There is no getting out of it! Electric is coming and petrol powered scooters will soon be a thing of the past. I know that I’ll be sad to lose the petrol powered scooters that I’ve come to understand so well. The sound of the engine cranking over, the ignition, and that sound of the first big rev of the morning. In fairness we’ve felt the demise of petrol engines for a while. The smokey two stroke petrol engines were fazed out a few years ago and marked the beginning of the end for petrol engines in general.
Now, it looks like there will be no more petrol scooters on offer after 2035, which is only around the corner. In fact, most companies will actually phase out petrol before that date in preparation for an exclusively zero emissions scooter market.
The new wave of electric scooters will be about 20% lighter than petrol machines, have a minimal impact on our environment emissions wise, and that includes noise pollution which is greatly reduced. There are fewer moving parts and very little to check as far as mantainence goes, as there is no engine or gearbox oils, coolant or even a spark plug.
What does this mean most of us?
For most riders this will mean finding your window to swap over to electric scooters. Some early adopters will be straight onto electric as there are good models coming onto the market in 2022/23. Regular riders that trade in their scooter every four years, may wait a cycle or two (4-8 years) before going electric. Either way it’s going to happen and so it might be handy to know a few things about electric ownership in the meantime. It is also worth noting that despite stocking only the best (of the current Australian electric options that we have found and tested), there are teething problems as with any new product. A few iterations later these will be reduced and new products from reputable suppliers will be entering the market later this year and in 2022 so keep checking with us to see what is available and coming soon.
Get used to it everyone, to buy an electric scooter will cost more that a petrol scooter. This is mainly because the batteries are expensive ($1000- $2500). The manufacturing costs are similar to build petrol or electric machines, but the batteries to power electric vehicles are pricey, so we’ll all have to get used to a higher priced initial investment.
Servicing electric scooters
The good news is that once we have made that purchase, electric scooter running costs are quite a bit lower than petrol scooters. In fact, we are seeing servicing and recharging costs are about half of a petrol powered machine. So, for example, if your average servicing cost is say $500 per year and your fuel to travel 10,000kms burns around 400 litres at $2 a litre ($800), your annual spend of $1300 is roughly halved to $550. This helps recover some of that initial investment.
Charging electric scooters
Here’s where we’ll feel a change in our riding habits. While we’ll still have to visit the service station to check our tyres, recharging will be generally done at home or maybe even at work. Most scooters can simply be plugged into the wall using the charging kit supplied. If you don’t have power available where you park (like on the street), most electric scooters allow you to remove the battery and take it inside to charge. Typically most electric scooters will have a useable range of 80kms, so think 65kms to a recharge. For some commuters and delivery riders this will mean charging every day, while casual riders might be fine for a week or more. Either way, we’ll have to ensure we have an electricity available regularly to recharge.
At the time of writing the ACT had a zero emission plan to completely phase out light combustion vehicle engines ( think cars, motorcycles and scooters….not trucks ) by 2035 and an ambitious target of 80-90 per cent of all new light vehicles sales being zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. This is similar for the United Kingdom.
The ACT will also continue to offer a range of electric vehicle incentives, which currently include: stamp duty waivers, free vehicle registration and no-interest loan. In addition, it said it will extend stamp duty waivers for buyers of used electric and hydrogen vehicles purchased from August 1 2022, cutting the cost of an average second-hand vehicle. I’d suggest other States will come up with similar plans in the near future.
So what does all this mean?
While there is some talk of hydrogen powered scooters, the bulk of scooters are likely to be electric going forward. In practical terms, I think most riders will stick with petrol power until maybe 2027- 2030 and transition to electric thereafter when there is a wider choice and hopefully slightly lower purchase cost. It’s also worth noting that if you wait til 2035, your old petrol powered machine may be less valuable to sell in an all electric marketplace.
After being in Europe recently it became quite apparent how far behind Australia is with electric infrastructure. Charging points for cars in particular are scarce here, so scooters that you can simply remove the battery to charge in doors are a simple and practical electric alternative at the moment.
It will be up to consumers to add pressure to government to increase their investment in electric infrastructure since that is the future.
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