Electric Vehicle News
Ather Energy Pvt Ltd, the maker of the Ather 450 Plus and 450X electric scooters has raised $35 million (around ₹260 crore) in a Series D funding round. The Series D exercise comes after Ather Energy raised Rs 84 crore (around $11.21 million) from Hero MotoCorp in an extension of its Series C funding round in July.
Ather's electric scooters the 450X and the 450 Plus will soon be on sale in multiple Indian cities namely Pune, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kolkata.
Ather Energy will be moving to a new manufacturing facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu which can manufacture 1 million vehicles per year. Ather Energy will use the money it has raised to accelerate its expansion plans and speed up deliveries of the Ather 450X. Apart from Hero Electric and Sachin Bansal, other investors in Ather include - Tiger Global Management, InnoVen Capital, Binny Bansal and other angel investors.
Ather recently unveiled its collector’s edition vehicle Series 1, which has transparent panels. Early owners of the 450X will be eligible to purchase the Series 1 model.
In the past 6 months, Ather Energy has added multiple new financing plans - a one of its kind Assured Buyback option for the Ather 450X & Ather 450 Plus, new lease and loan programs and a two wheeler exchange plan. Ather Energy will begin deliveries of their smart electric scooters across India this Diwali.
Co-founder and chief executive officer of Ather Mr Tarun Mehta said
"Electric vehicles are here to stay and Ather Energy is playing a leading role in driving this change. Sachin has been part of our growth journey and this investment is a strong endorsement of the momentum we’ve built over these years. Post the successful launch of our new product line, we are now looking forward to delivering the vehicles and seeing them across all cities. The pandemic has changed the landscape of personal transport and we hope that with high performance alternatives available people will choose electric vehicles for their daily commute."
Quote by Sachin Bansal
“Ather Energy has set a new benchmark for intelligent electric bikes in the Indian automobile industry. Their new product line and expansion plans across the country will make EVs a part of the Indian landscape. Having been a part of the team since 2014, it's great to see their vision taking shape.”
We can say that the success of the Ather 450X and 450 Plus electric scooters are super critical for Ather. Investment is happening at a large scale. For example, the Ather Energy signed a MoU with Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a 4,00,000 sq ft manufacturing plant for electrical vehicles in Hosur, TN. The invested amount is a whopping ₹635 crore.
The Hosur facility will be designed to produce 100,000 units annually, and is scalable to half a million units.
By April 2021, Ather should be operational in 11 cities pan India and we estimate they should be hitting production capacity of 4000-5000 units per month (if they do well) as demand should be consistent from all the 11 cities as there is lot of pent up excitement from EV fans and EV community. But once the next financial year starts, Ather should shift gears and target the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) scooter crowd. That is going to be the real challenge for Ather. How to get millions of ICE scooter riders to think about ditching their oil habit and opting for electric scooters. Maybe that is when they need to think differently - maybe they might to launch cheaper models or invest in more advertising etc.
The problem is there are around 5 million scooters are sold annually, most of these cost less than than ₹75,000. The Ather 450X costs around 1,50,000. At this price point, there is no substantial data point or market research, so all forecasting could be guesstimation.
When we spoke to Tarun Mehta at the Pune open house this February, he said he would be happy when they complete 30,000 units per annum. The numbers they manage in FY21-22 will be crucial for the future of Ather.
We wish Ather the best and they need to keep pushing our ICE two wheeler manufacturers to launch even better electric two wheelers. That is how important Ather is, for the entire Indian EV industry as a whole.
Other Related Links
We attended the Ather 450X open house