Bengaluru to Shivamogga on an Ather 450

Namaste !!

I would like to share with you all my experience of a trip from Bengaluru to Shivamogga on Ather; a total distance of about 280 km. We did this trip on 25th June. Sorry for being so late in updating it. All thanks to my procrastination :sweat_smile:. Unfortunately, I have also lost many photos, as my phone got damaged due to rain recently and I had to replace it. So I will post those photos which were available in my dad’s phone.

To begin with, we wanted a scooter to commute within Shivamogga. Me and my father, being EV enthusiasts, tried our luck with an electric scooter with lead acid batteries, way back in 2013. After 6 years of usage and being tired of replacing the batteries once every 1.5 years, we finally decided to discard it and buy a new one. We were not finding a worthy EV product in the market. Most were the Made in China, Assembled in India ones, with poor design and build quality. Therefore, we had almost decided on buying a TVS Jupiter or Ntorq. During the search, Ather caught my attention. I had read about Ather way back in 2016, when I was searching for a bike. Hearing that it was now well in the market and had positive reviews, my father and me decided to try it. Moreover, the scooter being completely designed and built in India was its USP, in a market filled with Chinese EV’s . Due to a waiting time of four months, I pre-booked it in February, thinking that we can have a test ride and cancel later if it did not turn out to be good. We took a test drive at the Indiranagara facility. We were sold on it!.:heart_eyes:. But the problem was it is not available in our city and we could not wait any longer. So we decided to buy it with a temporary registration, ride it to Shivamogga and get it permanently registered here. Thanks to @Abhishek , whose rides gave us confidence that we could do this long distance trip

We got our scooter delivered on 22nd June. After testing it for two days in Bengaluru, we decided to ride back home. We assumed 2.5 hours for a full charge (we realised it later that its 4 hours for a full charge) and 65 km per charge. Our plan was as follows.

  1. Charge it completely before leaving Bengaluru. Next charging at Tumkuru ( 70 km)
  2. Tipturu ( 76.7 km from Tumkuru)
  3. Biruru (70.7 km from Tipturu)
  4. Bhadravthi (42.4 km from Biruru)
  5. Shivamogga ( 17 km from Bhadravthi)

We were to leave on 24th evening and halt overnight at our father’s cousin’s house, while the scooter charged. Due to some work, we had to leave on 25th morning. We left Bengaluru at 5:30 in the morning, after charging it completely at my uncle’s house in Jalahalli. On reaching Tumkuru, we took the bypass to reach our relatives house near Siddhartha college. Unfortunately, the scooter ran out of juice just 4 km before their house. We found a bunk there, and asked if we could charge it. The man there did not pay any attention to us. Upon asking for a second time, he allowed us to charge and asked us to leave before the bunk owner arrives. We just needed some 6 km of range on-board. As the scooter does not allow us to start until its charged to 15% after a complete discharge, we waited for about half an hour. Then I tried to offer him some money, but he did not accept it. He then became keen on the scooter and started inquiring about it. After answering his questions, we left for their house.


Charging at the petrol pump.

We put the Ather for a charge at their house and had our breakfast. Our plan was that to charge it for 2.5 hours and leave. But we realised 2.5 hours is just for 80%:sweat_smile: and it needed about 4 hours for a full charge. So we had our lunch also at their house and left for Tipturu. Since Tipturu was about 77 km, my father took a bus to the town as we thought by riding single, I can make it.

Even after careful riding and not crossing 40kmph, I was short of about 7 to 8 km of range to reach Tipturu. I found a Cafe Coffe Day, and requested if I could charge my scooter. Unfortunately, the power lines were being replaced that day. As a result, the entire stretch near Tipturu did not have power. Tried at a pump at Kibbanahalli Cross. But the same outcome. Due to power cut, they were running the pump on diesel gensets and thus we could not charge there. So traveled another 3km furthur and found a bunk at a village named Biligere. That pump was run completely on solar power. There were two guys looking after the pump and it had very less customers, alomost nil. So I asked them if could charge, I told them I just needed about 20 minutes of charging and explained them it wont consume much and that I am even ready to pay for it. Even before I could complete my explanation they both happily agreed to help me and said that they did not need any money as the power was obtained through solar panels. They said a sentence in Kannada, which I still remember, “Duddenu bidi sir. Naavu bere avrige sahaya maadadu mukhya” by which they meant we must not always see monetary benefits in everything. We should also focus on helping others. After having a brief conversation with them, whilst the scooter charged, I left for Tipturu. I am still grateful for those guys. Hats off to their kind and open hearted nature.

