Ather energy's newest scooter gets a number of hefty upgrades along with rather confusing ownership options. We break them down.
Ather with the launch of the 450X, Ather is now competing in the premium end of the electric scooter market. The 450 was the benchmark for electric scooters for almost two years and nothing even came close - till the wraps were taken off the 450X. Even competitors like the Bajaj Chetak is and the upcoming TVS iQube will be positioned as mass-market electric scooters priced at around the Rs. 1.2 lakh mark.
The Ather 450X' price of Rs. 1.49 lakh(ex-showroom) for the Plus variant and Rs. 1.59 lakh(ex-showroom) for the Pro variant certainly makes it a pricey proposition but Ather is offering a number of options to buy into the brand to entice customers. But the somewhat complex ownership plans have most people stumped. We, however, have it all worked out for you. Read on.
The subscription packs
Also available is a model wherein you pay Rs. 99,000 as an upfront payment for ownership of the Ather 450X. Ather says the remainder(Rs. 60,000) should be looked at as the cost of the battery. Post the payment of Rs. 99,000, the ownership of the scooter will rest with the buyer(excluding the battery), and there are monthly subscription payments towards the battery and the recurring costs that Rs. 400 would otherwise get you in the flat payment model. You need to pay Rs. 1699(for the Plus variant) or Rs. 1999(for the Pro variant) every month for the lifetime of the scooter. The price includes data transmission charges,unlimited fast charging at public fast chargers, access to future OTA updates, data storage costs in addition to a monthly payment towards the battery pack.
However, Ather has something to make the deal sweeter for people who opt for the subscription pack. The company is offering an unlimited battery warranty for anyone who opts for the subscription model meaning that Ather will ensure the performance of the battery never drops below 80 per cent throughout its entire lifetime. Ather is offering some flexibility in the subscription models and buyers who wish to opt-out of the plan can simply just convert their past payments minus the monthly recurring charge into an EMI towards the cost of the battery. Payment of the remaining amount will give you full ownership of the scooter, which at the end of a three year period could be between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000.Ather is confident of the 450X battery performance and thinks that it will continue to perform above 80 per cent even after the 3-year warranty period and hence, it is offering the subscription plan with an unlimited warranty.Going on vacation?There is also a snooze option wherein you can snooze your subscription plan up to a period of one month. You would only need to pay Rs. 500 instead of the monthly subscription. This can be used only once in a year though.Our recommendationFor almost everybody, the subscription payment plan comes across as the right option. You can own an Ather at a lower upfront price and with an unlimited warranty on the battery. If somewhere down the line if you do wish to take full ownership of the battery pack, you can do so by turning your subscription payments into EMIs. Sure, it is an extremely unusual ownership route, but the 450X is a premium electric scooter unlike any in the country and Ather hopes that the lower barrier of entry will make it accessible to a large number of people.