In the petrol scooters market category, Handa Activa has been in a separate league for quite a lot of years. It’s still dominant and holding a top-selling badge all over India. But, continuously increasing petrol and other fuel prices caused many potential buyers to reconsider their choices and dragged them somewhere near Electronic Vehicles. Since the affordability of EVs is higher than petrol vehicles, people also started thinking about converting their petrol bikes into EV bikes. Read this article to get to know about converting process, If you’re still asking us “Can I convert my activa to electric?”, the answer is “Whooaaa.. Yes”. We especially talk about Honda Activa since everyone is having this in their home as nearly 20lakhs Activa scooters were sold in the financial year 2021 alone and it is around 50percentage of the Indian market share. This guide can be also even applied to any other gearless IC engine petrol scooters. Roughly, it always costs you around 35000 – 50000 rupees to modify, so make sure you’re aware of it. Let’s get started.
Before planning the conversion, try to look around your old Activa scooter to get an idea about more than a conversion is there anything to upgrade like tubeless tyres, brake system, front-wheel drive, mid-drive kit, size of the tyres, LED headlamps, brighter tail lamps, geared drive, phone holders, sensors, friction drive, horn system, and locking system. Then prepare yourself a list of required components and upgrade materials. Also, consider the battery charger and inverter to re-charge the bike,
Every conversion includes four main steps. One is replacing the petrol engine with Electric Propulsion Kit (EPK), Installing batteries, Mounting the motor on the rear wheel and the last one is paper works. So, things you need to do for conversion are obviously an old petrol bike, Accelerator, Hub motor or Chain drive motor, Motor controller, Throttle set, Motor mounting plate, Digital meter, Safety converter, Key lock, and a suitable battery pack according to your needs. You can purchase all this as an electric bike conversion kit or you can buy these things separately as per your performance needs. But, getting an expert consultation before choosing the specs is advised. If you’re an average user and you don’t need better performance, you can go with a mid-range motor like a 1kW motor. If you’re a sporty power user, then you have to think about higher-capacity motors and a configurable relatively bigger battery pack. For a rough idea, you can go around 50Kmph with a 1kW motor and can achieve around 70-75 Kmph with a 2kW motor. You have to also consider you’re putting your money into the best and most long-lasting battery pack. Because the battery pack is the most important thing when it comes to EVs.
BMS – Battery Management System
A BMS is required for any type of multi-cell battery pack. BMS is simply referred to as Battery Management System, which is a configuration technique of battery cells electrically and efficiently organized in a R x C (row by column) matrix configuration, this existing technique is designed to deliver a targeted range of volt and current for an expected period of time against anticipated loads, for example, 1kW motor or 2kW motor. Otherwise, the batteries won’t be used properly and will get damaged more quickly. None of the BMS configurations allows lithium-based batteries to stay in a completely drained stage for a long period of time including your phone. Because it will harm the system. Before you buy your BMS take care of these three things, first the type of battery packs like either it can be Li-ion or Li-Po or even Ni-cad, then the capacity of the battery, and finally, how long it can last when fully charged. Also, consider warranties and all. BMS will also allow the battery to securely recharge over and over again and prolong its lifeline for more numbers of charging cycles. This must be taken into consideration when determining the size of the battery pack.
Steps to follow for a conversion
After buying all the components or a conversion kit, first things first, you can start by removing front panels, other body panels, Headlamps, and side covers. This step is to double-check the existing accelerator cable is working and to make sure whether it needs a replacement or not. After the cable part is done, we are good to go with removing the rear tyre to mounting the motor. The motor can be either an electric hub motor or a chain drive motor. The rim will be mounted with a metal plate before the hub motor is installed. So that, it can serve as the electric motor’s foundation. The tyre will be replaced then, and the metal piece that had been protruding from the bolt will be grounded then until it will be at the same level as the metal plate. The electric motor will be then brought and mounted on the plate.
After you’ve finished the installation, double check you have fastened the sprocket onto the wheel correctly and everything is aligned correctly even with small parts like bolts, nuts, washers, lock washers, and all the other tiny parts that came with the motor pack. The brake will be remained a mechanical one and will be separated. The clamp where the exhaust is mounted is where the torque arm will be attached. A controller will be attached to the motor, and a wire from the controller will travel to the front part of the scooter. The ON/OFF switch, that triggers the electric motor will be attached to that specific wire that comes from the controller.
You can do a little twist here as if you want to makeover your petrol bike as an electric bike the existing internal combustion (IC) engine, petrol tank, and ignition parts will be removed. Or if you want to hybrid your vehicle, you can connect that electric motor’s on/off switch to the existing normal wire, so that your scooter can be accessed only if the scooter is unlocked with the keys. This enhances the security and probably you don’t have to install any other locking systems to protect from theft. Another wire will be attached to the accelerator cable to control the throttle response. This wire is the one that comes from the controller. After all these steps have taken place, the battery pack will be attached to a preferable space and trials will be initiated. If everything goes well you can then cover up the battery pack with a protector, that helps to protect it from dust and water or you can simply put up the battery pack under the seat storage. When choosing the safety of the battery pack consider, buying a lockable ammunition box for extra safety, because BMS is precious and you have to protect it from every threat including theft. For the ammunition box, you have to drill two holes about 0.25 inches, in every four corners of the box.
