Ather Energy, the Bangalore-based EV startup which currently makes the Ather 450 electric scooter, plans to increases its production capability by almost 12 times by setting up a new factory. With better facilities, the cost of production would be cut down as well. The EV brand also aims to introduce new products to its narrow portfolio including an electric motorcycle.
Ather Energy is financially backed by Hero MotoCorp. The brand still operates predominantly in the city of Bangalore. Chennai became its second market earlier this year. Now, Ather Energy has decided to expand its market to at least 30-35 cities in the coming years (around 10 new cities in 2020 alone). Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad are definitely at the top of the list.
Currently, Ather Energy sells only the Ather 450 electric scooter which is priced at Rs 1.15 lakh ex-showroom. The brand’s very first product was the lesser Ather 340, but that was shelved for good due to poor demand compared to its more premium sibling.
Ravneet Phokela, Chief Business Officer at Ather Energy has confirmed that the company is working on yet another scooter range before moving into making motorcycles. While the scooters could be introduced within the next 12-18 months, the Ather motorcycle is at least a few years away (3-4 years). He also added that the new scooter range will be cheaper than the Ather 450, but “certainly not a Rs 50,000 product”. It will have a range of almost 75km on a full charge.
This new Ather electric scooter will also be cheaper than the upcoming Bajaj Chetak electric scooter. Bajaj will launch their new Chetak e-scooter in Jan 2020, at an expected price of about Rs 1.2 lakhs. The new cheaper Ather electric scooter is also expected to launch next year.
One of the highlights of Ather Energy is that, unlike the conventional, the brand does not have dealerships. Instead, they have their own 3,000 square-feet ‘experience centres’; one in each target city. The company currently has a manufacturing capacity of around 35,000-40,000 units, annually.
With the upcoming Greenfield facility, this figure will rise to around 500,000 and indirectly cut costs. The new factory is expected to be fully functional by September 2020 and will also be Ather Energy’s main battery-manufacturing hub. Once the Greenfield factory opens, the existing facility will be transformed into an R&D centre.
A good EV portfolio requires an efficient charging ecosystem. At present, Ather Energy has 35 chargers in 29 locations (11 in Chennai) while also having the convenience of home-charging. However, the goal is to provide a charging station within a distance of 2km from a consumer’s residence. In the case of Bangalore, this is almost a reality.
Ather Energy is one of the best EV brands operating in the country. Like how Tesla redefined the electric-car market, Ather Energy proved that non-ICE scooters can be good-looking, fun-to-ride and technology-rich. With the new factory, the company aims to set a new benchmark in India’s rapid push towards electric mobility.