When the Bangalore-based EV maker Ather Energy made its debut back in 2016 via their Ather 450X e-scooter, there were not many eyebrows raised. They were just another India-based small-scale EV manufacturer that was trying to establish itself early before the upcoming EV storm. As time passed by, we all know how the EV segment in India and especially the e-scooter segment became a super immersive market.
With big names like Hero Electric and even Yamaha now stepping into the game, Ather has successfully raised their model of the EV game. Well is it the engineers behind their success, the sheer dedication, or the quality of their 450X e-scooter? These have been some important questions which have itched us at 91Wheels back of the mind, seldom.
To know the in-depth working of Ather's e-scooter and their Ather Grid charging system; we took the 450X for a 3-day long spin within the city as well as to the outskirts. Our idea was to test the Ather 450X as a fun-to-ride scooter for weekend rides and boy did it impress us! For this, we shall know about the product itself first.
Starting with the futuristic design language of the 450X; the overall silhouette remains sharp and decently curvy. A large V-shape design pattern is visible from the bottom to the top design at the front. The headlight is placed midst the front body panel and is rectangular while it goes very subtly with the front design. This headlight is an all-LED unit that brightens up the road pretty decent during the night rides. Also, Ather has fixed a 'Follow-Me-Home' feature as well. This feature allows the headlight to remain on for a few seconds even after the scooter has been switched off. A thoughtful feature indeed, which will help you find your way during dark parking spaces and night rides as well. The instrument cowl, body panels, and even the mudguard are of supreme quality, fit and finish. The quality of material used remains consistent throughout the scooter; which is very premium and feels solid to tap on. Ather has used the telescopic front fork suspension which has good travel (more on this below). The 12-inch MRF rubber and petal disc brakes with BYBRE calipers are a delight to ride as well as look at.
Once you climb the 450X, the first thing to notice remains the quality. The switchgear, rearview mirrors, seat, and even the legroom bay are constructed of high-quality plastic which provides you a long-lasting feeling. The single-seat is wide enough for a person of stance 6-feet and above. While the pillion seat area is wide and comfortable; one thing which will hit you is the slanting design of the rider's seat. It is not bad but you do tend to slip forward in case of harsh braking. One thing Ather can improve is the rider seat design for sure. The amount of under-seat storage space is enough to place a full-size helmet, some documents, and even a 1-liter water bottle. The under-seat storage also gets an LED light which remains on during the daytime as well! Why, Ather?
Apart from this, the grab handle at the rear end is wide and sturdy as well. Side body panels embrace the footpeg design for pillion in them; this leads to less design construction and a little bit of weight saving as well. Even the side stand has been thoughtfully designed as Ather has provided a hump in its design; this leads to easy access to the stand, especially for riders with a short stance. Good thought, Ather!
Coming at the back, the tooth-shaped single unit LED taillight has turn indicators embedded in it. The rear stance is short and open to let the air pass through the under-seat placed electric battery and motor. The rear 12-inch tyre also gets the petal disc brakes with BYBRE brake calipers for balanced handling and ride experience.
Feature-rich is how one can define the e-scooter segment and the Ather 450X e-scooter is not an exception here as well. It gets a 7-inch IP 65 rated weather proof digital touch infotainment screen which possesses information from as basic as the speed, two trip-meters, riding modes to some advanced features such as Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, an in-built 4G sim card which helps the owner to use the Google Maps provided. The rider can save their work, and home locations on the Maps and there is even an option to find the nearest Ather Grid Charging Station (more on this below). One can easily customize the various parameters such as the display screen theme, turn indicator sounds, and the 'Follow-Me-Home' headlamp feature via just a tap on the screen. The touchscreen is simple and crisp to use, and there is no fuss or lag during use. The colour of the screen changes as the rider toggles between the various riding modes via the toggle switch provided over the right side on the handlebar switchgear.
One area where the Ather 450X e-scooter is very well sorted is the battery pack and electric motor combination. The coupling of a 2.9 kWh battery with the 6 kW PMS motor is good enough for producing a peak torque of 26 Nm. For a scooter that is 108 Kg in weight, the amount of power is tremendous which one can easily feel via using power modes. Ather 450X provides an option between four various power modes to choose from - Eco, Ride, Sport & Warp. One can switch between these modes on the standstill as well as on the go by leaving the accelerator and toggling through the toggle switch provided.
When you switch on the 450X, it is by default in the Eco mode. Ather claims that the Eco mode can do 85 km on a full charge and so it does on our test. The Eco mode is strictly for city use with lethargic bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions because these modes make the accelerator crawl. Most of the time you'll find this mode to be insufficient; especially if you're riding with a pillion. With that said, this mode is strictly for cruising around 40 kmph so that the rider can do 85 km of range easily.
The 'R' mode is the ride mode which drops the estimated riding range to 70 km on a full charge but the throttle response becomes decent enough like any 100cc ICE-powered scooter. One can easily cop up the traffic gaps and breeze through the city traffic with a top speed available up to 50 kmph. The third mode is the 'S' mode which translates to Sports. While the estimated driving range drops to 60 km, this mode transforms the Ather 450X e-scooter into a performing EV. The throttle becomes quick and the tug of 22 Nm on tap is addictive to use.
