Ather 450 electric scooter Chennai launch countdown begins

Ather Energy is all geared up to launch their A450 electric scooter in Chennai. Ather A450 is on sale in Benglauru for over an year now and Chennai is the second city where the iconic zero emission scooter is being launched. This post gives you a brief on the Ather 450 scooter, its specs and Chennai launch specific details, while I have a second post detailing various discussions I had with the Ather Energy core team.
What's unique about Ather 450?
Besides being a zero emission electric vehicle, A450 has lots of design and engineering features worth praising. It was designed from scratch and Ather wants to own the entire value chain- manufacturing, sales, service, charging infrastructure etc.

A450 chassis is designed for low centre of gravity and CG sits on exact centre, unlike 30-70 split in most scooters (which are rear heavy hence cause trouble during sharp turns or sudden braking). Ather 450 can ride a lot better than conventional scooters thanks to its clever design.

A frame mounted motor is used instead of hub mounted one-for better durability and efficiency.

Battery is sealed in the floor of the scooter, rated to withstand flooding and other potential abuses.

Connected Scooter- Ather 450 is heavily computer controlled and has capability to receive newer features and updates remotely and can offer lots of them without needing any mechanical changes. Motor behavior can be controlled electronically, user data can be analysed to make improvements and the potential are unlimited. Interactive touch screen display is designed for Indian weather conditions.

3 Modes- Eco, Ride and Sport (Eco is newly introduced, will be available for everyone after Chennai Launch) Reverse Park assist helps slow reversing without effort.

Ather has bagged 51 patents, 113 trademark filings,123 design applications and 11 international patents. So far Ather has raised close to 93 million USD in funding including from Sachin and Binny Bansal and Hero Corp.

Key specs to know about A450
Range: ARAI certified is 107kms on full charge, but Ather advertises a true range of 75kms. A few users in Bengaluru have indeed clocked 101-107 kms in sport and ride modes.
Charging- takes 2.5 hours in slow charging for charge up to 80%. Little more for 100%. Fast charging can be done at the rate of 1 km per minute
Space: Full face helmet can be stored under seat, along with some accessories like umbrella etc Front has a small hook that can hold bags upto 15 kgs.
Speed: Most customers are seen riding at around 50kmph, while designated top speed is 80 kmph. Roll on acceleration- 20 kmph to 50kmph is rated better than TVS Ntorq 125cc power scooter. Regular acceleration is at par with most 125 cc scooters. (under 4 sec for 0-40 kmph)

Dual disc brakes for safety, MRF Zapper tubeless tyres, mono suspension and all LED lights make the package complete.
In essence, Ather is not just a scooter with electric motor. It is a complete new thought, it is a unique riding and ownership experience. With IOT, Connected ecosystem and community, the potential improvements are huge and owership is more fun and fulfilling than a petrol scoooter. There is no compromise in terms of speed, comfort, range (for all practical purposes) and cost of ownership. Give it a try.
A450 Charging infrastructure, process and cost
How to charge Ather 450? What is the cost?
Option 1: Home Charging: Each A450 scooter comes with a home charging unit, which Ather team will help to install in your home or apartment complex. They will also help you move this if you are relocating. Home charging unit is a slow charging unit, charges about 80% in 2.5 hours. Home charging units can be locked to your scooter- no one else will be able to charge using this charger, unless you as unit owner request for authorization.

Option 2: Ather Grid: Ather will set up several public charging hubs all over the city- usually near cafes and malls and such places where you can keep your vehicle for charging and spend some time in the mall/cafe. Following are the already live Ather Hubs in Chennai- they have got the length covered very well. More such hubs will be set up as sales increases and they get data on where owners are based, at what point people start searching for nearest charging station, which region battery often runs out and so on.

Ather Grid is a fast charging unit- vehicle will charge about 1 km per minute. You can use the app to locate nearest charging stations, check opening hours/availability etc.

Ather's Bengaluru data analysis reveals most customers are charging at home, public charging is used lesser than anticipated as most customers are able to charge as much needed before leaving home.

Cost of public charging:
Usage of public charging infra is free till December 2019. After that a fee will be applicable. How much- is not known yet. Plus note that malls may charge a parking fee.

Even non Ather Electric vehicles can charge using Ather Grid- free till September 2019 and chargeable after that.

Option 3: You can buy a portable charger for an extra cost- about INR 5000- using which you can charge from any socket.

Cost of ownership of Ather 450
Initial purchase price, expected to be around 1.25 lakhs INR will cover you for everything for one year. After that you'll have to factor the following
1. Subscription fee: You can select between Ather One (Rs 700 a month, covers everything from Data, Service, Charging, OTA upgrades etc) or a cheaper version- Data and OTA only, Data and Service only etc. You can decide not to have any subscription at all- but that will take away the fun and potential benefits of connected vehicle. You will have to pay for service and everything extra.

2. Battery: Ather gives 3 years unlimited kms warranty on the battery. Warranty is "if battery degrades more than 70% - i.e instead of 75kms range scooter is say not giving more than 50kms on full charge" then battery will be replaced for free. Ather believes battery will last at least 5 to 6 years. At some point after that the range will be too less for the scooter to be practical, so you'll have to replace. Exact cost is not known, assumed at 50000 INR but is expected to come down in next few years as volume increases. Nevertheless you might want to set-aside or factor a few hundred rupees every month towards battery replacement expense.

3. Electricity/Charging fee: Depending on usage. AtherOne subscription claims to reimburse home electricity cost consumed by the scooter. You may incur a fee for using public charging infrastructure once free promo period ends.

4. Insurance: Around Rs 3000-3600 a year as per current rate

Check this post wherein I have done detailed comparison of cost of ownership of Ather 450 vs Honda Activa.

Ather User community
Ather has a strong online forum where Ather customers and enthusiasts discuss the products, share updates, ideas and more. We were told a group of them (existing Ather owners) are coming down to Chennai from Bengaluru this weekend to interact with potential Chennai customers, address their concerns and instill confidence.

Booking Process and timeline
Chennai booking will open on July 9th. Ather is expecting to begin deliveries within a month. Exact price is not yet revealed for Chennai. It is believed to be very close to its Bengaluru price (1.25 lakhs)- some variations because of transportation cost, local taxes and such factors.

Where?
Ather's main showroom in Chennai, known as Ather Space is planned at Nungambakkam, Chennai (KNK road/Wallace Garden road)- this is bigger than Bengaluru showroom in Indira Nagar.
Watch this video I made on Ather450 last year

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Nidhi for the detailed post. However, I think its not wise to buy now with so much technical glitches like charging time at home and time to wait when parked in malls which comes with a cost of parking fee + the costs that you spend on the mall as you wait for your vehicle charge.

    Next is electricity charging cost, vehicle cost (vehicle is over priced at 1.25 lakh than compared to the normal ones.)

    In the long run, we will have more electric vehicles with more one time charging capacity that will come with competitive cost as more competitors will be on the market. So, wise to buy then is my humble thought.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Pls check this post for detailed analysis of cost of ownership
      https://www.enidhi.net/2018/07/real-economics-of-electric-scooters-ather450.html

      Ather is setting up more charging points in malls and cafes so that people don't have to wait by the scooter and spend time inside the mall/cafe.

      Of course electric vehicles and related cost should go down with volume in future. Let us hope for that. But then for that to happen, someone has to take the initiative. If no one ventures into making and buying electric vehicles industry will not grow.

      Delete

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