Ather Energy, the start-up that built India’s first smart electric scooter, has started taking pre-orders for the Ather 340 and its more powerful variant, the Ather 450. The scooters will initially be available for delivery in Bengaluru only. It will start delivery from August, this year. Ather will launch in Chennai by the end of this year, with Pune on the cards for 2019.
The price of the 240 is a little over Rs 1 lakh, while the Ather 450 cost around Rs 1.25 lakh.
Five years ago two graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, set up Ather Energy and planned to start delivery by 2016. They raised over Rs 80 crore from investors such as Tiger Global and the founders of Flipkart. The infusion of Rs 205 crore from Hero MotorCorp, India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, in October 2016, that put Ather back on track.
The journey of India’s electric vehicles industry has gone through policy flip-flops and inadequate infrastructure for years, even as the Indian government has set an ambitious goal of making all new cars sold from 2030 electric. India’s charging infrastructure stands in the way of the widespread adoption of EVs, while also restricting production. There are around 350 EV charging stations for half-a-million vehicles.
In April, the government removed one road block, by clarifying that companies could set up EV charging stations without requiring a licence to sell electricity, a rule that slowed the spread of charging points.
Ather has a plant in the Whitefield neighbourhood of Bengaluru and can produce 600 scooters a week.