Swapnil Jain (front) and Tarun Mehta
Image by: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India
The days of the internal combustion engine are numbered, and among the startups leading the transformation from fuels to batteries is Bengaluru-based Ather Energy. Started five years ago by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, it began taking orders for two variants of its electric scooter, on June 5. Sales are now limited to Bengaluru.
Ather 450 can go from 0-40 kmph in an impressive 3.9 seconds, hit a top speed of 80 kmph and has a range of 75 km per charge in city conditions, CEO Mehta said at the launch. It will sell for `1,24,750, while the Ather 340, which has toned-down specifications, will sell for `1,09,750 “all inclusive”.
Satellite navigation, with Google Maps, is possible through a seven-inch touch screen.
For early birds, Ather is offering a year’s subscription to Ather One, its charging and maintenance plan, which costs `700 a month. With this, riders can charge their scooters on Ather Grid—the charging network the venture is building. Subscribers who charge at home will be reimbursed via an electronic wallet.
Ather’s vehicles cost nearly 50 percent more than 110-cc or 125-cc petrol scooters, but have “roughly half” the carbon footprint of their fossil fuel-based counterparts, says Mehta.
Ather says its surveys show most people didn’t find the scooters are pricey, given the value it is offering. If that translates to sales, Mehta and Jain aim to sell 1 lakh scooters in three years—an aggressive target. They also need to sell half as many to start making money on each scooter sold.