Ather 450S

Over the last half decade, the landscape of electric two-wheelers has undergone a profound transformation. The most impactful changes or shifts came with the adjustments in the FAME-II subsidy in 2021, which was followed by a recent reduction in the subsidy. 

These transitions exerted a substantial influence on the pricing dynamics of electric scooters, including Ather’s well-regarded yet somewhat premium 450X. In response, Ather has unveiled the new 450S, offering a familiar Ather experience but at a more budget-friendly price point.

Ather 450S Design

The Ather 450S bears a strong resemblance to 450X, which is again a positive in our assessment. Nearly all the body panels are identical to the 450X, with the primary visual distinction being a black plastic piece on the headlight surround. 

This piece now matches the scooter’s color, unlike the all-black shroud on the 450X. Ather has maintained its reputation for solid build quality, a reassuring factor for those conscious of cost.

The “450S” badge on the side panels is subtle, requiring a close look to discern. Ather has positioned these scooters as two variants of the same platform, emphasizing their shared visual elements, which makes sense given the extensive similarities under the surface.

Ather 450S Battery and Range

The key contributor to the 450S’s affordability is, its smaller 2.9kWh battery pack, in contrast to the 3.7kWh battery found in the 450X for the past year. 

The company has explained this change as a response to the industry’s shift toward a 3kWh ideal battery capacity following the reduction in the FAME-II subsidy. Several other companies, including TVS, Bajaj, and Ola, have also embraced this change.

Ather claims an ARAI range of 115km for the 450S, translating to approximately 90km in SmartEco mode under real-world conditions, with a further reduction to 70km in the Sport mode. 

In comparison, the 450X boasts a TrueRange of 105km in SmartEco mode. These claims will be verified through extensive testing in Mumbai.

Charging times differ based on the context. When using Ather’s public fast chargers, both the 450S and 450X offer a swift 15km of range in just 10 minutes. 

However, home charging is notably slower, with a 0 to 80 percent charge taking approximately 6 hours and 36 minutes, slightly more than two hours longer than the 3.7kWh version of the 450X. A full charge at home will require eight and a half hours.

Ather has also introduced Optimized Charging 2.0, a feature that charges the battery up to 80 percent in the evening and holds it at that level overnight. It only completes the final 20 percent charge in the early hours of the morning.

Ather 450S Features

The Ather 450S introduces a significant change in the form of a new 7-inch LCD dashboard, replacing the TFT unit on the 450X. This new LCD retains Bluetooth connectivity and eSIM features present in the 450X, thanks to the optional Pro pack. However, it lacks touch controls and document storage.

To accommodate this shift, the switchgear has been revamped. The left side features a five-way joystick for controlling the dashboard functions, and the right side includes a convenient one-touch button for the reverse ‘Park Assist’ feature. The switchgear’s tactile feel has been enhanced, with damped, satisfying responses. This new layout will also be integrated into the 450X.

The dashboard’s layout places speed in the center, with the range figure just below it. The left-hand side provides access to functions such as music, calls, and ride data, while on the right, you get turn-by-turn navigation alerts. 

They also claim to offer a segment-first ‘Auto Brightness’ feature, but its legibility in various lighting conditions remains to be assessed comprehensively.

The 450S introduces additional features to the electronics suite, benefiting both the 450S and the revamped 450X. These include coasting regen, vehicle fall-safe, and tow and theft alerts. 

The coasting regen function offers a natural and non-intrusive experience. Tow and theft alerts work as advertised, ensuring the scooter’s safety when not in use. 

The vehicle fall-safe feature, while we hope never to test it, promises to prevent unintended acceleration in the event of a fall.

Ather 450S Performance, Ride, and Handling

With a motor rated for 5.4kW and 22Nm, the 450S mirrors the peak output of its predecessor, the 450 Plus. Like the 450X, the 450S retains the same chassis and most cycle components, resulting in confident and agile handling, despite the slight change to MRF Nylogrip Zapper rubber.

While the 450S may not reach the same power levels as the 450X, it still offers zippy performance, especially in its quickest sport mode. 

With a top speed of 90kph, it can handle short highway stints with ease. They have also tweaked the throttle response in eco and ride modes to offer a more linear and gentle power delivery, facilitating the adaptation of new riders to electric scooters.

It’s worth noting that taller riders may still feel somewhat cramped, particularly during U-turns, and the ride quality remains firm.

Ather 450S Price and Conclusion

The base variant of the Ather 450S is priced at Rs 1.30 lakh (introductory) and does not include the ‘Pro’ pack, which offers extended warranty and a range of smart and connected features. With the Pro pack, the pricing is Rs 1.43 lakh.

While it’s not the most budget friendly option, the Ather 450S stands as a testament to what affordability can mean in the electric scooter landscape. 

It’s important to remember that despite the lower cost, the 450S doesn’t compromise on quality. Ather has maintained its commitment to solid build quality, attention to detail, and a comprehensive list of intuitive and useful features, especially in the Pro variant.

Performance-wise, while it may not match the 450X in power, the 450S still delivers a lively riding experience. With a 90km/h top speed, it can handle short highway jaunts with comfort. 

Ather’s adjustments to the throttle response in Eco and Ride modes make it more beginner-friendly, smoothing the learning curve for new electric vehicle riders.

Despite the changes, it’s important to note that taller riders may find it a bit snug, particularly during U-turns. The ride quality remains relatively firm, which could be a consideration for those prioritizing comfort.

In summary, the Ather 450S has achieved the challenging task of delivering an authentic Ather experience at a more budget-friendly price point. While the range may have decreased, it still covers most daily commuting needs, and Ather offers multiple convenient charging options. It’s a reminder that the Ather experience is not solely reserved for the premium segment; it’s now more accessible to a broader audience.

The future of electric mobility is becoming increasingly exciting, with more affordable options like the Ather 450S paving the way for a cleaner and greener mode of transportation. As the electric scooter market continues to evolve, Ather’s commitment to innovation and quality remains unwavering, making electric scooting an attractive choice for a wider spectrum of riders.

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