March 12th 2020, got up early in the morning couldn’t control my excitement . It was a cool Thursday morning, yes it was calm despite the fact it was summer. Every minute I was spending that morning was increasing my heart beat and was waiting for the 9 a.m. mark. Finally at 9 a.m. got into metro from Nagasandra, I was feeling a kind of unknown happiness, everyone’s faces I saw on my way till Indiranagar metro were filling me with positive vibes .
It was 10 a.m. when I reached Indiranagar and couldn’t hold on to my excitement so literally ran from Indiranagar metro to Ather Experience Center. The experience center had been opened just then for the day and there were two people from Ather Team (Sorry, I don’t remember their names). Sadly, I could not locate my excitement in Ather space anywhere . One of them greeted me and enquired the purpose of my visit. For which there was a big smile on my face and informed them that “I’m here for my Ather 450 delivery”. He got my details and said that “Don’t worry your ride is here getting its final polish and will be ready for you in 30-minutes”, as if he knew my concern . They offered me a cup of coffee for which I politely refused.
Done with all the formalities and signatures in 20 to 25 minutes, I was seated on a chair looking all over the place, even though I had visited the Experience center many times before, I had to kill time . It was almost 45-minutes now and I looked at the Ather team guy who had been interacting with me. He understood the concern and went to check on what was happening that made it so long to get my Ather to the experience center hall. To my surprise he did not return even after 30 minutes. By the time most of the Ather experience center employees had reported to work and I was still sitting there looking at all the people who come in and go out of the center. Around 11:30 a.m. the other guy who had been with the first person got a call and he said me that my Ather 450 is ready and that it is being brought outside the center (the place where there are Ather Dots installed outside the experience center). I went out and the guy who had interacted with me earlier came riding my Ather 450. He said informed me that my Ather 450 had got a new software update that caused the delay. Now my heart was pounding like hell. The same guy took pics of me with my Ather in my phone and handed me a chocolate box along with it, for which I was very thankful .
Then I took off to my stay at Bengaluru which was 25 km from Indiranagar (My Ather had 97% when I took the delivery). On my way I didn’t think about any efficiency or battery drain. I rode like how I ride a normal petrol bike, of course with some show-offs in sport mode on the way. There is an empty road stretch (approx 2 km) parallel to NH4 from Peenya metro station till Ayyappa temple near Jalahalli cross. That was the time to test the sport mode capabilities of my Ather. At the start of the road I was riding at mid 30s speed in ECO mode along with a school van, then he took off since the road was completely empty. Then I switched to RIDE and went just beside the school van till I hit 50 kmph, The kids inside where looking at the Ather design with awe. It was time, I switched to SPORT and Wheeee… The kids inside literally screamed with amusement at the sudden outbreak of Torque and that put up a big smile on my face. When I reached there was 63% of battery remaining and the plan was to take it to home the same day for puja.
Before putting for charge I took the Ather Dot and checked whether it fits in the boot space, as I thought there was right enough space for the Ather DOT (since I had opted for self-installation, I had installed it as a detachable unit. see Portable charger for more details). So I put the Ather of charging and it was around 3 o’clock when it was 96% charged and I decided to take off for a 70 km ride on my first day with Ather (FYI My home is a village in Ramanagara which is 70 km from my stay). Yes it was a risk, but I wanted to take it because I wanted my Mom to be the first one to go with me in my Ather. I was cautious throughout the way about the percentile of battery against the distance that I had ridden. On road the Ather caught most of the riders and passerby’s eyes. Two to three people enquired about the pick-up, servicing, cost and electricity bill. Sometimes I stopped and explained in detail and to some I explained on the go. Most of the ride I was in ECO mode, occasionally switching to RIDE whenever I encountered steeps on the Bengaluru-Mysore highway. When I reached Ramanagara city, I still had 48% of battery left, so decided to use RIDE mode for rest 17 km of the journey. When I reached home at 5:30 p.m, to my surprise there was still 31% of battery left. My Mom and my neighbors were very happy seeing the Ather 450. I asked my Mom whether we can go for puja now. But since it was already evening we decided to go next day morning.
Next day morning, went to the temple along with my mother. The priest who did puja was excited to having done puja for an EV for first time. He wanted to have a test ride, I put it to ECO mode and instructed him how simple it is to turn on like a normal scooter. He said it is not turning ON, I smiled and said that it is already ON and told him to accelerate. He was sceptical about it and tried to accelerate, for a moment he was shocked and applied brakes instantly. Then he realized and was able to control properly. Then me and my mom went to bank directly from the temple and came back home. Even near the bank many people were curious to know about Ather 450, I explained calmly and they understood about the pricing and actual savings from an EV.
Then after that it was lock-down time. I had been to home again just the day before lock-down. There it was not too strict of a lock-down and usual safety measures were followed. Since there were not petrol pumps open for sometime it was a good thing that we had an EV at home at this difficult times for emergency purposes. Once I had to take my mother to hospital, that time I felt really lucky that I got the Ather, that too before lock-down.
During the lock-down period, I gave my Ather for test rides to my neighbors, friends and cousins. All were very happy about the performance. Some of the village minds were hesitant to agree upon the pricing, but I didn’t care too much for them.
Then coming back to Bengaluru after lock-down was quite a different kind of experience since I was not away from Bengaluru for such a long time. Even in Bengaluru many of my friends were happy to know about Ather and many have started showing interest in EVs.
