Ather is finally launching its range of electric vehicles in the North. The brand was earlier only available in Bangalore and Chennai. I had the chance to experience the scooter and have to say that it managed to impress in a few areas while falling short of expectations on some.
Initially, I took the scooter out for a ride without any knowledge about how it works, this is what I call a blind test. And the one thing that can be said about it from the first look is that it looks aggressive. Another point that I loved about was how it is extremely easy to drive and you can quickly get a hold of most features without any instructions.
But you will not be able to take a blind test of the vehicle even if you buy it. Because the company has an experience set for everyone who walks in from the front door, in which they detail how the company started, how the scooter is built and details about how all the scooter’s features work.
After I took the lesson from the Ather team, I got to know about a few additional features, like the ability to reverse the scooter, helping users in parking.
First, the tech that runs this scooter. The dashboard is a 7-inch display that looks crisp and bright. It is easily legible even under direct sunlight, which is a necessity for you to keep an eye on the vehicle analytics or the map. For safety, the company has restricted the display after the scooter hits 2 kmph. The display interface is quite nice and feels intuitive, at the same time providing no distractions.
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The scooter has three drive modes: Eco, Ride and Sport, all of which limit the power of the vehicle, to get speed or range. And if you are getting this scooter for fun and its eco-friendliness (considering the price, you are only getting it for that) you will never want to take it out of the Boost mode. However, at times you will have to dial down to the Eco mode to save on battery, which is way less fun to ride in.
The scooter is quite peppy and has an instant response when you pull the throttle. This makes it quite exciting to ride. While in traffic, you might want to dial the scooter from the sport mode to the ride mode for better control and braking. Talking about the braking, it comes with dual disc brakes which are quite hard, and stop almost instantly. So it is advised that you keep a light hand on the brakes.
One big problem that I had with the scooter, was how it made a weird creaking sound. No, that was not the belt drive whirring. That creaking sound managed to give me a headache within an hour of driving the scooter. This might not be an issue when you buy a new Ather 450, however, might at a later date this will become irritating.
The Ather 450 is a definite head turner. And I could see people noticing the scooter. At red lights or when I had stopped to take images, people walked up to me asking what is this, and followed up with questions about electric vehicles and their price.
I was not able to test out the charging capabilities of the scooter, however, in the time I drove it (approximately one hour in sport mode), I had taken it from a 88 per cent charge to 27 per cent charge, while covering around 50 km. This might be an issue for the people wanting range. However, with this, the company is targeting people who will use the scooter for daily commute rather than for long rides.
Ather 450: First impressions
The Ather 450 is a distinctive and sporty looking scooter, which when paired with its nimbleness and agility makes it a really good purchase. In terms of performance, it is able to match all of the conventional 125cc scooters currently available in the market. However, when it comes to the price, it is considerably costlier.
The scooter is quite fun to drive and is one that people like to turn a look at when you zip past them. However, it is not made for the people who want to take longer rides, due to the range.
Keeping all of this in mind if you want to support the electric vehicle movement and at the same time want a vehicle that can deliver on performance this might be the one to get.
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