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Choosing the Right Electric Vehicle

by Akash Heimlich June 15, 2008
Over the past couple of years the electric vehicle market in India has been rapidly expanding. Up until very recently though many people have not taken an electric bike as a serious alternative to a petroleum-based vehicle. With the dramatic increase in the price of oil consumers are now forced to look at electric as a means of transportation purely for economic reasons rather than environmental. Whatever the reason is, electric vehicles provide a cost-effective solution that rivals any petrol vehicle for most urban residents.

Will It Work For Me?

If you are an urban resident and commute between home and office within about 30-50 km per day then an electric bike is the perfect solution for you. I will be listing some things to look out for when purchasing your bike later in this article. Although there are vehicles that have a longer stated range, this seems to be the average that will realistically work on an average electric scooter.

What Options Do I Have?

Our website ( lists all the models currently available on the Indian market. We are constantly updating it so you can keep checking in if you are not yet ready to purchase a bike. There are thee main types of vehicles currently available: electric bicycles, electric scooters and electric cars. The solution you choose will depend on your bank book and your requirements.

Electric Bicycles

Electric Bicycles are the cheapest type of electric vehicle (EV) since they use the smallest motors and batteries. Cycles come in two configurations: Pedal assist type and throttle type. In pedal assist mode, a sensor detects movement in the pedals and applies power to the wheel. Throttle-type cycles have an accelerator much like a moped and you can regulate the speed by twisting the grip.

In India, electric bicycles have a speed limit of 25 km/h with a motor of less than 250W. Cycles usually run on 36 volts with three batteries of 12 ampere hours (Ah) fitted into a battery box, usually below the seat. You will typically get a range of between 30 and 40 kms per charge and a recharge time of 4-6 hours. Cycles cost between Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 20,000 depending on the manufacturer and features.

Electric Scooters

An electric scooter at first glance looks almost identical to a conventional petrol scooter. Look a little closer and you will see that there is no exhaust pipe and the fuel guage has been replaced with a battery meter. Most scooters have a brushless hub motor mounted in the rear rim of the bike. Batteries are usually mounted below the seat or between the footrests.

There are two main types of scooters: scooters that require a license to drive and those that don't. There is a world of difference between the two both in speed and usually cost.

License-Free Scooters

A scooter that does not require a license to drive is essentially an electric bicycle with a scooter body. It will have a motor of below 250W and a top speed of 25 km/h and does not require any insurance. You will be able to purchase this type of scooter for between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000 depending on features. Typical range claimed by most manufacturers is between 50 and 70 kms.

High Power Scooters

The power range of scooter comes with motors capable of sourcing between 500W and 2200W. These bikes have speeds of between 40 and 60 km/h and ranges of 50-80 kms depending on batteries and weight. Most of these bikes require an Indian motorcycle license to drive. Some bikes will only require a moped license and hence can be driven by teenagers above 16 years old. You will need to insure your vehicle since this scooter falls under the CMVR regulations and is treated like a normal bike. High power scooters will cost you between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 45,000 depending on features.

Electric Cars

An electric car is much lighter version of a petrol car and has batteries and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. So far the only manufacturer in India is Reva and they produce a very nice little 2-door model that give you a range of approximately 100 km per charge. Cars cost between 2.5 and 4 lakh rupees depending on features.


Electric bikes are a very viable solution as an alternative to petrol. There are some things to take into account when thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle. The initial cost is a consideration, but make sure to ask your dealer about the cost of replacement of batteries. Since all bikes on the market currently use Sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries, they have a typical life of 300 recharges. If you are draining your batteries daily you will need to replace them once a year. If you calculate the running cost for your vehicle, it will work out cheaper than petrol but not by as much as you see manufacturers claiming in their advertisements because they do not factor in the battery replacement costs. You will however be helping reducing local air pollution by driving an electric vehicle.

User Comments

By suhas rao on 01 10, 2013we always come to know due to price hike in petrol, we are not able to use more and more electric vehicles, but now with the mission plan of ev 2020 i would request if all of us start using electric vehicles we can save more energy and more use of hybrid vehicles in future can be more efficient and more and more indian citizens need to use the vehicles to save energy and environment in the near future.
By suhas rao on 01 10, 2013we always come to know due to price hike in petrol, we are not able to use more and more electric vehicles, but now with the mission plan of ev 2020 i would request if all of us start using electric vehicles we can save more energy and more use of hybrid vehicles in future can be more efficient and more and more indian citizens need to use the vehicles to save energy and environment in the near future.
By rama krishna on 20 11, 2012I would like to take an e byke with high speed.which model should i opt can any body help me
By Srinivasan on 21 08, 2010Good article! I am an Electronic Engineer and would like to make one for myself. I header that a kit is available in market which can be assembled by the user on his own by following the manual. But the parts and accessories provided with the kit is very heavy and i am looking for a light weighted frames like in Cycling race byke. Is it possible to choose different accessories from different vendors and assemble them to the lightest of my own design?
By ashwini kumar sharma on 02 09, 2009WHICH ELECTRIC SCOOTER SHOULD I BUY FOR 50 KM DRIVE DAILY.
By Devashish Sahu on 11 07, 2009 I have a suggestion for the technical people or engineers involved in bike/car manufacturing: As current gets generated by the revolution of dynamo. The dynamo uses electromagnetic principles to convert mechanical rotation into a pulsing direct electric current through the use of a commutator. Can the mechanical rotation of the wheel be converted again into electric current by using dynamo, which can be used further for charging the battery. This electricity can also be used for charging an extra battery present in the vehicle as backup. Thus one battery will be charged as an effect of the other and vice versa. As we have seen in cycles with bulb, that the bulb lights up when the wheel rotates. Please give your comments on this possibility...If this happens, it will be a revolutionary thing in motor industry and fuel conservation. This technology may then be implemented in each and every vehicle ( whether run by petrol, diesel or electricity).
By Lakshay Arora on 16 08, 2008Iwant to know price of hero and YO-Bikes
By Lakshay Arora on 16 08, 2008I want to know price
By mcs.chowdary on 05 08, 2008Hi friends,

I am interested in taking the Delership of E-Bikes.Could anybody give me some suggestions on these, which company dealership will be good.
Yo bikes / Ultra bikes / Hero electric or any any other company....

please reply me as soon as possible.

By Sharan on 01 08, 2008PLz dont write disadvantages of ev's as it may encourage ev's.once ev's become popular petrol based vechile manufacturing stops and everyone eyes will be in ev's.this will be great as it is less polluting comparing petrol vechiles.
By Sridhar Rao C on 29 07, 2008Good article but which company to chose in terms of mileage efficiency per charge with a pillion
By Anirudh Deshhpande on 08 07, 2008Informative article - useful for the newbee
By EVFuture Admin on 29 06, 2008Well you have a variety of options, but it will depend on where you live. Find the nearest dealers to you and then make a decision based on comments on this site. If you are unsure, ask questions and you will get answers.
By s. abirami on 26 06, 2008very good article . which company do i buy

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