Till now I haven’t faced any critical issues apart from screen freeze (which happened once on B-M highway but did not affect the motion of the vehicle. Also it was solved by turn OFF and turn ON)
This is the current ride statistics of my riding style from 6 months.
My take on my Ather 450:
Design : Aerodynamically well built. During windy times I have observed some drag when riding in ECO mode. But switching to higher speeds the ride becomes smooth compromising on the battery of course. Other times the ride is sturdy with no vibrations.
Acceleration: ECO mode has the least acceleration as everyone knows. From my experience in Bengaluru traffic, ECO mode acceleration is comparable to any other ICE scooter (even depends on individual’s riding style). RIDE mode acceleration is more than enough to overtake most of the vehicles on Bengaluru traffic. Finally SPORT mode (which I personally use the least) acceleration is the best compared to any other 125 cc ICE till date in the market.
Top Speed: I’m not a high-speed rider personally but I think 80 kmph in Bengaluru traffic conditions is highly unlikely even for any high-end motorcycles. My top speed usually does not cross 55 kmph most of the time for my riding style. Even if I’m in a hurry I ride in less 60 kmph speed.
Motor: I have not heard any kind of sound from the motor during any of my rides. Once there was some squeaking sound (not sure if it was the motor), when I did the first water wash. But it was gone after when I had left for an hour to dry. Also I haven’t seen any kind of errors related to low power mode as some of the users had encountered (like M-017).
Battery: Till now I haven’t faced any battery issues. Average IDLE battery drain for me per day is about 4-5% (depends on climate/season). I think this is usual since it has to be connected to the network all the time. I mean 4-5% for 24 hours is acceptable range according to me.
Tyre: When I went to home before lock-down I had set the right tyre pressure F-30 psi and R-32 psi since most of the time me and my elder brother travel together or sometimes with my mom. And then I had forgot about checking the tyre pressure for 2 months. When I came back to Bengaluru and checked the tyre pressure F-22 psi and R-20 psi. This was my mistake that I had not checked the pressure at regular intervals. From then onward, I check it every week, and the tyre pressure usually drops by 2-3 psi every 2 weeks. I think this is acceptable and till now I haven’t faced with any kind of problems/puncture with either of the tyres.
Range: I usually get conscious about the range every time I ride. Most of my rides will be in ECO regularly switching to and fro with RIDE mode whenever necessary. I always keep to maintain the 1 km per 1% of battery most of the time, but sometimes I don’t care about the efficiency. Once when I was coming back from Ramanagara, I used only RIDE and SPORT and ended up with just 1% battery left when I reached my Bengaluru stay. Throttle methods that I follow is very basic, Use RIDE when I start going down steeps to increase the speed for short time and leave the throttle for 450 to coast and while coasting I switch back to ECO and when steep ends I use the inertia from RIDE mode speed that I got to continue in ECO with constant throttle. When I know that there is a hump or if I have to slow down, I usually switch to the left most lane and use regenerative braking to slow down the vehicle as much as I can and finally apply brakes only if necessary.
Connectivity: Software upgrades have been trustful and been on time for my Ather 450 usually taking about 2-3 days to get the update. I usually don’t use maps when travelling in Bengaluru since I have been in Bengaluru for 25-years now and courtesy to BMTC that I know most of Bengaluru. Only once I had used maps to travel to an unknown location and it is pretty accurate. Ather mobile app is good for forum usage, I really don’t like the charging animation. I mean it could look quite better instead of just a plain green bar that is outlined with 450. Connectivity between App and Scooter is also good, but I had thought it could have been more user friendly while pushing location to scooter from maps. But this was solved with recent app update where you can click on share button on Google maps and select Ather to use the app to push location to scooter. However I found that this is not working very accurately in case you are pushing co-ordinates/pinned locations instead of a named location tag. Hope this gets updated in the future updates to the app.
Servicing: I haven’t called for service till now. Will update this when I get a chance.
Other Smart features: Park assist I used to use daily when I was in home. The reason is I park my Ather 450 inside my home, when I have to get it out my home door is bit on an higher side so park assist in reverse mode works perfectly in this case. Auto turn-off is a 50-50 chance for me, or maybe I’m used to turning it off manually immediately after the turn. Never used guide me home lights and incognito mode, will give it a try when situation arises.
I’m very happy to say that till now I was never let down by my Ather 450. I was a risk that I took it out of Bengaluru that too during the lock-down time. But it was a risk well paid off.
Yes there were hiccups with other matters with the Ather team. The father name on my RC card was not correct. It was not a spelling mistake but the whole name itself was changed. Even my phone number was not linked correctly. I got my phone number updated online but Ather team has assured me that they’ll get the RC card corrected, so should have to wait. I’ll update on this.
Also when cleaning the 450 I encounter many sharp edges which takes lot of time for me to clean it. Does anyone encounter the same?
@Shreyas @abhishek.balaji @tarun Other things that I would suggest as a long term plan for Ather, many have suggested this but I’ll repeat again. You guys can focus on basic models with no/minimum connectivity features and reasonable pricing that encourage rural and below middle class people to opt for EVs.
Finally I want to take a moment to thank Ather for not letting down my excitement that I had on the day of delivery to till date. I also wanna thank all the members, @Ather_Owner & @moderators on the forum who have questioned & answered most of the queries from a customer point of view. This is my first vehicle and I’m proud that I’m an Ather Owner, more importantly a pure EV .