Vicky Nanjappa

Journalism for Vertebrates®

Ather: One of its kind, but could do with a ‘Silent Mode’

Image Courtesy: Atherenergy

My first tryst with an electric was an Ather 450 Plus. What is not to like. The pick up, the ride comfort and of course some frills on the dash. 

To be honest, my first experience while booking the vehicle was pathetic. The executives at the Indiranagar Space were not ready to come off their high horses. I came out of the showroom fuming and tried to cancel my booking. I posted the same on the Twitter and a friend of mine advised me to re-think my decision. All he said was do not cancel such a great product, because of a bad experience at the Ather Space. 

Then came a call from a very friendly executive at Customer Care. He convinced me to re-think my decision and I changed my mind. It took three months for the Ather to arrive. The delivery experience was a breeze. Well explained and very kind people who delivered the vehicle. I rode the Ather back home. What a ride and the unique wheee sound was beautiful. 

I had a Suzuki Access for 7 years and did just 7,000 kms on that. On the Ather, with my beautiful wife and my adorable pug, I did 5,000 kms in just six months. That is what the riding pleasure was. The Ather became a conversation piece at home, with family and friends. I convinced many many people to buy the Ather and trust me they did. I offered test rides to those who had the ICE vehicles. Spoke about the range anxiety and in my own right became the area’s official electric adviser.

Then came Gen 3:

Tarun Mehta, the co-founder of Ather has become an iconic figure for me. The time he took to make Ather and the kind of product he has delivered is simply commendable. I know he gets a lot of questions around the pricing of the bike. But let me tell you all. He has provided a charging infrastructure like none other and that is why I never crib about the pricing. My fellow Indians, the charging is free.

When he announced Gen 3, I was simply kicked. With much convincing and arguments with my wife, I decided to upgrade. I decided to go in for the Ather 450X model. I missed Warp mode and the bluetooth.

Sold my Ather 450 Plus and went in for the upgrade. Before that had gone to the Rajajinagar Space. The experience there. What do I tell you? The fish market felt much more peaceful. Terrible service, with the staff clueless and could not tell what the left hand was doing from the right.

Walked away in a huff, but promised myself will not cancel the booking. The terrible staff was not going to take away the sheen of a great product. 

This time again the delivery was a breeze. The Gen 3 rocks in every way. The suspension, the bigger tyres, the Warp mode and bluetooth made me fall in love with Ather once again. Still riding it, still loving it. 

Silent mode:

Now here is the reason why I titled the article around silent mode. A host of features were announced on community day earlier this month. I was excited about the new interface. Choppy in a lot of ways, but looks great. The bluetooth begs to get connected. I sincerely hope the bluetooth connects itself rather me having to connecting it all the time.

I love the vector maps, but it is choppy at times. I am sure over a period of time the issue would be resolved.

Ather could do better on the communication front. On the forum, I read from Ather that the hill hold feature would be released for all Gen 3 models on January 25. While releasing software is a hard job, the update on hill hold should have been mentioned January 25 onwards instead of just January 25. Simple English tweaks go a long way. If the release was going to be delayed, then at least the same should have been conveyed. 

It takes a lot to make a great product and Ather is one of them. However, communication and regular updates from the Ather team are equally important.

Hence the silent mode sarcasm.

Update ( two days late): AutoHold is coming to a Gen 3 scooter near you from Feb 1

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