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Old 24th February 2016, 01:19   #1
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Post Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

It is not often that you walk into a product launch and see a shocking amount of sincerity, and witness genuine effort to make the world a better place. Yes, it was a promotion, a routine marketing activity. But the event simply lacked the usual snake oil stuff. For once, I didn’t have to roll my eyes, not even once.

The protagonists were Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, both Engineering Design graduates from the 2012 batch of IIT Madras. They are ably supported by Arun Vinayak and Ravneet Singh Phokela. Their creation is an electric scooter designed from scratch. That means no baggage from the petrol driven ancestors. These guys rethought everything from the point of making a truly new product.

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231527.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231516.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Press release
Ather Energy was founded in 2013 and has received funding from Tiger Global and Flipkart founders Sachin & Binny Bansal. Aided by a breakthrough in the in-house designed Lithium-ion battery pack design, the team is gearing up for production of the S340, by the end of the year. The Ather S340 has a touchscreen dashboard connected to the cloud, host of smart features and offers a top speed of 72 kmph. The scooter is designed in-house by Ather and will be manufactured in India.
The most riveting statement made by Tarun Mehta during his opening talk was this: He doesn’t want customers to buy this product because of an altruistic urge of buying an environmentally-friendly scooter. He wants them to buy it because it is simply a better scooter than the rest.

This product appears to be designed by engineers, and not marketing folks. It's apparent because they have not held anything back. It takes an engineer to unleash all that is possible, and not handicap the product in the name of target segment, supply/demand curves, budget, profit maximization etc.

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231536.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231539.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231543.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231547.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-p2231551.jpg

What does S340 stand for?

S stands for scooter series
3 is the kW motor
40 is the amp-hour battery pack

• Manufacturing unit set up in Bangalore. Roll-out by the end of this year.

• Lithium Ion battery pack, top speed of 72 kmph and a range upto 60 kms.

• The vehicle achieves an 80% charge in 50 minutes in fast charging mode. Can also be charged from any 5A normal socket in normal mode.

• Every sub-system including the battery pack has been designed in-house.

• IP67-rated battery pack with a life of 50,000 kms.

• The S340 will have a touchscreen dashboard with 24x7 connectivity based on a Linux Operating System. The dashboard offers a multitude of features including onboard navigation and mobile syncing ability. It even gets Over The Air (OTA) updates like your smartphone.

• Features like user profile based sign in and pre-configured drive modes like sport and economy. Its integration with the S340 Mobile App keeps the rider connected with the vehicle, to configure ride and profile preferences and sync navigation routes remotely.

• The S340 continuously sends data about driving dynamics and routes taken to the Ather cloud. Ather will continuously analyse this data to understand the conditions under which their vehicles are ridden, the route preferences, traffic conditions etc., so that they can advice riders. Predictive analytics and aggregation of ride statistics enable customised recommendations.

• The S340 continuously monitors every component and can advice the rider to make a service appointment. It can even make predictions like "replacement or attention required in another 1000 kms".

• Ather doesn't plan on having a network of service stations. Instead, they will come home to fix or service the S340 when the customer makes an appointment.

• Experience centres will be set up. Ather Energy will build an online-only purchase model with doorstep delivery and service. Pre-ordering will be open in the cities of Bangalore, Chennai and Pune in the next quarter.

• The company also aims at setting up a public charging infrastructure in every city it will operate in, partnering with government and private enterprises.

Challenges:

• Brand & reputation - Ather Energy is unknown. Will the buying public place their trust in a small new company?

• Pricing

• Reliability

• After-sales service

Some Interesting Points:

• The S340 is a zero emission scooter. So you don't have to produce a PUC certificate. But it's not a zero carbon footprint vehicle. The electricity has to come from somewhere, often by thermal power plants burning coal. However, this need not be in the hands of Ather Energy. If the customer has a Solar Generator, then he can run the S340 with 'zero carbon footprint'. Even if the customer is charging the S340 using coal based power, the carbon footprint is supposed to be 30 - 40% that of a petrol scooter.

