Technology has brought a rapid change in various industries. One such sector is that of micro-mobility, which has substantially advanced in India. This industry essentially consists of electric vehicles, specifically the two-wheeled variants, that are environmentally appropriate and budget-friendly. Before understanding the growth of this trend and the effect of e-scooters on the urban transport scene, it is necessary to know more about them. Electric scooters are an emerging constituent of the vast electric vehicles’ category. They come with fitted rechargeable, removable batteries and do not consume fuel or give out any vehicular emissions. In the past few years, electric scooters were new in the automobile market.
The awareness of e-scooters grew significantly during the times of coronavirus. There was a sharp rise in the purchase of these scooters due to several reasons discussed further in this piece. It is expected that the sales of electric scooters will only increase more after COVID primarily because of the change in commuting preferences, which are pretty apparent in urbanised locales.
The transition from fuel-driven scooters to e-scooters increased during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the restricted mobility that came with it. During the lockdown, people reduced travelling from public transport and preferred to commute to work by their vehicle. As per a Hindustan Times survey, the approximate public transport usage dipped down to 73%, and around 37% of people changed their mode of transport during the lockdown. Approximately 66% of people preferred to commute by electric bikes, scooters and cycle for 5kms to 7kms. Here are a few reasons why we believe India saw a sudden surge in the popularity of electric two-wheelers and other micro-mobility vehicles during the initial lockdown period:
- Social Distancing: With COVID growing more virulent by the day and people slowly inching towards returning to work, even if it meant having to travel, the sensible solution was to maintain social distance by taking a private vehicle instead of public transport. One or two-person micro-mobility solutions like e-scooters or microcars helped them reduce exposure to the elements and allowed them to observe much-needed distance from others.
- Smarter Mode of Transport: Most essential employees and frontline workers were having to visit their workplace regularly, if not daily, going by an e-scooter also brought in other benefits like lesser travel time, no dependency on fuel stations which meant more secondary contact, and of course more significant savings.
- Environment Friendly: Another reason that influenced people to buy e-scooters was the rise in pollution level. Regular commuters and city dwellers noticed the apparent improvement in the Air Quality Index (AQI) during the lockdown, which made the previously rising pollution levels seem all the more alarming. This encouraged many families to consider investing in e-scooters instead of viewing petrol or diesel driven vehicles as the only private transport option for an urban setting.
- Delivery service: Many small-scale businesses or homegrown ones like bakeries or online mom and pop stores also began to use e-scooters to facilitate their logistics requirement while tremendously cutting down costs.
The resultant hike in e-scooter purchases that stemmed from the above factors further triggered the beginning of a disruptive pattern in India’s urban transportation landscape. Here are five exciting ways electric scooters help shape up the future of India’s automobile market!
- Increase in ownership of personal vehicle: As per Economic Times, during Covid-19, around 56% of people chose to commute with their car, bike and scooters. This led to a rise in the purchase of private vehicles, especially electric scooters, as they’re cost-effective and best suited to navigate city traffic.
- Preference for substitute engine: The substitute sector is the powertrain that is gaining popularity in the 2W and 3W segment. The substitute, replacement or alternate engine helps a motor vehicle run either on fuel or electricity. The alternate engine segment is attracting consumers with the arrival of new market entrants and government incentives. In 2017, electric vehicles set a growth track record of 44%, with approximately 1 million e-vehicles sold. Consumers have gradually switched to alternate-engine vehicles. Moreover, as per research by PGA Labs, 35% of buyers are willing to invest more in electric cars, especially those with alternate engines. It gives them the option to either use fuel or electricity based on their motor vehicle’s fuel electricity consumption. The government policies such as FAME- II, reduced goods and service tax (GST), and increased inclination towards substitutable engines has led to the growth in the Indian mobility industry.
- Electrification and Green Zoning: The market share of e-vehicles has drastically increased as the government encouraged electric vehicles to meet the carbon emission target. Further, green zoning facilitated regulations of modes of transportation that reduced impact on the environment. As per World Energy Council India and World Health Organisation, electrification or increase in usage of e-vehicles will help reduce pollution in Indian metro cities.
- Subscription-Based Model and Rental Facility: Multifarious mobility like door-to-door mobility solutions has encouraged electric scooters for short routes. Most of the consumers use the subscription-based model or opt for a rental facility before buying electric scooters. Various cities in India are encouraging people to use electric scooters. For instance, Delhi metro encourages commuters to operate electric scooters’ rental services currently available at four stations.
- Adoption in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities: Some consumers who live in semi-urban towns with a population of one million or less had started buying e-scooters as these were easily accessible and affordable for them. As per the Prescient and Strategic Intelligence market research report, over two million two-wheelers in these semi-urban regions use scooters for delivery and courier services. Moreover, approximately 15% of two-wheelers in Uttar Pradesh own electric two-wheelers contributing to the largest market share in the mobility industry. Research also states a rising demand for electric scooters in Delhi and Karnataka. Additionally, Tier 2 and Tier 3 manufacturers have raised $210 million worth of investment on e-scooters. This indicates that the mobility industry, especially electric scooters, will grow further soon.
These patterns and paradigm shifts have directly or indirectly switched consumers’ choice to buy fuel-driven vehicles to electric scooters and other e-vehicles. Brands like BGauss have committed themselves to the cause of creating sustainable yet stylish e-scooters that cater to different segments of consumers. The brand focuses on producing eco-friendly electric scooters and promises to be budget-friendly, chic, and perfect for the urban dweller. The e-scooter brand makes environment-friendly, premium electric scooters in two models, namely B8 and A2. Both their offerings come with a fitted rechargeable battery and a spectrum of unique features. The unique aesthetics, thoughtful and robust design adds to the scooter’s most significant plus points of being fuel-free, noise-free and emissions-free. Micro-mobility solutions such as the ones devised by BGauss are sure to become the city-dweller’s constant companion on the go and the transformation that Indian transportation has been waiting for!