With increasing competition and subsidy exhausted in several states, OEMs are betting on new, affordable variants to boost sales
Premium electric scooters like Ather 450X have been registering robust sales since launch. The combo of central and stage level subsidies has worked to make these electric scooters a viable option in comparison to the standard ICE-based scooters.
However, electric two-wheeler sales appear to be plateauing. MoM growth was negative in April 2023. Moreover, OEMs like Ola and Hero MotoCorp have launched more affordable variants to boost sales. There’s also the threat from upcoming electric two-wheelers such as Simple One, Honda electric scooter and Gogoro. In view of these factors, Ather appears to be right in its decision to launch a new, affordable variant.
Ather new 450S base variant – Where will be cost cutting?
With affordability taking prominence, upcoming Ather 450S variant is likely to miss out on several of the advanced features available with existing 450X Pro Pack variant. But that shouldn’t be a constraint for folks with limited budget. Quite a few features are not even necessary such as the full colour 7-inch TFT touchscreen display. Ather has already replaced the colour screen with a grey scale unit onboard the standard 450X.
Similarly, there could be other features that could be axed. Features like 4G connectivity, music and calls access, guide-me-home light, hill assist and park assist may be desirable. However, they cannot be described as a necessity. These features have already been removed from standard 450X variant. The upcoming 450S variant could do away with more features to achieve an affordable price point.
In addition to the missing features and tech, the new Ather 450S base variant is likely to get a tubular frame, instead of the aluminium space frame of the current 450X. It will also get a smaller battery pack along with a less powerful motor. This will help Ather price their new 450S base variant aggressively.
Ather 450S – expected price
As compared to electric two-wheelers like Ather, the bestselling ICE scooters like Honda Activa are relatively cheaper. Activa starts at Rs 75,347 (ex-sh., Delhi), as compared to Rs 98,079 of Ather 450X base variant. It is apparent that people with limited budget will have preference for the Activa. This is why OEMs need to come up with more affordable variants, whose pricing can be at par with bestselling ICE scooters.
Along with removing unnecessary features, OEMs can also think about using lower capacity battery packs. It will lower the range, but the price benefit will be perceived as favourable by most buyers. Moreover, charging infrastructure is improving rapidly in the country. When users know there’s a charging station in the neighbourhood, they would worry less about range and getting stranded.
Upcoming Ather 450S variant could be priced below Rs 1.5 lakh. Existing 450X and 450X Pro Pack variants are priced at Rs 1,71,879. Central subsidy available for Ather under FAME II is Rs 55,500, whereas state subsidy applicable on Ather scooters in Delhi is Rs 18,300. Assuming Ather new 450S variant is priced at Rs 1.50 lakh, it could be available at an effective ex-showroom price of approximately Rs 76,000 in Delhi. That’s almost close to that of Activa. Other charges like insurance, road tax and registration will be applicable.