• The CEO Tarun Mehta claimed that EVs are the future, and most 2-wheelers on road by 2025 will be EVs. However, there is another technology that can be a threat to EVs - the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) powered by hydrogen. Right now, generating hydrogen is expensive and therefore FCVs aren't practical. But a breakthrough in hydrogen generation can completely change the equation. Click here to know more about FCVs.

Last edited by GTO : 24th February 2016 at 11:18.
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Old 24th February 2016, 01:23   #2
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Default re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Since the launch happened in a closed off conference room, we couldn't shoot good photographs of the S340 scooter. However, we were supplied with some stock photos of the same.

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-06-ather_s340_-ftq_2.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-07-ather_s340_ftq_1.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-08-ather_s340_left.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-09-ather_s340_rtq_2.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-10-ather_s340_rtq_1.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-11-ather_s340_right.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-12-ather_s340_dashboard.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-13-ather_s340_front.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-14-ather_s340_led-lights.jpg

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-15-ather_s340_rear-led-lights.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 24th February 2016 at 11:18.
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Old 24th February 2016, 11:19   #3
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 2-Wheeler Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th February 2016, 11:48   #4
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Ah I am completely blown!.The vehicle looks clean and understated. If the pricing is good,I am going to book one for my mother. It makes the perfect city commuter -pollution free,zippy,efficient & loaded with technology (compared to regular ones).
One question - what if the claimed battery life of 50,000 kms is over? Can we just swap with a new battery pack? Will it cost a bomb to do so?
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Old 24th February 2016, 11:51   #5
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
It is not often that you walk into a product launch and see a shocking amount of sincerity, and witness genuine effort to make the world a better place. Yes, it was a promotion, a routine marketing activity. But the event simply lacked the usual snake oil stuff. For once, I didnít have to roll my eyes, not even once.

Their creation is an electric scooter designed from scratch. That means no baggage from the petrol driven ancestors. These guys rethought everything from the point of making a truly new product.

The most riveting statement made by Tarun Mehta during his opening talk was this: He doesnít want customers to buy this product because of an altruistic urge of buying an environmentally-friendly scooter. He wants them to buy it because it is simply a better scooter than the rest.

This product appears to be designed by engineers, and not marketing folks. It's apparent because they have not held anything back. It takes an engineer to unleash all that is possible, and not handicap the product in the name of target segment, supply/demand curves, budget, profit maximization etc.
Pardon my ignorance - can you please explain (incase it was revealed during the event) what is so different as compared to the rest of the EVs available in the market?

There is a LCD screen for the instrument console and dual disc brakes. Not sure if dual bybre setup is required for a bike that does 60 kmph per house. Rest of it looks pretty conventional to my eyes.

The design looks very futuristic though, and neat and clean without graphics or logos or any sorts.
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Old 24th February 2016, 12:18   #6
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

The ultimate commuter. Fantastic design, if the engineering holds up we might have a new activa competitor. Why are there no weight specifications provided?
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Old 24th February 2016, 12:20   #7
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Quote:
Originally Posted by printh View Post
One question - what if the claimed battery life of 50,000 kms is over? Can we just swap with a new battery pack? Will it cost a bomb to do so?
Some of these questions are yet to be sorted out. They have not decided on the price either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Pardon my ignorance - can you please explain (incase it was revealed during the event) what is so different as compared to the rest of the EVs available in the market?
Please read the points listed out right after the image of the disc brakes in the first post. Even if some features look the same, design could be very different, and might affect the customer experience positively (or not).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel_convert View Post
Why are there no weight specifications provided?
The full specification is not available, and it may not be finalized for few more months.

