Types of electric scooters and bikes (e-bikes) available in India
There are four kinds of e-bike available:
1. An electric cycle (e-cycle)
2. An electric moped (e-moped)
3. An electric scooter (e-scooter) with 25 kmph as the maximum speed
4. An e-scooter with >25 kmph as the maximum speed
Electric cycle (e-cycle)
The e-cycle can be used by anybody of any age and requires no driving license, vehicle registration, or vehicle insurance. It has a maximum speed of 25 kmph. It can be used by only one person, the rider; the power is insufficient to carry a pillion rider. The rider may need to pedal when riding uphill or against a headwind, again because of limitations of power. For news on a recent initiative on e-cycles, click here.
Whereas e-cycles can be bought as such, ordinary bicycles can also be fitted with a battery-driven motor
Electric moped (e-moped)
The e-moped has 25 kmph as the maximum speed. It is equipped with a low wattage (<250 W) motor and a low capacity battery. Like the e-cycle, users do not require a license, and the bike requires neither motor vehicle registration nor motor vehicle insurance.
The e-moped cannot carry a pillion rider because the battery capacity is too low. It has a modest range per charge, again because the battery capacity is low. The 25 kmph speed limit can be frustrating when there is little traffic. It is only practical for young riders whom parents do not wish to trust with a regular scooter.
Electric scooter (e-scooter) with restricted speed
The e-scooter with 25 kmph as the maximum speed is very similar to the e-moped except in that it has the body of a scooter rather than that of a moped. It is also equipped with a larger capacity battery. This allows it to carry a pillion rider. This also allows it a range that is greater than that of a regular e-scooter (see below). The reason for the greater range is that the battery capacity is the same but the maximum speed is less; so energy utilization becomes more efficient.
This scooter is little different in general appearance from ordinary petrol scooters.
Like the e-moped, users of this vehicle do not require a license, and the bike requires neither motor vehicle registration nor motor vehicle insurance. As with the e-moped, the 25 kmph speed limit is frustrating when there is little traffic. It is only practical for young riders whom parents do not wish to trust with a regular scooter.
Electric scooter (e-scooter) with higher speed
The e-scooter which can exceed 25 kmph is a practical vehicle for regular commuters. These e-bikes comfortably cruise at 30-40 kmph and some can cross 50 kmph. These bikes are powered by a 500-750 W motor. These bikes are little different in appearance from ordinary petrol scooters. The batteries are located under the seat.
Most models of electric mopeds and scooters look similar to petrol mopeds and scooters, and have all the usual bells and whistles, including speedometer, odometer, headlight, brake light, indicators, shock absorbers, handlebar lock, and so on. There is also a 'fuel gauge' which lets the user know how much charge is remaining. Click here for pictures of e-bikes available in India.
This website will focus on a review of the last category of e-bike; that is, the high power electric scooter, which the majority of interested buyers would probably wish to consider.
Please note that, even within these 4 types, there are plenty of variations across brands of e-bikes. These variations related to motor power, type of battery, battery capacity, nature of braking system, and so on. Naturally, the costs would correspondingly vary.