While the acceptance of electric cars among the general public is not as rapid and extensive as manufacturers would like, it can’t be said about electric two-wheelers. Unlike electric cars, the popularity of electric two-wheelers among the general public is on a swift rise, and premium EV makers are keen to capitalize.
Ather Energy initiated its journey with the impressive and exhilarating 450X, which has indeed managed to captivate and attract the attention of consumers looking to buy a premium electric scooter. While demand for this motorcycle is high, not everyone seeks the full spectrum of advanced features or requires a 150km riding range. Well, at least that’s what Ather thinks and claims. Consequently, the brand has now introduced the new 450S to cater to such customers. The company claims that it retains the distinctive Ather DNA while incorporating the right set of features at an appealing price point. So, let’s see what has changed and what has not.
Ather 450S Review: Motor and Battery
Let’s begin by looking at the specification, which makes a key difference between the 450S and 450X immediately apparent. The new Ather 450S gets a 5.4kW electric motor and 2.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, compared to the 6.4 kW and 3.7 kWh pack of the 450X. The torque has gone down by 4Nm and stands at 22Nm, compared to the 26Nm of the 450X. The 450S can do the 0 – 40km/h sprint in 3.9 secs and has a top speed of 90km/h.
All these changes have also brought the riding range down to 115km from 150km of the 450X. However, according to the company, the bike has a realistic riding range of 80 – 100km on a single charge. We began our test ride at the Taj Hotel near Bangalore airport and rode all the way to the base of Nandi foothill and back. We set out with the battery at 80 per cent capacity, with 72km of range displayed on the odometer. The total distance that we had to cover was 64km, with the day’s schedule involving constant stop-and-go instances. When I returned to the hotel after the ride, which involved riding in a mixed manner, the odometer still displayed a remaining riding range of 10km.
Ather 450S Review: Throttle Maps
To cater to customers transitioning from traditional ICE-powered scooters, Ather has now upgraded its Eco and Ride modes in the 450S to offer more progressive acceleration compared to the 450X. The Sport mode, however, remains the same, which means you get strong acceleration right off the bat, with power peaking and dropping quickly. During our test, we kept the scooter largely restricted to Eco and Ride to conserve charge, and at times, it did struggle to keep up with regular-moving traffic on open roads.
Nonetheless, the 450S did feel right at home in the city during peak traffic hours. Now, switching to Sport mode makes the scooter a lot more lively than it is in Eco and Ride modes. If you are looking for an electric scooter, one that doesn’t make compromises in terms of performance, the Ather 450X is still the one to go for. Not only do you get more range but also the Warp mode, which we have come to love in the Ather 450 series.
Ather 450S Review: Switchgear
Compared to the outgoing 450X, the newly-designed 450S and updated 450X models get updated switchgear for ease of use. On the left, there is a four-way toggle switch to access different menus, navigation, music, and trip and ride information. It also gets a clicker in the middle, which can be used to select the highlighted part of the instrument console and switch between the available choices for each feature.
On the right side, there is now a button for the one-touch park assist system. This feature has been introduced to facilitate an effortless transition between forward and reverse modes in the Ather 450S. Notably, the same switchgear has also been incorporated in the updated Ather 450X for a convenient alternative to the touchscreen-based park assist function.
Ather 450S Review: Safety
In terms of safety, Ather has added new features to both the Ather 450S and the 450X. The most prominent among these is the fall-safe function. It proves to be particularly valuable in events involving accidents or crashes. In such cases, the rider can get disoriented and lose control of the throttle. To prevent this, the fall-safe function detects when the scooter crashes and immediately switches off the motor to prevent further damage.
Furthermore, other safety enhancements include an emergency stop signal. In case of emergency braking or a sudden stop, the Ather 450S starts flashing its hazard lights in order to warn motorists behind you about the dire situation ahead.
Additionally, it also gets a park assist signal, which is similar to the emergency stop signal and uses both indicators to warn pedestrians and other motorists while you are reversing. Since most people do not expect a scooter to reverse with the rider still in the saddle, this function can be really helpful in crowded areas.
Ather 450S Review: Features
One of the most significant changes to the features list is the addition of the new 7-inch negative LCD display, which Ather calls DeepView display. This advanced display, despite lacking touchscreen functionality, has been meticulously designed by Ather to stand out as one of the best LCD displays available in the market today. I think it offers excellent contrast, a bright display, and easy readability of all essential information.
Another notable addition to the feature set is the industry-first trip planning feature, which helps users plan their journeys more effectively by offering real-time arrival estimates, optimal route suggestions encompassing various stops, including an intuitive inclusion of charging stops if the system detects the need for recharging the battery in order to complete the trip.
Ather 450S Review: Verdict
To sum up, I would say that the Ather 450S is the best choice for those who are looking for the fundamental features of the 450X but don’t mind foregoing its enhanced performance and high-end features. Let’s face it, some of us just want a competent electric scooter for daily commutes.
Now, I do think that it has the right ingredients to achieve what Ather aimed for; however, it’s the price that will decide the fate of this new offering from Ather. With a price of Rs 1.3 lakh (ex-showroom), including subsidy, the 450S is about Rs 15,000 less expensive than the full-blown 450X. Now, while the Ather 450S may be the best no-frills alternative to the 450X, the latter is just too close in price to the former to justify the compromises.