Fourteen months after Bengaluru-based electric scooter manufacturer Ather Energy had signed an MoU for a 4,00,000 square feet electric vehicle manufacturing facility with the government of Tamil Nadu, the plant has gone on stream. Until now, Ather's 450X and 450 Plus e-scooters were being produced at its plant in Bengaluru.
Guidance TN, Tamil Nadu’s nodal agency for investment promotion and single-window facilitation, in a tweet said, “Many congratulations @atherenergy on commencing the electric scooter manufacturing in Hosur. This is an important milestone for Tamil Nadu in propelling the electric mobility goals."
The factory, located in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, is supported by the government of Tamil Nadu under its EV Policy. The facility will not only cater to the EV manufacturing demand but also to Ather’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing, which is a key area of focus for the company going ahead. The investment is an opportunity for value creation in the sector and will create job opportunities for the region. As a part of this initiative, more than 4,000 employees will be trained in requisite skills in the EV sector, over the next 5 years.
Tarun Mehta, CEO, Ather Energy, had said at the signing of the MoU, "Ather is rapidly scaling up and we need to expand our production capacity to meet the growing demand. The new unit will help us meet the demand for the next few years across the country. Tamil Nadu has been a hub for automobile manufacturing, and they have been working closely with us in their effort to build an EV ecosystem. A manufacturing facility at Hosur was an ideal choice considering that it is close to our R&D facilities in Bengaluru and most of the existing and potential future supply base is operating in the region. The availability of a built-up option of our desired scale and proximity helped in the decision making."
In November 2020, Ather raised an investment of US $35 million (Rs 260 crore) in its latest round of Series D funding led by Sachin Bansal’s investment of $23 million (Rs 170 crore). This gave the company the boost to open its manufacturing facility post the pandemic.
Ather Energy was one of the earliest start-up investments of Sachin Bansal when he invested $0.5 million in the firm as an angel investor in 2014 and with this round, has made a total investment of $53 million (Rs 392 crore). Hero MotoCorp, which first invested in the Bengaluru-based EV start-up in October 2016, in Series B funding, and invested Rs 84 crore more in July 2020 to hike its stake in Ather to 34.58 percent, has also invested $12 million (Rs 89 crore) as a part of the Series D round in Ather Energy.
The EV start-up, which has its presence in Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai, is looking to speedily expand its presence in various cities across the country. It recently opened its first showroom in India’s financial capital, Mumbai. A year ago, Ather Energy had announced plans to take Ather Space, its flagship experience centre format, across key cities like Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune, amongst other Tier-1 cities.
Electric two-wheeler industry seeing new manufacturing capacity
The electric two-wheeler industry in India is seeing considerable action. Ola Electric, whose e-scooter was recently snapped testing, is also setting up its 2-million units per annum plant in Tamil Nadu. On December 14, 2020, Ola Electric inked an MoU with the government of Tamil Nadu to set up its plant in the state.
Hero Electric retains top spot on two-wheeler EV sales chart in 2020