Published: June 5, 2018 | Updated: March 29, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Lifestyle
More and more people are turning to electric motorcycles and scooters these days, and you’ve probably seen them on streets anywhere. It comes as no surprise, given the traffic and parking problems that motorists in the Philippines have to contend every day.
E-bikes and e-scooters are great alternate transportation modes to get around the city. Compared to conventional gas-powered motorcycles, these light electric vehicles are more economical, environment-friendly, and convenient.
Should you ditch your car in favor of an electric bike or scooter? Find out its pros and cons first.
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The biggest appeal of electric motorcycles and scooters is that they take you faster to your destination than driving a car. Traveling with an e-bike or e-scooter allows you to avoid traffic-congested areas, take shortcuts, and easily maneuver on narrow streets where four-wheeled vehicles can’t fit.
For instance, a French diplomat cuts his travel time from Makati City to Quezon City by almost an hour with an electric scooter.
With an electric motorcycle or scooter, you don’t have to worry about fuel, parking, maintenance, and other costs of owning a car.
E-bikes and e-scooters don’t use gas—they’re battery powered. Your power bills get more expensive when you charge an electric vehicle, but the cost is nothing compared to gassing up a traditional bike.
Light electric vehicles are also cheaper to maintain. For one, you don’t have to change the battery often, as it can last for five years. Brake pads on e-motorcycles and e-scooters don’t easily give in to wear and tear.
Also, these vehicles don’t have air filters, spark plugs, oil, timing belts, and clutch. The only parts you’ll need to maintain and replace are the tires, brake pads, and brake fluid.
Another reason electric motorcycles and scooters are selling like hotcakes in the Philippines is their lower price tags compared to conventional vehicles.
The cheapest brand-new gas-powered motorcycles cost around PHP 40,000. Some models even range from hundreds of thousands to a million pesos.
E-bikes are sold at much lower prices, starting at around PHP 20,000. Electric scooters cost PHP 18,000 on average and can be purchased for less than PHP 10,000.
Unlike gas motorcycles, e-motorcycles and e-scooters don’t belch smoke into the air since they don’t burn gas, making them ideal to use in the city. This means less pollution and reduced carbon footprint. According to a European Cyclists Federation study, e-bikes have less carbon footprint (2.6 to 5 grams of carbon dioxide per mile) than electric cars (150 grams).
Beginners—even senior citizens and kids—can easily learn how to operate an e-bike or e-scooter. No need to pedal and shift gears. You just sit on the electric bike or step on the electric scooter and twist the throttle to control its speed.
Because electric scooters are compact, foldable, and lightweight (weighing about only 13 kg), they can be parked in small areas. You may even choose not to park your e-scooter when commuting to work. Simply fold it, carry it into your office, and stow it somewhere until you’re ready to travel home. No need to worry about your e-scooter getting stolen.
E-bikes make less noise than gas motorcycles that produce rumbling sounds. When you drive around the neighborhood, you won’t disturb anyone and you get to enjoy listening to music.
Considering to buy an electric motorcycle or scooter because the seller told you it doesn’t need to be registered? Know that you can’t drive one without license and registration. In fact, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has confiscated unregistered e-bikes that traveled along EDSA, Commonwealth Ave., and certain roads in Pasay City.
According to the LTO, the Land Transportation Code covers electric vehicles, and e-bikes aren’t exempted. If you’re caught riding an electric motorcycle without a license, LTO will impound your ride and impose a PHP 10,000 fine. You also won’t be allowed to apply for a driver’s license for one year.
Generally speaking, two-wheeled vehicles like e-motorcycles and e-scooters are riskier on the road than those on four wheels. Because they’re electronic, these vehicles can’t be used when it’s raining or flooding. Slippery roads and poor visibility during bad weather make e-bikes and e-scooters quite dangerous to use.
Electric motorcycles and scooters are portable, making them easily prone to theft. When you store or park your e-bike in a public place, make sure to use a quality lock or anti-theft device.
It takes six to eight hours to fully charge an e-bike or e-scooter. That can be very inconvenient when your battery runs out of power and you don’t have access to a charging station.
To address the recharging concern with electric vehicles, an e-scooter company that recently launched in Manila will have battery rental charging stations in convenience stores all over Metro Manila. This allows e-bike riders to swap their empty battery with a fully charged one for a fee.
With a range averaging only at 50 to 70 km, electric motorycles and scooters aren’t designed for long trips. You can’t travel far between charges. This is why e-bikes are ideal only for shorter trips like daily commutes to and from work.
Even if they aren’t mainstream in the Philippines yet, e-bikes and e-scooters show a lot of potential. As technology gets better over time, their advantages may outweigh the disadvantages. Have you purchased an electric motorcycle or scooter? How’s your experience so far? Let us know in the comments box below!
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Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.