The Ather 450X is the electric scooter maker’s latest offering which was introduced at a price of INR 99,000 (Incl. GST and FAME II incentive; Excl. State Subsidy, Insurance, Road tax & Registration charges), post which, one had to pay a monthly subscription charge of either INR 1,699 or INR 1,999 for a Plus or a Pro plan (Also called battery subscription charge). For the amount one pays monthly, it covers unlimited battery warranty till the time of ownership. Also, the fast charging speed differs, where Plus subscribers will be able to charge at 1.0 km/min, while Pro users will be able to do the same at 1.5 km/min.
Both users will be able to access Ather’s 2nd-generation fast-charging network which is now 50% faster than before. Interestingly, the range for Plus subscribers is 70 kilometres and 85 kilometres for Pro users. If one wishes to purchase the scooter upfront, it costs INR 1.49 lakh for the Plus version and INR 1.59 lakh for the Pro variant (both prices are ex-showroom and not inclusive of state subsidies). Now, these multiple ownership options are bound to confuse some and raise many questions in the mind. Below are answers to some of them:
What is a battery subscription?
In battery subscription, you purchase the scooter upfront without the battery for INR 99,000. Over several months of selling Ather 450, Ather realised that there are customers who have concerns about battery life, battery replacement costs, and degradation of performance over time. Ather offers a 3-year unlimited km warranty. However, to quell such concerns, the battery subscription plan has been bundles with multiple features such as cost of leasing the battery, assurance of consistent performance, unlimited battery replacement when the capacity drops below 80% of original capacity, as well as unlimited fast charging at Ather Grid, access to over-the-air upgrades and connected services (includes data usage costs and data storage costs).
Do I Have To Pay For Battery Subscription If I Purchase The Scooter Outright?
No. For either INR 1.49 lakh or INR 1.59 lakh, according to the variant one chooses, the scooter is sold with the battery. On top of this, one can opt for (not mandatory) the connected services pack at ₹300 per month or the Ather Charge pack (incl. unlimited fast charging in Ather Grid, connected services) at ₹400 per month.
What is included in the Battery Subscription and what is not?
In battery subscription (INR 99K + Subscription Plan), one purchases the scooter upfront without the battery. Buyers also pay for the battery’s performance as a subscription, which is what results in unlimited warranty. The battery subscription also includes data services, over-the-air updates, unlimited fast charging at Ather Grid. If a buyer opts for these plans, whenever the battery degrades to anything less than 80% of its original capacity, Ather will replace it with a new one. This works like regular warranty, but for the entire lifetime of the scooter. This plan is ideal if you want the scooter to provide consistently high performance throughout its life, without you ever worrying about degradation. Another feature of this subscription plan is that one can switch between Plus and Pro depending on usage needs. However, the same cannot be done if you buy the vehicle upfront. What’s not included in this cost though is periodic servicing and charging cost reimbursement.
What is the warranty on the battery if I buy outright?
3-years unlimited km on battery, 3-year product warranty
Do I have to pay the subscription amount forever?
No. Ather offers exit options if you want out at any point of time by paying an exit fee. This is similar to exiting from a standard loan mechanism, where, at the time of exit, you pay for the value of the battery depending on what month/year you are exiting. However, once you’ve exited, you will not have access to connected services, and public fast charging that was originally bundled into the plan. You will have to opt for these services separately through other add-on packs
What happens if I don’t pay the monthly subscription charge for 1-2 months?
The subscription works on a “pay-as-you-go” model. There will be a grace period (duration not defined yet), post which Ather reserves the right to disable the services provided a part of the subscription. In such a situation, usage will be remotely paused first and later the batteries will be taken back by the company. The scooter will remain with the owner though.
What if I go on a vacation and don’t use my scooter for a month or so?
Ather offers a snooze option that one can activate once a year for a month. During this time, you have to pay a fee of ₹500 instead of ₹1699 for Plus or ₹1999 for Pro.
What’s the battery guarantee under subscription?
Generally, the battery is replaced when it gets to 70 per cent capacity under warranty. But under subscription, it’ll be replaced as soon as it gets to 80 per cent.
What if I want to exit the subscription model?
Your payments every month will be considered as EMIs against the battery cost which is about INR 60,000. Some amount, roughly INR 5,000 will also be deducted for Ather services like Ather Grid, software updates, data etc. In effect, it’ll be treated as a loan foreclosure for the battery. If you have paid more than the battery cost, and your battery is still at 80 per cent you can pay the remainder and exit. Or you may also choose to continue with the subscription.
What is the cost of the battery?
Currently, about INR 60,000. However, according to Ather, it is expected to go down to about INR 40,000 in the next three years time
Can I Buy the Ather 450X for INR 99,000 and not opt for any of the subscription plans?
Nope. The amount of INR 99,000 is for the scooter without the battery.
If I purchase the Ather 450X upfront, what is the cost for battery replacement?
The standard battery warranty is for 3 years for unlimited kms. During this time, If the battery health dips below 70%, it’ll be replaced under warranty. If you wish to replace the battery after the warranty period, it can be purchased from Ather. The cost of the battery today is equivalent to the difference in the down payment amount between full purchase and battery subscription models.
How does the battery degrade? What is the rate of degradation over time and with heavy usage?
According to Ather, there are two components to battery degradation – 1) calendar ageing, 2) distance or the number of charging cycles. They estimate that the degradation might be about 20% in over 3 years due to calendar ageing and 2% over that for every 10,000 km of distance covered.
In which cities will the Ather 450X be delivered in 2020?
Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Pune are the first set of cities where Ather 450X deliveries will commence in 2020. Deliveries in Kochi, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad and Kolkata will commence after scooters are delivered in the first set of cities