Ather will exchange your old petrol engine two-wheeler
Full details to be disclosed in 1-2 weeks
Expansion plans remain unchanged, to be in eight cities by end-2020
It’s been two years since the launch of the Ather 450 electric scooter. In this time, the company has been constantly trying to offer unique buying options to its customers, be it subscription plans, leasing schemes and more recently, rental options. The latest announcement is that the company is now planning to offer an exchange programme for petrol-engined two-wheelers.
Ather says it will reveal more detailed information in a week or two because the final details are still being hammered out. What we know for now is that the company will be tying up with an external firm to handle this vehicle exchange programme. We’re also given to understand that this initiative is likely to include most, if not all, petrol engine two-wheelers, and not just scooters.
Meanwhile, Ather’s expansion plans continue to more or less be on track for 2020. The company still intends to open dealerships in eight cities by the end of the year and Hyderabad is likely to be the next city. However, places like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune will probably see some delays due to COVID-19. The company’s under-construction 4,00,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Hosur is also set to open later this year.
Ather plans to retail two products once it expands to more cities, namely the top-end 450X and the slightly lower-spec 450 Plus. Interestingly, the original Ather 450 continues to be on sale in Bengaluru and Chennai, with bookings to remain open for another two to three months. At Rs 1.13 lakh, the Ather 450 is vastly more affordable than the Rs 1.49 lakh 450 Plus and the Rs 1.59 lakh 450 Pro. There are some technological differences in the TFT display and software setup, but the original 450 is mechanically more or less the same as the 450 Plus.
So why such a big price difference? Well, it essentially comes down to the fact that the company really wasn’t making any money with the original 450’s pricing. Earlier this year, Tarun Mehta, the company’s co-founder and CEO, told us that Ather simply couldn’t afford to sell the 450 at its original price. The pricing of the updated and feature-rich 450 X and 450 Plus models is more indicative of what these scooters cost Ather to build and will be more sustainable for them in the long term.
At the completion of the two-year mark, Tarun Mehta said “The lockdown helped us re-evaluate and reassess our long-term goals. We are going to open as many avenues as possible to promote electric vehicles. From introducing new ownership models and to continue offering the most varied financing options, we will ensure that owning an E2W is a hassle-free proposition for any consumer. Exciting times ahead for Ather and the EV industry.”