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Business News/ Companies / News/  Electric vs Petrol: Ather launches new family e-scooter ‘Rizta’, CEO Tarun Mehta says continuation of subsides vital
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Electric vs Petrol: Ather launches new family e-scooter ‘Rizta’, CEO Tarun Mehta says continuation of subsides vital

Ather CEO and co-founder, Tarun Mehta, urged the government to continue e-scooter subsidies to meet India's ambitious 2030 electrification goals. Subsidy cuts have stalled growth, he said, highlighting the need for more government support to transition from polluting motorbikes to electric scooters.

Tarun Mehta, the co-founder and chief executive of Ather, believes subsidies are crucial for India to achieve its goal of electrifying 70% of its two-wheeler fleet by 2030.Premium
Tarun Mehta, the co-founder and chief executive of Ather, believes subsidies are crucial for India to achieve its goal of electrifying 70% of its two-wheeler fleet by 2030.

Tarun Mehta, the CEO and co-founder of e-scooter maker Ather Energy, has said India will need to continue subsidies for electric scooters for a few more years to boost the transition from polluting motorbikes.

Mehta told Reuters in an interview, "We've been able to cut down a lot of subsidy reliance, but it's also come at the cost of almost a year's worth of lost growth." He was referring to the government's surprise decision in May 2023 to slash cash incentives for e-scooters to a maximum of 15% of the purchase price before tax from 40% previously, as per Reuters.

The Subsidy impact 

Industry experts believe subsidies, such as cash incentives, are crucial for India to achieve its goal of electrifying 70% of its two-wheeler fleet by 2030, as the world's third-largest importer of oil looks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, as per Reuters report.

Ather was one of the first companies to drive the pickup in adoption with the launch of its 450 series of e-scooters in 2018. However, the company has fallen behind larger rivals Ola Electric and TVS Motor, whose discounts have driven sales, the report said.

Ather, which counts India's biggest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp as its largest investor, launched a new "family-friendly" e-scooter called ‘Rizta’ on Saturday, priced at 109,999 rupees ($1,321). Mehta hopes the scooter's larger seat and storage space will attract a wider range of buyers in India's populous north and west regions, helping boost sales.

While Ather is focusing on top-line growth, Mehta acknowledged that the company has not yet broken even. He stated, "Hopefully, the Rizta plays a meaningful role because I am happy in how margins are shaping up at a unit level," without providing further details.

The Indian e-scooter market is small but growing, accounting for 5% of total two-wheeler sales in fiscal 2023-2024. The Ather CEO's comments underline the need for continued government support to drive the adoption of electric vehicles in the country.

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 08 Apr 2024, 10:10 AM IST
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