22 FAQs on Ather Energy 450 electric scooter

Last Saturday I experienced Ather Energy’s 450 electric vehicle in Bengaluru. I spent about an hour taking two test drives, interacting with staff and knowing more details about this newly launched and innovative product. I have planned 3 posts from this experience- This post, the first one will answer a set of FAQs, to give you immediate answers to various burning questions you may have about the Ather e-scooter. The second post will be my detailed experience at the centre with detailed review of the vehicle and a final post will cover financial aspects of owning an e-bike vs a conventional bike.
1. What is the on road price of Ather A450 electric scooter?
1.25 lakhs for A450 and 1.1 lakhs INR for slightly less powerful A340. This is factoring 22k subsidy from government, first year insurance and one year Ather One subscription (for early customers)

2. What is Ather One Subscription?
Ather One is Ather’s all inclusive maintenance package. It includes data charges for the SIM card in display panel, one year road side assistance, maintenance etc. For the first year, Ather One subscription is included in the vehicle price. From second year onwards you may have to renew it. Rs 700 per month + GST is the charge for Ather One subscription

3. Can we manage without Ather One?
You can, but below will be the risk
You’ve to manage without a sim card for the display & navigation or spend separately on sim card. Without a data sim card (cost of which is included in Ather One subscription) you can’t use navigation and scooter can’t send any feedback/data back to Ather. Otherwise you can ride around just fine.

Without roadside assistance and maintenance coverage, you will have to pay in cash in case of a breakdown/service requirements

Note that Ather One may have its own T&C. Website says Ather One covers labour charge, consumables like brake pads. I have sought clarification if it includes tyre and belt replacement as well-I feel it isn't.

4. What is FAME subsidy?
FAME stands for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of electric vehicles. It is a central govt scheme to encourage sale of electric vehicles. As per this mint news, FAME subsidy is currently valid till September 2018.  This essentially means cost of Ather escooters will go up by 22000 INR after October 2018, if FAME subsidy is not extended beyond end of September 2018

5. What is the range of Ather e-scooter on full charge?
A450 has a range of 75 kms if driven on Eco Mode, 60 if driven without Eco mode.
A340 has a range of 60 kms if driven on Eco Mode, 50 if driven without Eco mode.

Note that range is a function of several factor- load on vehicle (single/double rider, ride weight), level/incline, rate of acceleration, speed at which vehicle is run, use of additional functions like headlight, horn etc that are powered by same battery etc. The advertised range is under best of the scenarios. You should keep some 10% buffer just in case you’ve to ride faster or carry a pillion or so on

6. What happens if we turn on Eco Mode?
Eco mode will NOT facilitate rapid acceleration, to save on power draining rapidly. I think it may also limit top speed. Thus Eco mode will give 10-15% extra range, at the cost of riding experience.

7. How long Ather ebike’s battery is expected to last?
Ather is giving a 3 year, unlimited kms warranty on the battery- thus you can be sure it will last minimum 3 years. Just like your mobile phone battery, the range would drop over time-Ather says less than 10% per year.  So my guess is sometime between 4th and 5th year (when effective range becomes too less for your day to day needs) you will be forced to replace the battery, which will cost about 40000 INR. (Note that this is just a wild guess at the moment- no one has used the bike for 4-5 years to confirm if battery lasts longer or needs replacement earlier-for now let us hope for best)

8. What is the top speed of Ather Energy 450?
80 kmph for450, 70 kmph for 340

9. What is the difference between the two models- 340 and 450?
340 is cheaper of the two- gets slightly less powerful battery, less top speed, less range. It is 15k cheaper than the other model, called 450 which has slightly more range, power. Other specifications seem to be same.

10. What will be the running cost of Ather ebikes?
The actual running cost- cost of electricity-will be negligible- free if you use Ather Hub. May be just 20-25 paise per km (Assume 3 units for 60 kms, depending on which consumption slab you are in, you may have to pay anywhere between Rs 3 to Rs 8 per unit. Assuming Rs 5 per unit, it will cost Rs 15 for 60 kms or 25 paise per km. Assuming 30 km usage per day, around Rs 230 per month will be electricity charge for a household that consumes reasonable amount of electricity.