As the above modes will mostly satisfy you, but if you're still looking for more performance Ather 450X comes with a Warp mode as well. Once you toggle to this mode, be prepared for the sheer smile that the performance of this mode will put on your face. The available torque increases from 22 Nm to 26 Nm and the 450X can do 0-40 kmph in just 3 seconds. Although the company claims that the 450X can achieve 80 kmph of top speed in this mode, we even managed to witness 92 kmph on board while coming down a flyover. The power and performance of this mode are so sheer and strong that we suggest new riders to not use it immediately if they hop on to the 450X. Yes! This is so true because the Warp mode just pulled like a train even on the steep inclines of the Aravalli range. This surely is the most engaging and fun to ride e-scooters available in India today.
Ather has also provided the 450X with a reverse-assist function which can be used with a single tap on the touchscreen MID. The reverse assist helps the rider to reverse the e-scooter out of the tight parking spaces or reverse the scooter over congested streets, roads, or spaces. A very thoughtful feature, especially for the riders who find it difficult to pull the scooter reverse in such tricky conditions.
Talking about the real concern that most EV owners face is range anxiety. Did it hit us? Well, sadly yes. We took the 450X to hilly terrain just to test its power and performance of it. While it pleased us miraculously; on the way back the story was something else. The estimated driving range shown is correct only if you're easy on the throttle. Wringing the throttle meant a significant drop on the battery charge and we had to ride the Ather 450X in Eco mode over the Expressway at 35 Kmph just to make sure it do not dry out. The range anxiety does persist with the 450X e-scooter if you're planning to ride it for long distances like we did. Inside the city environment, even the Wrap mode can make you reach home with sufficient charge left to be used.
Other area where the Ather 450X e-scooter shines is its beautiful combination of suspension setup and the chassis-handling balance.
The twin-fork telescopic suspension upfront and the single spring mono-shock at the rear end have been artistically designed by the Ather engineers. The suspension setup is so good that most of the undulations and even a few of the major potholes are eaten up very well by it. At times we felt that the rear end gets too soft and yes it can bottom out if you take potholes with a carried away speed than required, but, the overall tuning is almost perfect for the Indian road conditions. The low-speed ride is very well contained and as soon as you pick up the speed, the suspension starts getting calmer and more composed.
While the suspension is good; the brakes and handling of the Ather 450X e-scooter are a step ahead of the game. The combination of well-designed chassis with great suspension allows you to use the strong brakes provided to their full use. The chassis balance is so well that one would take the corners with speed more than they can even on the ICE-powered scooters. Brakes are spot-on and the ABS allows you to stop it without any stress at any point or place on the tarmac. The MRF rubber holds the road well and even over the broken patches and off-road sections, the tyres held well while damping the shakes and frills of bad roads on the handlebar pretty well.
Yes, we wish that the rear end was not too soft as it is now, but mind you, we rode the 450X hard enough to beat the entry-level performance motorcycles. The brakes bite well and the overall setup of chassis, handling, ride, and braking is surely a deal maker for the Ather 450X.
While the Ather 450X can charge from 0-80% within just 3 hours 35 minutes as claimed, the company also provides a portable home charger that can be plugged in any 5A/15A socket as well; one simply can not access the charging points over the roads anywhere.
Ather understands this problem of lack of EV infrastructure and to kill the range anxiety problem for the buyers; Ather Grid charging stations have been set up. One can easily find these stations via installing the official Ather Energy smartphone application or via visiting the official website of the company. Not just that, but the Ather 450X also has the list of available charging stations on board over the infotainment screen.
As we were running out of juice while coming back, we decided to pit stop at one of these charging stations in Gurugram. The one Ather Grid where we reached was established in a residential area and it was open to using. So how do we access this? Well, once we reached it, we scanned the QR code printed over the charging station and signed in via the Ather app with a few quick steps as we explained in our video review as well.
Ather claims that their charging stations use fast DC charging which can charge 80% battery at a 1.5km/min rate. While at starting we were skeptical of this figure, the charging station was indeed faster and it even charged the e-scooter before the claimed time. While the charging took place, we had the time to grab a coffee while constantly monitoring the charging update via the Ather Grid phone application. These charging stations also support the automatic recognition of your particular vehicle which means the hassle to plug and charge is, even more, less in the longer run.
While we may sound too sweet but the Ather experience is wonderful for an India-based EV maker which is not even a decade old. Yes, we would love Ather to introduce bigger battery packs or swappable battery options. Yes, we would also love Ather to provide the users with more Ather Grid charging stations pan India. But no, we are not complaining about the Ather 450X e-scooter as a product because the smile it has put on our faces from its dynamics and performance is truly outrageous.
So, if you're looking for a premium, niggle-free, fun-to-ride e-scooter which has sorted dynamics, engaging handling, comfy ride and you have a budget of INR 1.38 lakhs, because that's what the Ather 450X costs ex-showroom in New Delhi; then it is one bang of a product for the buck. Also as we speak, Ather is already expanding its service and showroom network and the future is surely bright for Ather.
While the competition expands with the likes of Ola S1 Pro, Bajaj Chetak, TVS iQUbe, etc. Ather embarks in its league with its quality and performance. Tell us what you think about the Ather 450X e-scooter and did you like our detailed review of this product by commenting down below. Also, make sure you subscribe to the 91Wheels YouTube channel and do become a member of the 91Wheels WhatsApp group for regular automotive updates around the globe.