The electric revolution in India is gaining pace gradually in the automobile industry. Ather Energy, one of the flag-bearers of the segment, has fueled the fire even more by announcing a fresh investment by Hero MotoCorp, as an extension of its Series C round that was led by Sachin Bansal. Hero MotoCorp has been a part of Ather’s growth story since 2016, when they first invested as a part of Series B. This round is a reinstatement of confidence by existing investors in Ather’s potential and success.
Ather is now entering an aggressive expansion phase on the back of its flagship product, the Ather 450X, and looking to scale to 20 cities by the end of 2021. The Ather 450X has piqued the interest of automobile and tech enthusiasts alike, and will soon be available in cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai, with deliveries beginning in October 2020.
To meet the projected demand in the coming years, Ather is opening a new manufacturing facility in Hosur, which is designed to produce 100,000 units annually, and is scalable to half a million units. Ather Energy will also set up Ather Grid fast charging points across the country over the next 5 years, making public charging easy and accessible to all electric vehicle owners.
In the past few weeks, Ather has been working on a slew of financing and ownership models, making electric vehicles more accessible for consumers everywhere. It introduced India’s first personal lease program for scooters, with monthly payments as low as INR 2589, which makes the intelligent electric scooter accessible to the Indian two-wheeler market. It has also been a pioneer in the post-sales experience innovation with subscription plans, Ather One, a one-stop daily usage solution that includes doorstep pick up and service, 24X7 roadside assistance, free charging at home and in public etc.
A unique aspect of the product line is the ability to add new features and functionality through over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Ather has been rolling out OTA updates since September 2018, adding features like a dark theme, new ride modes, guide-me-home light, making them one of the fastest iteration cycles in the country.
Commenting on the occasion, Tarun Mehta, Co-founder & CEO, Ather Energy, said, “We are in a high growth phase of our journey, and while the last few months have been challenging, we have not altered our expansion plans. Our geographic expansion and the roll-out schedule for the Ather 450X are on track, and we will be using these funds to invest in our facilities to meet the demand we have seen for the Ather 450X across the country. ”
Commenting on the investment, Rajat Bhargava, Head of Emerging Mobility Business Unit (EMBU), Global Business & Strategy, Hero MotoCorp, said “We are excited to see the growth of Ather Energy in the recent years. We see immense potential for them to expand their market even further, especially given the likely growth of electric vehicles (EV) in the near future. In addition to our efforts of developing a robust external eco-system for EVs, we are also aggressively working on our internal EV program. Our aim is to provide accessible electric mobility to customers across the globe. Sustainability and a clean, green environment remain central to our vision to be the future of mobility.”