An electric scooter or e-scooter is an environment-friendly mode of transportation that can be convenient as well as fun. We often find locals breezing on their electric scooters, and often think that buying an e-scooter could be a good fit for our lifestyle too. The problem lies with choosing the right e-scooter. There are many options available in the market and thus it is difficult to choose the scooter that will be apt for you.
To solve this problem, we have compiled a list of 15 pointers that can be considered before buying an e-scooter.
One of the most obvious things, about which Indian consumers are sensitive to date is the price of the item they are purchasing. Price is the first factor that should be considered. Battery Technology is still comparatively expensive in India and so are electric scooters. Some scooters cost over Rs. 1 lakh which makes them unaffordable for a large group of people in the country. Research about the price along with other aspects like on-road price, financing options, tax benefits, etc. to finalize if you can get a good e-scooter at a favorable price. The average cost of e-scooters are as follows-
Slow-Speed Electric Scooters- Cost around Rs. 50,000 and preferred for women and kids for small day-to-day tasks.
High-Speed Electric Scooters- Cost around Rs. 1,00,000 and are meant for commuting long distances.
Note- Never buy an e-scooter for the sake of a lower price as you might get a poor-quality vehicle.
Riding range means how far your vehicle can go in one full charge. All slow-speed e-scooters give you a maximum riding range of 50-70 km. If you are satisfied with this range, then you are good to go, otherwise not. High-speed scooters give a range of 120-200 km.
Currently, in the Indian market, you will find scooters that are offering a range of 50 to 150 km on a single battery charge. Understanding the real-world riding range is important. If you are someone who often travels long distances, then go for high-speed scooters that offer a better riding range.
3. Battery Life
A battery makes up most of the cost of an electric vehicle. If you need to get your battery replaced, you’ll have to pay more than half of the total cost of an electric scooter. Thus, it is important to check the battery type and its average life expectancy. In almost all-electric vehicles, a lithium-ion battery is used.
It is important to find out the battery life guarantee offered by the manufacturer as the cost of replacing the battery is huge. Most manufacturers offer at least 3 years of guarantee/ warranty on the batteries and a normal lithium-ion battery will last for about 6-7 years before it needs replacement. This also depends on how you are using your vehicle as over-charging, not charging enough, excessive heat/cold, riding style, and other factors can affect the battery life.
4. Charging Stations
You can charge your e-scooter at your home, as companies install a home charging station for you. But when you are traveling far distances, you need electric charging stations to recharge the battery power. Hence, we recommend you to go for the brand that has a good network of electric charging stations. This will allow you to charge your device on the go if needed. Also check whether your scooter supports charging via third-party chargers or a standard wall socket, which would make your life much simpler. In India, websites like ChargeList and apps like EV Plugs and Statiq can help you locate a charging station near your location.
5. Charge Time
When the charging drains out, you will need time to let the in-built battery recharge. Just like smartphones, e-scooters require time to recharge too. The scooter has to be plugged in and left for a few hours to charge completely. Look for an e-scooter whose charging time is within 7 hours, so you can get it charged overnight. If your scooter supports fast charging, then it’s even better as you can top up the battery even during your commute.
Scooters like Ather 450 and Bajaj Chetak Electric take 5-6 hours to fully charge. Others can take up to 7 hours or slightly more.
6. Tax Benefits
Currently, since the Indian government has been encouraging sales of the e-vehicles, they are offering tax refunds and other incentives when purchasing an electric scooter. According to section 80EEB, one can get tax benefits of up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs on the interest paid towards the loan taken to buy an EV. The tax benefit can be obtained if –
- The loan for the purchase of an EV must be sanctioned between April 1st, 2019, and March 31st, 2023.
- The loan must be taken from a financial institution.
7. Performance/Motor Power
Motor Power is very important when it comes to the driving style of an e-scooter. Depending on the rider’s weight and the area where it is to be driven, motor power should be considered carefully.
Among the various choices available in India, you will have to look at what kind of performance you need for your scooter. Slow scooters do about 40-50kmph while fast ones give 80-100kmph. If your riding style is relaxed and you don’t need too much acceleration, opt for lower power e-scooters as they are low cost too. Performance needs are a must to be considered as you might end up with an unsatisfactory experience otherwise.
8. Power Modes
Different Power Modes in an e-scooter affect the overall range, so look for scooters that come with multiple modes like Eco and Sport. These let you choose between the kind of power you want. For example, 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 from the motor, but the range will inevitably be reduced.
Following features must be kept in mind when buying an e-scooter-
- Boot Space- Electric scooters can offer more boot space than a normal scooter, sometimes accommodating up to 2 helmets. So check for good boot space.
- Ride ergonomics- This can be analyzed only after you have test-driven your scooter, so make sure you are comfortable riding the scooter and check for pillion comfort too.
- Display-Check whether the e-scooter has a normal or LCD with touch input. Certain e-scooters display show GPS navigation, smartphone notifications, and more apart from showing speed, battery life, and distance.
- Riding Modes- Check if the scooter has riding modes to choose from like Eco, Power, and so on.
- Bluetooth connectivity- Bluetooth enables you to wirelessly connect your smartphone to get the phone’s notifications on the scooter’s display.
- Charging ports- Do check if the e-scooter has at least one charging port under the seat or in the front. This will come in handy as it will allow you to charge your smartphone or other electric devices.
- Navigation- Some e-scooters come with in-built GPS allowing you to get turn-by-turn navigation on the display.
10. Build Quality
One benefit of going in for a well-known brand is that you can trust the build quality of its electric scooters. Some test drives should be done and conditions under which scooter will be driven considered before buying an e-scooter.
Customer feedbacks mostly help in analyzing if the build quality is apt or not. Although most manufacturers use similar materials as non-electric scooters and the build is mostly decent, but make sure to understand the quality and shelf life of components and whether they come under your insurance or not.
It is important to understand how reliable the scooter is in the real world. Reliability depends on factors like charging network, battery life, build quality, etc. If some brand doesn’t have widely spread charging stations, then you might be stranded on the road. So make sure the brand offers a good service network.
12. Brand Value
It is smart to buy an e-scooter from a brand that has been around for a while now. Brands like Ather, Bajaj, TVS, and Hero have been around for decades and thus their products can be relied upon.
13. After Sales Support & Maintenance
Your journey with a brand does not end when you buy a product. The real journey starts when you buy a product. Believe it or not but your product is not going to last forever. Unlike conventional scooters, e-scooters are a complicated vehicle for an automobile mechanic too. So, if you face any issue, you will have to take your s-scooter to the brand’s service center. Thus, buy an electric scooter whose after-sales service is good.
Also, maintenance cost is an important factor. Most of the electric scooters have low maintenance costs as compared to conventional scooters because of fewer moving parts and no use of the engine. These scooters use motors to power the wheel motion which requires less maintenance than an engine. Check with your dealer about maintenance that would be needed and how much it will cost.
When it comes to electric scooters, you need to check the warranty of the battery, motor, and overall electric scooter. 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 consider this before buying an electric scooter. Look into electricity costs, daily usage, use cases, short/long commutes, and so on. The ownership cost is higher at the time of purchase, but over time the running cost is much lower than an ICE scooter.
These were 15 important factors that need to be kept in mind while buying an e-scooter in India. There are a variety of brands to choose from and there will be quite a lot of new options to choose from in 2022 too. New companies like Simple Energy are working on bringing e-scooters with a longer range and improved performance. We hope this write-up will help you choose the best possible e-scooter for yourself.