So we are at the Surge 2016 event folks and as promised, we are bringing you a direct coverage of all the happenings around the gathering of some of the most disruptive technologies and startups, straight from the event itself. The venue just saw Ather demonstrate it’s electric scooter, the S340 and we really like what we have seen of it so far.
The event kicked off in a heavily packed Hall with Co-Founder and CEO Tarun Mehta, laying out his reasons for choosing electrical scooters as ‘the’ niche to work in.
We got introduced to a lot of people using electrical vehicles and they were big evangelists.
However, they did not have an option that could meet up their expectations and provide an equal, if not enhanced experience, as compared to your regular petrol and diesel bikes and scooters.
Increasing pollution, the make in India initiative, economic viability and consumer adoption to the point where the price tag isn’t the only — or even the major — deciding factor were some other reasons that made Ather realize that after 3 years of work, the time was ripe for a full unveiling, adds Tarun.
Well, things are about to change, if Ather has anything to say about the matter. Realizing that any new technology can become mainstream only if it is actually better than the alternatives — and not because it causes less pollution — the folks at Ather have designed the S340, India’s First Smart Scooter.
Powered by a Lithium-ion battery that the company promises, will take you at least 50,000 kilometers and charges upto 80% in under an hour, the Scooter is also unique in that every major component going into it has been crafted with an eye upon the total picture. The Scooter has a hybrid aluminium Chassis that not only makes for a vehicle that is almost 20% lighter than contemporaries, but also offers almost 50% more storage space.
The 49:51 front to rear weight ratio also means that the Scooter has a sporty stance along with good ergonomics. The Scooter has a top speed of 72 kmph and can go upto 60 Kms on a single charge.
These are the relatively mundane details however, and pale in comparison to what Tarun calls the Mind of the Scooty. The S340 comes with a capacitative touchscreen — you can use it with gloves on — that helps customize the consumer experience and allows predictive analysis with real time updates from the vehicle.
Not only does the S340 allow you to personalize your ride with various modes like sport and economy, the dashboard stays connected to the cloud through an embedded GSM sim card. From there, you have a complex process of data analysis with the result that anytime one or more parts of your device malfunction/are about to malfunction, the dashboard will let you know along with how far you can go in the present condition of your vehicle.
Also — and I loved this — the dashboard has an on-board navigation system that lets you drive without needing to keep looking to your smartphone for directions.
Another pretty handy feature is predictive maintenance. The S340 will let you know whenever it needs servicing, so no worries! Also, Ather will not be working with independent vendors for sale and maintenance, but will rely upon relationship managers and of course, the S340’s inbuilt systems, for service.
Also, since data from various components gets aggregated to the cloud, the scooter can tell you the quickest and most efficient ways and Ather is planning to deliver information about the most comfortable route and the nearest charging point, in the future.
Phew, if it was any smarter, it could probably write a poem.
The fact that the founders were all freshers without a fixed path to work along with a conviction that the next big evolution was in electrical and smart vehicles gave them the ability to leapfrog their way to the perfect electrical vehicle, says Tarun.
As for manufacturing and rollout, Ather is in the process of setting up a manufacturing unit in Bangalore itself with expected roll out of production, by the year end. Pre-orders for the S340 meanwhile, will open in the next quarter for Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. The rest of the country will have to wait a bit longer as Ather may be looking to gauge response before wading into mass production.[huge_it_gallery id=”29″]