New to EVs? Here are a few tips to get you going!

New to EVs and have some questions? We got you covered, here are the top questions we get from folks looking to own their very first Electric Vehicle, explained with xkcd comics:

Where do I charge?

This is one of the most frequent questions lingering in people’s minds when they want to get electric, luckily, the answer is simple - for most parts.

If you’re looking to buy a EV 2 wheeler (We recommend an Ather, but you do you.), the easiest way to charge up is in fact at home. Setting up a charging point at home usually involves finding an accessible 3 pin plug point that’s properly grounded. Some of the best EVs have good charging algorithms built into the battery and charger, that ensure you can safely charge overnight, and wake up to a ‘full tank’!

Need to go the extra distance? There isn’t a common fast charging standard today in India for LEV (Light Electric Vehicles), but we’re looking to change that. Ather Owners have the convenience of Ather Grid points across cities, and other EV owners can charge up there too, but at a slower pace.

However most EV cars today in India use a common charging standard for slow and fast charging, so it’s much easier to charge up at any EV charging station you spot on your way!

Why don’t you have swappable/removable batteries?

Fun fact, during the very early days of Ather, we considered a swappable model, but this didn’t make sense for a lot of reasons. That being said, the swappable model does work for a few use cases involving commercial vehicles.

For personal use, swappable batteries would post endless nightmares to manage and use. For such a model to be successful, there needs to be a common battery type, shape, architecture and standard. With the rapid pace at which EV batteries are evolving, making something like this a standard doesn’t make sense. Also, no manufacturer wants to deal with warranty and repair issues, in case you end up using a third party battery pack that isn’t of good quality. Charge up when your scooter or car is idle, after all it isn’t being used all the time!

This model however works very well for public transport and commercial applications, where the vehicles are mostly of the same make and model, and ordered in bulk so the battery packs are easy to standardize. The priority with commercial vehicles is also the efficiency of asset usage over convenience of charging (Who wants to carry a 18kg battery pack?), so a swappable model might find its footing in commercial applications.

What is regen braking?

Regen or regenerative braking is an energy recovery system that lets you use the motor to slow down your EV. By converting energy that might be otherwise lost as heat when you use the brakes, regen can top up your battery pack. Although the gains in battery charge are minor for smaller battery packs, regen will become a popular way to operate an EV, especially in cars and heavier vehicles. Infact, a lot of EVs already have single pedal driving that use regen to progressively slow down the vehicle when you lift your foot off the accelerator.

No, this is not a source of infinite energy.

I want more range!

Battery technology is still in the early stages of evolution, and newer technologies that can pack more energy in a smaller space are a while away from being commercially viable. But luckily, you can extract more range out of your existing EV very easily. Here are 3 tips to get more range:

Go gentle on the throttle

It can be tempting to unleash all the power and win that race at a signal, but go gentle on the throttle and you’ll be rewarded with better efficiency. Most EVs indicate when you’re accelerating too hard, so use the feedback to tune your riding if you need to go the longer distance.

Maintain thy pressure

Lewis Hamilton has a voice in his ear telling him when to change tyres, but EV owners often forget to check their tyre pressures. (What’s even a petrol pump?). Keep your tyre pressures at recommended levels and you’ll have a longer ride without running out of juice before the finish line.

Learn from the veterans

Lots of owners have managed to beat estimates of range from EVs, while it might not be possible for everyone, you can do the best you can by learning from them. Head over to this thread (Tips on how to get good range from your Ather 450X) to see how other owners are doing it, and ask away!

I need to replace the battery after warranty blah blah blah…

Ather scooters and other good EV 2 wheelers have a 3 year battery warranty that covers manufacturing defects and degradation. Warranty coverage for degradation is important, so before you buy that new EV, check with the manufacturer on the terms of this warranty coverage.

There are chemical reactions happening within a Li-Ion battery cell, and over time these become less efficient. That doesn’t mean they would just stop working after 3 years, but that slowly over time, the battery will not be able to give you as much range as Day 1. It works exactly like your phone, but EV batteries have additional mechanisms to slow down this degradation, mainly by putting in buffer zones so you range doesn’t get affected much.

Fun fact, Ather battery packs have a 3 year unlimited warranty, that ensures that if your battery health is less than 70% at the end of 3 years, we’ll replace it for free. Ather scooters have clocked over 75 million kms on road totally, and we’ve not even had a case where a battery pack has gone under 90% battery health. By those estimates, you should be able to use it for at least 5 years without worry.

Can I ride an EV in the rains?

Yes, yes you can. Unless the rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop.

If you want the technical answers, our Docs section have this and more covered!