By : RACHNA TYAGI
‘Space Age,’ ‘Quirky,’ ‘Savvy’ and ‘Intelligent’ are some of the words that best describe Ather Energy’s latest model, the 450X, which is not just a beautiful machine but one that is also big on Tech. What that translates as is a price tag that is slightly on the “steeper” side. But then, the 450X, is such a wild thing and so much fun that you can be assured of a really good time. We tell you why the 450X makes a strong case for itself and why you should seriously consider signing up for it.
To begin with are its drop-dead gorgeous looks. The 450X is not an obscenely bulky or beefed-up scooter. In fact, it is quite slim, which makes it look contemporary, with really clean lines and proportions to match. Now, while all Ather products have displayed a great flair for design, we really loved the futuristic looks of the 450X. The LED tail light looks stunning.
We do however, wish that the quality of the plastics on the inside as well as on the buttons and switches improves further. While it isn’t bad right now, the quality can definitely be raised a few notches higher, especially given its price tag of INR 1.6 lakh.
The dash of yellow (on our matte Space Grey Press demonstrator) that sneaked out from different parts of the scooter, including the badging, also added that extra bit of quirkiness to it. If you’re not a fan of the Space Grey colour, you can also opt the 450X in two other metallic colours, White and Mint Green – both, hugely popular EV colours, offered by numerous EV manufacturers around the world.
However, the 450X is not just about good looks, it also comes with 22-liters of boot space which can gobble up more than just your helmet and its home charger while leaving enough room for a medium-sized satchel, which speaks volumes about the amount of space that it has on offer.
Then there is the large 7-inch, uber cool, dust and water-proof TFT LCD Touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, a big draw, that already has several potential buyers swaying in favour of the 450X. One look at all that it can do, besides, just navigating with Google Maps’ onboard navigation (Using a 4G e-SIM), storing your personal documents such as your Driving License, and giving you OTA (Over-The-Air) software upgrades, through its crystal- clear display, even with the hot blazing sun overhead, should dispel every single doubt you may have about its intelligence and must reassure you of your choice.
The 450X uses a 2.9 kWh Li-On battery that is packed in an aluminum alloy casing and bolted underneath the body of the scooter. This battery can be charged with a home charger which charges from 0-80% in 3 Hours and 35 minutes, which is included with the purchase of the 450X or at a Fast public charging station which gives a charge of 15 kms in 10 mins, many of which have already been installed by Ather Energy, in several cities across India.
Offering a top speed of 80 kmph and a range of 116 km, the 450X’s 3.3 second (0-40kmph) performance, is truly phenomenal. With its 48:52 F:R weight ratio distribution and its steel and aluminum frame, this 108kg scooter feels really light to handle. In fact, we were quite surprised at how quickly the 450X got up to really high speeds as soon as we started accelerating. (It must be said here that one must be really cautious while speeding and more so with EVs because if you’re not careful, things can quickly get out of control. Unlike traditional petrol engines, there is no gradual power build-up on EVs and you have all the power from the minute you start accelerating which can be fun but also dangerous, especially if you have no inkling about how quickly this can happen. So, dear reader, please do bear this in mind, especially if you are out there and riding an EV for the very first time).
The 450X has been built to offer all the fun so that buyers can make the most of it. The motor belts out 6kW of peak power and 26 Nm of torque. With different riding modes such as ‘Eco’, ‘Ride’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Warp’, you can enjoy the 450X in different ways. While I did enjoy the ‘Ride’ and ‘Sport’ mode, I found myself going back to its ‘Warp’ mode over and over again after riding it in other modes. The ‘Warp’ mode, needless to say, is the most exciting because it is just incredibly and insanely fast and it is almost as if in a blink of an eye, you’ve covered so much more distance than you previously did on any conventional scooter.
Zipping around our noisy cities can be a pretty comfortable experience on the 450X where the street noises drown out the whine of the 450X’s motor. That’s not to say that the 450X is not a highway scooter, it is just that we think that the 450X’s whine is too shrill right now and needs a bit of re-tuning to make it a more pleasurable audible experience and an even better highway companion where it is just you and the sound of your scooter on long stretches of tarmac. So, however futuristic the 450X’s motor sounds, living with that shrill motor whine is something that you may want to factor in before making your purchase. However, having said that, there are fans of the shrill whine too who actually think it is cool and that it adds to the 450X’s EV appeal.
The ride quality of the 450X is superlative and we didn’t experience the slightest bumps even on bad roads which says a lot about its mono-shock suspension. Its disc brakes, both, on the front and rear, did an excellent job when we were caught unawares and we’re really thankful that they offer enough bite for stopping at those insane speeds.
What we loved most was the ‘Reverse mode’. No more panting and puffing while trying to push a heavy scooter of yesteryears off its stand with all your body weight and then trying to reverse it, like you did earlier. Now, ‘Reverse mode’ can be activated by simply sliding the toggle on the Touchscreen which truly makes reversing on the 450X such a breeze. Reversing happens at 3kmph and so, while it can be solid fun, it is also important to be aware of your surroundings while doing so at all times unless you want to hear a crash, boom, bang.
The Ather 450X is a robust electric scooter with excellent Tech onboard. It is lightweight and fast and comes with a good range and very good charging options. At INR 1.6 lakh, it is certainly not cheap, but there are numerous buying and leasing options that the company has made available for buyers which should not only balance the cost out over a period of time but also make it a very good hassle-free proposition for many. With soaring fuel prices, the 450X is definitely a great buy and with it, you can also ride around guilt-free having ensured that you’ve done your bit for our environment.