Ather 450X 18 Months Long Term Report: The Black Sabbath of Electric Two-Wheelers

  • Mar 3, 2024
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The 450X is the perfect introduction to electric power on two wheels for someone who hasn’t experienced EVs before

Everyone in the office has always had great things to say about the Ather 450X ever since it entered our long-term fleet. So, naturally, when its keys were handed to me as my long-termer, I was pretty excited. Now, before this I did experience a few electric two-wheelers for very brief periods of time here and there. So, the first time I switched on the scooter, I was a bit overconfident and switched to Warp mode thinking “I can handle it easily”. 

But, I was very wrong, as I assume you’d have predicted it by now judging by how the story is going. I twisted the throttle and the sheer torque pull from the get go just blew me away as I was struggling to hold on to the scooter. Thankfully I had a helmet on because otherwise the people on the street would’ve seen that I was about to soil my pants very soon. 

So, I stopped the scooter, switched to Ride mode and went through the motions and the various riding modes the next few days. And I have had a huge smile on my face everytime I have ridden the scooter since then. This 450X is such a hoot of a scooter with its blistering pace and excellent handling characteristics.

Riding the Ather is similar to listening to the Gorillaz; it just brings out the inner kid in you that’s jumping and dancing all the time with the utmost joy. But similar to listening to the Gorillaz, where you also need a mature adult mind to understand the lyrical themes of the songs, the Ather 450X requires a mature approach in order to live with it on a daily basis. Because if you are always having fun on the scooter, then you’ll forget to be mindful of the range and end up in very sticky situations. 

And speaking of needing a mature approach with the scooter….

What Is It Like To Live With The Ather 450X?

Ather Grid

The Ather Grid consists of the EV maker’s public fast chargers and are located outside cafes, in the parking areas of malls and other places where you’d normally go and spend some time. They are also present outside Ather showrooms. This is very convenient as it lessens the range anxiety when you’d be in need of a top-up while riding the scooter. 

Also, in the Ather app, you can check out which charging ports in a certain public charging station are occupied and which ones are free to use. This way, you don’t have to encounter a sticky situation where upon reaching a charging station, realize that all the ports are occupied and you don’t have enough range left in your scooter to go to another Grid where a port might be available. 

This ecosystem of public chargers developed and implemented by Ather, similar to the petrol pump ecosystem for ICE scooters, goes a long way in solving some of the daily issues that their own customers would face while using their scooters.

The Downside:

The Ather Grid is useful, but it's important to note that fully charging a scooter from 0-80% takes about 50 minutes to an hour with a public fast charger. This wait time is fine if you already have plans to go to the mall to buy some stuff or go to a cafe to meet some friends and you’d also like to charge the scooter in the meantime. However, if you're charging just because you need a top up and then go about your daily routine, waiting up to an hour with nothing to do can feel way too long. For daily charging, it's more convenient to use a home charging setup with a portable charger or a wall-mounted charger. The Ather Grid should ideally be a backup for emergencies due to the long wait times.

Despite this, the inconvenience isn't a major fault of Ather, considering the EV charging infrastructure in general is still developing. If future advancements in battery and charging technology reduce charging times to about 10-15 minutes, then this minor inconvenience with owning an Ather scooter will be resolved.

Ather Connect & Pro Pack Features

In this day and age of premium scooters and especially the electric ones getting a whole host of features out of which a third of them don’t work properly all the time, the Ather 450X is a breath of fresh air. It is loaded with practical as well as some fancy features and they work all the time without any glitch. 

The AutoHold, which is basically a hill-hold assist feature, works flawlessly in terms of sensing an elevated surface and preventing the scooter from rolling backwards when starting from a stationary position on that surface. You get full-fledged Google Maps navigation in the 450X and it is very similar to how you’d use navigation on your smartphone. First connect the scooter with your phone through Bluetooth, use the touchscreen display to enter your destination or select the Ather Grid you’d like to go to on the Ather app, click on ‘Send To Scooter’ and you are good to go. 

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Ather has paid great attention to even a simple feature like the auto brightness for the dashboard. I’ve never felt the display’s brightness to be either too much or too little, but just perfect, at any given point of time. These and all the other small and big features that the Ather 450X comes equipped with really come together to elevate the overall riding experience. 

But these experiences come at a cost. Rs 23,078 to be exact, for the Pro pack which contains all of the features mentioned above and more. Features like on-board navigation, documents storage, push navigation, ‘Find My Scooter’ and more are part of the Ather Connect package, which is available as complimentary for 3 years if you opt for the Pro pack while buying the 450X. 

After the 3rd year, if you want to use those features, you’ll have to fork out an additional Rs 1,249 for a 1-year subscription or Rs 2,499 for a 3-year subscription. Considering the Ather 450X has a sticker price of Rs 1,44,923 (ex-showroom Bengaluru), adding these additional packs pushes the overall price of the scooter into the really expensive category. But, if you have the budget for it, I’d suggest you should go for them as they are absolutely worth it.

One Crucial Side Note About The Mirrors

I've been riding the 450X for about 5 months now and during this time, one of the rear view mirrors kept getting loose almost every month. Either I or someone from the office, when they used the scooter while I was away for a month, would take it to a mechanic for tightening, and it would be fine. However, a few weeks ago, the mirror got loose again. When I visited my local mechanic this time, he explained that the threads in the nut holding the mirror were damaged from repeated tightening, making it impossible to secure the nut properly.

The Ather 450X tends to lean a lot to the left when parked due to the design of the side stand. Back when PD was using the scooter as his long-termer, this became a hassle for him as he had to loosen one of the rearview mirrors with an Allen key every time he opened his car door. This might be one of the reasons the mirror kept getting loose, but it's worth noting that this issue originated from a design problem with the Ather scooter itself.

Verdict

I am a fan of heavy metal music and if I had to introduce a friend of mine to this genre of music and make the perfect playlist for him or her to jump on the bandwagon, then it would contain songs from Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest followed by Metallica and the list would get progressively heavier down the line. Well, the Ather 450X is THAT playlist for someone who has never experienced electric power on two wheels. It is the perfect introduction to a whole new way of riding scooters. 

It has freakish power on tap, supremely agile handling characteristics and loaded with practical features that work all the time. And combined with the overall great build quality and great attention to detail by the EV maker, this scooter can even take the fight to petrol-powered scooters at times because it is arguably the most fun scooter in India, period. Having spent the last 5 months with the Ather 450X, I don’t consider it to be a great electric scooter. I simply consider it to be a great scooter and that’s the biggest compliment I can give it.

Ather 450X Video Review

Ather 450X
Ather 450X
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