Ather Energy has come a long way in the 2-wheeler EV space – delivering the flagship Ather 450 scooter to first 10 customers on 11.09.2018 to delivering the 100,000th in January 2023. This company will be remembered in history as the true innovators who played a key role in India’s 2-wheeler electrification journey. As of February 2023, Ather is selling their Gen 3.1 range of scooters – Ather 450X and 450 Plus in India. And what follows next is the review of new Ather 450X 3.1 electric scooter.
Design and Looks
True Red – this is the color of Ather 450X scooter which we test drove for more than a week in the city of Bengaluru. The True Red color looks stunning on this scooter which is already known for its sleek and distinct design. From the front angle, from the side angle and from the rear angle, the scooter is very good looking and has that sporty character built into it. The sharp LED headlights and the unique LED based tail lamps in jewelled pattern instantly catches anyone’s attention. The electric scooter offers a very simple interface, not just the wide touchscreen display in the front, but also things like keyhole position/ignition system, opening the boot, kill switch, switching between ride modes – all these are designed keeping the customers who come from the petrol scooter background. We have ridden the Bajaj Chetak electric scooter earlier, when we compare it with Ather 450X, the Ather definitely hands down beats Chetak in terms of ease of use and simplicity offered in operating the scooter. The Side stand is funky and functional, the scooter gets integrated footpegs for pillion which is worth mentioning. The scooter has a flat floor for the rider and offers a very convenient riding position with good ergonomics.
Also check: 2023 Ather 450X Colors – All Color options
Storage and Practicality
How much can we carry in an Ather? The Ather 450X offers a decent amount of storage space under the seat (boot space) which can fit in a small full faced helmet or shopping bag or portable charger etc. The storage compartment looks neat with Ather branding and a fine illumination strip is also present. But, when it comes to number of storage compartments, the Chetak offers more (A dedicated area in front that offers quite a lot of space to house the charger + additional area to place your smartphone with USB charging + Hooks to hang bags). Ather misses on providing USB charging port for Smartphone and also does not offer any storage compartment in the front.
The Tech things (Integrated Google Maps navigation, Autohold)
This was my very first ride on an Ather Electric scooter and the experience has been very fabulous. You can clearly define the Ather 450X scooter as “Smartphone/Device on Wheels” – Thanks to such a large touchscreen – for the very first time it feels really unbelievable to search a Map location on your scooter screen and navigate to a place – the experience is seamless. The scooter is equipped with a built-in SIM and is always connected to data network on the fly, you can search available charging stations near you. The sensitivity of the screen, response time, the user interface of the display is top-notch. one cannot believe an Indian company created such a high quality user interface running on a forked Android operating system.
If you are a techie, you will enjoy every bit of all things tech – like switching between Dark mode/Light mode, playing music via Bluetooth, storing your documents like Driving license or RC in the cloud with the help of Ather app, remotely monitoring your scooter’s battery charging level, TPMS ( Tire Pressure Monitoring Sytem) and more – the possibilities are endless.
Autohold is an interesting feature which Ather rolled out recently to most of its scooter via OTA update. The Autohold facilitates the rider when climbing up a steep flyover/up ramps and locks the scooter at the position preventing the roll-back. I had a great time experiencing the Autohold feature on Bangalore’s very popular Hebbal Flyover – where you have traffic jams on top of flyovers (Oh! Yes) – It is a feature like Hill start assist on automatic cars like Nissan Magnite CVT – If you are new to driving/riding you may appreciate the detail.
Let us have a deeper look at the technical specifications of 2023 Ather 450X/ 450 Plus Gen 3.1 electric scooter. The electric scooter comes to life with the help of Permanent Magnet Asynchronous Motor (PMSM) which is capable of delivering upto 6.2 kW of peak power offering a maximum torque of 26 Nm (22 Nm for Ather 450 Plus). Both the motor and controller are rated IP65 and IP66 which gets protection from high pressure water. In Gen 3.1, Ather offers same hardware and components for both Ather 450X and Ather 450 Plus, like the battery having an installed capacity of 3.7 kWh, but the company’s software caps on the usable battery capacity for only upto 2.6 kWh for Ather 450 Plus there by offering a reduced range. It is a lithium ion battery with a construction of 21,700 cells delivering a nominal voltage of 51.1V and is IP 67 rated (Water and Dust resistant). It takes about 4.5 hours to charge the battery fully (0-80%) using an Ather Dot of Portable charger. If you are using a fast charger (Ather Grid), you can achieve the same thing in 1 to 1.5 hours. The power generated is transmitted to wheels via belt drive system.
Talking about the dimensions, the all new Ather 450X scooter has a kerb weight of 112 Kgs and has a ground clearance of 153mm. The length of the electric scooter is 1837mm, the width measures 734 mm and the seat height is 780mm which means it is well-accessible to short riders. The wheelbase of the scooter is 1295 mm. The scooter doesn’t acquire lot of your parking space lengthwise, it is shorter than any other scooters in the market. Ather claims it offers a vehicle warranty for 3 years or upto 30,000 kms and an extended battery warranty upto 5 years/ 60,000 kms. The computer on the scooter is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 Quadcore 1.3 Ghz processor with a screen size of 7 inches. The on-board computer of Ather 450X gets 4G LTE connectivity for data along with Bluetooth 4.2, GNSS with AGPS positioning system (which helps you in Google Maps Navigation).
Riding the Ather
Now let us talk about how the electric scooter performs on the road in different traffic conditions, slopes and how it handles and maneuvers. As mentioned earlier, the scooter can be easily operated. The “ParkAssist” feature helps you reverse the scooter powered by the motor and you can easily switch back and forth without any hassle (unlike Chetak). At the outset, the Ather 450X is super quick offering a very familiar experience as you get on petrol scooters (sometimes even better). The unique “Wheeeeeee” sound generated while transmitting power from the motor to the wheels via Belt is so satisfying to listen to and its a pure riding pleasure one can experience in an EV.
