Ather 450 Apex review: Peak Ather

    A special edition that pushes the 450 to the max and highlights future technologies to expect from Ather.

    Published on Jan 06, 2024 12:20:00 PM


    Make : Ather
    Model : 450 Apex
    We Like
    • Funky looks, extra performance
    • 'Magic Twist' regen works well
    We Don't Like
    • Cramped for larger riders
    • Expensive

    The new 450 Apex, in co-founder Tarun Mehta’s own words, is not really commercially targeted, but more of a passion project. This scooter, effectively, is a celebration of Ather’s ten years of existence and it comes just before the company’s all-new (and all-important) family scooter debuts this year. Ather has continuously updated and refined the 450 over the last five years, and they say that the Apex marks the ceiling on how far the current platform can be pushed within safe thermodynamic limits.

    Ather 450 Apex performance

    To that point, power is up by about ten percent, now at 7kW, and the 450 can finally hit a top speed of 100kph. Acceleration is stronger as well and the scooter gets a new Warp+ mode that replaces the regular 450X’s Warp mode. The Ather was already extremely quick off the line, but the company says that the 0-40kph run now takes just 2.9 seconds instead of 3.3 seconds.

    We got to ride the scooter on a go-kart track and briefly on the public road as well. Warp+ mode is great fun with genuinely strong acceleration and very quick response, but it still has a beautifully smooth and precise accelerator feel. Warp+ has also resulted in a quicker 40-80kph performance. 

    Riding it at the track showed that of all the two-wheeler EVs out there, Ather’s product continues to feel the most dialled-in and well-engineered, although with this extra performance, you will notice a mild de-rating in performance after riding flat-out for more than a few minutes. It’s nowhere close to as abrupt or excessive as some rivals, but it’s more noticeable than the existing 450.

    Ather 450 Apex exclusive features

    Warp+ mode also comes with a fun redesign of the TFT display UI that creates that ‘warp speed’ look. However, the bigger deal with the Ather 450 Apex was something called Magic Twist, and this is a feature that will filter down to the company’s future line-up.

    Essentially, this is a regen function where you can twist the accelerator backwards and the scooter progressively slows right down to a halt. Some electric two-wheelers in India already offer regen to varying degrees, but none have managed it to this extent of strength and effectiveness.

    Ather tells us that it is notoriously difficult to offer a consistent regen experience because it varies dramatically based on various factors, including battery SOC and vehicle speed. Cars get around this by using e-brakes to mask the inconsistencies of traditional regen and offer a ‘one-pedal driving’ experience, but that’s not an option on a
    budget e-scooter. 

    Ather 450 Apex regenerative braking

    Achieving this took some extensive software engineering as well as a few hardware mods within the motor, but the work is worth it. It takes a little getting used to, but it really reduces the effort of in-city riding. The backwards accelerator action has 15 degrees of rotation, which gives you a good amount of fine-tuned control over the regen and soon enough, you’ll be riding without needing to use the brakes in most normal slowing-down scenarios. 

    In fact, you’ll get so used to it that it’s probably a good idea to leave your left hand hovering above the brake lever – I suspect that your reaction time to grab the brakes in an emergency will be dulled by this feature. I found that it worked really well below 50kph and Ather says that this system will cover up to 75 percent of braking scenarios. 

    You will still need to use the physical brake if you’re riding aggressively, or if you need to make sudden, less expected braking manoeuvres. Ather says that they’re working towards having this system completely remove the need to use regular brakes and they hope to achieve that in about two years’ time. Expect to see this trickle down to other products.

    Ather 450 Apex design, colour

    Visually, the Apex is distinguished by its unique Indium Blue paint (there’s an interesting story behind this colour that Google will share) in satin finish. This  is offset by a lurid orange on the wheels and chassis. Ather has also created a transparent side panel that shows off the orange aluminium chassis within.

    The rest of the bodywork is the same as the standard 450X, although the Apex gets a fully enclosed belt drive – something that will be on the rest of the range soon. However, existing scooters are unlikely to be compatible with any of the features on the Apex, including the belt cover which uses different mounting points on the swingarm. 

    Ather 450 Apex battery, range

    Mechanically, the scooter is pretty much unchanged as well, including the 3.7kWh battery pack. However, thanks to the improved regen, the claimed range is up by a small amount, now 157km (certified) from the earlier 150km.

    Ather 450 Apex verdict

    The Apex is priced at Rs 1.89 lakh, ex-showroom, which means that the on-road cost will be around Rs 30,000-40,000 more than the top 450X (optioned with the Pro Pack that comes standard on the Apex), depending on the state-level subsidies available. Production will be limited as per demand and Ather plans to manufacture the Apex up to October 2024, at which point they will move into their 11th year of existence. Customers will also get a colour-matched helmet as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system.

    Value is certainly not a talking point here, but the Apex will appeal to those who crave exclusivity as well as those who would like to own what is surely going to be the highest level the current Ather 450 will ever reach.

    Also See:
    Tech Specs

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