Genesis | Ather Energy: Accelerating Indian EV Movement With Its Electric Scooters .

mashable.com

8 Views

Genesis | Ather Energy: Accelerating Indian EV Movement With Its Electric Scooters

        

Genesis by Mashable India is a series that talks about the origins of the most exceptional tech companies that are pushing the industry forward.


With a population of well over a billion people, India is a big consumer of vehicles. But there lies the problem: ALL of them run on fossil fuels. With over 20 crore vehicles, that’s a lot of pollution being put out in our skies. It’s high time we move to other sources to run our vehicles, for example, electric or hydrogen. While the latter is still just hitting the roads, electric vehicles have been taking off in other developed countries and are desired by many more.

Leading the Indian electric vehicle revolution, meet Indian-based Ather Energy.

As with every industry, making the first move, comes with its own risks. For a capital intensive industry like vehicle production, that risk can equate to crores of rupees. Braving all odds, Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, co-founded Ather Energy, with the objective of making a compelling electric scooter that could match the performance of an ICE (internal combustion engine) scooter.

The start was not easy. There were no real battery suppliers, nor any part makers for electric scooters. Partners ready to manufacture custom parts from scratch had to be found. There was another bigger, intangible hurdle that stood in front of them. There was a preconceived notion that electric scooters will not be able to match the performance or efficiency of an ICE scooter, there was ambiguity around servicing, and people also feared electrocution. Range anxiety also comes inherent with electric vehicles. In the initial stages, most of their efforts went towards making consumers understand the value and potential of intelligent, connected vehicles.

All their efforts bore fruit in September 2018, when the first batch of deliveries was made. After a small initial delay, they were able to hit all of their production targets. Not just that, they successfully also launched the AtherSpace, AtherGrid, vehicle servicing chain, charging infrastructure etc, thus forming the Ather ecosystem.

Ather 450

Ather Energy now offers two scooters, the Ather 340 and the Ather 450. The latter has a bigger capacity battery and a higher top speed. They have added features keeping the Indian market in mind, like batteries that work safely at higher temperatures, and a mainshock suspension on the rear for bad roads.

The response around these scooters has been tremendous. Consumers are not just getting a premium scooter that is green; they are buying into an ecosystem that makes everything hassle-free. They aim to offer an experience where the customer is not disconnected from the product. There are frequent server-side diagnostics and OTA updates so users can continue having a seamless user experience. There is a lot of transparency in the pricing structure as well, and that can also be customised based on what the customer wants to opt for.

They did not stop at making a great scooter but even went ahead to develop an entire network of fast chargers through Bangalore. One day, they promise that you will never be more than 4kms away from an Ather charging point. At these Ather Grids, you can top up to a juicy 80% in an hour. I’m glad to report that these charging stations are not locked down to Ather’s offerings, and can be used by any electric vehicle.

Ather is just getting started. Their next steps include becoming available in Chennai, with the charging network, and expand to 30 other cities over the next 5 years. They could not provide an estimate on when they will be entering Mumbai or the other metros, but my guess is that the upcoming cities will include some of these tier 1 cities.

Under the Indian Government’s new FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of hybrid and Electric vehicles), a budget of INR 10,000 cr has been allocated towards accelerating the growth of electric vehicles in India. Subsidies will also follow, bringing down the cost of all-electric vehicles being manufactured in India. For the parts that are being imported, there will be a reduction in import duties too.

Why Ather Energy makes it to Genesis

Ather is still a young company and has just started to scratch the surface of the Indian EV market. We are proud of them, for taking all the risks and challenges to make our country greener, while offering quality alternatives.

I will you with a load of inspirational positivity. In conversation with Tarun Mehta (CEO, Ather Energy), we asked him why was he optimistic about India as a market for electric vehicles.

India’s EV industry has progressively moved from hesitant to curious. With the Indian government’s push for electric vehicles, the vendor and supplier ecosystem has opened its capabilities to the manufacturing of electric vehicles locally. Measures taken by policy-makers to encourage OEMs participation in every point of the value chain and the relief on lithium-ion cells is reassuring. Consumers are becoming more aware about of the higher efficiency and performance delivery of electric scooters and are looking at them as a better alternative to traditional 2Ws. The technology is becoming more accessible and affordable, it’s an exciting time for the industry as a whole.

I personally am very bullish, not just for Ather, but for all the other upcoming EV companies in India. Right now is the most exciting time to be a prospective vehicle buyer in the country, with dozens of green models expected later this year. It’s not a fight between the various EV makers, but its a fight until death between gas-guzzlers and electric vehicles. It’s no longer a question, it’s just a wait.


With inputs from Tarun Mehta, CEO, Ather Energy