Import Electric Scooter from China to India: A Complete Guide
Electric vehicles are soon going to be the norm. For developing economies two-wheelers are going to be the mainstay for the EV industry. Many start-ups have entered the space and are working on disrupting the economy. Some companies are selling these two-wheelers, while many others are using them for shared mobility services. However, for the price advantage and manufacturing experience, almost all companies have to look towards China for sourcing the components for these vehicles. Some companies are even sourcing the complete kits and assembling them locally in their countries.
Wikipedia defines e-motorcycles and e-scooters as plug-in electric vehicles that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, and the electricity stored on board in a rechargeable battery powers one or more electric motors to attain locomotion. E-motorcycles, to distinguish from e-scooters, do not have a stop-through frame (Wikipedia, b). Besides, e-scooters have a floorboard designed to let the drivers put their feet on.
E-scooters and e-motorcycles belong to motorized vehicles, thus running on motorized lanes according to regulations on motorized vehicles.
Selecting the right vendors
- Pedal Assist Mode (E-Bike or E-Bicycle)
- Throttle Mode (E-Scooter or E-Motor cycle
: This is by far the most important step in your sourcing strategy. Finding the right partner is important for a whole lot of reasons. Product matching, ability to customize, quality control, shipment control, pricing, payment terms among others are crucial factors that make vendor selection so important. If you are not sure of the market, its better to use help from professionals who could help you meet the right vendors, do inspections or audits and help you negotiate pricing and business terms.
What’s more, Chinese suppliers, including those in the electric Vehicle industry, tend to lack strict internal quality guidelines. In practice, this means that many suppliers basically use any components they have in stock – unless you explicitly “tell them” to use specific components. Let’s look into the most important specifications when buying electric bikes from China:
Gears are not “made in house” by e-scooter suppliers. Like many other components, these are purchased from other suppliers. Manufacturing gears is not that simple, and replacing them is expensive. That’s the reason why most importers prefer to use brand name gears, from reliable manufacturers.
They are already present in the country, and all respectable e-scooter suppliers are already buying gear from established brands.
Selecting the right motor is not only about quality, but also regulations in your home country. Due to speed limitations, motor wattage is restricted in most markets. Below follows an overview:
- European Union: 180W – 250W
- Australia: 200W
- United States: 350-750W
Most E-scooter suppliers purchase motors from domestic manufacturers in China. That is not necessarily anything bad, but the supplier should at least be able to present documents showing compliance with directives such as CE and RoHS.
These are EU standards (thus not legally required in the US, Canada, or Australia), but acts as a sign of good quality.
The battery, usually a Li-Ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate), differs in terms of weight, lifespan, and capacity. Most batteries use battery cells from well-known brands, such as Panasonic, Samsung, and Sanyo. The supplier shall also be able to prove that the battery is compliant with relevant product regulations. India needs BIS for all lithium batteries.
- Lithium-Ion Polymer
- Lead Acid
The key concern when selecting a charger is compliance with applicable electrical safety standards, in the destination market.
As in the case of batteries, a supplier shall be able to show compliance documentation, such as test reports and certificate of compliance, that is valid for the specific charger model you’re buying. There are plenty of poorly constructed and unsafe chargers in China. Low-quality chargers are potential electrical and fire hazards.
In India, all Electric charges need to get a BIS certificate before Importing.
Components and product specifications
First of all, the price of the electric scooter is entirely based on the component composition (i.e. certain battery models and brands are more expensive than others, etc). Therefore, you cannot compare the prices between e-scooter, but rather compare sets of components against each other.
How can I find the best supplier of e-scooters in China?
There are plenty of ways to find the best supplier of e-scooters in China. Firstly, find the direct suppliers of e-scooters. What’s more, finding suppliers in a Chinese online platform is also a solid solution. Last but not the least, the most convenient way is to contact a professional Import agent: wedoimport. We built our business model about the fact to assist customers on all the product cycle and have our Chinese branch to provide you with our meticulous services. Focus on your marketing/sales, let us handle the rest.
Selecting the right vendors
: This is by far the most important step in your sourcing strategy. Finding the right partner is important for a whole lot of reasons. Product matching, ability to customize, quality control, shipment control, pricing, payment terms among others are crucial factors that make vendor selection so important. If you are not sure of the market, it’s better to use help from professionals who could help you meet the right vendors, do inspections or audits and help you negotiate pricing and business terms.
