Bullish over long-term growth prospects of green mobility solutions in the country, electric scooter-maker Ather Energy is looking to ramp up production, introduce new products and expand sales network across the country, a top company official said on Friday. The Bengaluru-based firm, which is backed by the likes of HeroMoto Corp and Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, plans to ramp up production capacity at its Hosur plant in Karnataka to five lakh units per annum by the end of next fiscal. The facility currently has an installed capacity to roll out 1.1 lakh units per annum.
“We have already committed Rs 130 crore to expand the manufacturing facility. Over the next 4-5 years we are looking at roughly around Rs 650 crore total investment at the plant,” Ather Energy co-founder and chief executive Tarun Mehta told PTI in an interaction. The company currently manufactures two electric scooters products — 450X and 450 Plus — at the facility, he noted. When asked about new products, Mehta said: “we will have more variants on the 450 product line over the next year and we are also looking at new product line altogether in the scooter segment but that is a two year roadmap.” He added that it would take a long time for the company to get into the bike segment.
“So, in the next two years, the focus is going to be on scooters, bikes after that,” Mehta noted. On sales network, Mehta noted that the company aims to be present across 50 cities by the end of current fiscal and expand its operations to around 100 cities by the end of FY23. Ather is currently present across 13 cities. On Friday, Ather Energy opened a new experience centre (retail outlet) at Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. The company inaugurated its first experience centre in Bengaluru in June 2018, and later expanded its base with a bigger experience centre in Chennai, helping customers experience the details and make an informed purchase decision. Earlier this year, Ather expanded its presence across Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kochi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad.
Mehta noted that the EV maker is looking to have about 500 fast charging points by the end of the current financial year. At present it has 142 fast charging points across the country. He said that the company has been receiving robust demand for its electric scooter range amid improvement in the COVID situation across various states. “There was a brief break due to COVID disruptions but now for the last couple of weeks we are witnessing extreme bounce back in the demand,” he said. Mehta noted that increase in subsidy on electric two-wheelers due to the revised Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME II) scheme has led to negligible price gap between electric and petrol scooters, thus pushing the sales of green mobility options.
With increase in FAME II subsidy, the company has also cut its product prices by up to Rs 14,500, he added. Mehta noted that the investment cycle is still going on and the company expects to move towards earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) profitability in about 2.5-3 years. Mehta co-founded Ather in 2013 along with his IIT Madras batchmate Swapnil Jain. HeroMoto Corp is the largest investor in the company, followed by Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal. Other investors include global private equity players Tiger Global and InnoVen Capital.