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Electric Bike Buying Guide: Save money on EV Bike Purchase

Team AckoJul 21, 2021

Electric vehicles (EVs) are the need of the hour. The need for using alternative fuel for mobility is higher than ever before. EVs are one such option as such vehicles produce zero-emission. Two-wheelers are one of the popular modes of transport in India, and electric two-wheelers are getting popular as the push for the use of EVs gets louder. If you are planning to buy an eco-friendly bike/scooter and looking for an Electric Bike Buying Guide, then read on as this article will provide all the information related to electric two-wheelers.

Electric Bike Buying Guide

Electric Two-Wheeler Buying Guide:

Buying a conventional two-wheeler is easy as you have a lot of options in the market under different price brackets. But when it comes to buying an electric bike/scooter, you have limited options, and the complex working mechanism of an EV makes it a bit tricky to choose the right electric two-wheeler for your requirement. A proper understanding of how an electric two-wheeler work makes it easy while buying a two-wheeled EV. Read on, as this article will throw light on the key points that you should consider before buying an electric bike/scooter.

How to Save Money on Electric Bike/Two-Wheeler Purchase?

Usually, electric two-wheelers are expensive when compared to their conventional counterparts. A two-wheeled electric vehicle is a complex machine as it is equipped with a battery pack and electric powertrain. But you can save money while buying an electric bike/scooter if you consider the following points:

1. Incentive/Tax Benefits:

The Indian government is pushing the use of electric vehicles, and the state governments also offer incentives on the purchase of EVs. Apart from that, you can also get tax benefits while purchasing electric two-wheelers as the sales tax (GST) on EVs are lower when compared to petrol/diesel vehicles. So, check the available incentives and tax benefits before making the purchase.

2. Insurance and Registration Cost:

Low-speed electric scooters need not be registered, and they also do not need to be insured. Also, there is no need for a driving licence to ride such electric scooters. So, if you are buying a low-speed electric two-wheeler, you will save on registration and insurance costs. Usually, low-speed electric scooters are equipped with low-capacity electric motors and battery packs and will have a riding range of around 50-60km. These types of vehicles are best suited for short-distance riding.

Points to consider before buying EV Bike/Two-Wheeler:

When buying an EV, you have to choose the right electric bike/scooter, which matches your requirements. Several factors affect your decision-making when purchasing an electric two-wheeler. Below are the points to consider while buying a two-wheeled electric vehicle:

1. Cost:

The first factor to consider while buying an EV is the cost. You have to be clear about your budget and look for an electric scooter/bike in that price bracket. The cost of an electric two-wheeler plays a vital role in your purchase decision. In the current scenario, even a slow-speed electric scooter can cost around Rs. 50,000, so keep this in mind before deciding to purchase an electric two-wheeler.

2. Speed:

Speed is one of the crucial factors when choosing an electric two-wheeler. If you buy an underpowered electric bike or scooter, it might be irritating to ride as it will not deliver the speed you are expecting. So, always consider checking the top speed of the electric bike and the performance figures before deciding to buy one. Usually, the slow-speed electric scooters will reach a top speed of around 50-60 km/h, and high-speed electric two-wheelers are capable of hitting a top speed of around 70-90 km/h.

3. Riding Range:

One of the main concerns while buying an electric two-wheeler is the riding range. You can consider performing thorough research on the riding range of currently available electric bikes and scooters before deciding to buy one. Usually, the slow-speed electric scooter will have a range of around 50km, and the high-speed electric scooter will deliver a range of around 70-75km. High-end electric motorcycles with bigger battery packs will deliver a riding range of around 150km on a single charge. So, it all depends on which category of electric scooter/bike you are buying.

4. Battery Life:

The battery is one of the most expensive components of an eco-friendly two-wheeler. So, always check the battery life before deciding to buy an electric bike or scooter. Replacing the battery pack of a two-wheeler can be an expensive affair. Usually, the life of a battery pack depends on the type of battery and the usage pattern. The new lithium-ion battery packs offer better life when compared to lead batteries or nickel batteries.

