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 . 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!.. 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.
- Charge it completely before leaving Bengaluru. Next charging at Tumkuru ( 70 km)
- Tipturu ( 76.7 km from Tumkuru)
- Biruru (70.7 km from Tipturu)
- Bhadravthi (42.4 km from Biruru)
- 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% 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 , 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 , 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! ”. 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 , 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.