One of the employees at my dad’s office had his sister’s house in Tipturu. On hearing about our adventure :grin:, he told that he will arrange for a charging there. My father had arrived there way before me, by bus. Just some 200m before their house, the dash board started showing 0km of range. I slowly and carefully rode to their house and put it to charge there. They served us with refreshments and gave us their scooter so that we can go around Tipturu by the time Ather charges. We were hesitant to take their scooter, but they insisted repeatedly and thus we agreed. We visited the Dasarighatta Chowdeshwari Temple (about 10km from Tiptur) and the Rangapura Mutt. As a gesture of gratitude, we filled the scooter tank completely and returned it. By that time, our scooter had charged to about 82%. We decided that it would be a waste of time to wait till 100% charge and thus carry on with the trip. It was already about 5 in the evening. We left their house.

We had our next scheduled charging at Birur (about 70 Km), where we had a contact. But to reach there, we had to charge again on the way. My friend’s uncle lived in Arsikere, which is about 25 km from Tipturu. I called him and explained our situation. His uncle arranged for charging at a grocery shop in Arsikere, as his house was in the first floor and we couldn’t charge it there . Due to our slow and careful riding to extend range :smile:, it was already dark when we reached Arsikere. We changed our plans. Instead of charging at Birur, we decided to halt at Kadur (38.6 km from Arsikere, 6km before Biruru ). So we charged until we had enough range to reach Kadur. We tried to offer money, but they did no accept. Thanked my friend’s uncle and the shop owner and left for Kadur. On the way we had our dinner at a restaurant, where they allowed us to charge freely. The scooter sipped on its juice while we had our food. There we encountered a problem. The scooter would stop charging randomly. It would again start charging after some time. This cycle repeated 2 to 3 times. Not sure whether it was a problem with the power supply or with the scooter. It showed an error that the charging fan was not working and asked us to disconnect and reconnect the charger. It got rectified after that. We still had gained about 5 km of range.

On reaching Kadur, we started to search for a lodge. Our only condition was “Give us room only if you provide for a charging point! :joy:”. Two lodges did not have any sockets outside. Luckily we found one with a charging point in the lobby. We parked the scooter near the entrance of the lobby, and put it to charge by using an extension chord. We were exhausted and went to have a sleep :sleeping:, while the scooter charged.

Next day, we left the lodge at about 6 in the morning.

Our next destination was Bhadravathi, about 51 km from Kadur. We reached there easily and charged at my dad’s cousin’s house . From there we set on and reached Shivamogga easily, which is just 17 km from Bhadravathi. We were back home for breakfast.

Finally, we had made it. 280 km without a single drop of petrol burnt. Due to our previous experience with an electric scooter, my mom was reluctant with our idea of buying Ather. So through this trip, we proved her its reliability. Now even she has started liking the scooter and its jet engine like sound during acceleration:joy:. This scooter has been attracting a lot of attention here in Shivamogga. I Hope Ather ventures into other tier 2 and 3 cities soon.

Thank You :smiley:

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nice to see your trip details

and above one, even i encountered that statement most of the time in rural areas

from my experience scooter SoC reaches around 85% in 2.5hrs
so i would start after that, as rest 15%will take longer time which is not so useful considering time taken

and with 85% we can do 70 and above on a single ride

anyways enjoyed reading it

all the best

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Adventure with your dad… That’s something and rare…

Enjoyed reading your experience

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Sir, enjoyed reading through your adventure. Great effort.
By now you must have invested in an good high quality extension cord(I built 11m one with 2.5mm 3 core wire by myself).

By going through all the experiences of @Abhishek and people who have done similar long trips like you, it is very clear that we have a long way to go in terms of Charging Infrastructure and as usual Govt has done very little about it.

But at the same time if more and more vehicles sport 200+ km range then all the highway restaurants and bunks will setup charging, its just a matter of what is capable today.

Once again a great read, really enjoyed reading it.
Wishing the best!

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Thanks a lot, sir☺. Regarding the extension chord, I just carried a usual one available in the market during the trip. Since the scooter is mostly used in city, we dont need the extension chord anymore. It will be charged at home or at the office. Since, it is used by my dad now, he wont even take it on long rides.

Regarding the grounding, you can try connecting a 2000 ohm resistance between the ground and neutral pins. The charging point at office did not have a proper ground. So I tried this method and it worked. The resistance was heating a bit. Later, I got a proper ground connection there. So yea, try it at your own risk😁

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Ur trips are awesome , I like it .:ok_hand:

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Wonderful. Adopting an EV is one thing, then using it in a town where it is not even sold is another thing. Hats off to you for doing that. With your father with you, the adventure is so much more special :+1:

I was surprised you had to charge so many times and you ran out of power before Tumkuru and again near Tipturu. From my experience of a trip to Mysuru, I could easily ride 90-100kms with the speeds you’ve mentioned (around 40kmph).
What do you think is the reason for this? Were you not riding in RIDE mode? were you not coasting? were you not using Regen?
Similarly had you other work at Bhadravathi or was it only for charging? because again Kadur to Bhadravathi is ~70kms only which must’ve been easily doable.

