How E-Scooters Pave Way For Smart Transportation In India?
In June 2015, the Central Government of India announced the Smart Cities Mission. The idea was to leverage technology to develop new smart cities and enhance the overall landscape and connectivity of existing ones. While the process is still in a nascent stage, some aspects of this roadmap are being realised independently or as a precursory move. Smart transportation is one such essential cog, not just in the context of smart cities but the larger picture of the nation’s economic growth. It is a broader term that encompasses smaller, often interdependent elements like IoT driven transportation systems, driverless vehicles, or automobiles with some intelligent system. Another facet to smart transportation is that of green, energy-efficient alternatives. The need for sustenance and conservation being underscored by climate change indicators, governments globally have finally started to take measures to protect the planet. Electric vehicles are entirely in keeping with the nation’s intentions to adopt sustainable practices and are an essential piece in the puzzle. A piece that is likely to come in the form of an e-scooter!
Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in metro cities and are getting a nod in Tier 2/3 cities and rural areas as well. They are plug-in scooters, where the electricity is stored onboard in a rechargeable battery. The primary reason for individuals and countries eagerly adopting them is their no-fuel, environment-friendly nature. Because they don’t need any fuel to run, the operation and maintenance costs involved are meagre, making them an ideal mobility solution. Some other advantages are:
- No engine noise, thereby reducing noise pollution levels
- Tax relief provisions made by the Government
- No license needed to own and operate low-speed variants of the e-scooter
- Portability, especially in models fitted with a removable battery that can’t be charged anywhere
Several companies, including BGauss, have modelled their e-scooters to cater to all kinds of audience who look for reasonably priced tech-forward, sleek models that are ideal for urban and rural areas, and perfectly balance form and function. The electric two-wheeler market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 44% during 2019–2025. Moreover, the Government has set a target of electric vehicles crossing about 20 lakh units in sales, of which e-scooters will make up a huge chunk.
What lies in the future of electric scooters, and how will they transform the transportation scene to make it smarter, cleaner and more viable? Here are some parameters that can influence more people to embrace these zero-emission travel saviors and help them pave the way for India’s smart transportation!
- Curing Range Anxiety: The range anxiety with EVs, especially electric two-wheelers, can be a real low-point. Electric two-wheelers compared to electric cars, aren’t presently built with enough space to hold big, high-capacity batteries that can allow a good riding range. Models on sale in India offer a range of more than 60-80 km on a single charge, which albeit sufficient, can be improved vastly. Some companies strive to devise design upgrades that allow scooters to hold bigger batteries, thereby increasing their range, while others have been experimenting with interchangeable battery modules. These modules would ideally offer a mileage that’s presently being offered in total, by most e-scooters. For example, three battery modules would mean thrice the range, which could be up to 240 KM!
- Technology Advancements: Tech-embellishments you would find on most existing versions of models include capabilities like anti-theft alarms, side stand sensors and a “find your scooter” feature, all of which are available on the BGauss B8 and A2. Artificial Intelligence, sensors for IoT and accident prevention and a smooth integration with phones and other smart devices, will power e-scooters and smart transportation as a whole. Two-wheeler and technology enthusiasts can look forward to vehicles that can communicate with each other, drivers and things like road infrastructure. Makers of these vehicles will also need to explore additional features like geofencing, navigation, regenerative braking for smart transportation systems to reach their full potential.
- Swappability Of Batteries: One major contributing factor to the high upfront cost of e-scooters is the high price of the battery pack, which constitutes 40-60 per cent of the vehicle’s value. Battery swapping technology can resolve this, as the battery packs are often separated from the e-scooter and owned by energy operators. Therefore the consumer will only need to pay whenever they swap the used battery with a charged one instantly. Swappable batteries, which have been implemented by manufacturers in China and some European countries, allow electric two-wheelers to swap batteries in a matter of seconds, where charging a single battery pack to full capacity takes typically up to 6 hours. Projections in trend reports suggest that India’s EV battery swapping market would reach $6.1 million by 2030.
- Government Policies: Both Central and State Governments are working on schemes that incentivise the manufacturing process and associated investments in batteries, smart charging, etc., rather than concentrating all benefits in sales. The Government also aims to extend the revolution brought about by e-rickshaws by propagating the use of electric vehicles as a means of public transportation. Transportation used by logistics companies, delivery services and last-mile operators, will slowly shift to using electric cars and scooters, in the foreseeable future.
One conclusive evidence one can gather from the points mentioned above is that the efforts need to come from all stakeholders involved, to accelerate the progress being made in smart transportation. The Government needs to introduce more policies, overcome infrastructural challenges and build a more robust supply chain. Manufacturers need to enhance the design and technology aspects while trying to fix battery issues. Finally, consumers need to drive the change by embracing the concept of sustenance and looking beyond conventional commuting options. Together, we can build an ecosystem that benefits everyone and help achieve India’s future goals!