5. Motor Power:

An electric motor is responsible for transmitting the electric power to the wheel, and in turn, it propels the electric two-wheeler. There is a wide range of electric motors with different power outputs. Always choose an electric bike or scooter with the right amount of power output required for your usage. Never buy an under-powered EV, it might ruin the whole experience of owning a two-wheeled EV. Carefully go through the specifications of the electric bike/scooter before making the purchase.

6. Charging Stations:

When you buy an electric scooter/bike, the manufacturer will usually install the home-charging station at your desired location. But only a home-charging station is not enough. Public charging stations are also crucial. Make sure that the electric vehicle brand has a good network of public charging stations so that you can charge your electric two-wheeler on the road.

7. Maintenance Cost:

Maintaining an electric scooter/bike is inexpensive when compared to conventional two-wheelers. An electric two-wheeler has less moving parts and doesn’t require frequent service. The absence of an internal combustion engine makes the maintenance so much easier. So, if you are planning to buy an electric scooter or bike, you need not worry about the maintenance cost as the service intervals are well spread out when compared to conventional bikes and scooters.

8. Options:

Currently, there is only a handful of options available in the market when it comes to electric two-wheelers. Always consider this point before deciding to buy an electric scooter or bike. Hero Electric, Ather, Revolt, Okinawa, Bajaj, TVS, Ampere and Palatino are some of the companies, which retail electric bikes and scooters in the Indian market. Unlike conventional two-wheelers, choosing an eco-friendly two-wheeler is a tricky task given the limited number of options in the market.

9. After-Sales Support:

Before choosing an electric two-wheeler brand, conduct thorough research on the after-sales service and support offered by the company. Because a poor after-sales support can end up in a bitter ownership experience, so, do make sure that the brand has a good network of service centres. Electric vehicles are a complex piece of machinery, and every mechanic cannot repair those kinds of vehicles. You have to rely on the authorised service centres if anything goes wrong with an electric two-wheeler. So, good after-sales support after you own an electric bike/scooter helps.

10. Build Quality:

The modern electric bikes and scooters are on par with conventional two-wheelers when it comes to overall build quality. The materials used in new eco-friendly two-wheelers are similar to conventional bikes/scooters. Before buying an electric bike, take a test ride and have a feel of the vehicle. Make sure that build quality is good and takes the load of daily commutes.

11. Reliability:

Reliability is one of the major drawbacks of electric two-wheelers due to the lack of charging stations across the country. You might not find as many charging stations as conventional fuel stations. In case the battery is drained in the middle of the road, and if you cannot find a charging station, then it will cause you a lot of inconveniences. So, keep this point in mind before you decide to buy an electric bike or scooter.

12. Warranty:

Always check the warranty provided on the battery and the motor before purchasing an eco-friendly two-wheeler. Replacing the battery pack and electric motor will cost almost 3/4th of the cost of the electric two-wheeler. Usually, electric two-wheeler manufacturers provide around 2-3 years of warranty on the battery pack. But before you make a purchase decision, go through the terms and conditions of the warranty policy.

13. Maximum Load:

Usually, electric bikes and scooters are very light, as they do not have most of the mechanical components which are found on conventional two-wheelers. So, the overall weight of an electric scooter/bike is light, and this affects the overall load-carrying capacity. Do check the maximum load capacity of the two-wheeled EV so that you will get an idea about whether the electric bike/scooter is suitable for your requirement.

14. Running Cost:

Running cost is one of the most important factors to be considered before buying an EV. Usually, the battery-powered two-wheelers are meant for short commutes, and they are more efficient than their IC engine-powered counterparts. Electric two-wheelers have a low running cost, and they will reduce your commuting expenses on a longer run. Keep this point in mind, as the running cost depends on the specifications of the battery pack and electric motor.

