The Pawan Munjal-backed electric vehicle start-up Ather Energy, which has fast garnered a reputation for making high-end performance electric scooters, on Tuesday launched its second product, the 450X, at Rs 1.49-1.59 lakh. The company, which is so far present in just two cities - Bangalore and Chennai - also said it was entering four more cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad - with the launch of this scooter in July.
Ather had launched its first product, the 450, in 2018 and has a 30,000 unit production facility in Whitefield in Bangalore. The firm said it has signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to set up another bigger factory in Hosur with an annual capacity of 100,000 units which would be operational later this year.
The company said it has completely upgraded the new scooter over the existing 450 with better battery, more powerful electric motor along with 4G and bluetooth connectivity. It has a 2.9 Kwh lithium ion battery pack against 450's 2.7 Kwh, and a 6 kilowatt motor against the incumbent's 5.4 kilowatt. The bigger motor has improved the scooter's peak torque by 30 per cent to 26 NM against 20.5 NM while offering a higher range on full charge at 116 kilometers from 107 kilometers. It has a top speed of 80 kmph and can do a 0-40 kph sprint in 3.3 seconds against 450's 3.84 seconds.
"The electric vehicle adoption will not happen just because you want to save the world because frankly there are not enough of us who want to do that. It will happen because it offers a better experience to the customers. That is what our scooters do," said Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder, Ather Energy. "When we started the company in 2013, the electric scooters on offer in the market were archaic, low speed and powered by lead acid batteries that did not give a good customer experience."
"We wanted to change that and knew customer is willing to pay a premium for a better experience. Over the last two years we can say we have been vindicated as every new player that is entering the market today such as Bajaj and TVS is following our footsteps," he added. "With 450 we set the benchmark. With the 450X we are just raising it a notch."
To allay fears of longevity of the battery, something Ather has learnt is a key worry for the customers over the years, it is also offering subscription-based models with lifetime guarantee on the battery. A customer can pay an upfront amount of Rs 99,000 for this and choose a monthly subscription pack of either Rs 1,699 for Plus or Rs 1,999 for Pro.
Like Chennai and Bengaluru, Ather will also equip the new cities it is entering in with multiple fast charging Ather Grid points and Ather experience centres. Ather Grid under which the company sets up public charging stations will be available in locations such as malls, cafes, supermarkets and tech parks.
It also comes equipped with a 4G SIM card and Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing riders to manage phone calls and music on the touchscreen dashboard. The touchscreen dashboard is bigger at 7" and has been upgraded with a color depth of 16M and a Snapdragon Quad Core processor.
Ather was founded by IIT graduates Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain in 2013 and Hero MotoCorp, India's largest two wheeler manufacturer, had invested Rs 130 crore in the start-up in 2018. Last year, it had increased its stake to 35.1 per cent.