Ather 450 Review
Bike Tested: Ather 450; Road Test No. 956; Test Location: Bangalore
Price OTR Bangalore: Rs. 1,24,750/-
The world is moving to electric and electric is more powerful and fun than gasoline
Back in the year 2010, my first encounter with a scooter was with an electric one. While the first petrol-powered vehicle I got after that was again a scooter. Now, I got a chance to sample the Ather 450 which, as it turns out, provides the best of both worlds. Ather Energy flew me to Bangalore, the city where they have started with the production of the first performance-oriented electric scooter made completely in Asia. It was one fun morning, I would say, with the scooter on the busy streets of Bangalore city.
Motor Quest: Ather Energy, started the whole idea around an electric scooter in the form of the S340 in 2013. It came up with the scooter in its finest form in 2016. However, with a few implications and slight changes, Ather was able to achieve a massive difference. This year, Ather Energy has finally launched their first two products, the Ather 340 and the Ather 450, in the market.
Styling - Looking at the Ather 450, there’s only one word that comes to mind. It’s neat. The whole design comes across as very clean inside out. At first, they showed us the stripped down version of the scooter. Standing next to it was the one that came out of the production line. The panels in the 450 are designed in a seamless manner with an effective ram-air design for cooling the battery while still appearing to be edgy and sharp. The LED headlight and the turn indicators blend in with the front end nicely while the LED strip for the taillight continues along the body clues ending with the turn indicators at the rear. A small Ather logo on the side panel looks cool too.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - A 7-inch intelligent touchscreen dashboard does the job on the Ather 450. It’s so advanced that it measures and stores the riding nature of the rider and accordingly predicts the range! On the home screen, you can switch between the ECO or normal mode with just a tap. It also comes with integrated maps powered by Google. This means that you can easily store your home location, work location and navigate to places just by typing in. It also features OTA (over the air) update functionality for future updates and Ather network connectivity.
The system also monitors the scooter continuously to check for any errors and issues in the vehicle. The MyAther app connects the scooter so that one can check the battery/charging status on the phone itself. You can also push the location you want to navigate to and the console will start navigation with just a click on the go. The switchgear feels a little cheap and isn't very ergonomic to reach with normal-sized hands. It gets an engine kill switch which shuts the motor along with a toggle switch on the right that is used to accept and reject inputs without using the touchscreen.
Ergonomics - The ergonomics o the 450 are very close to that of a regular scooter. However, since the battery is the structural member of the chassis and sits low below the footboard, the seating posture feels a little high and the legs stay comparatively higher as compared to other scooters. Thankfully, the seat is well cushioned and accessible for all kind of riders, short or tall. The handlebar is wide enough for a comfortable posture and yet sleek enough so that one finds it easy to filter through traffic. The pillion sits very close to the rider but in a comfortable position because of the ample amount of cushioning. The grab-rail design is also pretty good. It is a single piece unit which makes it feel very convenient and sturdy.
Performance - A 5.4 kW brushless electric DC motor propels the rear wheel of the Ather 450. If we translate the power output, it comes out to around 7.2 BHP which is considerably less going by scooter standards. But as we are talking electric here, the motor produces 20.5 Nm of maximum torque as soon as you gun the throttle. The motor is frame mounted and is driven by a belt drive. Belt drive also helps in reduction of noise with a little loss in power. There's literally no noise from the scooter except for the cooling fan and a buzzing noise that the motor makes. The torque output is very immediate and the scooter reaches 40 km/hr in less than 4 seconds. In the ECO mode, the power output is a lot less with the top speed limited to 60 km/hr while it delivers a top whack of 80 km/hr in the normal/power mode. The motor itself weighs just 6.5 kgs.
Riding Dynamics - Riding the Ather 450 feels like riding any other scooter but this one is considerably more agile. It gets a telescopic suspension at the front and a 203 mm monoshock unit at the rear. There is literally no hanging mass which results in a better centre of gravity. The 12-inch alloys come wrapped in MRF tyres which do their job quite well. Stability around corners is also phenomenal. Tipping the scales at 118 kgs, the scooter feels slightly on the heavier side but is not at all uncomfortable as the weight is nowhere to be felt once you get going. Pillion comfort is acceptable but the pillion needs to hold on to the grab-rail as the pull from the motor is surprisingly quick. Without the pillion, the rear suspension gets a little bouncy.
Rides like a motorcycle, yet has the comfort of a scooter
The 450's weight distribution is very different from any other scooter. It is 51% front and 49% rear and hence, both the front & rear suspension are stiffly sprung. This tune also helps in better braking. The Ather 450 gets 200 mm petal disc at the front and a 190 mm petal disc at the rear. It is the only scooter in Asia to get disc brakes both at the front as well as the rear. It also gets CBS as standard. The rear brakes are very sharp while the front one has decent feel and feedback.
Verdict – The Ather 450 is the first performance-based all-new electric scooter made in Asia. Ather Energy has set up a grid all over Bangalore to make charging on the go as easy as possible. Moreover, Ather Energy is going to take care of all the spares and service cost under a subscription plan. With the purchase, they will also set up a point at the owners home and also reimburse the amount of charging spent on the scooter through a payment wallet. As of now, the Ather 450 and the grid is only limited to Bangalore although Ather Energy plans to expand in 30 cities by 2022. With the rising fuel prices, I suppose it's time we make way for electric vehicles.
* Complete electric scooter, low/no cost of refueling
* Intelligent 7-inch touchscreen dashboard has integrated maps and a lot of features
* Practical and efficient design, can store a full-face helmet in the under-seat storage
What’s Not So Cool
* Only limited to the city of Bangalore
* Although CBS comes as standard, the rear brake is too sharp
* Premium pricing makes the Ather 450 feel very costly against the petrol-powered competition
Ather 450 Specifications
* Engine: 5.4 kW, Brushless DC Motor
* Power: 7.2 BHP
* Torque: 20.5 Nm
* Transmission: Belt Drive
* Fuel Type: Electric, Lithium-ion Battery
* Frame: Lightweight Aluminium Frame
* Suspension: Telescopic Forks (Front), 203 mm Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 90/90/12 (Front), 90/90/12 (Rear) MRF
* Brakes: 200 mm Disc (Front), 190 mm Disc (Rear), CBS
* Battery Range: 60 km (Normal), 75 km (ECO), 107 km (ARAI)
* Battery Capacity: 2.4 kWh, 19 kgs, IP67-rated
Ather 450 Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 1800 mm x 700 mm x 1250 mm
* Wheelbase: 1278 mm
* Seat Height: 765 mm
* Ground Clearance: 160 mm
* Kerb Weight: 118 kgs
* Water Wading Limit: 300 mm