There is an ongoing flood of electric scooters in the country at the moment. Every company is trying one thing or the other to capture this market. There are more than 20 electric scooters being sold in India at the moment. On the other hand, however, only one electric motorcycle has been launched.
This got me thinking if there is a bigger market for motorcycles in India, why is every company launching scooters? Let’s look at some reasons why this is the case!
The biggest reason for the influx of electric scooters is the lacklustre fuel efficiency of their petrol counterparts. My friend’s TVS Ntorq gives a mileage of 25-28 kmpl, which is akin to burning literal money in this inflation. Where 125 CC motorcycles give a mileage of 60, the scooters can hardly manage half of that. This is why petrol scooters will be the first to go when electric vehicles arrive as they are the most fuel-consuming vehicles out there.
Simple manufaturing and design
Scooters are very simple vehicles by design. There is an engine attached directly to the rear wheel and the throttle and brake controls are attached to the handle. Motorcycles on the other hand have gears, bigger suspensions, engines far from the rear wheel and many other design elements that make it faster, more capable and all-around better two-wheelers.
The complexities involved in the design and manufacture of motorcycles is why most companies have steered clear of it as of now. Although companies like Harley Davidson and Zero Motorcycles have tried a hand at electric motorcycles, they are yet to find the same success as scooters.
Availability of charging
Another big reason for the rise of electric scooters is the availability of charge. You see, rural Indian is very vast and spread out in a larger area, whereas the cities are more compact. Fewer charging stations would be able to handle the charging needs of a whole city than in the countryside. For electric scooter companies, it is more feasible to make charging stations in big cities and capture more riders than in rural areas where villages and towns are very far apart.
This is where it gets interesting. While there is a 70/30 split in motorcycle and scooter users in rural India, this becomes more even in the cities. There is an equal number of scooters in the cities as motorcycles which evens out the things for the companies. Given there are other factors that point in favour of scooters, it makes the companies’ decision easy.
Another big reason for most electric two-wheelers being scooters is due to their gender neutrality. You see, a motorcycle is designed to ride with both feet apart, which means you have to be wearing pants in order to do that. Clothes like Saari, dhoti etc pose a huge challenge when riding a motorcycle. As society progresses, the number of women with jobs increases. This means there are more potential riders of scooters than that of a motorcycle in the future. This increasing number of women riders has attracted most companies to make electric scooters and not electric motorcycles.
What do you think about the rise of electric scooters? Will bullets of tomorrow be electric as well? What are your preferences, let us know in the comments.