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Electric two-wheeler startup Ather to invest $10M in manufacturing facility

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Ather Energy, a startup developing electric scooters and backed by Hero Corp, is planning to invest close to $10 million in its manufacturing facility, the company founder and CEO Tarun Mehta told TOI. The homegrown company is aiming to open bookings for its first electric scooters in India by early 2018.

Ather, which is still tight-lipped about the pricing of these electric scooters wants to start delivering the electric bikes in the second quarter of next year.

The development comes at a time when traditional companies in the automotive space have shown an interest in electric scooters. TOI recently reported that Mahindra & Mahindra is ‘exploring’ the possibility of introducing its global electric two-wheelers in India.

“We have conducted the beta test rides and open houses across Bengaluru and Chennai. Close to 100 such enthusiasts have already test-ridden the S340 and feedback has been helpful and positive. We are looking to put an investment of about Rs 60 crore in the manufacturing facility in Whitefield (outskirts of Bengaluru) which has an initial capacity of 20,000 units,” Mehta said, adding that he will look at increasing the capacity of the manufacturing facility but that would be decided after the rollout of the first batch of scooters.

Ather has been extensively working on building the infrastructure to support these vehicles and is in active discussions with multiple stakeholders to build the charging units. It has carried out small pilots of its prototype product with a select group of people in Bengaluru. The company plans to roll out its first product in three markets–Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai.

Started in 2013 by IIT Madras graduates Mehta and Swapnil Jain, Ather Energy has raised around $45 million from the likes of Tiger Global, Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.

Mehta added that government talking up electric vehicles has helped the company. Over a span of about one year, Ather has increased its team to 250 people from 75. “We would look at going beyond two-wheelers in the long run and for that fresh capital will be required but currently we are sufficiently funded to roll out our first model and all energies are driven towards that,” he said.

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