Electric scooter maker Ather Energy has made around 100 deliveries of its electric scooter and close to 1,000 customers have pre-ordered their scooters in the Pune market. Ather has reported a large number of walk-in at its new Pune Ather Space customer experience centre, which opened under three weeks ago. Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder of Ather Energy, said that they are seeing 40-50 walk-ins during the weekdays and around 80 to 100 walk-ins during the weekends in the city.
The company will be launching in Delhi soon and plans to reach 40 cities across the country by the end of 2021. The entry of Ola with is largest electric two-wheeler manufacturing plant in the world, Mehta says, would be good for the creation of the electric vehicle ecosystem, expansion of the supply chain and grow the pool of highly skilled labour force.
Bajaj Auto’s electric Chetak scooters generated a lot of interest after it had a select launch in Pune and Bengaluru but supply chain issues led to the company taking a pause. The electric Chetak sales are expected to return sometime in the second half of this year with customers waiting patiently.
Mehta expects a 10x increase in electric scooters in three years in the Indian market and getting close to the 1 million mark by 2024. During 2020, this segment saw sales of 27,260 electric two-wheelers with Hero Electric accounting for one-third of this market followed by the Okinawa brand with around 20% market share. Compared to five years ago, when there was no interest in the segment, Mehta said.
Pune already has a large Ather Community which is organizing meet-ups and rides. While the petrol price hike is a big pull factor, Mehta said customers are now seeing the value of going electric and are looking to upgrade to electric scooters especially with the narrowing of the gap between electric and petrol engine scooters. The price difference in the premium segment that Ather scooters are positioned in are minimal, points of Mehta. Consumer sentiments have changed and auto companies have to respond or they will end up becoming legacy, suggests Mehta.
The advantage Ather has is that it has not had too many supply chain issues as 90% of Ather’s production are localised in India and apart from the lithium-ion cells, they do not import much, says Mehta. They are the only EV OEM to make their battery packs, he points out.
The company’s new facility at Hosur can produce 1,20,000 battery packs annually apart from 1,10,000 scooters. The company has also been storing up inventory in anticipation of the semiconductor shortages. But if this continued for a few more quarters, it could become a problem so the company was working with end suppliers of these sub-components and hopes things would be resolved by the third quarter.
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