Ather 450S electric scooter first ride review: A slightly toned-down 450X

130,000
4.5 out of 5
Pros
  • Sporty performance
  • Features
Cons
  • Looks same as 450X
  • Costly
Ather 450S comes as a sporty and stylish urban electric scooter and an affordable iteration of the 450X. It can be used for regular commuting and fun
...
Ather 450S comes as a sporty and stylish urban electric scooter and an affordable iteration of the 450X. It can be used for regular commuting and fun rides equally.
Ather 450S comes as a sporty and stylish urban electric scooter and an affordable iteration of the 450X. It can be used for regular commuting and fun rides equally.

Talk about electric vehicles in India, the electric scooters have been doing pretty well. Skyrocketing petrol prices and significantly lower cost of ownership compared to ICE scooters are among the key factors that have been playing a crucial role in the growth of electric scooters. Over the last few years, several EV startups have played key roles in pushing electric scooters’ growth in India. Ather Energy is one of them, which has tasted pretty good success with its 450 series of electric scooters, which sit in the premium segment and compete with rivals from Ola Electric, TVS, and Bajaj Auto.

After tasting success with Ather 450X, which is the flagship product of Ather Energy, the Karnataka-based electric scooter manufacturer has now introduced the 450S, which is the most affordable product from the brand. Launched at a starting price of 1.30 lakh (ex-showroom), the new electric scooter comes as a toned-down iteration of the 450X. We rode the Ather 450S in Bengaluru in Karnataka. Here are our thoughts and findings about the all-new premium electric scooter.

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Watch: Ather 450S review: Worthy of its price tag?

Ather 450S: Looks

If you have seen Ather 450X, you won’t find any visual difference in the new 450S electric scooter, as it carries the same styling. Ather 450S gets the same curvy front cowl with the same LED headlamp as the 450X. From the side profile and rear too, it looks exactly the same as the flagship Ather electric scooter. However, if you look closely, the switchgear with a joystick at the left and the instrument cluster with a non-touch LCD display add some differences to the 450S that make it distinctive from its flagship sibling 450X.

Ather 450S
Ather 450S comes visually the same as the brand's flagship 450X electric scooter.
Ather 450S
Ather 450S comes visually the same as the brand's flagship 450X electric scooter.

Otherwise, if you are opting for the new 450S, don’t expect any additional attention on the road while riding this electric scooter. The wide seat, thick grab rail at the back sitting above the inverted C-shaped sleek LED taillight, saree guard at the left and black alloy wheels are among other design elements of the scooter.

Ather 450S: Features

Ather 450S’s instrument cluster is completely different from the Ather 450X. In order to tone down the premiumness, which in return helped Ather to reduce the cost of the 450S, the EV maker has ditched the touchscreen instrument cluster available in the 450X. Instead, the 450S gets an LCD panel, which lacks the typical map navigation system that is available in the flagship Ather scooter. Instead, this MapMyIndia-powered navigation system gets a turn-by-turn navigation system, which shows only which direction to go by showing arrows on the screen, when the scooter’s onboard computer is synced with the rider’s smartphone using Bluetooth.

Ather 450S
In the absence of a touchscreen display, the joystick acts as a navigator tool for the rider to navigate through the menu and options displayed on the LCD screen.
Ather 450S
In the absence of a touchscreen display, the joystick acts as a navigator tool for the rider to navigate through the menu and options displayed on the LCD screen.

Navigating through the menu and options displayed on the LCD screen have to be performed using the joystick. While the soft-touch joystick is positioned ergonomically, navigating through the options using that could be a bit tricky as the rider has to take his or her eyes off the road. However, it could be a matter of time and practice to get used to it. Also, the switchgear has a ride mode selector toggler that allows the rider to switch between the three riding modes: Eco, Ride and Sport.

Ather claims the LCD panel comes with a technology called ‘Deep View Display’. It is claimed to come as three times larger than any model’s display in the 125cc internal combustion powered or equivalent electric scooters. The LCD panel is also claimed to come featuring five layers and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. An interesting fact about this display is that once the scooter’s power is turned off, the screen looks pitch black as the LCD and its figures are not visible, unlike other scooters.

Ather 450S
The dedicated Park Assist button allows the rider to reverse the scooter without any hassle.
Ather 450S
The dedicated Park Assist button allows the rider to reverse the scooter without any hassle.

Among other features are the LED lights at the front and a slim LED taillight mimicking the 450X. There is a sleek LED light bar sitting at the under-seat storage offering illumination for the rider. Among other practical features is a saree guard positioned at the rear left. The ‘Park Assist’ is a pretty convenient feature allowing the rider to reverse the scooter easily without the need to manually push it back.

Another interesting feature of the Ather 450S is focusing on the safety of the rider. The manufacturer claims that if the scooter falls and receives a massive jolt in case of a mishap, it will automatically show the rider an option to make an emergency call to a pre-set contact number. This fall-safe feature is quite similar to what Apple has introduced to the iPhone 14.

Ather 450S
Ather 450S' ride and handling are the same as the 450X electric scooter.
Ather 450S
Ather 450S' ride and handling are the same as the 450X electric scooter.

