooter segment. Hero Motorcorp being India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer makes a huge difference by this view. They aim to bring an end to the polluting petrol engines which have been in use for decades now. If we look at the future of EVs being the only kind of transport present, the harmful pollutants left out by vehicles would soon be cut down entirely and bring about a complete green revolution. Hence when the concern is the environment, there’s no chance to consider any alternative other than going for an electric scooter.

Our Word

The choice between an electric and a petrol scooter is far more complicated than it seems. On one hand, the petrol scooter brings to the customer convenience, ease and a great resale while the electric scooter provides excellent savings on running cost as well as maintenance along with a highly eco-friendly engine. However, seeing the future scope at large the electric scooter does bring a positive wave of change. India is a promising market for all-electric vehicles, with plans of ramping up the charging infrastructure as well as subsidies being announced for lowering electric vehicle prices this option becomes all the more attractive. Also, fuel is being used at a very large scale and is not so easy to replenish, not to mention the rising costs of fuel are getting very difficult to bear as well, the idea of shifting to an electric scooter becomes not just economical but also environment-friendly.

What would be your choice of purchase in 2021? The traditional petrol scooter or the futuristic and tech-savy electric one? Let us know in the comment section below!

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