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Bengaluru: Electric vehicle (EV) startup Ather Energy has introduced an "assured buyback" programme for its latest Ather 450X EV scooter model which guarantees users a buyback up to 85,000 after three years of usage. The startup has also tweaked its subscriptions plans by launching four different plans clubbing customer support and vehicle maintenance, starting at 125 per month.

The buyback programme is aimed at retaining its existing customers who may want to upgrade to the latest version of Ather scooters in the future, and is also expected to set a strong second-hand value for its EV scooters.

The EV manufacturer said on Tuesday that it will expand its scooter leasing options to all its operational cities after witnessing larger adoption in Chennai and Bengaluru. The startup also announced partnerships with new financing partners to provide more range of financing options to its potential customers.

The leasing model allows the customers to access a fully loaded Ather 450X at a lower price point and a nominal monthly fee. In the current economic context, this might be significant for a segment of customers who are unwilling to opt for a full purchase, the startup added in a statement. In addition, the startup is also eyeing to enter a total of 20 to 25 cities by end of the next financial year.

Ather’s new announcement comes shortly after some states and the central government have been stepping up subsidies for EVs. The EV manufacturer is also expecting more Indian commuters to ditch petrol-driven vehicles for EVs this year, by allowing potential users to exchange their existing petrol vehicles for a brand a new Ather scooter.

To reduce the overall cost of ownership of the Ather 450X, consumers can now exchange their old petrol ICE two-wheeler and others can opt for low-interest rate loans. This option is however limited to Bengaluru city only. Ather Energy has also reduced the ex-showroom price of the Ather 450 Plus model, which can now be purchased at 139,990.

Ather’s subscription plans have also been revised to match the usage patterns of the consumer. These four independent packs include Ather Connect Lite (for all basic connected features), Ather Connect Pro, Ather Service Lite (periodic maintenance, roadside assistance, and labour charges), and Ather Service Pro (premium service experience). Meanwhile, charging at public charging points, Ather Grid, will be free until March 2021.

"Our faith in our product line has allowed us to create innovative solutions to make the switch to electric easier—whether it is purchase or ownership. We believe Ather Energy's electric scooters are going to have a fantastic value for years and will keep improving with new features which we will roll out as over-the-air upgrades. And to strengthen that assurance we are announcing a resale guarantee," Ather Energy’s chief executive Tarun Mehta said in a statement.

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