Ather 450S: Ride and handling

Ather 450S’s ride and handling are no different from the Ather 450X. While riding it at a speed of 90 kmph and that too against a strong headwind blowing from the opposite direction, the scooter didn’t appear shaky or lose control. The seat is wide and soft enough to offer a comfortable riding experience. The footboard offers ample space for the rider, while the front hook comes as a practical feature of the scooter.

The suspension setup including the telescopic front forks and monoshock absorber at the back ensures a comfortable riding experience. We took the scooter through some really bumpy and rough patches, where it performed well without any hassle. It runs on 12-inch black alloy wheels, the same as the 450X. The wheels come wrapped with MRF tyres that ensure a good grip on roads.

Ather 450S: Performance

When it comes to performance, Ather 450S won’t disappoint you. Powering the sporty and premium electric scooter is a belt-drive motor that enables the Ather 450S to run at a top speed of 90 kmph in the Sport mode thanks to 7.24 bhp of peak power and 22 Nm of maximum torque. In Eco mode, the maximum speed goes up to 52 kmph, while in Ride mode, the scooter clocks 60 kmph top speed. Once the throttle is twisted, acceleration is swift and smooth. When riding in Sport mode, the scooter accelerates quickly and zips past the traffic.

Ather 450S
Ather 450S can reach a top speed of 90 kmph in Sport mode and the acceleration of this electric scooter is smooth and swift.
Ather 450S
Ather 450S can reach a top speed of 90 kmph in Sport mode and the acceleration of this electric scooter is smooth and swift.

When riding on highways, the Sport mode is really fun, However, as we experienced during riding the EV, the energy consumption in this mode is really high, reducing the overall range of the scooter. Interestingly, we had the opportunity to charge the 450S as well at one of the Ather Grid charging points. The charging experience was pretty impressive, as it took around 10 minutes to juice up the EV for more than 15 kilometres. Using home chargers, the battery pack be charged up to 80 per cent in around six hours and 36 minutes while charging up to 100 per cent takes eight hours and 36 minutes.

Ather 450S
A 20 cm front brake and a 19 cm rear brake perform braking duty for the 450S, but not having ABS is a thumbs down for this premium scooter.
Ather 450S
A 20 cm front brake and a 19 cm rear brake perform braking duty for the 450S, but not having ABS is a thumbs down for this premium scooter.

Ather 450S: Brakes

Ather 450S comes equipped with disc brakes on both front and rear wheels, paired with a Combi Braking System (CBS), which distributes the braking energy evenly to both wheels. We tried braking replicating both emergency conditions and regular environment. In both conditions, the braking performance of the 450S was pretty satisfactory. Despite having a 20 cm front disc brake and a 19 cm rear disc brake, the Ather 450S misses out on ABS, which would have been a key USP of the scooter. However, Ather said the 450S will come equipped with ABS in future.

Ather 450S
Ather 450S promises to run a 115 km range on a single charge, but the true range is around 90 km and that too depends on road conditions, and riding mode being used.
Ather 450S
Ather 450S promises to run a 115 km range on a single charge, but the true range is around 90 km and that too depends on road conditions, and riding mode being used.

Ather 450S: Battery and range

Energy for Ather 450S comes from a water and dust resistant IP67-rated 2.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which enables it to run up to 115 km on a single charge. However, expect the true range of the scooter to be around 90 km on a full charge, in favourable conditions and in Eco mode. In Sport mode, the range would drop significantly.

Ather 450S: Verdict

Ather Energy is aiming for a larger chunk of the electric scooter market. The Ather 450S comes as a key product in that strategy. Ather claims that the launch of the 450S has nothing to do with the Ola S1 Air, which is the most affordable model in the Ola S1 range of scooters. Instead, the EV maker claims that 450S is targeting the 125 cc scooters like TVS NTorq and Honda Dio 125. Ather claims it doesn’t see itself as an electric scooter manufacturer but as a major player in the Indian scooter market, irrespective of powertrain characteristics.

Speaking about our ride experience of the Ather 450S, the scooter is stylish and sporty looking just like its sibling 450X. Except for the non-touchscreen LCD instrument cluster and the revamped switchgear, there is absolutely nothing to boast about in this model. However, in our experience, we found the Ather app glitchy as we weren’t able to connect it to the scooter for navigational purposes despite trying multiple times. However, Ather claimed that it was a beta version of the app with Google Map-enabled navigation, which we tried.

Ather 450S
Don’t expect any additional attention on the road while riding the 450S, as it is visually the same as its flagship sibling 450X.
Ather 450S
Don’t expect any additional attention on the road while riding the 450S, as it is visually the same as its flagship sibling 450X.

On the practicality front, the lack of a centre stand is something that gives this electric scooter a thumbs down. Besides that, the under-seat storage too may not accommodate all the helmets, as we were unable to put the seat in its original position with a full-blown full-face helmet placed in the under-seat storage.

The ride quality is good enough thanks to the peppy motor and the suspension setup. However, it is to be mentioned that as the review unit provided to us did not have enough charge, we couldn’t test the 450S to the optimum level. On the pricing front, it feels a bit higher priced at 1.30 lakh, especially when the scooter misses out on features such as a touchscreen display like its bigger sibling.

First Published Date: 11 Aug 2023, 12:00 PM IST
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