A recent report from cnbctv18.com said that Hero MotoCorp is considering a majority stake in Ather Energy, the EV company in which it already has 34.6%. In response, Ather Energy co-founder and CEO Tarun Mehta has denied the claims of this report.
The report talked about Hero MotoCorp mulling not only increasing its stake in Ather Energy considerably but also the possibility of selling Ather Energy’s electric two-wheelers at Hero dealerships nationwide. Mehta indicated that there’s no truth to this report with a simple “Nope” on Twitter:
In July this year, Ather Energy announced that it has raised INR 84 crores from Hero MotoCorp. Hero MotoCorp’s association with the Bengaluru-based company dates back to 2016, the year when it first invested as a part of Series B.
In other news, Ather Energy is looking to commence export of its electric scooters to at least two new overseas markets before March 2021 in limited volumes. This development was confirmed by Ather Energy’s Chief Business Officer, Ravneet Phokela, in an interview on AutocarPro.in, where he said that Ather is already engaged in talks with several key markets in South East Asia and was about to start pilot programs before the COVID-19 crisis halted the proceedings.
South-East Asia has a good market for electric scooters and Ather was in the advanced stage of discussions for entry in this region. He said that the Bangalore-based EV start-up observed good interest coming from Europe, especially from London and Rome, which can absorb the kind of pricing of that of Ather scooters. There were also talks held with markets in Latin America, where the price and product acceptability for electric scooters is between South East Asia and Europe.
Speaking about the production volumes in upcoming Hosur plant, Phokela said that while the plant has the capacity to be scaled up to 500,000 units, Ather would be looking to set up a local assembly plant in the particular export markets to sell the scooters directly. He opined that it is not tough to assemble electric two-wheelers as they have significantly lesser parts.
Elaborating on Ather’s plans in the post-lockdown scenario, Phokela said that Ather would concentrate on the 450X rollout followed by expansion into eight new cities – Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbatore, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. Ather is also working on transitioning the business model of the company-owned retail to a dealership model and innovative ownership models like battery subscription, which solves the high upfront acquisition cost.
Ather rolls out a new OTA upgrade with Dark Theme
On 18 June 2020, Ather Energy rolled out its seventh OTA upgrade for the Ather 450, which includes a ‘Dark Theme’ for the digital dashboard. The Dark Theme was a highly requested feature on Ather’s Forum and with the new update, riders can choose between Light and Dark Themes from the Settings menu. There’s also an Auto function for the themes, which will activate the Dark Theme from 6 pm to 6 am and switch to Light Theme in daylight conditions. The company claimed that the Dark Theme reduces the amount of light on the screen and reduces eye strain for a more comfortable, distraction-free journey at night.
The update also has the ‘Save previous riding mode’ feature that automatically keeps the last used riding mode on the dashboard and doesn’t need to be activated manually. The UI has also been enhanced for a more seamless experience with a more snappy on-screen keyboard, the company said.