Bengaluru-based Ather Energy rolled out its first product in 2018 and the Ather 450 really impressed. It is fun, feature-rich and well-built and finally brought some excitement to the segment. Now, at the dawn of the new decade, the start-up has something more exciting lined up. It is called the Ather 450X and you can think of it as the more vibrant sibling of the 450. But the changes aren't just limited to visual upgrades, the 450X gets more power, better performance and a better pack as well, and we decided to head to Bengaluru to sample all the changes. Does the fun little electric scooter get any better? Read on to find out.
Also Read: Ather 450X Launched In India
What Is It?
The Ather 450X shares its underpinnings with the 450 and in essence, can be seen as a second-generation or a comprehensively updated version of the latter. The design remains exactly the same barring the restyled handlebar, and the scooter is easily recognisable. Ather has finally moved out from its white-only palette and has added two new colour options. This includes matte grey and gloss mint green and both look fun. The matte grey is what we presume a lot of buyers will opt for. The new paint options are complemented by the contrast finish on the exposed frame, the Ather badge on the side panel and the pinstripe finish on the alloy wheels. The LED headlamp and LED taillight remain unchanged and the plastic quality continues to stay impressive. The scooter also remains quite practical with an under-seat storage capacity of 22 litres, the largest amidst scooters and can accommodate a full-size helmet.
Mechanical changes are comprehensive on the 450X. The scooter uses the more powerful 21/700 cells that required a redesigned battery pack. As a result, the lithium-ion is more efficient and also packs in more power at 2.9 kWh. The electric motor has been reworked and now produces 6 kW that translates to 8 bhp, while peak torque stands at 26 Nm. That's 0.8 bhp and 6 Nm more than the 450. The 450X has been kept on a diet with a weight reduction of 11 kg with a kerb weight of 108 kg. That's comparable to the new Honda Activa 6G in terms of weight but with more than two times the torque output.
But all that power is available in the new Warp mode. The riding mode has been added to the 450X, in addition to Eco and Ride. There could be a Sport mode too added later, we are told. With the increased power, the Ather 450X can sprint from 0-40 kmph in just 3.3 seconds, faster than a host of other 125 cc ICE scooters, while 0-60 kmph takes about 6.5 seconds. Gradeability has improved to 20 degrees, higher by 2 degrees. The Eco mode continues to offer a better range but at the cost of acceleration.
How Does It Ride?
A dramatic change on the 450X is acceleration thanks to lighter kerb weight and a higher torque figure. In the warp mode, the change is immediately noticeable. All that power is available right from 0 rpm and the throttle opens to quick pick-up and likeable whining noise from the motor. There's a big difference in the rolling acceleration that has significantly improved over the 450, especially between 20-60 kmph. The top speed now extends to 85 kmph, a marginal improvement over the standard model.
Ather has revised the suspension on the 450X with a single spring rate upfront and reduced damping for the rear monoshock. The new set-up aids in better handling without compromising too much on the ride quality, which remains comfortable. A big change is the lighter handlebar that aids in better flick-ability and makes the riding experience extremely rewarding. City rides will be quicker in comparison.
The Ather 450X builds on its strengths of impressive ride-ability with more power. It also gets very responsive disc brakes at either end to handle that extra performance with ease. Much like what we experienced on the 450, the brakes are sharp and the scooter comes to a halt in no time. The 450X comes with Combi-braking as standard but we would like the addition of ABS for something that is so power-packed. The MRF tyres do a good job in offering traction on the electric scooter, and buyers will also have an option to opt for the more performance-oriented TVS Remora tyres.
With the Ather 450X, Ather has switched to an Android-based user interface from Linux for the instrument console. The TFT screen now comes with auto cancelling indicators, day and night mode, and has been upgraded to 4G connectivity via an embedded SIM. The system continues to offer Bluetooth connectivity that will now show incoming calls, play and pause music, all of which can be changed using the switchgear. There's find my scooter feature that can be accessed via the mobile app, while you continue to get navigation, ride statistics, remote monitoring and more. The 450X will continue to get over-the-air (OTA) updates. Are more updates incoming? You bet!
What about charging?
The Ather 450X will get 50 per cent faster charging than the 450 at public stations. Previously, the fast-charging stations charged at one km per minute which has improved to 1.5 km per minute. That should certainly help with the range anxiety. And for higher peace of mind, Ather is offering Unlimited kilometre warranty as standard on the battery pack. In effect, the company secures the battery life for the scooter's lifetime through the ownership experience.
Prices and Subscription Packs?
The Ather 450X is priced at ₹ 99,000 (ex-showroom) and that is, in fact, cheaper than the standard 450. But that is just the base price. Buyers need to get either of the two performance packs - Plus and Pro - to unlock the performance potential. The 450X Plus has power restricted to 7.2 bhp and 22 Nm of peak torque and needs to be purchased at ₹ 1699 per month. The 450X Pro, on the other hand, unlocks full potential with 8 bhp and 26 Nm and is priced at ₹ 1999 per month. There is an upfront cost price too ₹ 1.49 lakh for the Plus and ₹ 1.59 for the Pro pack.
The Ather 450X builds on an already exciting 450 and brings more noteworthy changes that make it an attractive package for the modern-day two-wheeler buyer. The company has commenced bookings for the 450X, and deliveries will begin from July 2020. So, you will have to be patient to get your hands on one. While the strategy worked for Ather in the past, it's not going to be easy from hereon. The electric scooter segment is booming with options and bigger players like Bajaj and TVS with the Chetak and iQube respectively, aim to disrupt this space. But, the Ather 450X does emerge as a competent offering and even better in many ways! For the buyer then, choices will be plenty.