Ather Energy gives Bengalureans more options to go green2 min read . Updated: 06 Jun 2018, 10:51 AM IST
Deliveries for Ather Energy's new electric scooters will begin in August and be limited to Bengaluru for now
Bengaluru: In 2006, Bengaluru not only outstripped other Indian cities as the largest market for India’s first electric car Reva, it also beat London in terms of global sales for the vehicle. The city has always been known to house early adopters of new technology.
It is not surprising then that over a decade later, another Indian company picked Bengaluru as both headquarters and the launch market for its electric scooters. On Tuesday, Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd launched two variants of its electric scooters—the Ather 340 and the Ather 450—that it developed from scratch in the city.
Ather Energy’s own in-house research conducted across Bengaluru and other cities a few months ago, including Delhi and Pune, resulted in Ather 340 scoring high across all parameters, whether it was in terms of people being okay with the purchase price, the willingness to buy an electric vehicle (EV) or even an interest in smart and connected features.
“Bangalore is pretty high in terms of EV adoption," said Tarun Mehta, co-founder and chief executive of Ather Energy. “It is home to the Reva, the first and the original electric car in the country. It has also been home to other EV efforts in the past. There are a lot of folks in Bangalore who are aware of the green cause and who really want to conserve the environment, for whom buying an EV really matters and contributes to that cause."
However, the company’s decision to launch its electric scooters on World Environment Day (5 June) is more a happy coincidence than a planned one, said Mehta.
To make it more convenient for people in the city to adopt EVs, regardless of the new Ather scooters, the Bengaluru-based start-up also launched charging infrastructure under the name Ather Grid two weeks ago with an investment of around $1 million.
By the end of the year, the goal is to ensure that an EV customer is not more than 4km away from an AtherGrid charging point in Bengaluru, co-founder and chief technology officer Swapnil Jain had said on 21 May.
Deliveries for Ather Energy’s new electric scooters will begin in August and be limited to Bengaluru for now. The company has already opened up its website for limited pre-orders and expects to sell around 5,000 scooters during the first year. Starting 8 June, consumers would be able to test drive the vehicles at Ather’s experience centre in Bengaluru’s upscale Indiranagar.
The company opened up its website for pre-orders only on Tuesday, but it is already getting good traction, according to Mehta. In fact, so strong is the city’s receptiveness to new technology that he believes the total market penetration of electric two-wheelers in Bengaluru can even go up to 30-40% in the next five years.
He is not alone in that view. Sandeep Kumar Maini, chairman of Maini Group that created the Reva, believes that Bengaluru scores high both on new technology adoption and awareness around sustainable living and environmental conservation.
“Bangalore has one of the largest number of young professionals. Their attitude and aptitude towards looking at something different and new, which helps the community and the future as a whole, is also probably higher than most other cities in the country," Maini said. To complement that, the governments in Karnataka have also been very supportive of new technology, he added.