Now you’re ready to ride your converted electric bike. Before going on a trail ride, make sure you have fixed all the panels, screws, covers, and leftovers in their respective places. Before choosing your kits or components make sure you’re aiming at a correct rated power output as we said earlier 1kW or 2kW and load capacity like how much weight it can spare. It may vary from 100kg to 450 or even sometimes 500kg. Then for the motor, double check your wheel and drum sizes, then a sine wave controller, throttles, and finally battery pack brackets and swing arm.
After finishing all the test trials, you’re now good to go with paper works. Paper works mean letting know the government that, you have changed your petrol scooter to an e-bike, so that from now on your bike doesn’t come under the petrol vehicle section and it will belong to the EV section and will be eligible to enjoy the EV benefits like tax-free and relatively low-interest options on EMI. In India, you have to apply to RTO as you made an alteration to your bike and once modifications are finished, you have to take your vehicle to RTO for an inspection. They will provide the additional paperwork and approval instructions later. Before proceeding with government bodies, it’s always advisable to thoroughly check the law systems and regulations, legal works, detailed spec sheet, and legal responsibilities.
Advantages of converting an activa to an electric bike
Simply turning an existing petrol-powered activity or any other petrol scooter bike into an e-bike can save a lot of money, effort, and valuable time. Because maintaining an old scooter is a pain in the ass situation as you all know. It’s always better to give it a conversion. You can also turn your favorite bike into an e-bike but turning an old bike is always advisable else you can go with the hybrid option or you can also go with converting a bicycle into an e-bike. It costs always relatively less than purchasing a new e-bike from stores. Some of the conversion kits will convert your scooter without any hassle in a few hours. Also, it doesn’t require any special skills. They always come with a manual guide and instructions handbook to help you through every step with detailed illustrations. The kits often include all the necessary items including small brackets and parts. The cycle can be turned into a bicycle to increase its speed, range, and efficiency. Besides those benefits, these modified e-bikes emit no carbon and are also environmentally friendly.
Then the important benefit is it will definitely cut down the running cost which is approximately 1 rupee per kilometer. Then this EV will operate silently and helps to reduce noise pollution. If you’ve done conversion rather than hybrid, most of the bulky mechanical parts like fuel tank, silencer, and engine were removed so you can enjoy a comfy lightweight and discreet ride with your old scooter. If you are too sentimental about your old scooter or have an emotional attachment to that, so definitely conversion is our suggestion for you rather than trading that memorable thing.
Once we have done talking about the positive sides of it, we also have to do an open talk on the negative side. The first one is your traveling range will be limited. Literally, almost every battery pack can only provide a ride of around 50-60kms. If you want to go further you have to pedal or charge or else you have to swap your battery packs at the nearest swapping center. If you are planning to travel outside the city limits or to travel long distances you are not supposed to do that without any precautions.
The next thing is expensive. You have to admit that EVs are expensive, because of the relatively low supply. For a long-term ride, it can be beneficial, but for the short term, it’s not. When it comes to batteries, ideal Li-ion batteries have an operating temperature range of 40 degrees or something like that. If your components fail to operate at the optimal range of batteries, it will become a threat to batteries. Another limitation is you have to do wiring yourself to fix the existing electrical parts like lamps, horn, and odo meter or speedometer. If you can’t able to fix the existing system, you have to buy a set of sensors to equip the speedometer and a set of wiring tools to repair lamps and horns. For your preference, you can also fix an LCD display to digitally show the speeds and other kinds of stuff. And keep in mind that cable management is always hard.
Also, keep in mind that after the conversion your bike doesn’t look neat or good as it was before. It will definitely affect its aesthetics. Starting from drill holes, metal pieces will pop out from different edges, messy cables will be here and there and also, and the battery pack box will definitely affect your bike’s aesthetics since it’s huge and will be definitely noticeably visible more than other parts. If your bike frame is made of carbon frames, the bracket of the frame may disturb you when you’re fitting the motor hub, so you have to cut it down a little bit.
It is ultimately the user’s or your responsibility of an electric bike kit to ensure that the bike and the conversion kit or conversion components you are supposed to fit the is capable of handling the task. Whoever the person handles the conversion or modification part either it can be you or a technical expert or even a workshop guy, as an owner you have to make sure they are qualified and they have a clear understanding of what they are doing, what they’re changing and how to do it. In the same way that the user should keep up all necessary precautions and warnings regarding proper modification, conversion, and use, the vendor of the conversion kit or the parts should also provide thorough advice. Be careful with the warranties provided by the manufacturer of the bike. Physically modifying or altering the bike, from cutting down parts, to drilling into the chaise, voids the warranty. So consider these things and start converting your activa into a powerful more advanced electric bike.