Bangalore-based electric scooter manufacturer Ather Energy has announced fresh investment by Hero MotoCorp, as an extension of its Series C round that was led by Sachin Bansal. Hero MotoCorp has been a part of Ather’s growth story since 2016, when it first invested as a part of Series B. The new investment clearly means the world's largest two-wheeler OEM has reposed its faith in the dynamic start-up.
This latest investment takes Hero MotoCorp's shareholding in the EV maker to 34.58 percent. Prior to the investment, Hero MotoCorp’s shareholding in Ather Energy was 31.27 percent. Hero MotoCorp has been a part of Ather’s journey since 2016, when they first invested as a part of Series B.
Commenting on the new investment, Tarun Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Ather Energy, said: “We are in a high growth phase of our journey. While the last few months have been challenging, we have not altered our expansion plans. Our geographic expansion and the rollout schedule for the Ather 450X are on track, and we will be using these funds to invest in our facilities to meet the demand we have seen for the Ather 450X across the country. ”
Rajat Bhargava, Head of Emerging Mobility Business Unit (EMBU), Global Business & Strategy, Hero MotoCorp, said: “We are excited to see the growth of Ather Energy in recent years. We see immense potential for them to expand their market even further, especially given the likely growth of electric vehicles (EV) in the near future. In addition to our efforts of developing a robust external eco-system for EVs, we are also aggressively working on our internal EV program. Our aim is to provide accessible electric mobility to customers across the globe. Sustainability and a clean, green environment remain central to our vision to be the future of mobility.”
Ather readies 450X rollout
Ather Energy is now entering an aggressive expansion phase on the back of its flagship product, the Ather 450X, and is looking to scale up to 20 cities by the end of 2021. The company says the Ather 450X will soon be available in cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai, with deliveries beginning in October 2020.
Meanwhile, to meet projected demand in the coming years, Ather is opening a new manufacturing facility in Hosur, which is designed to produce 100,000 units annually, and is scalable to half-a-million units. The company will also set up Ather Grid fast charging points across India over the next five years, making public charging easy and accessible to all EV owners.
Making it easier to own an EV
In the past few weeks, Ather has been working on a slew of financing and ownership models, designed to make EVs more accessible for consumers. It introduced India's first personal lease program for scooters, with monthly payments as low as Rs 2,589, which makes the intelligent electric scooter accessible to the Indian two-wheeler market.
The start-up has also been a pioneer in the post-sales experience innovation with subscription plans. Ather One is a one-stop daily usage solution that includes doorstep pick up and service, 24X7 roadside assistance, free charging at home and in public.
A unique aspect of the product line is the ability to add new features and functionality through over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Ather has been rolling out OTA updates since September 2018, adding features like a dark theme, new ride modes, guide-me-home light, making them one of the fastest iteration cycles in the country.
Also read: Ather Energy plans TPMS and smart helmet for its 450X e-scooter
Ather Energy to begin exporting e-scooters this fiscal
DOWNLOAD Autocar Professional's Two-Wheeler Industry Special. Read interview with Ather Energy's Chief Business Officer Ravneet Phokela