- Want to buy an electric bike. Which electric bikes ARAI/ICAT need approval?
Certain electric bikes fall under the exempt category on account of power less than 250 W and max speed less than 25kmph. Other vehicles fall under the normal category of motor vehicles and hence require a type approval certificate for compliance to CMVR. You should ask the status of the vehicle manufacturer/ supplier. ARAI /ICAT does not publish details regarding such vehicles.
- I Want to import electric vehicles in India for individual use. Does it need ARAI’s/ICAT’s approval? What is the procedure for approval?
Whether imported or Indian, the requirements of the above para are equally applicable. It is also applicable for import for individual use. I Want to import electric vehicles in India for trading purposes. Does it need ARAI’s approval? What is the procedure?
- I Want to import electric vehicles in India for trading purposes. Does it need ARAI’s approval? What is the procedure?
As stated above, the rules are applied equally to imported vehicles. Before importing the vehicles, the importer should study the provisions of the import policy of the Government of India as well as the requirements of homologation given under (CMVR) Central Motor Vehicles Rules.
- What are the charges for testing and approval of the electric vehicle? How much time is required for testing and approval?
Testing requirements will depend on vehicle category and its technical specifications. The party has to apply for approval by giving detailed vehicle specifications in the requisite format. Details regarding formats are available on the ARAI website. On receipt of the application, ARAI works out test charges. Under normal situations, for every new vehicle model, 2-3 months time is required for compliance testing and certification.
- What is the Cost of Homologation?
For up to 2 pilot vehicles, start-ups can look at the following figures for an estimate of the cost incurred for homologation:
1. Low-Speed Two-wheelers: 3.75 to 4.75 Lakh INR | Ref GSR 291(E) for General Statutory Rules on low-speed 2Ws
2. E-rickshaws (top speed capped at 25 km/h): 7.5-8.5 Lakhs INR | Ref GSR 709(E) for General Statutory Rules on e-rickshaws and e-carts
3. Hi-speed regular two-wheeler: 12-14 Lakh INR
4. Regular 3W: 26-28 Lakh INR
- Who is authorized to approve electric vehicles?
Under Rule 126 of CMVR, certain test agencies are authorized to issue type approval certificates for vehicles.
1. International Centre for Automotive Technology (iCAT)
2. Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC)
3. National Automotive Test Tracks (NATRAX)
4. National Institute Of Automotive Inspection, Maintenance & Training (NIAIMT)
5. Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)
- Do I need a license for driving a small electric bicycle?
Electric Vehicles, which have power less than 250 W and speed less than 25 kmph are not categorized as motor vehicles. Hence the transport rules are not applicable for such exempt category vehicles.
- I want to import a brand new vehicle for my personal use. What are the homologation requirements?
The import of vehicles is governed under regulations issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade. There are certain exempt categories under DGFT notification. If the import of a vehicle does not fall under any one of the exempt categories, such a vehicle has to meet all safety/ emission tests notified under Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR).
- I want to import vehicles for trading purposes in India. Do I need a homologation certificate?
Yes. Your vehicle will have to be tested and certified for compliance with the safety/ emission regulations of CMVR. You should study these requirements and then approach the testing agency for the homologation requirements.
- I want to import a vehicle model which is already approved in the country of origin. Does India accept the approval certificate from the country of origin (for example EEC approval)?
India is under no obligation to accept the compliance certificates of other countries. However, there are certain provisions available with DGFT that may permit import and subsequent registration of such vehicles under specified conditions by DGFT.
- What is the procedure for obtaining a Vehicle Type Approval certificate for compliance to CMVR?
The vehicle manufacturer is required to send an application to the testing agency. He can do so by filling up detailed vehicle specifications in the requisite format.
- Which tests are required in order to grant approval to vehicles?
The tests are related to safety, emission and other requirements as notified by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways from time to time. These tests are performed on safety-critical components/ assemblies and also on full vehicles. Category-wise details are available on the ARAI website.
- Is it necessary that every vehicle should be sent to ARAI for testing?
If the manufacturer is seeking a CMVR compliance certificate, he has to establish compliance by carrying out requisite tests on a prototype model. He should approach the test agencies notified under CMVR. ARAI is one such agency.
- Is the test vehicle destroyed/ damaged during testing?
The majority of the tests are non-destructive in nature. However, some of the tests related to crashes (only 4 wheelers) are destructive in nature. Separate body shells/ components are required for such tests.