Ather Energy set to begin e-scooter exports to neighbouring countries

Equipped with ample capacity and a well-scaled, synchronised domestic operation, e-scooter maker now has the bandwidth to cater to demand from overseas markets such as Latin America, South East Asia and Europe.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 19 Sep 2023 Views icon6569 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Ather Energy set to begin e-scooter exports to neighbouring countries

After significant delays in its global expansion plans, which have been in the making since the past three years, Bengaluru-based electric two-wheeler startup Ather Energy is finally looking confident to begin exporting its zero-emission scooters from India. That confidence stems from its strong showing in the domestic market and plentiful manufacturing capacity. 

The company says that now that it established a good foothold in the Indian EV market, where it is currently the No. 3 player, and being equipped with ample manufacturing capacity of 420,000 units at the state-of-the-art plant Tamil Nadu, it has the bandwidth to cater to exports. Ather Energy is consistently witnessing strong buyer interest from overseas markets such as Latin America, South East Asia, and Europe. 

"For the longest time, we have been getting inbound demand from these strong markets, and we have actually been warding it off a bit for a while because the domestic opportunity has been so huge," Ravneet Singh Phokela, Chief Business Officer, Ather Energy, told Autocar Professional on the sidelines of the ACMA annual convention in New Delhi last week.

"With finite resources and energy, we prioritised the domestic market. But, our firefighting days in our domestic operations are now over, and today we have the bandwidth to look at international markets," added Phokela.

Ather Energy could commence exports shortly and, according to Phokela, "We might announce something on these lines very soon, and if things go as per plan, perhaps in the next couple of months itself." 

Ravneet Singh Phokela: "For us, it (exports) will not be a short-term volume game, we will build a brand for a long-term play."

PLUGGING INTO EXPORT MARKETS

While markets like Thailand in the South East Asia region are on its export radar, the company is likely to test the waters in neighbouring countries, which are similar to India in terms of the demographics, as well as usage patterns of scooters. 

"The idea is to dip our toes in a market which is not a huge departure from India. If we directly go to Europe, it is a very different market, not only from a consumer, but a product point of view as well. Homologation, for instance, is like a year-long exercise there," said Ather’s Chief Business Officer.

"We want to take baby steps and certainly will not hit an extreme market like Europe or North America, but start with some other markets," informed Phokela.

When queried as to whether Nepal and Bangladesh could be its initial destinations for made-in-India Ather Energy electric scooters, Phokela responded by saying "generally in the region", hinting at a strong possibility of the company commencing exports to these neighbouring countries first.

"Unlike many players (Chinese OEMs), we do not want to randomly show up in a new market, put multiple products in a showroom, and start selling. We want to launch as a brand, and that is always more difficult. For us, it will not be a short-term volume game, we will build a brand for a long-term play," pointed out Phokela.

While going international will not initially require much investment, the company says it will only need to raise more capital if it eventually wants to achieve its ambition of having a local assembly overseas. "It is silly to jump straight into an overseas assembly setup. We will first seed the market, understand it, and see the product market fit, and then, in the long run, consider assembling products locally, which is a much larger play," concluded Phokela.

ATHER THIRD BEST-SELLING E-TWO-WHEELER OEM IN INDIA

Electric two-wheeler sales have revived after the 56% MoM crash in June and a 11-month low of 45,734 units, following the slashing of the FAME II subsidy by 25 percent. At 62,455 units and month-on-month growth of 14.57% (July 2023: 54,508 units), August 2023 is ample proof that India EV Inc on two wheels is back in action.

Ather Energy is one of the 150 players in the market which sees the bulk of sales cornered by the Top 10, which accounted for 494,862 units in the January-August 2023 period or an overwhelming 90% of total sales. While Ola Electric and TVS Motor Co have sales in excess of 100,000 units, Ather is a strong third with 73,036 units, which gives it a 13% share of the Indian EV market. Ather Energy is among the EV OEMs making moves to enable easy finance to potential buyers. In July, the company announced 100% on-road financing for its e-two-wheelers, barely a month after it introduced a 60-month loan product, resulting in monthly EMIs as low as Rs 2,999, in collaboration with IDFC First Bank, HDFC Bank, Hero FinCorp, Bajaj Finance, Axis Bank, and Cholamandalam Finance.

ALSO READ: 
EV sales between January and September 15 surpass CY2022’s record-high 1.024 million units

Suzuki, TVS, Yamaha, Ather and Bajaj increase scooter market share in April-August 2023

 

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