Analyst corner: Lower battery costs likely to woo e-scooter buyers for Bajaj Auto

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Published: January 17, 2020 1:21:41 AM

Bajaj e-scooter’s premium variant is priced at Rs 1.2 lakh (ex-showroom) whereas Ather S450 is priced at Rs 1.1 lakh (ex-showroom).

escooter, bajajThe time required to charge the e-scooter is 5 hours for 100% and 1 hour for 25%.

Bajaj Auto has launched its first electric scooter Chetak priced at Rs 1 lakh-Rs 1.2 lakh, a price similar to that of Ather S450. The e-scooter will be available in two variants, Urbane and Premium. The running cost for e-scooter is far lower than a gasoline one, but we believe higher upfront costs due to higher battery prices and additional cost of battery replacement after five years due to degradation will delay the transition towards e-scooters in India. It will be first launched in Bengaluru and Pune and sold via the existing KTM distribution network. The company has set up 13 dealerships in Bengaluru and 4 in Pune. The e-Chetak is equipped with a 3 kW-hr lithium ion battery with real-world range of 95 km in Eco mode and 85 km in Sport mode. The time required to charge the e-scooter is 5 hours for 100% and 1 hour for 25%.

Bajaj e-scooter’s premium variant is priced at Rs 1.2 lakh (ex-showroom) whereas Ather S450 is priced at Rs 1.1 lakh (ex-showroom). Ather S450 has 3 riding modes — Eco offering 75 km range, Ride and Sport with range of 65 km and 55 km, respectively. It has a DC fast-charging facility, which can charge at a rate of 1 km/minute; Bajaj e-Chetak doesn’t support fast charging. The e-scooter’s battery comes with a warranty of 3 years/50,000 km. After 50,000 km, there will be battery degrade due to which the range of e-scooters will come down and the customer will incur additional costs. Our current cost of analysis for e-scooter vs Honda Activa FI implies breakeven of ~5 years at the current landing cost of $250 per kW-hr for batteries. Since breakeven for a customer is >3 years, economics for e-scooters is not favourable vs gasoline ones currently. But if battery prices drop to $150 per kW-hr, breakeven for e-scooters will come down to ~2.5 years, at which point consumers may shift to e-scooters. Lower battery prices remain a key for success of e-scooters in India.

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