There is a dedicated switch to toggle between the different riding modes. The 450X gets an additional riding mode called WARP mode which is equivalent to top gear in a petrol scooter delivering the best top speed and power figures. However, in our scooter which was running on 450 Plus software supported 3 modes only – Eco, Ride and Sports.
If you are having the Ather 450X you can make it upto 105 Kms with a full charged battery. The test bike which we had running on Ather 450 Plus offered a maximum range of 85 Kms out of full charge. The ECO mode doesn’t mean it is very underpowered – It offers decent power and pickup suitable for riding in city conditions with a speed of upto 50 kmph. Consistently riding in ECO mode can save you lot of charge – there by you can reduce the wait time for next charging cycle. However the ECO Mode will be of no help when overtaking a big vehicle like lorry or a bus.
By switching to RIDE mode, your total range will reduce to 70 Kms on a full charge on Ather Plus. What you gain is that extra boost and power which is absolutely necessary in climbing up steep flyovers / sloped surfaces. You can use the RIDE mode intelligently when it is required so that you can lengthen the day’s battery life.
As the name suggests, the Sports mode is where all the sportiness and power – to experience the maximum “Wheeee” sound and rush, this is mode which you should be using. Unlike Ride mode which caps its top speed to less than 75 kmph, the Sports mode can take you upto 91 Kmph top speed. However be prepared to reduce the total range to 60 kms.
Available only on Ather 450X scooter, the WARP mode is the ultimate riding mode which unfortunately we couldn’t experience in the test scooter.
Suspension and Brakes
The riding experience with a pillion at the back and riding solo was terrific. The wheels flow so easily on the roads with zero friction – you will really enjoy riding an Ather on downhill – traditional petrol scooters offer some kind of resistance due to friction – Ather has done a great job in giving the best for the rider. Because of its sleek and reduced width, it provide you more control and its easy to hop in between the vehicles in traffic. The scooter’s suspension is great (front telescopic and rear monoshock) and I liked riding it on tough and uneven surfaces without an issue. The disc brakes both in the front and the rear offers good braking power and cuts the speed off as per your liking.
Ather Dot or Portable Charger (Overnight charging)
If you are buying a new Ather you will be provided with an Ather Dot or Portable charger – both of these options take upto 5 hours for full charge. For. using a portable charger all you need is a properly grounded 3 pin-socket (6A) which you may already have at home. The turn off, for me is the long charging time and an additional headspace to monitor it in the back of the mind (although there is an app for it). It may be convenient if you are staying in an independent house or an apartment offering ample parking space with a dedicated wiring done for charging your scooter.
Fortunately I had access to 2 fast charging points in my area (Yelahanka, Bengaluru) which I found out using the Ather Grid app- It was very convenient to charge the scooter for an hour to 1.5 hours. Although Ather provided me with a portable charger – it was unused. Ather claims it has over 1000+ charging points in its Ather GRID network across India. The beauty of fast charging is – it charges your scooter so quickly – by plugging in for half an hour you can easily gain upto 35 Kms or if you wait for an hour, it charges your scooter fully. As of now, charging from Ather Grid network is completely free ( this may change soon).
Planning your ride in advance
For my commute from home to office and back which is about 40 kms (total up+down) – a fully charged Ather 450 Plus with 85 kms range is good enough. I mostly rode on ECO mode and occasionally switched to RIDE mode / Sports mode (which was inevitable in my route which has multiple flyovers). How much ever happy I felt inside riding this bike, equally one has to routinely charge the scooter almost every single day judiciously (just like your phone). Plan your ride in such a way that you always have >35% battery at any point – sometimes you may find a fast charging point – but you may have to wait additional 1+ hours if its already in use. If you are trying to ride the scooter when its <10% battery the speed of the scooter will drastically reduce – anticipate this and never try to drain the battery completely as it takes additional time to charge fully (0-100% in about > 1.5 hours-2 hours).
Brand and Showroom Experience
Folks at Ather Experience Centre in Indiranagar were friendly. They have a display of the scooter which reveals the chassis, battery, motor, internal components etc.. It is an amazing experience – and as a customer you get that WOW feeling – something like walking into Apple Store – The design and architecture of the showroom is great. Most Ather Experience centres have fast charging points in their premise – It is also a good place for networking with fellow Ather users or to spend some charging wait time effectively with people. The Ather brand is unique and pretty welcoming and it truly appeals young audience well.
How does Ather 450 Plus or Ather 450C stack up with Bajaj Chetak? The build quality. of Ather although is not metal. it feels very sturdy. In the case of an unfortunate accident, the Bajaj Chetak’s body made of metal can survive well compared to Ather. Ather could have offered more storage space and USB charging option like Chetak.
When it comes to performance and riding experience, Ather 450X is miles apart from its competition. As a product, Ather has done a brilliant job in addressing the rider’s pain points. It has used technology well and works flawlessly every single time. The riding comfort, feedback, handling, suspension, brakes, simplicity of operations, the way it looks – Ather is a 10. The presence of Ather Grid fast charging network makes Ather a distinct product from others – Ather should further leverage this and expand across the breadth and length of the country solving the infamous range-anxiety problem.
If you are looking for a no-nonsense, reliable, good looking, sporty, capable electric scooter which is high on control and performance in mind, look no further than an Ather 450X or Ather 450 Plus. At the time of writing this article, Ather 450 Plus is priced at Rs 1,35,452/- (Ex-showroom Bangalore) and Ather 450X is priced at Rs 1,58,462/- (Ex-showroom Bangalore).
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