1.5 Years Review of Ownership

Dear Ather,

It has been a long time since I wanted to write a detailed review, not just about the product, about the company, the people, the community, and beyond. You guys have built a fantastic product. A product which we have never seen in the Indian market. A product that has no alternative. It’s like a Google Nexus/Pixel. You cannot compare these with any other phones. Not even the Samsung or the OP. The 450 was love at first sight. With the first pull of the throttle itself, I had decided to buy it. And the wait was long, and I finally took it home. No problems whatsoever. That does not mean it is perfect. There are small issues. Some of the problems, such as mirrors, sharp body panels, and switchgear (this is the worst part), should have been of better quality. But overall, as a product, there is very little to complain about. As a first-gen product, you guys have nailed it.

This is not a 5/10k review. No one does it better than Hemanth, Rajesh, and Raghav. Please refer to their reviews for the same. However, I just crossed 5k kilometers a few days ago. And it has been a pleasant experience, well mostly.

Details of Issues/Service

  1. BMS – September 2019 – I usually had a habit of shutting it down if unused for more than a day. I had charged the scooter to 100%, and I shut it down. Little did I know that it will not switch on after two days. After two days, it wouldn’t switch on. The service team had already diagnosed the problem, and they picked up mine and returned it in about 2-3 days. The service team swapped my original battery with a new one. I was super happy with the TAT of the issue. But I am still unaware of the problem or the permanent solution.
  2. Charger Fan – October 2020 – Less than a week after my periodic service, I ran into a charging error. It was C014. I called up the CS the same night, and I explained the issue to them, and I remember he asked me to troubleshoot by doing a hard reset. Nothing worked. And he wrote it down along with some other issues and told me that he would send someone to pick it up the next day. The next day (Saturday), the runner arrives, and to my surprise, he wasn’t aware of the C014 issue at all. He couldn’t pick it up as the range was low, and they sent a pickup truck the next day (Monday) to pick it up. They sent it back after 2-3 days.
  3. Need improvements related to the communication of the service team. As Ather is an electric vehicle and people are new to this, we need an accurate report of the problem and solution in a mail after the service request.
  4. Service Log – I still do not understand why this is not available to customers after the service. It should be sent in the mail or should be available in the app always.

Improvements to Connected Services and Ather App

OTAs and App sync in automobiles were something special. Especially in the two-wheeler segment. And Ather has done a pretty good job in pushing out OTAs periodically. Features to bug fixes everything has been taken care of. However, the app hasn’t been improved much over the past couple of months.

Some of the improvements I would like to see are –

  • Day/Month wise reports
  • IFTTT/Google/Alexa integration
  • Energy consumption by Day/Month
  • Service records and history
  • Battery Health Report
  • Service alerts
  • Remote Shutdown
  • Rectify inaccurate ride logs and missing trips
  • Charging limiter
  • Overall better UI and experience

Not everything is bad. I have met a lot of amazing people throughout my journey with Ather. People on the forum to employees working at Ather. We know each other by names, and they take my feedback very seriously. I am addicted to reading the forum every single day. I slowly became the forum’s moderator, which gave me many perks, which I am ever so grateful for. Chennai launch is one of the main highlights. None of the automobile companies have ever done a launch like this. Taking 60 odd owners and their vehicles to Chennai and letting them take center stage, and explaining the product to various potential customers is unseen. And then there was the Ather 450X launch at Delhi. I was silently praying that Abhishek or someone from Ather would call me and book my tickets to Delhi for the event and the same thing happened. I am very thankful to the team for giving all these opportunities to me. Let me not forget the open house and the owner’s meets. Ather knows how to treat their customers and take their feedback.

Improvements I wanted to see with the 450X

  1. A better launch in general. The Delhi launch event had a lot of confusion regarding the battery subscription, collectors edition, and actual rollout in other cities other than Bangalore and Chennai.
  2. Mirrors, seats, and body panels have been an issue with the 450. I wanted to see better mirrors and seats on the 450X. I have heard that the body panels are better this time. I am still waiting to see it in person.
  3. Switchgear – This has been one of the significant con with regards to the 450. The things that we touch should be of the utmost quality, especially when we pay around 1.6L. I wanted to see better quality switches, customizable buttons, and backlit switches—a big miss.
  4. I am happy that now it has a better dashboard consisting of a Snapdragon chip running on a custom Android skin. Also, E-sim and 4G are great. However, having Android, I wanted to see more customization, more details, and reports built into the dashboard.
  5. Better integration with the Ather Application
  6. Better range and efficiency – 450 was already quick. We would have liked to see a better range rather than have a faster scooter. 90kmph is fast enough for the city. 100+ km range would have been a better deal.

