India is ahead in the list of countries with the maximum number of two-wheelers, although these are held accountable for one-third of vehicular pollution. But both the mob and the government seem to had turned deaf to this data.
Although, in some parts of the country, top two-wheeler manufacturers launched eco-friendly scooters in recent years. These electric scooters grew quite popular among the two-wheeler community. Lately, there have been several proposals from the government to encourage the use of cleaner fuel like CNG.
The government took several measures like imposing a lesser tax and subsidizing production costs to reduce bikes running on traditional fuel. Brands manufacturing such environment-friendly two-wheelers offer attractive discounts for the customers as part of their initial marketing policy. However, due to a lack of consciousness and certain limitations, these motorbikes could not outnumber the polluting old two-wheelers.
Challenges with CNG Scooters
- CNG scooters come with an in-built CNG-kit inside the vehicle itself. It adds to the risk tension as the cylinder does not remain balanced most of the time. Brands like Hero, Mahindra, and TVS launched safer models of such two-wheelers in recent days.
- Due to its low mileage compared to diesel, the rider has to look for refilling stations frequently, which is quite rare currently.
- Standard bikes can be run on CNG by retrofitting CNG kit in them, but that raises the cost by 20000 rupees beyond the afford of the middle-class budget just for lessening pollution.
- Moreover, these scooters are not capable of carrying heavyweight, unlike traditional bikes.
Mahanagar Gas Limited and Gas Authority of India Limited collaborated with Eco Fuel (Indian Partners of Lovato, Italy) in 2017 to bring CNG scooters at a reasonable rate. Today there are many scooters compatible to run on CNG. Top models are Hero Duet 110 and Hero Pleasure 110, followed by Mahindra Duro DZ 125 and TVS Jupiter 110. Vespa and Yamaha have also launched their versions, viz. Vespa VX 125 and Yamaha Alpha 110.
During the inception of environment-friendly bikes in India, the concept of e-scooters came into being. Many startups got into this venture at that time. The eminent one was the Ather Energy that launched Ather 450 at INR 1.24 lakh, while the Ather 340 was available at INR 1.09 lakh.
- As per the government’s FAME(an acronym for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles), there was a discount of INR 22,000 on the on-road price provided the buyer could produce a valid Adhaar card and PAN card.
- The electric scooters are capable of a maximum speed of 60-80 km/hr and fall within the range of 75 km/hr.
- It can achieve a speed of 0-40 km/hr in a blink of 4 seconds, which is quite an impressive performance.
- Later the motorbike giants like Bajaj, TVS, Hero also entered the market with their brand new e-scooters. Hero Photon is the cheapest among them, with a market price of around INR 66,000.
- You can charge these scooters in 4-5 hours at a nominal cost.
Besides these expensive e-scooters, some companies started renting out e-bikes to ease the economy of daily riders.
Yulu has recently introduced this concept. In metropolitan cities, Yulu keeps their bikes called Yulu Miracle, stranded near the technology parks and busy markets.
- The engineers can ride them back home at a significantly cheaper rate.
- These bikes are convenient to travel faster amid heavy traffic at peak hours.
- Yulu can access the e-bikes via Bluetooth and keep under vigilance utilizing an intelligent tracker.
- There is no need to bother about insurance, purchase, and maintenance.
Thus, if you are looking for a hassle-free and cheap way of independent commute, this comes as a decent option.
After careful consideration of both merits and demerits of the CNG and electric scooters, it isn’t easy to narrow down to one choice. But it must be admitted both are good in their ways.
Here are some points to note on electric and CNG bikes.
- You can turn standard bikes into CNG scooters by buying the CNG kit by Lovato at INR 15,000, while the e-scooters are quite expensive, mostly above 1 lakh.
- If the government can take strict action against polluting bikes and subsidize eco-friendly scooters, this initiative would help combat pollution from daily commuters. As per the rule of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, all two-wheelers have to be under insurance. If not, in case of any casualty, all expenses must be born by the owner. These eco-friendly scooters also come under the canopy of this law.
- The government launched financial aids to promote the use of such bikes a couple of years back. According to this scheme, based on the scooter’s technology, the owner is likely to get incentives ranging between INR 1,800 to INR 29,000 while purchasing.
- Banks also provide hassle-free loans at a lower rate of interest to buy e-scooters.
- Besides these facilities, the government needs to look into the inconvenience caused due to insufficient charging/refilling stations on the road, especially on the highways.
- Market analysts have predicted that these e-scooters are going to be the future of the two-wheeler community.
Lastly, as responsible citizens, we must do our little bit to help fight pollution and save the environment. Adopting some changes like switching from diesel-run bikes to e-scooters can be the beginning of such a revolution.
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