All you need to know about electric scooters in India

Electric scooters have been in India since 2006 (The 1st electric scooter in India was launched by Yobykes, a Gujarat based company) yet there is so less information about this ecosystem such as types of scooters, insurance, license, helmet rule etc – this isn’t a ride review or ownership review of electric scooters, but more on what’s out there.

Basics of an electric scooter:

  • Power output of an electric scooter is measured/specified in watts ( W ) or kilowatts (kW) – more the wattage, more powerful
  • They emit no toxic gases or zero emission vehicles – hence Do not need an emission certificate or PUC (sorry to state the obvious – but some traffic cops in Blore do stop EVs and ask for an emission certificate 😛)
  • Types of electric scooters available in India:
    • Battery Type:
      • Lithium-ion battery (light weight, expensive, fast recharge and more power- on an average priced upwards of INR 40,000)
      • Lead-acid battery (heavy, inexpensive, take longer to charge and output less power – price range of INR 20,000 to 35,000)
    • Power Developed:
      • Under 250W power with top speed of 25 kmph ( Ex: Hero Optima LA/LI series, Lohia Fame etc)
      • Above 250W power and top sped >25 kmph ( Ex: Ather 340 and 450, Okinawa I-praise, Ridge Plus, Hero Optima E5, Nyx & Photon series)
  • Personal Electric vehicles ( scooters, cars) have unique registration plates ( green in colour)
  • Majority of the electric scooters can be charged via a standard plug point at homes, offices or at dedicated charging stations such as the Ather grid

With the basics in place – let’s dive into the most asked questions about electric scooters in India:Ather electric scooters with Ather One Grid in IndiaImage Courtesy & Credit: AutocarIndia

Disclaimer: These rules may vary from each state and with this segment seeing a lot of policy changes – I recommend checking with your electric scooter dealer or local transport registration authorities on the applicable rules

  • Do electric scooters need to a registration certificate and driving licence ?
    Electric scooters with a top speed below 25kmph or those with a max power output of 250W DO NOT need to be registered with the transport authorities + DO NOT need a driving licence
    Any electric scooter that exceeds the above power and speed specifications need a registration certificate and a valid license like a regular scooter
  • Do electric scooters need insurance ?
    Electric scooters with a top speed below 25kmph or those with a max power output of 250W require a 3rd party insurance cover
    Any electric scooter that exceeds the above power and speed specifications require a regular 2-wheeler insurance
  • What is FAME subsidy ?
    FAME stands for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of hybrid & Electric vehicles ( personal and commercial vehicles) – this is a government initiative to promote wide adoption of electric vehicles in India and to provide subsidies for manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicles and components.

The FAME Scheme operates in two phases.

    • Phase I: started in 2015 and was completed on March 31st, 2019.
    • Phase II: started from April 1st, 2019, will be completed by March 31st, 2022.

As per the current FAME-phase II – For electric two-wheelers below Rs 1.5 lakh, applicable subsidy will be Rs 20,000 per vehicle. This is claimed by the manufacturer and transferred to the customer.

  • What is an electric bicycle/electric cycle/e-bike/e-bicycle ?
    Electric bicycle or e-bikes or electric cycle is a regular bicycle with pedal – attached with a motor and a lithium-ion battery. E-bikes do not need registration certificate or driving licence to ride in India. 

Examples of electric bicycles in India: Swagtron Swagcycle Envy (folding e-bicycle) , Roulik Inizio e-bike, Elektron hybrid bicycle m268 etc)

There are three main modes in which you can ride an electric cycle.

    • Regular Mode – In this mode, there is no use of the battery but ride the bicycle a regular bicycle (By pedalling)
    • Pedal Assist Mode – Needs pedalling. However, the battery will support your ride making it easier – requires less effort in this mode.
    • Full-Electric Mode – no effort to pedal in this mode. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Swagtron Envy ebike in IndiaImage Courtesy & Credits: Swagtron

Going Green has never had so many options – whats your pill?

5 Comments

  1. Road Electric Vehicles (EVs) adding happening a large range of vehicles from electric two – wheelers( Electric Scooter ), three – wheelers (rickshaws), cars and electric buses.

    In complement, plug – in electric vehicles can be classified into two types: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) like; Electric Scooter, and plug – in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). BEVs have an electric motor in place of combustion engine and use electricity from the grid stored in batteries. Plug – in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) use batteries to capacity an electric motor and liquid fuel such as gasoline or diesel to gift an internal combustion engine or auxiliary propulsion source.

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