Great miss with the 450X and deliveries

  1. A complete product is still not shown to the public.
  2. Test rides of the 450X, including the new dashboard, is still not available.
  3. Delays in announcing new delivery dates – completely unacceptable.
  4. Battery subscription, which was a significant part of the launch event, is not available for customers.
  5. The availability of accessories is a big miss again. Performance tires, TPMS, Bluetooth helmet, will only be available next year.
  6. Series 1 isn’t complete. Delivering an incomplete product and asking them to wait till May 2021 is not ideal.
  7. BATTERY DAY – I hope Abhishek remembers this. We would like to see a session on how the 450X is better than the 450. Comparison between 450 and 450X. And the rest of the details regarding the improved battery, BMS, and other technical aspects.

Sim swap/4G Upgrade, October 2020 Open House, Upgrade Plans and Ather Health Certificate

  • Sim swap and 4G Upgrade - 4G was a big miss in the 450. I am still not sure why the Ather team omitted the 4G. I have been using 4G since 2014/15, which is well before Ather started rolling out the first set of vehicles. Although Ather gave us a temporary solution to swap out sim to BSNL or wait for the 4G dongle, which will take a couple of months, they should have finished the migration before Vodafone stopped their 3G services, i.e., yesterday. I had to use the navigation twice and had a very horrible experience. Ather could have prevented this if the migration had been finished and not waited till the last day.
  • October 2020 Open House - we were surprised to see the Ather 450 Plus at a lower cost, buyback options for the 450X.
    • The battery subscription was canceled for now, at least.
    • Revamped Ather subscriptions – these are fantastic.
    • Delivery timelines and upgrade plans (delayed again) – not acceptable to announce a day before the payment window
  • Ather Health Certificate – the Upgrade Plans and Ather Health Certificate did not impress me. I don’t understand why we need to pay Rs. 1695 + GST, which sums to Rs. 2000 for a health certificate. Battery health and service records should be available in the app. And shouldn’t be charged for. The battery is the most crucial component of the electric vehicle. Its health status should be made available in the app itself, just like how iOS has battery performance in the Settings.

Next 5 – 10 years for Ather

  • I would like to see more stability as a company.
  • Better management and Costing
  • Improved Customer support and After-sales services.
  • Set a standard for the EV market and charging infrastructure.
  • Increase grids locations.
  • Improved supply chain management to meet the demand.
  • More affordable scooters.
  • Entry into the Bike segment and cars if possible.
  • Better coordination with finance and sales partners.
  • IPO!!!

Dear Ather, you guys had set a huge standard and showed us how exactly an EV should be. We had a lot of expectations from you guys. But in recent times, the decisions taken by you have let us down and some prospective customers frustrated. I want you guys to bounce back. But I feel there is some mismanagement in the company. There is a gap between top management and middle management. If you guys want to be successful, you need to restructure your management and get your costing right. Costing has been a big letdown. Increase in the price of the portable charger or battery subscription plans or the AHC. It is a huge letdown. Please work on the management, pricing, and supply chain and work on them fast. I still have some faith left in you guys, and I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

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Absolutely well said, i hated when 450X was not upgrade with ABS . It would have been great move for EV market with some standards set. I. Would have definitely bought 450x in place of 450.

i am still surprised govt has not made standards considering power and torque and just sticking to cc

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Ather BSNL Sim Swap

  • Initial appointment date – 18/11/2020
  • Rescheduled appointment date – 11/11/2020 (was casually going through my emails and clicked on reschedule and got a prior date)
  • Appointment time – 10 AM
  • Time taken for the whole process - 2 hours

In short, I am very impressed with the whole process.

I reached the Proto Lab at 9:50 and handed over the scooter. I guess mine was the first scooter for the day. The service representative told me that it would take around 2-3 hours if I didn’t need to charge up. I had some work in Jayanagar, and I went back to the Proto lab around 11:30. I made a couple of calls and watched YouTube, and it was ready by 12:15. I was amazed to see how quickly they completed the swap process. But, to my surprise, I never saw any other scooter getting the sim swap. It looks like a very small number of 450s have gone in for the sim swap.

I would highly recommend the sim swap to all the Ather 450 owners. BSNL 3G has good coverage too. And speeds are good enough for navigation and sync. The process has been streamlined and it doesn’t take a very long time now. If you have 2 hours to spare that should do. If people are waiting for the 4G solution, don’t wait. Try the sim swap. You should be happy with it.

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