- Electric scooters are buzzing with interest from potential two-wheeler buyers in India.
- Despite growing 132% in 2021, electric scooters will still remain a niche product, but that is likely to change in 2022.
- That said, there are still many questions in buyers’ minds when trying to choose between electric scooters and gasoline scooters.
- We split the cost of owning and using an electric scooter compared to a gasoline scooter.
Electric scooters have become hugely popular in recent months, thanks in part to established players like Ather, newcomers like Ola Electric’s S1 Pro and Simple Energy, the government promoting the use of electric vehicles, and ever-rising gasoline prices.
Together, these factors have brought electric vehicles – especially scooters – into the spotlight. This may be evidenced by the fact that electric scooters registered a growth of 132% in 2021, with 2022 promising to be even better.
But as an end user, these things are not as important as the cost of owning and operating an electric scooter, compared to an ICE (internal combustion engine) alternative, such as the Honda Activa or TVS Jupiter.
the adage Kitna deti hai? (“How much does it bring?”, referring to mileage) couldn’t be more true in the case of an average Indian household. With gasoline prices rising in 2021, many of us have been looking for an electric scooter that could replace our gasoline scooter.
One of the areas where people get stuck is the cost-benefit analysis of buying and using an electric scooter. Yes, features are important, but value for money can still be paramount.
This cost comparison consists of two parts: buying and using the scooter.
For this story, we chose the Ather 450X for comparison, as it is the most widely available electric scooter in the country as of now.
Buying an electric scooter versus a petrol scooter
Here’s a comparison of the cost of buying an electric scooter like the Ather 450X, versus the Honda Activa 6G and TVS Jupiter 125 in different states in India.
|State||Other 450X||Honda Assets 6G||TVS Jupiter 125|
Source: Ather, Honda, TVS. Ex-showroom prices, excluding applicable taxes
As you can see, the Ather 450X costs almost double that of a Honda Active 6G and TVS Jupiter 125. Purely from a purchase cost standpoint, the Ather 450X doesn’t really make sense, does it?
But owning a vehicle is only part of the equation – the other, and arguably more important aspect to consider is driving and maintaining it.
Driving and maintaining a scooter – electric versus petrol
Both electric and petrol scooters have their respective challenges when it comes to driving and maintaining them.
When it comes to electric scooters, charging them and fear of range are the two main mental blocks in the minds of potential buyers. Companies have tried to solve this to some extent by providing chargers with the scooters and setting up a charging network in popular cities.
However, range anxiety remains a concern.
When it comes to gasoline-powered scooters, the fuel price is the biggest issue. For example, the price of 1 liter of gasoline in New Delhi was ₹83.71 on January 1, 2021. A year later, it increased by 14% to 95.41. That is higher than inflation.
Apart from this, maintenance costs are another important factor in owning a gasoline scooter. It takes the first two years to maintain a Honda Activa average of 4,822, but these costs can increase significantly with use and age.
In comparison, to maintain an Ather 450X costs 2,400 per year.
Cost per kilometer – which is better, electric or petrol scooter?
The last aspect of using a scooter – the cost per kilometer.
On average, the Ather 450X has a real range of 85 kilometers (KM) per charge, while the Activa and Jupiter have a range of 45-48KM per liter, according to most reports.
According to Ather, and based on domestic electricity prices, a full charge costs anywhere from 15-20. For these calculations we have taken the upper band of 20.
|Scooter||Other 450X||Honda Assets 6G||TVS Jupiter 125|
|Operating costs per KM||₹0.24||₹2.12||₹2.12|
Now that we’ve calculated these costs, let’s get to the total cost of ownership and driving a scooter per mile for 10,000, 20,000, and 30,000 miles.
|Usage||Other 450X||Honda Assets 6G||TVS Jupiter 125|
Note: Total costs per KM
The advantage of this is that while an electric scooter can have a significantly higher initial cost, it drops drastically the more you ride.
This is purely due to the significantly higher cost of gasoline compared to electricity, per kilometer.
So if you are someone who commutes a lot, it might make more sense to opt for an electric scooter. If your daily commute isn’t high and you don’t want to spend more money up front, it makes more sense to stick with a gasoline scooter.
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