Final Report: Our cheerful and capable urban companion keeps things interesting as it parts ways with us.
After having run wonderfully well for nearly its entire duration with us, the Ather 450X Gen 3 is unfortunately returning to its maker on the back of a flatbed, having thrown up a rather unusual glitch at the end of its tenure. As described in our previous report, the scooter downloads and installs updates overnight, but only completes the process the next time you turn the scooter on. Having returned from 10 days outside the country, I turned the Ather’s key on to be greeted with a message about the scooter completing an update. However, after remaining on this screen for about 5 minutes, the scooter then delivered a message saying that the update could not be completed, following which the TFT display showed the regular home screen.
A glitch during an OTA update has left the scooter immobile.
When trying to put the scooter into a forward riding mode, it refused to cooperate. The process to start riding involves simultaneously pressing a brake lever and the starter button. But even after doing this, the scooter remains in Park mode, and keeps flashing a message saying “Press Brake + Start”. Neither a hard reset nor a full shutdown and restart has been able to rectify this issue. And an attempt to reinstall the latest update was thwarted by the fact that the Ather Connect subscription for our scooter has expired, removing many of the TFT screen’s features, including OTA updates. Speaking to the company, we are told that the glitch has been caused by the fact that the Ather Connect subscription has expired.
Brisk performance makes it a joy to ride in the city.
Ultimately, this experience serves as a prudent reminder. All the smart and connected tech that’s being showered on e-scooters these days certainly brings in a great deal of convenience and security. But at the same time, it also brings with it increased complexity, and the potential for software errors and glitches like this to present themselves. In extreme cases, these can prove to be a serious safety issue, as we’ve seen with the Ola S1 Pro – going backwards while being in a forward riding mode and vice versa. And in less severe (but still quite upsetting) cases like on the Ather, they can leave you and your vehicle stranded, even though its battery is full of juice.
Stiff ride offers great handling but compromises comfort.
For the most part, the 450X’s software package has proven to be one of the more robust and bug-free systems around, but clearly, even the best in the business is not entirely free from flaws. Software glitch aside, the 450X has proven to be an excellent companion on daily commutes. Its combination of zippy performance, extremely accurate range predictions and a slick user experience have been an absolute delight. Many of these highlights are also present on the more recent and more affordable 450S, but that scooter removes some of the excess complexity by sporting a simpler LCD screen in place of the TFT. It will be joining our long-term fleet soon, so stay tuned for a detailed account of how that scooter fares in the long run.
Range predictions have always been exceedingly accurate.