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Ather commissions its second plant in a year


NEW DELHI :

Electric two-wheeler maker Ather Energy on Monday commissioned its second scooter factory in Tamil Nadu’s Hosur, where its first plant that opened early this year is already running at full capacity.

With the new plant, Ather expects its total capacity to reach 400,000 units a year, up from 120,000 units now. The new facility is expected to become operational by the end of 2022.

Demand for electric vehicles is soaring across the country, and customers are coming in expecting electric scooters to wow them, Tarun Mehta, co-founder and chief executive of Ather Energy said in a statement. “Our retail footprint is set to grow by six times in the coming quarters. Within 10 months of opening our current facility, we are operating at full capacity,” Mehta said.

The announcement comes even as scooter rental startup Bounce readies to announce its own electric two-wheeler—the Bounce Infinity—which will have swappable batteries.

The company has announced a partnership with smart parking solutions startup, Park+, to setup a battery swapping infrastructure across 3,500 outlets in 10 cities to start with. Bounce chief executive Vivekananda Hallekere has said that within two years, the company’s battery swapping infrastructure will be able to support 1 million electric scooters on road.

Ather, on the other hand, offers a non-removable battery pack on both its scooters. The company imports the cells for its batteries and assembles its own battery packs.

India does not have any cell manufacturing facilities. The country’s first cell manufacturing factory, which is being setup by Amperex Technology Ltd in Gurugram, Haryana, is expected to become operational by September 2022, Nitin Gupta, chief executive officer of recycling firm Attero Recycling told Techcircle last week.

The Indian government has extended the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to advanced chemistry cell (ACC) battery manufacturing in the country. In September, Exide Industries Ltd said it aims to explore ACC manufacturing in the country through the PLI scheme.

Ather Energy said that in October, it recorded its highest monthly sales, registering a 12-fold growth over last year and achieving a revenue run rate of $100 million, making it the largest EV maker by value in this segment.

The new facility will also focus on lithium-ion battery manufacturing. Ather Energy claims it is the only EV original equipment manufacturer in India to make its battery packs and has filed 13 patents on the design and manufacturing of the li-ion batteries.

Ather Energy was founded in 2013 by IIT Madras alumni Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain. It is backed by Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Hero Motocorp and Tiger Global. The company is also eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) within the next 24 months, according to reports.

The company launched the Ather 450 in 2018, followed by the flagship Ather 450X in 2020. It has set up a network of over 200 public charging points across the country.



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