Bengaluru-based EV player, Ather has rolled out new Ather e-scooter, 450X Gen 3 to take on Ola S1 Pro and the new TVS iQube with a longer range.
On the eve of the launch, chief business officer, Ravneet Singh Phokela explained the rationale for the 2022 facelift of the Ather 450X, safety concerns around EVs and the ever-growing competition, especially in India’s electric two-wheeler segment.
According to Phokela, it’s a case of a “design for safety” issue – it’s about whether those electric scooters and battery modules are designed keeping the Indian conditions in mind – road, thermal and grid-wise, instead of just importing cells likely designed for better road conditions.
Phokela assured that their reliability banks on stringent safety and design checks.
Older version of Ather e-scooter, 450 was originally launched in 2018, changed how people viewed electric scooters with their power and performance. For many, this was the first time they could think of an e-scooter as their daily ride.
Ather 450X e-scooter is still a powerful ride for most people, but the growing competition post the entry of the Ola S1 Pro and new TVS iQube ST with a range of 145 KM has likely pushed Ather to update its scooter.
From a bigger battery pack that now offers a “TrueRange” of 105 KM to new ride modes and larger boot space, the Ather 450X Gen 3 e-scooter is an iterative update that tries to bring the 450X into 2022 from 2020.
“The larger philosophy is that we keep updating the vehicle based either on consumer feedback or just our development. The Gen 3 is a continuation of that philosophy,” Phokela explained, underlining that the Ather scooters also receive over-the-air updates to improve the overall product.
Apart from this, the new Ather Gen 3 e-scooter comes with a faster dashboard thanks to a RAM upgrade, the UI has also seen performance improvements, so things like maps and documents load faster.
According to Phokela, the 100 KM number is “psychologically important”. It’s also a 24% improvement over the second-gen model.
While electric scooters have been present in India for a long time, quality electric scooters have only come around in the last few years. And that is what is important, says Phokela.
He believes that it’s quite premature to worry about competition.
“It’s best to keep the competition in the peripheral vision and the customer in the primary one,” said Phokela, stating that Ather’s philosophy in this regard is “not going to change”. Instead, the new entrants have had a positive impact on Ather’s sales, according to him.
The new Ather e-scooter is priced at ₹1,39,007 in New Delhi (ex-showroom), while its competitor, the Ola S1 Pro is priced at ₹1,39,999 after a price hike of ₹10,000 recently.
Phokela says that Ather e-scooter buyers are willing to pay a premium for better quality and features – he revealed that 85% of the buyers go for the top-end 450X instead of the cheaper 450 Plus.
However, he added that more affordable Ather e-scooter would be launched later as the company looks to expand its portfolio and presence.