My next question, how do you plan to deal with the service and RSA part of the ownership?

Also can you please share your registration (permanent) experience at Shivamogga RTO?

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Thank You :smiley:.

Regarding charging, to begin with, I am a heavy person :smile:. Also we rode doubles. Maybe they are some of the reasons we got less range. We rode in the ride mode itself and used regen after the charge fell below 85%. Before Tumkur, since it was our first ride on the highway, we did not know much on the scooter. I had ridden it only in the city traffic. I cruised at a speed of around 60 kmph on the journey to Tumkuru. Since the road also consists of series of elevated stretches, it might have affected the efficiency a bit. Then I realised that I needed to slow up a bit, which I did later on. Probably, my riding was not so efficient yet. I am thinking of riding to Thirthahalli, which is about 60 km from Shivamogga and if possible, furthur to Agumbe, (25 km from Thirthahalli). Another trip on the list is to Sagara ( 70 km from Shivamogga) and if possible to Jog falls ( 30 km from Sagara). Will test the mileage again during that. I have relatives house at Thirthahalli, Agumbe, and Sagara where I am planning to charge it. If possible I could also get some fresh and green electricity generated at Jog :grin: The only problem is the time we have to wait while it charges, which is nearly 2.5 to 3 hours.Have to see how it goes.

Regarding charging in Bhadravathi, there were two reasons. One was that , though we had just enough charge to reach Shivamogga, we did not want to take a risk. First of all, I had the task to change my mom’s perception regarding electric scooter. We did not want to reach home pushing the scooter, in case we ran out of charge. This would have created a bad first impression regarding Ather in her mind :joy:. The second thing was that we also thought of visiting my dad’s cousin’s house. So it served both the purposes. Moreover, we just charged for about 45 minutes.

Regarding service, since its first service is for 5000 km, it will probably take an year or more to reach there. Also there wont be much to service in between. When we reach 5000 km, probably we would ship it to Bengaluru by train, get it serviced and ship it back.

Coming to registration, it was a very bitter experience. Since ours was the first electric scooter to be registered in Shivamogga, I had to fight with the RTO people to get it registered. I have visited the RTO continuously for a week, leaving all my work only to wait there and fight. Before buying the scooter, I had enquired with the local RTO regarding the registration. They ensured me that they will follow the same procedure as followed in Bengaluru. But later it was a complete U turn. Even though, all electric two wheeler are exempted from road tax, they were forcing me to pay tax at 4% of the vehicle value, which would be around Rs 5000. I even showed them the notification about the tax exemption being put up on the RTO Karnataka website and the Karnataka Electric Vehicle Policy.

I tried to convince them that the vehicle is exempted from tax in Bengaluru itself. Yet, they would not agree. Especially, the accounts superintend, Mr. Bhosle acted as the main villain :expressionless:. He was very rude and arrogant with us. He treated us as if we are desperately trying to evade tax. I repeatedly told him I did not have any problem with paying the tax, but my argument was why should I when the legislation clearly exempts it? They themselves were not updated. Upon that they would blame me for producing outdated documents. They said that the government has amended the bill and the new rule is to collect 4% tax. We were so fed up with them, that we even thought of approaching the local news paper to publicise the harassment done by the RTO officials. The other option for us was to bring it to Bengaluru, get it registered and take it back. Again, all this was frustrating. Fortunately, there was one officer, who was very friendly. He understood our problem and assured that he would help us. He contacted the Indranagara RTO, enquired about the procedure to register an electric vehicle. With his help, finally we got it registered. Mr.Bhosle was still reluctant to carry on with the registeration process. He reluctantly signed it, stating that one day we would be caught by the police for not paying the tax and that we had to face the consequence. Since the job was done, I did not care much about him and his words. After a month, I visited the RTO and found out that Mr.Bhosle was transferred else where. Probably, he was posted in Shivamogga only to trouble us. :triumph:

In the mean time, I had given many demos about the Ather to the curious people in and around the RTO :smile:. I had become quite famous among the RTO agents as “BATTERY GAADI AVARU” meaning the BATTERY VEHICLE FELLOW :joy:. Once I had gone to a furniture shop. I was shocked when the owner there suddenly asked me whether the RTO people registered my electric scooter. Upon asking how did he come to know about that, he told that he had seen me arguing with the RTO officials, when he had come there on some work. :sweat_smile:

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Thank you so much for your reply. The efficiency related to the fact that it was a new vehicle makes sense.

This was the exact reason why I asked about the experience. Sad that it was not smooth but then it’s not surprising too. If they had collected tax and then you had publicised it, they would’ve been in trouble. Anyway, hogli bidi all is well that ends well.

