Scooters are fabulous for running around in urban areas. We’ve all seen them and been envious. Scooters are never waiting in traffic, they are cheap to run and parking is free! So you decide to get one and you’ve heard about these great new zero emission electric scooters, which are super cool and environmental friendly. But, when you compare the prices, the electric scooters are more expensive to buy than the gas scooters. So it makes sense to get the gas scooter, right? Wrong. Put down the credit card and think for a second. “Is a gas scooters really going to cost me less overall?” In initial purchase price the answer is probably yes. But that’s just a way to sucker you in to all the hidden costs. Gas scooters can easily end up costing you more, a lot more and possibly even twice as much as an equivalent electric scooter. Seems incredible but it’s true.
The low purchase price of a gas scooter is just a way to sucker you in…. Just like with a cell phone, the real cost is coming later…. Overall gas scooters can end up costing you around twice as much as an electric scooter.
The REAL COST is not in buying the vehicle. Like when you buy a cell phone the real cost is coming later. The real cost of a gas scooter can easily be over 4 times the purchase price. These costs are in the fuel, servicing & depreciation.
Even financed over 5 years, if you are doing over 1500 km a year the real cost is less to run a Spark 3 electric scooter than a R13,000 gas scooter.
When you add all this up you see that electric scooters costs you much less, even if you finance them. Here is an example of the real cost of running a electric scooters vs a R13,000 gas scooter over 5 years travelling 6,000 km a year, that’s about 23 km a day. In the example below running the electric saves around R25,000 and cost you less every month.
Gas: Most gas scooters will do around 30 km to a litre of gas. So to do our 6,000 km we’ll use around 200 litres of gas. At R14 a litre (May 2014) that’s going to cost your about R2820 for a year. Not bad and it works out at only R0.47 per km. But now let’s compare that to an electric scooter.
Electric: An electric scooter like an ewizz Spark 3 costs about R3 to fill from flat and does an average of 50 km on a charge. An ewizz Volt 6 costs about R5 to fill and does an average of 80 km. Both of these are around R0.06 per km or 233 km per litre in efficiency. So the cost for a year of electric fuel, just R360. Start to see a difference? But carry on there’s more!
Gas: The gas scooters require an initial service at 500 km and then basic servicing, oil change and plugs every 3000 km. That is usually fixed price at around R450. Seems ok so far. Then, every 6,000 km you’ll need to change clutch parts belt, rollers and you’ll need to change the brake pads. That’s around R2100. Then every 10,000 km you’ll need tyres, another R800, and you’ll probably need to change the crankshaft, so say goodbye to another R3000. If we average all these cost over a year it comes to R8550
Electric: An electric requires an inspection service at 500 km just to check nuts and bolts, that’s R450. Then every 10,000 km, yup nothing to do till then, you’ll need to change tyres & brake pads, that’s around R1200. On some models with Lead acid batteries. You will need to change the batteries every 15000 -20000 km and that costs around R4500. If we average all these cost over a year it comes to R3480. So again, the electric scooters cost you much less and without the inconvenience of taking the scooter to the workshop as often.
Gas: A big part of depreciation is how long you expect the scooter to last. A 125cc gas scooter costing around R13,000 is expected to last between 20,000 and 30,000 km. Then it just isn’t worth repairing and it’s more cost effective to chuck the old one away and get another. So at 6,000 km a year it means the gas scooter is at the end of it’s life and worthless after 5 years. There goes your R13,000.
Electric: Electric scooters don’t wear out in the same way as gas scooters. Most of the components are solid state (nothing moving) and even the rear wheel is a brushless DC motor that works on magnetism! There are no chains, belts, oils, filters etc. The only parts that do wear out are the batteries, but we can keep changing them and new technology is coming along all the time that we can just slot in! With lithium batteries ewizz electric scooters should do more than 100,000 km and again you can just slot in new batteries and away you go. Because the bike is worth more it’s worth changing things like body panels and bearings. The result is that electric scooters have a much better life expectancy and hence less depreciation. So a lot of the money you spent on buying the electric scooter is retained. After 5 years and 30,000 km we expect and electric scooter like a ewizz Spark 3 to have lost around 60% of it’s value. So yes it has lost R14,500 but it’s still worth around R10,000.
Let’s look at what happens when we finance the scooters. With all the vehicles financed over 5 years, with 10% interest and R5000 down as a deposit, here’s an example of the “Actual amount” you would pay out over the period. This includes the:
- Asset value: what the scooter is worth at the end
- Interest: what you pay for borrowing the money
- Depreciation: the loss in value of the vehicle over time
- Operating costs: batteries, maintenance, servicing, fuel etc.
As you can see, although the ewizz Spark 3 is a more expensive scooter it actual has the lower total and thus lower monthly cost. The cheaper priced gas scooter costs are main made up of much higher operating costs and depreciation with no asset value left at the end. The ewizz Thunder 6 has the highest column but take a look at the green Asset Value area. This is the part of all the money you have paid that you get to keep. So even though you paid more over the 5 years for the ewizz Thunder 6 it cost you less overall. Electric scooters cost you much less than the gas scooter. This is what we mean when we say “look at the real cost“.
Part of the real cost is the interest on the money you use to buy your scooter. Are you going to finance it or are you buying it outright? In this article we consider both options and add all the costs over the 5 years.
We are comparing all the costs. This doesn’t mean what you pay every month, because this is can be misleading, but rather the whole combination of costs including the asset value of the scooter, the depreciation, servicing & fuel. If we were able to purchase the scooters outright then the real cost is lower as we have less interest to pay for the electric scooter. But, looking at the real cost where both scooters are financed, the real cost is around R60,000 for the gas scooter and R40,000 for the electric scooters. Most of these savings are due to the higher asset values (your electric scooter is worth something at the end), lower operating costs (much less servicing) and lower fuel cost. (R0.47 p km for the gas scooter vs R0.06 for the electric scooter.
Even financed the electric scooters costs you around R20,000 less over the 5 years than the gas scooter and the more km you do, the more you save.
It’s interesting to see that the higher price ewizz Thunder 6 surprisingly has almost the same real cost as the ewizz Spark 3 . This is because the ewizz Thunder 6 depreciation and operating costs are so low as it doesn’t need replacement batteries until around 100,000 km.
The bottom line
The drastically reduced running costs and better residual values simply means electric scooters cost you much less. So don’t be put off by the higher purchase price. The real hit to your pocket with gas scooters is coming later in all that servicing, gas and depreciation. The electrics also produce only half the emissions of the gas bikes (this is because of the way Eskom generates most of our power with coal) so the electric scooters are much better for our environment and if you can charge off solar then you are completely zero emission.
Electrics are better for your pocket, better for our environment and better for our health. Basically, they are just better. Think electric, ride different, drive the future.