What is the Ather 450x?
The Ather 450x is an electric two-wheeler manufactured by Ather Energy, a Bengaluru based start-up which aims at building electric vehicles for a sustainable future. Ather Energy has been manufacturing the 450 since 2017 but unfortunately it was sold only in Bengaluru and Chennai. On the other hand, the Ather 450x, the successor to the 450, will be sold in 10+ cities by the end of Q1 2021.
- 0–40 km/h: 3.3s
- Certified Range: 116 km
- Battery Capacity: 2.9 kWh
- Motor Capacity: 6kW
- Torque: 26Nm
- Seat height: 780mm
- Ground clearance: 160mm
- Brakes: Front-Disc (200mm); Rear-Disc (190mm)
The Ather 450x comes in two variants: 450x and 450 plus.
Ather 450x: Rs. 1,59,000/- ex. showroom (Bengaluru)
Ather 450 Plus: Rs. 1,39,000/- ex. showroom (Bengaluru)
Difference between Pro and Plus
The Plus variant is a slightly tweaked variant of the 450 (which is discontinued now). It lacks few features from the 450x which we will see further into the review.
Personally, I own the 450x and my review will lean more towards it. I pre-booked the vehicle back in Feb 2020 and got delivery on 28th December, 2020. Before pre-booking, I had never experienced what it felt like to ride one. I had kept an eye on Ather Energy since 2017 and as soon as I got to know it is being launched in Mumbai, I went ahead and pre-booked it by paying Rs. 2500/- (Refundable). Since that day, I have been just watching YouTube videos of it and reading reviews/ownership experiences on the Ather forum (yes, it is super-interactive).
In Nov 2020, the test-rides of the 450x had begun in Mumbai but I had got no time to visit the experience center (hadn’t begun then) and experience the 450x. So yes, the time had come when I received a call from Ather EC in Mumbai that my flight is ready for delivery. I saw the 450x in person for the first time at the time of delivery and also experienced the ride-quality for the first time. You are transferred to a whole new world while riding an EV.
The first thing that will strike you while riding the 450x is how silent it is (at idle). As soon as you twist the throttle, you will experience a whine from the motor which makes you feel as if you are riding a batpod. The suspensions (front-telescopic; rear-monoshock) are slightly on the stiffer side which increases the ride handling twofold unlike the super soft suspension of the Activa which gives you a pogo-effect while going over potholes and speed-breakers. The biggest contributor to the superb ride quality is the weight ratio (47:53). As the battery is in the floorboard of the scooter, the low center of gravity helps the scooter balance much better than a normal ICE scooter.
The Ather 450x comes with 4 riding modes viz. Eco, Ride, Sports and Warp (yep, just like the ones on supercars). Eco being the slowest churns out battery super-efficiently (True Range: 85km) and Warp mode (not available on 450 plus) is the fastest, which transforms the scooter into a rocket (0–40km/h in just 3.3 secs) i.e. 26 Nm torque right at your fingertips but it is a charge guzzler. When all 4 modes are used judiciously along with regen-braking (it’s always on, you just need to reverse throttle), you will be able to get a good range. Personally, I haven’t tried the Warp mode nor the Sports mode, the Ride mode gives me more than enough power to zip through city-traffic and cruise (while giving me a good range). I will try the warp mode once I am a bit more accustomed to the speed of the scooter.
Design and Build
“We had to start right from scratch.”
— Tarun Mehta, Co-founder, Ather Energy.
The design of the Ather 450x (or the 450/450 plus) is unlike any other scooter (electric or ICE). As Ather Energy is still a naive company, they designed their scooter right from scratch (they didn’t take inspiration from any of the scooters currently being sold in market). This is the only reason why the Ather 450x looks and feels so different while riding. Instead of going for a conventional steel-frame chassis, the entire chassis is a hybrid of iron and aluminium (which is exposed under the seat). Aluminium is a lighter and a more malleable material due to which they were able to increase the internal volume of the scooter for packing in more components and increasing the boot space.
Coming to the boot space, it has a capacity of 22L which is class-leading. This was possible only due to the Al-hybrid chassis and the battery being situated in the footboard. A full-size (normal helmet) or a half-face helmet alongwith the portable charger will fit easily. The boot also has an LED strip which increases the visibility at night alongwith a few small compartments on either side of the boot.
The body of the Ather 450x is made out of ABS Plastic and not Metal. Plastic being lighter plays an important role here as keeping the weight in check is necessary while building an EV. The quality of plastic on the entire scooter is really good and premium to the touch. Plastic is also cheaper and easier to replace.
The Ather 450x is available in 3 colour options: Space Grey, White and Mint Green.
Overall, the build quality is great and the design is minimal yet sporty. I love the minimal design as it gives out a premium vibe.
The Ather 450x packs in a bunch of features but here are some of them that I love the most:
The Ather 450x has a touchscreen display which has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running AOSP (Android) with an e-sim (for connectivity) right in the centre of dashboard which acts as the brain of the scooter. The display is a 7 inch tablet which shows all the data/information regarding the scooter like:
→ Battery, Range, Speed, Side Stand On/Off, Ride Mode, Battery percentage, Time, Odometer, etc.