Now that the vehicle is in Shivamogga, I expect you to treat us with beautiful pictures of Ather in front of beautiful backdrops of Malenadu.

Wish you a long fuss-free ownership :+1:

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Indeed I am happy to read all your details. Proud of you on registration aspect. Good that you did not give up. Wish you safe and happy ride on 450.

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Loved the travelogue and its heartening to see tier 2 & 3 city dwellers are showing so much interest in EVs. So, if I am right, we have an Ather in Shivamogga, another in Dharward and 3-4 in Mysore…
@Ather.Team are you listening??

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I think, Ather Team is aware and listening. These vehicles went there on TMP registration and got it registered in local RTO. It is not just in these cities alone, I have seen 450s in Mangaluru, Puttur. We have heard in the forum that people are using 450 in Goa, Auroville too. And one guy has booked to take it to Vijayawada and he is waiting for the delivery.

For sure there is interest in other parts. However serving in all parts of state and others is not an easy task for a start up company. Also Ather has different approach on sales/service, and does not work with dealership network.

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Sir,
I am perfectly aware of Ather’s approach of providing an end to end product and service experience.
However, considering the product has reached a certain level of maturity and their expansion plans in terms of production, I think its time they also think of Geographical expansion, not just in cities where there is technology concentration, but also to nearby towns, as these tech strong cities attract lot of people from nearby towns, who gain lot of knowledge on latest tech and turn tech savvy themselves. Every state has some tier 2 or 3 city that is the knowledge/education center (eg. Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore in Karnataka), where younger generation get ample exposure and develop interest in latest tech that they can get their hands on.
About the service experience and Ather’s approach to not going for Dealership network, I have one suggestion. we dont have to open an Ather Space in every town. The main concern is availability of Service. Even, if Ather employs resident service professionals in small towns, who are thoroughly trained by them and provide doorstep service (considering minimal service of only mechanical parts), I don’t think anybody would mind travelling to Bangalore for delivery of their Ather. So, Ather can continue to have Ather Space in metros and state capitals, which just expanding its service network in an economical way.
As far as Ather being a startup is concerned, I think most EV players in India are startups, but are moving faster with their products, which are just assembly of Chinese parts.
My reply may sound a bit over passionate, but its just that, I do not want Ather to end up like Ford, where Ford’s comment of “You can buy a ford car in any colour as long as it is black” cost it dearly in terms of loss of market share, when other Auto giants pushed their products in different colours.
I am not a product or business specialist… Just putting my thoughts.

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Sure. I already have a few pics which I would like to share with you all. Just after getting a permanent registration number, I had taken it to Purdal Dam, which is a small check dam situated in the Shettyhalli Wildlife Sanctuary area. Its about 15 km from the city.
NOTE :My entry to the sanctuary area is not illegal. There are villages and settlements around the dam and also down the road. People travel frequently along this route. Also a handful of tourists visit this dam for the peace and tranquil experience it offers. . It can also be confirmed in this website. http://discovershimoga.weebly.com/purdal.html
So a sort of disclaimer to begin with :smile:


The reservoir

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If Ather comes up with a less expensive model, I guarantee there will be many buyers in the tier 2 and 3 cities. I have experienced it, when I was stopped by a random person on a bullet . He enquired everything about the scooter and was interested in it. He said that he was fed up with filling his bullet and would consider buying one if it launched in Shivamogga. Smaller cities dont even need many charging points. Just one or two will be sufficient.

Regarding my city, I can help Ather set up a fast charging point, if they are in any plans to launch the scooter in the city in future. We own an industry in the city, where Ather can easily use the three phase power supply to set up fast charging points. Its better Ather launches its product in other smaller cities well before the sub par Chinese scooters occupy the market.

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liked it

it’s on my list now

I’ll meet you if you are ok

not very soon though

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Sure. You are always welcome, sir.:smiley: Just let me know before, so that I can make the required arrangements for you. I actually am a student, persuing my final year BE in Mysuru. I did all these tours during my 2 months vacation. Now my dad uses it in Shivamogga to commute to the factory. So if I know beforehand, I can plan and meet you there.

Also consider other places around Shivamogga in the list. Coming all the way to Shivamogga to visit Purdal dam might disappoint you. Its just a small check dam for that matter.

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Really great to hear about your adventures i want to do till jog falls it will be thrilling. I think we need to log places like shops that are friendly and can charge so that it can be shared also we need a device that shows how much power we are consuming so that we can pay. Just a thought but kudos to you.

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Ah… the greenery in these pictures is just so refreshing. Thanks for posting.

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its not dam am excited about

your enthusiasm and most importantly your dad supporting you

i shall do a ride to nearby places with your dad when am there

also just to let you know

we (@pkg7723 , @hunt4dj and @chethan.bn) are coming to mysuru this weekend

hope you are not busy!?

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