15. Brand New or Used Electric Two-Wheeler?

If buying a new battery-powered two-wheeler does not fit your budget, you can always consider buying a used one. Electric two-wheelers are in the market for quite some time, and you can find used electric bikes and scooters in the market. But make sure that you thoroughly check the condition of the vehicle before deciding to go for a used model. Check the remaining battery life, remaining warranty and the overall mileage of the used electric bike/scooter before making the purchase.

16. Electric Two-Wheeler Insurance Cost:

Battery-powered two-wheelers are expensive, and the common conception is that electric bike insurance is also on the expensive side. But it’s the other way around. Electric bike insurance is affordable when compared to conventional two-wheeler insurance. Electric two-wheelers are suitable for short commutes, and they are only capable of reaching top speeds of around 70-90km/h, and that reduces the risk factor. So, electric bike insurance is inexpensive, and you can consider buying a comprehensive insurance plan as it provides extensive coverage benefits.

17. Charging Options:

Usually, electric two-wheeler manufacturers offer home-charging stations when you buy an electric scooter or motorcycle. The home-charging docks offer standard charging. Currently, only a few electric two-wheelers support fast-charging in India. Some electric scooters and bikes can also be charged through the standard power outlet of your home/office. So, do consider the charging options you are looking for before buying a battery-powered scooter/bike.

18. Noise:

Do note that electric two-wheelers are usually silent in operation. You cannot expect an exhaust sound from a battery-powered scooter or motorcycle as it does not have an engine. So, keep this in mind before switching to an eco-friendly two-wheeler.

19. Brakes: 

Electric bikes and scooters are very light when it comes to the overall weight of the vehicle. So, these types of two-wheelers do not come with high-end brakes. Usually, most of the electric two-wheelers in the entry-level segment come with drum brakes. High-end two-wheeled EVs will be equipped with disc brakes, and hardly a few models come with ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System). So, you have to consider this point if you are looking for a superior braking performance for your electric two-wheeler.

Also, read: Tips to Maintain Your Electric Bike/Two-wheeler

Checklist for Buying Electric Two-Wheelers:

Below are the points you need to check before buying an electric two-wheeler:

1. Battery Warranty:

Always check for the warranty on the battery before buying an electric bike or scooter. Replacing a battery pack can burn a hole in your pocket as it is one of the most expensive components of an eco-friendly two-wheeler. So, always go through the warranty policies.

2. Charging Time and Range:

Charging time and riding range are two factors which define the performance of an electric two-wheeler. Instead of relying on the manufacturer-specified figures, always check for real-life review to determine the exact riding range and charging time of an electric scooter or motorcycle. High-end two-wheeled EVs even support fast-charging and deliver a riding range of over 100km. So, always check these two factors before owning a battery-powered two-wheeler.

3. Battery Type and Capacity:

Modern electric bikes and scooters are equipped with lithium-ion battery packs, which is the industry standard. High-end electric two-wheelers also come with detachable battery packs, which are portable and can be charged at your convenient place. Having a portable battery can be an advantage if you want to charge the battery at your desired location.

4. Peak Power and Torque:

One of the advantages of an electric vehicle is the instant torque. There is no delay/lag in power output as the torque is instantly transferred to the wheels via an electric motor. Go through the specifications of the electric bike/scooter to get a clear idea about the performance. Take a test ride and make sure that the power figures on paper match the real-world performance. An underpowered electric scooter/bike can be irritating to ride, so always check the power and torque figures.

5. Licence and Registration Requirements:

Low-speed electric scooters with a low-capacity battery pack and electric motor are only capable of reaching a top speed of around 40-50km/h.  Such vehicles need not be registered and also, there is no need for a driving licence to ride them on roads. Low-speed electric scooters also do not require insurance. But high-speed electric two-wheelers need to be registered, and a valid driving licence is required to ride such vehicles. Also, you need to have a valid two-wheeler insurance policy for high-speed battery-powered bikes and scooters.

