Puzzled over electric two-wheeler purchase? Go through all pros and cons before buying an electric two-wheeler in India

Puzzled over electric two-wheeler purchase? Go through all pros and cons before buying an electric two-wheeler in India

Featured Stories by Team Drivio | 23 Feb 2023

Electric two-wheelers offer significant advantages over petrol scooters or motorcycles. Though, there are still some challenges restricting their even wider acceptance.

  • Electric two-wheelers are much more affordable to buy and maintain, but their initial cost is significantly higher than a petrol scooter or motorcycle.
  • In comparison, electric scooters and motorcycles are more environment-friendly and lighter than petrol-powered two-wheelers.
  • The limited range and availability of charging infrastructure reduce the practicality of electric two-wheelers against petrol-powered ones.

With more and more people adopting electric two-wheelers, the question now arises – has the time come for electric two-wheelers to replace the conventional ones? The question is debatable. While there are unquestionable benefits offered by an electric two-wheeler over a petrol scooter or motorcycle, there are undeniable challenges which persist for the former.

Following are all the benefits and drawbacks of an electric two-wheeler in comparison to a petrol-powered one, which should help you in clearing out your buying decision:

What are the advantages of buying an electric two-wheeler in India?

They are environment-friendly

Since electric two-wheelers produce no smoke and emit no pollutants while in use, they are considered to be immensely environment-friendly over petrol-powered scooters and motorcycles. While the majority of the electricity is being produced by burning coal in India, the acceptance of solar energy is also increasing, thus gradually making electricity an even cleaner energy source. 

They are affordable to run 

Considering the rising prices of fuel, switching to electric two-wheelers is proving to be a much more affordable proposition for many people who have high commuting daily. The difference between a full-tank fuel of a petrol two-wheeler and a full charge for the battery of an electric two-wheeler is substantial. Electric two-wheelers are much more affordable to run and require a much lesser amount for a full charge for their battery.

They are significantly cheaper to maintain

Unlike petrol-powered two-wheelers, electric scooters and motorcycles have no moving parts for their powertrains. In a conventional two-wheeler, the moving parts of an engine require constant maintenance, including the lubrication of many components. 

No such thing is a concern in the case of an electric two-wheeler, as an electric motor has no such lubrication and other maintenance requirements. It is why an electric two-wheeler commands significantly lesser maintenance costs compared to a petrol-powered scooter or motorcycle. 

They have more storage space on offer

An electric powertrain comprising a battery and motor occupies lesser space than a petrol engine in a conventional scooter or motorcycle. For this reason, electric two-wheelers allow better space management under their seats or in place of the ‘fuel tank’. Thus, electric two-wheelers offer more storage space, which makes them more practical for daily usage.

They have lower noise, vibration and harshness levels

As there are much lesser moving components in the powertrain of an electric two-wheeler, the noise-vibration-harshness (NVH) levels of an electric scooter or motorcycle are much lesser noticeable. Also, compared to a conventional petrol scooter or motorcycle, an electric two-wheeler makes negligible noise. With these advantages, an electric two-wheeler offers much lesser fatigue and a smoother riding experience.

They are lighter and easier to ride

The use of lesser components in an electric two-wheeler has another advantage, and it keeps its overall kerb weight lower compared to a conventional scooter or motorcycle. Due to this, an electric two-wheeler has better weight management and space optimization, making them easier to ride, especially for people new to riding two-wheelers. 

What are the drawbacks of buying an electric two-wheeler in India?

After reading all the advantages offered by an electric two-wheeler, you might think that buying it over a conventional two-wheeler is a no-brainer decision. However, that’s not true, as an electric two-wheeler has its own set of disadvantages, some of which restrict its practicality for daily usage. The following are those disadvantages:

Lesser reliability of a battery compared to a petrol engine

While petrol engines offered by automakers are tried and tested machines over a course of time, the same cannot be said about the batteries offered in electric two-wheelers, at least for the time being. Once damaged or showing signs of malfunctioning, an electric battery has to be replaced completely, which is an expensive affair. 

If such a problem persists in a petrol engine, only the malfunctioning component has to be replaced, which makes their repairing costs much lesser in comparison. 

The limited range offered in a full charge

Currently, most electric two-wheelers offered in India offer a maximum riding range between 50-150 km on a practical, real-world basis on a full charge. This maximum range offered by an electric two-wheeler is much lesser than the 300 km and above riding range by a conventional two-wheeler in a full tank of petrol. Due to this restriction, electric two-wheelers are generally not preferred for long-distance riding over a petrol scooter or motorcycle. 

Limited after-sales service and support

In India, there is an immense number of mechanics and service center in every nook and corner that can service or repair your petrol scooter or motorcycle. However, that’s not the case with the currently available electric two-wheelers, as there are much lesser service center and service technicians for their regular service and maintenance. 

Lack of charging infrastructure

While the sales of electric two-wheelers are increasing rapidly, the same cannot be said about the charging infrastructure. The larger cities are getting more charging stations, but there is a lack of them in smaller cities and towns, with no charging stations in villages for the time being. While all electric two-wheelers are available with home charging facilities, the limited availability of fast charging stations reduces their practicality by a fair margin. 

Lesser power in budget electric two-wheelers

In recent times, modern electric two-wheelers from brands like Ola Electric, Ather Energy and Ultraviolette are creating new benchmarks in performance among two-wheeler EVs. However, most electric two-wheelers, priced similarly to petrol-powered ones, offer below-average performance and power. Thus, reducing their riding pleasure even for daily commutes.