Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest maker of motorcycles and scooters, announced a further investment of Rs 84 crore ($11 million) in Ather Energy on Friday, taking up its shareholding in the smart electric scooter start-up to 34.58 per cent. Prior to the investment, Hero MotoCorp’s shareholding in Ather Energy was 31.27 per cent.
Bengaluru-based Ather Energy said the fresh investment by Hero MotoCorp, was an extension of its Series C round that was led by Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal. Ather is now entering an aggressive expansion phase on the back of its flagship product, the Ather 450X, and looking to scale to 20 cities by the end of 2021. The product will soon be available in cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai, with deliveries beginning in October 2020.
“We are in a high growth phase of our journey, and while the last few months have been challenging, we have not altered our expansion plans,” said Tarun Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Ather Energy. “Our geographic expansion and the roll-out schedule for the Ather 450X are on track, and we will be using these funds to invest in our facilities to meet the demand we have seen for the Ather 450X across the country.”
To meet the projected demand in the coming years, Ather is opening a new manufacturing facility in Hosur, which is designed to produce 100,000 units annually, and is scalable to half a million units. Ather Energy will also set up Ather Grid fast charging points across the country over the next 5 years, making public charging easy and accessible to all electric vehicle owners.
In the past few weeks, Ather has been working on a slew of financing and ownership models, making electric vehicles more accessible for consumers. It introduced a personal lease programme for scooters. It also provides Ather One, a one-stop daily usage solution, that includes doorstep pick up and service, 24X7 roadside assistance, free charging at home and in public.
“We are excited to see the growth of Ather Energy in the recent years,” said Rajat Bhargava, head of emerging mobility business unit (EMBU), global business and strategy, Hero MotoCorp. “We see immense potential for them to expand their market even further, especially given the likely growth of electric vehicles (EV) in the near future.”
In addition to efforts of developing a robust external eco-system for EVs, Hero MotoCorp said it is also aggressively working on its internal EV program. Its aim is to provide accessible electric mobility to customers across the globe.
In May, Ola Electric Mobility (Ola Electric), the ride-hailing firm’s electric vehicle arm, acquired Etergo BV, an Amsterdam-based electric scooter original equipment manufacturer. This acquisition marked Ola's entry into the premium electric two-wheeler market, both globally and nationally.