Bengaluru-based tech start-up Ather Energy has launched two new electric scooters - the Ather 340, and the Ather 450 - both at on-road prices over ₹ 1 lakh. The difference in the two models isn't cosmetic; in fact both models look near identical, and the only difference is under the skin, specifically in the electric motors and the battery packs. The entry-level Ather 340 is claimed to have a top speed of 70 kmph, with an actual range of 60 km on a single charge, while the flagship Ather 450 has a top speed of over 80 kmph with a claimed actual range of over 75 km on a single charge. The 340 has an on-road price of ₹ 1.09 lakh and the 450 has an on-road price tag of ₹ 1.24 lakh.
Also Read: Ather 450 First Ride Review
The pricing of both these new electric scooters aren't competitive in the conventional sense. Compared to other electric scooters in the market and even the top-of-the-line petrol engine scooters available in India, the Ather electric scooters can best be described as a little 'expensive', notwithstanding the clean design, excellent build quality, technology, features or performance the scooters offer. That brings us back to the first question then - is the price tag justified for the state-of-the-art Ather electric scooters, and should you be buying one?
Also Read: Ather 340 Electric Scooter Launched
Sure, both the Ather 340 and the 450 offer features and technology which have not been seen on any two-wheeler in India so far, leave aside just the electric scooter space. Full-frame satellite navigation, GPS- and cloud-connected diagnostic systems, as well as a level of engineering and performance right up there with the very best certainly make the Ather scooters worthy of all the praise we have showered after our first ride experience with the Ather 450.
Also Read: Ather 450 Electric Scooter Launched
A comprehensive charging infrastructure, thanks to the Ather Grid, as well as zero-hassle maintenance and service costs with the Ather One plan are even more compelling reasons which make the Ather electric scooters very attractive, as an investment, not just from an environmental point of view, but also the sense of pride of owning a piece of technology which has been built by a young group of engineers and entrepreneurs who can very easily be described as some of India's finest. The future holds even more promise with such an enthusiastic group of folks leading R&D, design and technology development at Ather Energy.
But all that still doesn't answer the question whether you should consider buying one? The answer lies in you, the consumer, and what your requirements are. For now, the Ather electric scooters are only available in Bengaluru, with plans to introduce the scooters in Chennai, and then Pune, together with the Ather Grid and supporting infrastructure, including roadside assistance and service. With a price tag of between almost ₹ 1.10 lakh and 1.25 lakh, Ather Energy may not rake in big sales volumes in a country like India where initial cost of ownership is as important for the common commuter as practical everyday costs.
But there's no denying the level of quality, technology and performance the Ather electric scooters bring to the electric two-wheeler space in India. And that is more than reason enough to celebrate this young company of innovators and inventors. At this point, Ather Energy has filed 42 patent applications and 86 trademarks; 44 design registrations have been granted and 137 more design registrations have been filed.
The next step in the company's product development efforts will involve a more mass-market electric scooter, something which will be more accessible to the common Indian, but with far less technology than what the 340 and 450 offer. And after production and supply stabilises for the 340 and 450, there are also plans to develop an electric motorcycle, which is likely to be more of a street-oriented, sport bike than an outright performance motorcycle. But all that is in the future.
Together with great products, services like the Ather Grid, Ather One plan and comprehensive sales and after-sales support will play very important roles in building sustainable brand equity for Ather Energy. But from all indications, that seems more a matter of time than a question mark for this young company of engineers. So, if you're looking for an electric two-wheeler, which offers peace of mind, a fantastic ownership experience and the technology, performance and features to truly brag about being a world-class product, by all means take a very close look at the Ather scooters. The price tag may seem a little high, but only if you look at it in a very relative manner. For everything else, the future is here, now!