Tarun Mehta, Co-founder & CEO of Ather Energy, has revealed that Ather electric scooter owners in India have ridden 15 million km cumulatively. That’s equivalent of saving 750 tons in CO2 emissions and 3 lakh litres of petrol. It was in September 2018 when first customers received their Ather electric scooters.
Ather Energy began its journey with the Ather 340 and Ather 450, but now it has the Ather 450 Plus and Ather 450X in their place. From one location initially – Bengaluru – the company has started expanding its presence, with the second place being Chennai. It will rapidly increase its footprint by March 2021 to have a presence in 11 cities across the country. A new manufacturing plant is coming up in Tamil Nadu to scale up the annual production from thousands to lakhs of units and support the expansion drive.
For the FY19-20, the Indian EV industry saw a growth of 20 per cent in sales and most of it came from low-speed electric scooters. However, Ather will still not be swayed to manufacture low-cost vehicles.
Ravneet Phokela, Chief Business Officer at Ather Energy, interacted with Express Drives in April this year, where he said that Ather will continue to offer well-designed and high-quality products for customers and has no plans to enter the low-speed electric scooter segment (top speed limited to 25 km/h). He said that customers are choosing low-speed scooters because of the lack of choice and expects a transition in the market towards the high-speed and more efficient models in the immediate future.
In FY 2019-20, a total of 156,000 units of electric vehicles were sold, posting a 20% growth over 130,000 units sold in FY 2018-19. Of the 156,000 units, electric two-wheelers accounted for 150,000 units, while cars and buses contributed with 3,400 and 600 units respectively. The total number of EVs sold didn’t include three-wheelers as there are no organized reports for the segment, though Mahindra Electric has made inroads with the Treo and the e-Alfa in 2019, with sales reaching up to 1,500 electric three-wheelers a month.
Phokela believes the numbers have barely scratched the surface and that they don’t reflect the massive potential of growth for electric vehicles, especially the electric two-wheelers. While the demand exists, the market needs more products as the alternative for ICE vehicles, and the price of the high-speed electric two-wheelers are expected to come down further in the following years due to the reducing cost of batteries, which should make its case stronger.
The current players of the low-speed electric scooter segment include Hero Electric, Ampere, Okinawa who rely heavily on international vendors for their design and technology. The high-speed electric scooter segment is seeing lots of action in 2020 with main OEMs like Bajaj and TVS entering the segment, with Chetak and iQube respectively.