After four years in development, Ather Energy has confirmed the launch of its first electric scooter on June 5 in Bengaluru. The Ather 340 is likely to be priced at around Rs 1-1.1 lakh (ex-showroom), making it the most expensive locally built electric scooter to go on sale in India. The Ather scooter has also renamed to 340 from the S340.
Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder, Ather Energy, had confirmed in April that the electric scooter will be launched in a phased manner and will first go on sale in Bengaluru. The city-based approach is owing to the fact that Ather wants to first setup EV charging infrastructure dubbed AtherGrid in all the cities before it starts retailing the scooter. It already has 30 charging stations in Bengaluru, with a target of 60 charging stations across the city by the end of the year. You can read more about the AtherGrid here.
The journey for Ather has been a long one – it showcased the S340 back in 2016 and had announced that the sales will start in 2017. However, the company underestimated the challenges involved in development and production of a new automobile and this delayed the launch.
The project received significant funding along the way, though, with a sizeable $1 million (Rs 6.72 crore, approximately) from Flipkart founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, in 2014. Later, the company secured a major boost in 2016 when Hero MotoCorp invested Rs 205 crore in Ather Energy for a 26-30 percent stake. Ather has also setup an assembly plant in Whitefield, Bengaluru, with a capacity to build 20,000 scooters per annum in a single shift.
Coming back to the electric scooter, Ather 340 will be expensive, but it promises to be smart and connected, and offer stronger performance than anything else on the market. Some of the many features on offer are a parking assist function, over-the-air updates, ‘push navigation’, charging station location tracking, custom user interface, combined brakes and diagnostic alerts.
The Ather electric scooter is powered by a brushless DC motor (BLDC) and uses a battery pack and battery management system (BMS) designed by Ather. The company’s website has listed the motor’s torque at 14Nm, but this number could be different on the final model that goes on sale next week. Performance figures are claimed at 5.1sec for the 0-40kph time, and a top speed of 72kph. Ather also claims a 50min time for fast-charging to 80 percent, a real-world range of 60km and that the battery can last up to 50,000km. Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork and a monoshock unit, and the electric scooter features disc brakes with a combined braking system (CBS) on both wheels.
The Ather 340 will compete against the Okinawa Praise and the Twenty Two Motors Flow, priced at Rs 59,899 and Rs 74,740 (both prices, ex-showroom, Delhi), respectively. We have ridden the new Ather electric scooter, but the review is under embargo till noon on June 5. If you can’t wait until then, you can read about the top five facts about the Ather 340 here.