Ather Energy had first showcased the Ather 340 e-scooter in 2016 and the concept model was expected to become the production model by 2017, but it took quite longer for the launch. What comes as a surprise is that company has announced the launch of two e-scooter – Ather 340 & Ather S450, of which the later is a more refined and upgraded model. The Ather 340 and Ather S450 are priced at INR 1,09,750 and INR 1,24,750 (on-road) respectively. Shocked? Thinking what’s in a scooter which makes it that costly? Let’s find out more about the two e-scooters.
Key features of Ather 340 & Ather S450 are-
1. These e-scooters have the lowest center of gravity amongst all scooters in the country which greatly enhances its handling.
2. Another key feature is the zero lateral offset, meaning that it has the weight has been symmetrically distributed making the vehicle well balanced.
3. Both the e-scooters have mono-shock suspension which ensure a jerk free ride.
4. The braking is taken care by disc brakes at the front and rear with combined braking system (CBS).
5. They feature a 7” capacitive IP65 rated water-proof touchscreen which offer plenty of features that are controllable using a smart phone. This first in segment feature is enabled with navigation as well. That’s cool right!
6. The Ather app helps to keep a check on vehicle charge status, diagnostics, monitor ride patterns, get tips to improve vehicle performance, etc.
7. Other prominent features include reverse parking assist, push navigation, charging station location tracking, custom user interface, LED headlamps & taillights, etc.
8. The firmware can be updated with the over-the-air updates and Ather Energy learns the ride patterns to constantly improve the scooter performance.
9. Ather has developed the Battery and Battery Managing System (BMS) in-house while the brushless DC motor will be outsourced. The ip67 rated battery pack is housed in an aluminium casing within the floorboard while the ip66 rated motor is mounted on the frame.
|Feature||Ather S450||Ather 340|
|Top Speed||80 kmph||70 kmph|
|0 – 40 kmph||3.9 s||5.1 s|
|Eco-mode Range||75 km||60 km|
These were some of the features which make Ather e-scooters stand out from the crowd. But there are a few things that may not make these offerings appear over-priced or less worthy-
1. A speed of 80 kmph is very low for a 2-wheeler costing more INR 1,00,000. The other vehicles in 125 cc segment are pretty much fast.
2. There are upgraded products like TVS Ntorq which do have the right blend of technology.
3. Both vehicles are being offered only in white colour which leaves no room for choice.
4. The quarterly or annual maintenance fees are clearly way more than the conventional petrol vehicles.
5. Such a short driving range makes it fit for small city rides only.
6. The main competitors like the Okinawa Praise and the Twenty Two Motors Flow are priced between INR 60,000 to INR 75,000 i.e. way below the Ather’s price point.
7. As of now, the infrastructure has not been developed sufficiently for charging depots and the market for EVs is still in nascent stage in India.
8. The infrastructure for Ather EVs is developed only in 14 locations of Bengaluru as of now. The network being limited has restricted its sales to Bengaluru only.
An ambitious project of this kind requires immense capital investment to develop the product as well as the infrastructure to support it. Ather Energy has been receiving sufficient funding till date (INR 6.72 crore from Flipkart and INR 205 crores from Hero Motocorp i.e. Hero gets a 26-30 % stake in the project. At such high price point, Ather can target only the niche segment who can afford its innovation. It will be interesting to see how Ather energy develops the infrastructure in cities apart from Bengaluru. The sales figures will tell the rest.