6. After-Sales Network:

Always go for an electric two-wheeler brand which has a good network of sales and service centres. Battery-powered bikes and scooters are equipped with complex electric powertrains. Your local mechanic will not be able to repair if anything goes wrong with your electric bike or scooter. You have to rely on authorised service centres for any kind of repair or regular service. So, do keep this point in mind, before choosing an electric bike./scooter brand.

Is Insurance required for Electric Bikes?

The answer to this question is both No and Yes. No, if it’s a low-speed electric scooter, and yes, if it’s a high-speed/standard electric two-wheeler. Technically, low-speed electric scooters do not require two-wheeler insurance. Now, coming to the standard or high-speed electric two-wheelers, these types of two-wheeled EVs need to have a valid two-wheeler insurance. You can either buy a third-party or a comprehensive bike insurance policy for your electric bike/scooter. You can consider buying electric bike insurance online as it will save you a lot of time and money. You can opt for a digital-first insurer such as ACKO, which provides digital insurance policies.

Also, read: Electric Car Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions:

Buying an electric two-wheeler is a very tricky task, given the current scenario of electric vehicles in the country. The limited number of options and the complex working of EVs make it difficult to choose the right electric bike or scooter. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about electric two-wheelers.

1. Why are electric two-wheelers not so popular in India?

Electric two-wheelers are not popular in India because of the lack of charging stations and the higher price tag on electric two-wheelers. The battery pack and complex electric powertrain lead to a higher price tag when compared to IC engine two-wheelers. Moreover, the charging infrastructure is still in its early stages.

2. I am planning to buy an electric two-wheeler. Which are the best electric bikes and scooters in India?

Below are some of the best electric bikes and scooters in India:

  • Ather 450X

  • Revolt RV400

  • Bajaj Chetak Electric

  • TVS iQube Electric

  • Revolt RV300

  • Okinawa PraisePro

  • Hero Electric Photon Li

3. Can I convert my motorcycle to an electric bike?

No. You cannot convert your conventional motorcycle to an electric bike as it is very expensive to do so. Also, you should not tamper with the original mechanical components and engine of your motorcycle.

4. Do I need to have a driving licence to ride electric two-wheelers?

If you ride a low-speed electric two-wheeler, you do not need to have a driving licence. But a valid driving licence is required to ride a high-speed electric motorcycle or scooter.

5. Can I wash my electric scooter with water?

Yes. You can wash your electric motorcycle with water like any other conventional scooter. But note that, avoid using high-pressure water as the water can enter inside the battery compartment and damage electronic components.

6. Which battery pack should I choose while buying an electric two-wheeler?

Usually, all new electric motorcycles and scooters come with a lithium-ion battery pack. Only a few battery-powered two-wheelers come with lead-acid batteries. A Lithium-ion battery pack is better as it charges faster and delivers superior performance when compared to lead-acid batteries.

7. How can I charge my electric scooter?

You can charge the electric scooter via the home-charging station provided by the manufacturer. You can also make use of public charging stations to charge your electric scooter. Some electric two-wheelers also come with a removable battery, which can be charged at your home/office.

8. What are the main points to consider before buying an electric motorcycle?

Below are the points to consider before buying an electric motorcycle:

  • Battery Capacity

  • Riding Range

  • Charging Time

  • Power and Torque

  • Charging options

  • After-sales service

9. Do I need to register an electric two-wheeler?

Low-speed electric two-wheelers with power ratings of below 250 Watts need not be registered. But high-speed electric vehicles need to be registered similar to a conventional two-wheeler.

10. Can I ride my electric scooter during monsoons?

Yes. You can ride the electric scooter in monsoons. But you need to take some precautions. Do not ride the EV in flooded roads, always park the electric scooter in a dry place and after the ride, keep the scooter and its components dry.

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