Ather Energy recently released the seventh OTA update for its ‘benchmark’ electric scooters
Alongside expanding operations to major Indian cities, Ather Energy is looking forward to exploring international markets for new business opportunities. The plan is to target at least two new international markets by March 2021. Export operations could have begun by now if it wasn’t for the initial COVID-19 situation. As restrictions have been eased at the moment, Ather Energy can concentrate on its export strategies.
According to Ravneet Phokela, Chief Business Officer of Ather Energy, the company already has the ‘exports blueprint’ ready for various prominent markets in South East Asia. The likely approach would be to start with pilot projects and gradually scale the production based on demand. South East Asia will be one of the first targets as the region has significant demand for electric scooters.
The choice of overseas markets is also based on price acceptability among the target audience. In that context, European cities such as London and Rome come across as favourable markets for electric scooters. Ather Energy would be exploring Latin American countries as well, where price acceptability and demand for electric scooters is somewhere between that of South East Asia and Europe.
The option to export its electric scooters as CKDs is unlikely as the move could increase costs due to import duty and taxes. Ather’s ‘450’ range of electric scooters come at a starting price of Rs 1.49 lakh. Any further price hike might impact sale volumes. Vehicle assembly at overseas locations should not pose any significant challenges as electric scooters have relatively fewer parts in comparison to regular petrol-CVT scooters.
To meet the rising demand for its electric scooters, Ather Energy will be increasing production at its upcoming plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. The total capacity of the plant is around 50,000 units per year. This should be enough to ensure consistent supply for both domestic and overseas markets. At present, Ather Energy has two products: 450 Plus and 450X. Ex-showroom prices for the latter start at Rs 1.59 lakh.
For existing customers in India, the Bangalore-based company recently introduced a new OTA (Over The Air) update. One of the key additions is ‘Dark Theme’ for the digital instrument console. Aimed to avoid distraction at night, the update also features an option to automatically activate it from 6PM to 6AM. Other highlights of the OTA update include the option to save previous riding modes, improved UI elements and a more intuitive onscreen keyboard.