Barriers to Electric Two-Wheeler (E2W) Adoption in India: The consumer perspective

Two-wheelers, in general, have always had a special bond with the Indian consumers. Being the ‘vehicle-of-choice’ for common Indians, the ICE 2-wheelers enjoy this distinct status supported by attractive vehicle economics (in terms of both price and fuel) and a fully-developed market. Meanwhile, over the last few years, barely out of the incubative stage and foraying the Indian roads are the electric 2-wheelers. So far, there has been a steady uptake in the consumer demand for these new-age vehicles. Yet, some challenges still exist in today’s market which act as deterrents or barriers for E2W adoption among the consumers’ minds.

High upfront cost

Indian customers, being very price-sensitive, are, generally, reluctant to buy an expensive E2W. The price of some popular E2Ws available in the Indian market can be about 60% higher than that of ICE 2-wheelers with similar features.

electric two-wheeler adoption barrier

Source: Company websites, JMK research
*Prices are Ex-showroom prices
** EV prices are excluding subsidy (of up to INR 22,000) for high range models with a top speed of 70-80 Kmph

High battery replacement cost

High battery replacement cost is another factor behind the subdued interest of a buyer towards E2Ws. The battery replacement cost associated with, specifically, high range E2W models after four years of use is expected to be INR 40,000 – 45,000. This is beyond the other wear and tear costs of these EVs.

Range anxiety

EVs can only be driven for a limited distance on a single charge as compared to the distance a petrol/diesel vehicle covers with a single filling. The average riding range of E2Ws with a single charge is about 50-80 km, whereas that of petrol-powered scooters is about 300 km (assuming the fuel tank capacity is 5 liters and the mileage of 60 km/ltr).

Source: Company Websites, JMK Research

Inadequate public charging infrastructure

As of 31st December 2019, only 1,332 public charging stations were installed across India. If we have to match the sales of ICE 2-wheelers, the charging stations have to grow at an exponential rate, covering both urban and rural India.


Poor service network for E2W also poses an impediment towards the rise in demand for these vehicles. The sizeable informal service sector would have no knowledge about the new technologies that have been venturing into the two-wheeler market.

Low resale value is another perception that makes Indian customers reluctant to buy an expensive 2 Wheeler. As long as the sales of E2Ws are low, people would remain unreceptive towards its resale.

Low pickup and top speed of E2Ws are also deterrents for two-wheeler enthusiasts.

Click here to download our “E2W India Market Outlook Report, May 2020