But you need to consider total cost of ownership-After first year, below expenses will occur
  • AtherOne subscription will cost about Rs 700+ GST (assuming 12%, Rs 800 approx)
  • Annual insurance premium is Rs 3600 approx or Rs 300 per month
  • Assuming battery needs replacement every 5 years approx, Rs 40000/5 years= Rs 8000 per year or Rs 670 per month
  • Other periodic maintenance not covered under AtherOne (tyre replacement after 40k kms at 5k, belt replacements etc): Approx 150 per month
This means an average monthly expense of Rs 230+800+300+670+150= Rs 2150 per month
Out of this Ather One subscription is optional, so minimum monthly net spend will be Rs 1350 from second year onwards. Please check this detailed analysis on the financials.

11. Is ather electric scooter strong enough for every day needs?
It is certified to climb a slope of upto 18 degrees incline. On plain surface, myself and saakshi rajat did a double ride- didn’t face any performance issue. Top speed of 70-80 kmph and a range of 60-70kms is fairly adequate for city usage. Ather is trying to ensure that you will always find a charging point within 4 kms when inside city limits- so should you run out of charge, you can get it charged at nearest charging station, not necessary to go back to home.

12. What are the limitations we should keep in mind while considering Ather ebikes?
  • If you use fast charging, battery will deteriorate slightly faster compared to normal charging
  • If you are not staying in ground floor, charging station can be installed in garage with consent from apartment society etc. Or the conventional cable charger can be purchased, which can be used along with an extension chord to say reach your home in first floor.
  • Ather will track your movements for their data analytics purpose- you have to go incognito if you don’t want ti disclose your location
  • Though e-bikes don’t pollute environment, two third of India’s electricity comes from non renewable sources of energy such as petroleum and natural gas. So it is not 100% green- the pollution has already been caused somewhere else while this electricity was generated. Of course it won’t pollute already polluted cities more, so we can give some credit.
13. How long does it take to charge an Ather eBike?
Using fast charge, you can charge upto 80% in about 1 hours. But full charge will take much longer.
Ather is establishing charging hubs all over Bengaluru, so you don’t have to go back home to charge. You can charge at nearest hub, subject to availability.
One charging station will be installed in your home.

14. Does it make economical sense to buy Ather One right now?
Please wait for my other post with detailed analysis.

15. What are the other alternatives to Ather ebike?
Smartron has a ebike for 50000 INR- this one has top speed of 25kmph only, a detachable battery and looks more like a cycle than a bike
Another startup named Emflux has displayed a electric sports bike at Auto Expo- It is available for purchase from March 2019 and has a price tag of 5.5 lakh+. It used liquid cooled Induction motor as against Ather’s brushless DC motor and promises a 200km range. So depending on your budget, usage and preference you can either buy a relatively cheaper Smartron, a decent Ather or a Superbike.

16 Does Ather’s ebike got a USB port to charge our mobiles?
No

17. Ather ebikes are available in what all colours?
At present, only white.

18. Where can I test drive an ather 450 e-scooter?
You can either walkin to their showroom in Indiarangar defence colony. However better to book an appointment on their website and go on scheduled date n time.

19. In which all cities Ather ebikes will be available?
Right now only in Bengaluru, soon in other cities

20. From when deliveries will start?
Said to be from August 2018

21. How many people have booked Ather ebike so far?
1000+ as per showroom staff

22. What are the other cool features in Ather 450?
  1. Reverse gear
  2. Touchscreen display with built-in map, data logging and other interactive features
  3. App support-family member can track location of the scooter
  4. Storage for full face helmet with light in storage compartment
  5. Light weight aluminum body
  6. Charging stations accessible to all EVs initially for free
Check this post for detailed review of Ather 450. Standby for one more posts on Ather 450's economics

6 comments:

  1. From a first impression perspective, I know that my bajaj Pulsar (costs the same as ather) runs about 10,000 kms a year and costs about Rs. 2-2.5 per kilometer including quarterly service for a period of 4 years. In comparison, Ather would cost about Rs. 1.5/km if I factor just electricity and battery replacement costs. Does not look all that cost effective to me, but look forward to your analysis!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks- your assessment is right- the other post will be live in a few days

      Delete
    2. Other post is live now https://www.enidhi.net/2018/07/real-economics-of-electric-scooters-ather450.html

      Delete
  2. interesting information about electric scooter thanks to sharing

    ReplyDelete
  3. Valuable info from all aspects, good job

    ReplyDelete

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