Friday, January 13, 2023

Test Riding the EV wave [Ola S1 Pro Vs Ather 450X]

 I have been closely observing the EV market since the past 2 years.. My research started way back in 2020 when I was contemplating to upgrade my car and Nexon EV had just launched.. An EV car did not seem feasible back then for many reasons, but 'range anxiety' would always be at the top..

I think a 2 wheeler EV is a good entry point for anyone looking to switch over to the EV ecosystem and so I was interested in that market to be precise. Ather was always a top contender being in the market for quite some time, but the entry of Ola did spice up the market last year.

I am currently contemplating on ditching my 8 year old Petrol Bike, so thought of giving both of them a spin last weekend!

My thoughts on Ather:

The booking experience was ordinary.. I visited the showroom for the test ride near my house and the staff was least interested in showing around the bike..

The 450X Gen had just got an upgrade 1 day ago with 2 new colors and a software update. So i was interested in checking out their updated seat posture and colors.. They allowed me and my wife a test ride after click a picture of our license.

What I Liked:

The style and design of Ather feels like a premium scooter. The build and finish quality seems adequate and the updated seating position ensures that 2 people can adequately sit and ride.

The Ather online community they have is pretty vibrant and active to help out with any issues you might have with your new scooter

What I did not like:

  • The underseat storage however is small and might be an issue for me if i have to store a helmet and other grocery related items.
  • Mediocre Range compared to Ola
  • Price is not justified for the features it is offering

My Thoughts on Ola:

The first thing this reminds me is Wall-E!

The design is very Retro! I had my reservations after watching a lot of videos about 'Ola EV issues' and how their quality is not up to the mark since it is still the first generation scooter (compared to Ather's 3 generations of work)

However, I loved their overall online approach.. I could book a test ride from the app and the rider would come to my home for the Test ride.. So much convenient! 

The test ride experience was smooth with multiple follow up from the Ola side.. The rider explained me about the features on the scooter (which I already knew, but it was a good sales pitch nonetheless!). 

What I Liked:

The styling grows on you! It is a simple Vespa-sque design which will appeal to a certain section of the crowd (me included). Even if the acceleration is slower compared to Ather, Ola makes up for it in the mid range and top speed.. The ride was firm, but not too stiff. You could feel the bumps on the road, although a bit less compared to Ather's stiff suspension..

I loved their overall online experience from end to end.. I could directly book the scooter online and get it delivered to my home. Visiting the showroom is always a pain!

What I did not like:

  • This being the 1st generation scooter, reliability is still a question mark for me. 
  • The 'Map My India' navigation is inferior compared to Ather's recently released Vector Google Maps with live traffic navigation.
  • Speakers are a bit unwarranted for me.. I don't know anyone who would ride a scooter playing music on their speaker. But you never know!
  • Fit and Finish issues were evident on the test scooter.. It might be because it was a 'test vehicle' anyway, but Ather feels a much more finished product.
  • 2 Helmets which we have to buy compulsorily even if you have spare helmets at home. Why?
And although it might still be early before I book an electric scooter, if you gave me 1.5 lakh rupees now and told me to buy a scooter..


I would end up booking an Ola S1 Pro for the practical reasons & convenience it offers over Ather..