More than anything, what impressed me most is the design approach they have taken. As I run a product development company myself, I could quickly visualize the S.W.O.T involved in that approach. They have taken up a huge challenge (and risk) in re-inventing everything from a new POV. I really don't know whether they will succeed or fail. If they pull it off, the success will be well deserved. They appear to have a done a great job in conceptualizing, designing & productizing. They have to do the same in marketing, manufacturing, quality control and customer support.

Last edited by Samurai : 24th February 2016 at 12:41.
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Old 24th February 2016, 12:40   #8
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Bang on, this scooter looks and feels very precisely designed. This scooter has a huge market if the company plays it's cards right.

Last edited by GTO : 25th February 2016 at 10:32. Reason: Typo
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Old 24th February 2016, 12:42   #9
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Default

Electric vehicles can really disrupt the existing dealer /service network interests.

Think of it like owning a bicycle with a motor. No major maintenance required. Routine maintenance can be DIY and by FNG ( like the cycle - wallahs) . Return of the 'under tree' mechanics

Just like the mobile phone /smartphone revolution made landlines redundant and built up a big economy around phones.

Incumbent two wheeler manufacturers cannot take this route as they are embedded with their dealer /service networks.

Only in case of accidents major repairs will be required. Which can be done by independent garages if they are trained in handling EV's.

But this scenario is at least 15 years away I think.
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Old 24th February 2016, 13:20   #10
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

If somehow it can go past the 100KM mark on one charge, it would be perfect office commuter for me. Really loving this scooter and hope it becomes a success.
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Old 24th February 2016, 13:50   #11
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

I am always for electric vehicles - provided they are priced right. But unlike what the founders say, people will buy electric vehicles only because they feel they might make a difference to the environment. What I am trying to say is that I really don't see anything else more advantageous over a conventional scooter.
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Old 24th February 2016, 14:33   #12
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Battery / EV's have a straight torque curve IIRC, hence the use of tiny ventilated disc brakes for front & back. Also, looks neat.
(Downside : Although they won't get VERY fast, but can dangerously cut thru lanes in heavy traffic.)

The review said that users can configure the ride quality based on the profile preferences, how so?

Fast charging (Battery tech) is the highlight & main purpose of this launch IMO.

In such concepts, the pitch is more important than even the pricing(!), hence I guess, the claim that they've made a practical machine (possibly hinting that the tech is up for adoption). If not adopted, they'll go all out, all by themselves. 'Maximum effort'.

It couldn't be very hard for them maybe, but since they probably wouldn't have economies of scale, repairs could get expensive for users.

Still, at max, if they want to keep it real, the price could be within the Lakh. Atleast a niche market can be served at this initial phase.
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Old 24th February 2016, 14:40   #13
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

I just did a back of the envelope calculation for torque. Worked it out to 20nm, assuming a 380mm wheel dia and 1000rpm for the 72kmph top speed.

Those are fantastic numbers if I am close, will be perfect for city usage.
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Old 24th February 2016, 14:50   #14
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Very good effort from engineers at Ather Energy. I have been glued to their blogs and updates since they got funding from flipkart guys. They have a great product at hand and public attention also now. They should not waste this opportunity and now they should increase their effort as they have caught the imagination of the people.
Looking at the naming convention they are using, I am predicting a commuter-naked-sports from them next(In the similar lines of Yamaha FZ). Fingers crossed.
As for the pricing, Times Of India Bangalore edition expects it to be near 1 lakh. This is not considering the FAME subsidies announced recently from the government.

Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter-capture.jpg
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Old 24th February 2016, 16:49   #15
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Default Re: Ather Energy unveils the S340 Electric Scooter

Looks good. If they are sincere in disrupting the current trend of petrol scooters and want to help the environment, they will price it right. i.e. on par with an equivalent 110 cc scooter like the Activa. Pricing it higher on the pretext of lower running cost etc. may not fly with the average Indian customer, especially when there is a lack of reputation.

Also, currently EVs are looked down as weaklings, with limited range. So they need to be very aggressive on the pricing to make inroads against these odds.
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