→ Maps (Full fledged Google Maps)
→ Settings (Themes, Brightness, Toggle Indicator Sound)
→ Store Documents (License, RC, Insurance)
→ Software Update (Update your scooter with the help of OTA updates)
- Mobile App
Ather has a companion mobile app with the help of which you can check your scooter status, track your scooter, get ride statistics and also upload documents to the scooter. Available on Android and IOS.
- OTA updates
“Ageing like a fine wine.”
Yep, the Ather 450x gets better with time. Ather Energy keeps seeding updates for all their scooters regularly which adds more features (like guide-me-home lights, tow-detection and many more…) and takes care of bugs. Currently, there are quite a few bugs in the scooter and on the app which me and many other users are facing but I consider them as a privilege of being an early-adopter of this scooter. Ather should be able to take care of these issues in the coming months (will keep y’all updated).
All the connected features of Ather 450x do come at some cost as Jio is no longer free ;) Ather has two connectivity and service plans (excl. GST) available:
These plans are totally optional and you can opt to not get them. The connectivity plan does unlock the scooter to its full potential, though. No, Ather is not looting us as connectivity does come at a cost. You don’t buy a smartphone and expect it to make calls without paying for it’s data plans.
- Parking Assist
The Ather 450 was the first ever scooter (in India) to get a reverse park assist feature (followed by the Chetak and iQube). With the help of this, you can reverse the scooter (max. speed- 3 km/h) and take it out of tight parking spots and steep slopes with ease. Although an underrated feature, it is super helpful in cities like Mumbai. The only other bike to have this feature was the Honda Goldwing which costs around INR 30,00,000.
Features that need to be added:
- A pass-light switch (can be added via an OTA update).
- A centre stand.
You will be receiving one charger during the time of delivery (no extra cost). There will be an option to choose from either the Ather Dot (Home charger) or the Portable Charger. I went ahead with the portable charger just for its versatility but the Dot Charger is more convenient to use. You can choose any of the two depending on your usage scenario. These chargers can charge the scooter from 25%–100% in about 4 – 4.5 hours.
Ather is still setting up Public chargers i.e. Ather Grid in Mumbai. Currently, only 2 Ather Grids are available in Mumbai but it will expand soon. These Public chargers are fast chargers which can charge the 450x at the speed of 1.45 km/min. These fast chargers are free to use till March 2021.
The seat is soft and comfortable to ride in the city. The footboard is spacious enough for most people to travel alongwith a bag (there is a hook to hang bags, too).
The pillion footrest is neatly integrated with the footboard and is wide enough for sitting comfortably. The monoshock suspension is a boon for the pillion. The only disadvantage some might find is the lack of a side footstep for Indian women wearing sarees.
The biggest disadvantage for tall/wide riders are the mirrors. They are totally impractical and rear-view visibility is compromised for aesthetics. This can be fixed only by installing blindspot mirrors which give a wider-angle of view. I suggest to Ather that they should provide optional mirrors’ upgrade for tall riders so that the rear-visibility is not compromised.
Keeping all the points in mind, it’s a very comfortable scooter to ride and travel in.
How does it compare to other scooters currently being sold in the market?
Performance-wise, no other scooter currently being sold in the market can compete with the Ather 450x irrespective of it being ICE or EV. Ather 450x by no means is a cheap buy when compared to its ICE counterparts but we also need to keep in my mind that Lithium-Ion cells are expensive currently and India does not produce Lithium due to geographical limitations. Eventually, lithium may become cheaper and affordable. Also, in my view, the maintenance of an electric vehicle is almost zero when compared to its ICE counterparts. On the other hand, keeping in mind the petrol prices which have sky-rocketed, it costs around Rs.5-Rs.10 (depending on where you stay) to fully charge the Ather 450x. What most people fail to understand is that Ather has created an altogether different league of its own in India. The closest competitors to the Ather 450x in India are Bajaj Chetak and TVS iQube which cost around 1.2–1.3 lakhs (on road) but in my opinion, both of them fail to the Ather 450x in some or the other aspect. Bajaj lacks the technological features and the TVS lacks the finishing (in terms of software) and has some serious charger issues. In the performance department, the 450x undermines both of them.
I am not endorsing the 450x by any means nor this is a sponsored review. If you are on a tight budget but still want to get an electric scooter the Chetak is a really good electric scooter, too. I am happy to see the big players enter the EV market because it is the need of the hour. On a global level, compared to the Vespa Electtrica (not yet launched in India) which starts at EUR 6,410 (approx. INR 5,30,000) and costs a fortune, it still lacks many of the key features which Ather is offering.
I do feel that Ather should sell a cheaper or a lite variant of the 450x if it wants to sustain in the Indian market. However, we cannot ignore the fact that Ather Energy is doing a commendable job and I feel proud to say that the Ather 450x is a totally indigenous product whenever someone asks me.
Why did I buy one and should you buy one?
The Ather 450x is built keeping in mind city ride conditions. My daily usage isn’t more than 20km. If your daily usage is >80km(non-stop), I would suggest you to wait for some time and let the charging infrastructure grow. If you don’t commute more than 70km/day and you want to invest in the ultimate scooter currently in India, the Ather 450x is for you.
If you want to prebook the Ather 450x you can use my referral code: C24GSZ. By using my referral code you will be getting Rs. 2500 credits which can be then used to buy their connectivity and service plans.