With the rising prices of petrol and the Indian government’s push for electric vehicles (EVs), you might be wanting to make a shift from your internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to an EV. However, the initial high cost might act as a deterrent. This price gap is no more a major issue, with EVs costing just a tad bit more than their ICE counterparts. And that difference can easily be covered up within a year or two. Also Read - Ola Electric to open final payment window for Ola S1, Ola S1 Pro tomorrow: Check timing, other details
I usually drive my scooter or bike to work due to parking issues, and it was a fair change of pace when the Ather 450X came for review. While I did have to change a few driving habits to adopt the EV life, I was pretty happy in doing so. Here I will be letting you know about my experience with the Ather 450X and if shifting to EVs is what you should do now or wait. Also Read - This Indian EV company plans to open over 500 dealerships by end of FY22
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The price difference
I remember getting my Honda Dio for Rs 75,000 in Delhi earlier this year (well now stolen, Noida Police to no help). Going up a bit, scooters like the TVS Ntorq, Honda Grazia and more are priced at around Rs 1,00,000. The Ather 450X beats them all and starts at around Rs 1,13,416 in Delhi.
While there is a definite price difference, the Ather 450X just requires around Rs 21 to Rs 28 for a full charge at your home. If you are using the company’s fast-charging network then you can charge it for free for the time being. Whereas, its ICE counterparts require fuel costing around Rs 150 to offer the same range that the Ather provides in a single charge.
Considering all of this, I would say while you might take a hit initially on the cost, you will easily manage to recover it within one or two years of riding.
Perfect for the office not for your weekend drives
The EV infrastructure is growing rapidly in India, however, there is still some time before you will be able to find charging stations at every turn. Moreover, with just a range of 80 km, you will find yourself stopping for an hour to charge after an hour of drive.
For daily driving, you will be riding within the 80 km range, this is perfect considering the amount of savings you make. Moreover, you will not feel tired after a long ride of 10 km or more, as there are no vibrations that you will have to deal with.
There are a few long-range options like the Ola S1 Pro, which comes with a range of up to 181 km per charge. However, considering that they are yet to reach the market, I will not comment.
After your ride finishes, you can connect the scooter in your office or at your home using the portable charger or the wall-mounted charger that the company installs. Service costs will also be much lower comparatively. Also by riding an electric scooter you are helping the environment too.
Not only is it eco-friendly, it also looks good
Ather 450x and most other electric scooters look sleek and sporty. The electric scooter features a sharp front, with a massive LED headlamp and an exposed subframe. The plastics used across the build feel pretty sturdy and look sporty.
While I prefer the grey colour option for its stealth looks, there is a white and green colour option that manage to stand out on the road. During my time with the scooter, I was bugged by a lot of people on the road and in my colony asking me about the details of the scooter. If you are one who likes attention, you’ll be happy in owning the Ather or any other electric vehicle.
For a startup, the quality of parts used, and the fit and finish of the Ather 450X feels premium.
Coming to the instrument cluster, I loved Ather 450x’s Android-based touchscreen instrument panel. Apart from telling you about the scooter details, it also digitally holds all your driving documents, pairs with your phone to get incoming call alerts or listen to music on the go. The maps integration is also a pretty nifty feature, and the touchscreen feels pretty responsive, though you will get to see a few lags here and there. Some of the features like call controls can also be used while riding with the help of the toggle switch near the accelerator.
There is a dark mode also present, which makes the display much easier at the eyes while riding at night. I really liked the number of features provided with the touchscreen cluster.
Ather offers a range of up to 85 km in Eco mode and for the ones seeking cheap thrills, it has a range of up to 50 km in Warp Mode. It offers four ride modes: Eco, Ride, Sport, and Warp, with a peak torque of 26Nm.
During my time with the Ather, I mostly rode it in the Warp Mode and honest to god, I have never felt a scooter surge in this way. The pick up of the scooter felt much more than my friend’s R15.
Twisting the throttle to max, I got thrown a bit back in the seat. The scooter was able to get from 0-40 kmph within 3.3 seconds and to 60 kmph within around six seconds from zero.
With me and my brother on the scooter, the Warp Mode was able to achieve 90 kmph, which is pretty impressive considering the combined weight and the fact that it is an electric scooter. The thing I did not like was that the scooter automatically kicks in regenerative braking and there is no toggle to turn it off. The regenerative braking can be felt while riding and does hinder the experience.
The 450x’s steel-aluminium hybrid chassis feels pretty sturdy. The frame though a bit exposed does provide assurance that even during a major accident, the scooter will not be entirely crushed. The 12-inch wheels with the accent tape paired with the stiffened telescopic forks provide a comfortable ride.
The rear mono-shock is something that I did not like and some tuning to its firmness and response will help inspire more confidence.
One thing that I appreciate a lot is the reverse mode, which comes in handy while parking and getting out of tight spots.
I personally liked the ride a lot and would want to recommend this scooter to everyone. The only thing that stops me from doing so is range anxiety. I come from my CBZ Xtreme that is over 10 years old and still gets over 450km of range in a full tank, which I can refuel within a few minutes.
Wait… What? It charges
Charging is what is a plus point for me and a negative one too. While I can charge the scooter from 0-100 percent in under Rs 21, it also is pretty time-consuming. At home with the portable charger, I was able to charge the scooter within 5 hours 30 minutes, and using the fast chargers installed by Ather at public places, I was able to charge it within 1 hour 30 minutes.
While fast charging is a good option, it does put a lot of stress on the battery, thus reducing the battery’s life. This is why it is only recommended to use fast chargers when in dire need. Fast charging might be a great answer to all the range anxiety problems, but Ather is having teething issues there as well. There are total three fast chargers located across Noida, but out of these three, only one worked.
One of the fast chargers was showing an error along with a red light, whereas, the second problematic charger was completely shut down. All of the chargers I visited were located inside of hotels and were easily accessible.
Is it worth considering?
Going electric is where the future lies, and I have to emphasise on future. While electric cars have become a viable replacement for their ICE counterparts, there is still some time for the same to be said about electric two-wheelers.
I personally liked the Ather 450x a lot and want to recommend it, but still will not do so. This is because the infrastructure still needs to evolve and the 450x is sort of a Gen 1 product. I will recommend that you wait till the Gen 2, which will provide more range, even better acceleration, lower charging time and by that time we will get to see a better charging network. If you can deal with the shortcomings, then you can definitely consider the Ather 450x.