Ather 450S price, battery, charging time, features, handling: first ride review – Introduction

In the five years since the Ather 450X has been on sale, a lot has changed in the electric two-wheeler industry. The two most impactful changes were the increase in the FAME-II subsidy in 2021 and then the subsequent slashing of it just a few months ago. The result of the latest action has been that Ather’s proven but pricey 450X became even more expensive. In a bid to combat this, Ather has launched the new 450S, which promises to offer a largely familiar Ather experience, but at a more digestible price tag.

Ather 450S design

To look at, the 450S is very similar to the 450X and that’s not a bad thing, at least in my books. All the body panels are the same as the X, and the only discernible visual difference is the black plastic piece on the headlight surround, which itself is now the same colour as the rest of the scooter unlike the all-black shroud found on the X. Ather has managed to carry forward the pleasingly solid build quality and that’s always a good thing, especially on a more cost-conscious product. 

The 450S looks very similar to the 450X.

The 450S badging on the side panels is quite small and hard to make out unless you’re very close to the scooter and are actively looking for it. That said, Ather brands these more as two variants of the same platform, rather than two different model lines, so the visual resemblance is understandable, especially since there are far-reaching similarities under the surface as well.

Ather 450S battery, range

The biggest contributor to the 450S’s more accessible price is the smaller 2.9kWh battery pack powering it. This is opposed to the 3.7kWh battery pack that the 450X has been shipping with for the last year or so. Ather claims that post the FAME-II subsidy cut, the industry is gravitating toward 3kWh as an ideal battery capacity figure. TVS, Bajaj and Ola all have at least one offering with a battery of this size. 

Smaller 2.9kWh battery pack here.

Ather claims an IDC range of 115km and says that in the real-world, the 450S should cover 90km in SmartEco mode, which drops to 70km in the quickest Sport mode. Meanwhile, the 450X boasts of a TrueRange of 105km in SmartEco mode. We will put these claims to the test, once we get a chance to test the 450S back in Mumbai, but Ather is usually on the money when it comes to range predictions, and we were on course to cover about 75km on a full charge on our shoot, riding mostly in Sport and Ride modes.

Charging port flap now ‘clicks’ shut.

As for charging times, the 450S can charge just as quickly from Ather’s public fast chargers as the 450X – 15km of range from a 10-min top-up. Home charging, however, is considerably slower – the company claims 0 to 80 percent will take 6hr36min (a little over 2 hours more than the 3.7kWh version of the 450X), while a full charge will take a total of eight and a half hours. Ather has also introduced Optimised Charging 2.0, which takes the battery up to 80 percent once plugged in in the evening, then holds the charge level there through the night, and only takes it from 80 to 100 percent in the early hours of the morning.

Ather 450S features

Another big change (and one that has helped shave costs) is the new 7-inch LCD dash, which replaces the TFT unit on the X. This new LCD unit gets all the Bluetooth connectivity and eSIM features found on the 450X (thanks to the presence of the optional Pro pack), but misses out on touch controls and document storage. To account for this, the switchgear has been significantly reworked and you now get a five-way joystick on the left to control all the dash’s functions and a neat one-touch button on the right for the reverse ‘Park Assist’ feature. The switches are no longer as clicky as they were, and everything has a pleasing, damped feel to it. This new layout will make its way over to the 450X as well.

New LCD dash is very polished and intuitive, could stand to be a little brighter.

On the dash, speed is in the middle and right below that is the range figure. The left-hand side of the dash is reserved for functions such as music, calls and ride data, while on the right, you get turn-by-turn navigation alerts. The screen also gets what Ather claims is a segment-first ‘Auto Brightness’ feature but we rode it on a mostly cloudy day in Bengaluru and still had occasions where the sun’s reflection made it hard to see some of the smaller information. We’ll have to reserve judgement on the dash’s legibility until we can properly test it back at base. 

New switchgear will make its way to the updated 450X as well.

What has been added to the electronics suite of the 450S (and, therefore even the revamped X) is coasting regen, vehicle fall safe, and tow and theft alerts. The coasting regen function is quite polished and feels natural, and isn’t as aggressive as say the TVS iQube S. The tow and theft function works as advertised and it came on multiple times when we were moving the 450S around while it was switched off. As for the vehicle fall-safe function, we (thankfully) didn’t get the opportunity to test it but should you have an unfortunate incident, it kills the motor so you don’t inadvertently accelerate when picking up the scooter from the grip.  

Ather 450S performance, ride and handling

Rated for 5.4kW and 22Nm, the 450S’s motor is good for the same peak output figures as the erstwhile 450 Plus. What is the same as the 450X is the entire chassis and nearly all the cycle parts (much like the 450 Plus again). What this means is that the 450S is still a very sure-footed and confidence-inspiring thing to hustle around corners, slightly slimmer MRF Nylogrip Zapper rubber notwithstanding. 

Slimmer 90-section rubber at the rear here.

While the 450S isn’t as powerful as the 450X, in its quickest Sport mode, it is still quite a zippy thing, and since the 90kph top speed is the same as on the X, you can also manage short highway stints with reasonable comfort. Ather has also tweaked the throttle map in Eco and Ride modes, to offer a more linear and gentler response to help new-to-EV riders adapt more easily to the power delivery.

Bear in mind that much like the 450X, taller riders will still feel a little bunched up, especially while taking U-turns, and that the ride quality still has an underlying firmness.  

Ather 450S price, verdict

The lower-spec ‘Core’ variant costs Rs 1.30 lakh (introductory), and misses out on the ‘Pro’ pack, which brings with it the extended warranty and the gaggle of smart and connected features we got to try out. With the Pro pack, pricing is Rs 1.43 lakh.

That’s still not a budget-friendly price, but then this by no means feels like a budget scooter. Whether it’s the solid build quality, the pleasing attention to detail, or the comprehensive list of intuitive and useful features on the Pro variant, the 450S doesn’t feel ‘entry-level’ in any sense. Yes, performance is down compared to the 450X, but it’s still plenty to keep you engaged. While the range has dropped, it’s still going to be enough and more for most people’s daily needs, especially with the many ways Ather allows you to charge the scooter. All things considered, the 450S has succeeded in delivering an authentic Ather experience at a more digestible price. 

All prices ex-showroom, Bengaluru, including FAME-II subsidy and charger. 

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *