- The new
Ather 450X Gen 3debuted today and promises a range of 105 KM and other performance upgrades.
- Ather has been around for a number of years and the company says it has only benefited from the arrival of credible competition over the past two years.
- From Ather’s philosophy to safety, competition and customer demands, we’ve caught up:
Ravneet Singh Phokelato understand how the company works.
On the eve of the launch, BI spoke with the company’s chief business officer, Ravneet Singh Phokela, to understand the rationale for the Ather 450X facelift in 2022, the safety concerns surrounding EVs and the ever-increasing competition, especially in India’s electric two-wheeler segment.
Safety issues around EVs
Safety concerns about electric scooters emerged after vehicle recalls, incidents involving batteries catching fire were reported multiple times, deterring potential buyers.
According to Phokela, it’s a matter of “design for safety” – it’s about whether those electric scooters and battery modules are designed with Indian conditions in mind – road, thermal and grid, rather than just importing cells that are probably designed for better off the road.
Phokela assured that their own reliability banks on strict security and design checks.
On the new Ather 450X Gen 3
Originally launched in 2018, the Ather 450 changed the way people looked at electric scooters with its power and performance. For many, this was the first time they could consider an electric scooter as their daily ride.
The 450X is still a powerful ride for most people, but the growing competition following the arrival of the Ola S1 Pro and the new TVS iQube ST with a range of 145KM has probably prompted Ather to update his scooter.
But what does the new Gen 3 bring to the table?
From a larger battery pack that now offers a 105KM “TrueRange” to new riding modes and increased trunk space, the Ather 450X Gen 3 is an iterative update that seeks to take the 450X from 2020 to 2022.
“The bigger philosophy is that we keep updating the vehicle based on consumer feedback or simply our own development. The Gen 3 is a continuation of that philosophy,”
Apart from this, the new Gen 3 comes with a faster dashboard thanks to a RAM upgrade, the UI has also seen performance improvements making things like maps and documents load faster.
On the hunt for the psychologically important 100 KM . range number
Range anxiety is an issue that EV makers and users alike have faced. Unlike ICE vehicles that can be directly topped up with fuel, EVs take time to recharge, and the charging infrastructure is still a work in progress.
For now, providing buyers with the widest possible range is the closest EV manufacturers to addressing range fears. According to Phokela, the 100 KM track is “psychologically important”. It’s also a 24% improvement over the second-generation model.
On the growing competition from Ola, TVS and others
While electric scooters have been around in India for a long time, high quality electric scooters have only entered the market in recent years. And that’s what’s important, Phokela says.
He thinks it’s premature to worry about competition.
“It’s best to keep the competition in the peripheral view and the customer in the primary view,” said Phokela, who stated that Ather’s philosophy “will not change” in this regard. Instead, he says the newcomers have had a positive impact on Ather’s sales.
More affordable Ather scooters are coming, but customers are willing to pay a premium for quality
The Ather 450X Gen 3 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 increase of ₹10,000 recently.
Phokela says Ather buyers are willing to pay a premium for better quality and features – he revealed that 85% of buyers are going for the top-end 450X over the cheaper 450 Plus.
However, he added that more affordable Ather scooters would be launched later on as the company looks to expand its portfolio and presence.
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- 1 Safety issues around EVs
- 2 On the new Ather 450X Gen 3
- 3 But what does the new Gen 3 bring to the table?
- 4 On the hunt for the psychologically important 100 KM . range number
- 5 On the growing competition from Ola, TVS and others
- 6 More affordable Ather scooters are coming, but customers are willing to pay a premium for quality