PHOTO CAPTION: Ather S340 electric scooter learns how you ride.

Ather S340: One Smart E-Scooter

Indian startup Ather Energy took three years to develop its newly revealed S340 electric motor scooter, but it's its brains and not just its beauty that sets it apart.

Published: 25-Feb-2016

The streets of urban India, population 1.25 billion and climbing, are congested, noisy and polluted by diesel and gasoline engine exhausts. And while electric cars would improve the local air pollution problem, they would do little for the country's traffic gridlock.

Instead of aspiring to automobile ownership, most Indians would be delighted to own a two-wheeler where bikes and cycles outnumber cars ten-to-one, according to Indian government figures.

That why a pair of ITT Madras graduates set out three years ago to design, engineer and build a electric scooter by Indians for Indians. They unveiled the result this week at 'Surge' in Bengaluru yesterday. While it bears resemblance to any number of Chinese-made scooters, it's its "brain" that sets the Ather S340 apart. As explained by the website YourStory.com, the S340...

"...is a connected vehicle powered by a lithium-Ion battery pack, and features a digital touchscreen dashboard, a light-weight aluminium chassis, and can reach speeds of 72 kmph. The smart dashboard in the vehicle will enable users to create personalized profiles, choose riding modes and set other ride preferences. The vehicle charges up to 80 per cent in less than an hour. Its touchscreen dashboard contains a Vehicle Control Unit (diagnostic system) that constantly monitors the rider’s behavior, a (24/7 connected) GPS, and an indicator showing how much distance can be travelled on the remaining charge. The personalized profile feature will allow users to create their profile comprising all the basic information.

"The inbuilt navigation... works very differently from the plain vanilla mapping that is available in other vehicles. The map uses data to not only predict the time taken to reach a destination but will also analyse the road conditions. They will also add data on charging points on the route and time taken to reach a destination based on driving patterns and use.

The S340 designation reflects the fact the bike is equipped with a 3kW electric motor and a 40 Amp hour lithium-ion battery pack, likely giving it a range of around 60km, its estimated. Its calculated the battery pack will have a life cycle of 50,000 kms and a life span of 5-6 years.

The S340 will be sold online and through 'experience centers' similar in concept to Tesla's sales and distribution model with door-step delivery. Pricing is thought to be under 40,000 rupees or under US$600. The official launch video from Surge 2016 is available on the company website.

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