Two-wheeler EV start-up Ather Energy has raised $128 million in a Series-E round led by state-owned National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited’s (NIIFL) Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF), and Hero MotoCorp, a significant shareholder of Ather, along with additional investors. Ather Energy plans to use the funding to expand manufacturing facilities, invest in research and development, charging infrastructure and to grow its retail network.
After a strong start to the year, the company said that it has registered the highest-ever monthly sales in April 2022 delivering 3,779 units to customers. Booking orders for Ather Energy’s flagship product, the Ather 450X is growing at 25 per cent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ). Ather Energy already has a robust retail sales network across the country, with a presence in 32 cities with 38 Experience Centres and it aims to expand to 150 Experience Centres in 100 cities by 2023, as per a company handout.
Notably, the rising incident of EV fires across the country have raised an alarm even as there has been no significant impact on the sales of electric scooters during last quarter.
“The switch to electric is inevitable and FY22 was the turning point for electric two-wheeler adoption in India. We are super excited to have NIIF come on board as an investor. They have been at the forefront of the country’s green transition through their investments and initiatives, and we look forward to our association. We would also like to thank Hero MotoCorp, our long-term investor and strategic partner, who continues to support our growth. The current round of investment will help us enhance capacities across the board, bring additional focus on new platforms, expand into new geographies, expand our fast-charging network and double down on the reputation we’ve built for making a product that’s high on quality,” said Tarun Mehta, CEO, Ather Energy.
This will be NIIFL’s first direct investment in the manufacturing sector and in electric mobility, both areas of national importance given India’s green mission and decarbonisation goals. The investment enables NIIFL to play a role in mainstreaming the electric two-wheeler sector in India at an early stage of development and to support first generation local entrepreneurs in building a new product with a high level of indigenisation. This will be the fund’s fourth investment following its investments in two infrastructure financing NBFCs (Aseem Infrastructure Finance and NIIF IFL) and a national healthcare chain (Manipal Hospitals).
“Aligned to India’s green transition mission, the electric two-wheeler industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Ather Energy has indigenously designed and developed products with a high degree of domestic sourcing of components and adaptability to Indian conditions. We are excited to partner with Ather Energy’s founders and management team who have developed deep expertise in the industry, developed a robust IP portfolio, and built strong manufacturing and distribution capabilities. We are also impressed with Ather Energy’s partnerships for component manufacturing, charging infrastructure and customer financing,” Padmanabh Sinha, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer, NIIFL, said.
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