The EV Conundrum
Two-wheeler sales have been suffering for the past two years and the road ahead does not look too promising either. High fuel prices, pay cuts, and unemployment have had an adverse impact on the sale of new two-wheelers and the government does not seem to be doing anything about it.
Electric vehicles (EV), on the other hand, seem to be witnessing a lot of traction due to the high petrol prices, but how good and how economical are they? Even with all the subsidies most of them are as expensive as a regular scooter; in some cases, even more expensive. The second problem is charging these EVs. If one cannot pull out the battery pack and take it home, how does one charge it if one happens to live in an apartment? A story emanating from Bengaluru speaks of an EV owner who has to put his scooter into the lift and take it to his apartment to charge the battery. If this is going to be the norm, then this will be a big damper. Furthermore, IC-engine scooters command a good resale value; say, about 50 to 60 per cent of a new one. What will be the resale value of electric bikes after three years when the batteries lose their capacity to hold charge? In such a scenario, will it be economical to use an electric scooter?
Last month I did a ride with Gurpratap Boparai, MD of Škoda VW India, who happens to be an avid biker. They had lined up two V4 Multistradas, two 950 Multistradas, and two Scramblers after a Škoda event. The V4 Multistrada is a rocket-ship and, at the same time, it is easier to ride as compared to the 950 Multistrada, a gem of a bike and worth every extra rupee over the 950 Multistrada. The Škoda VW boss is no slouch on a motorcycle; he is a good rider and it was a pleasure to ride with him.