Ather working on more affordable e-scooter

    Published On Sep 05, 2021 07:00:00 AM

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    Could cost under Rs 1 lakh, will arrive in the next few months.

    Ather Energy is working on a more affordable e-scooter based on its existing 450 platform.

    • Could cost under Rs 1 lakh (ex-showroom)
    • Likely to be launched in a few months
    • Will take on rivals from Ola, Simple

    Ather had a first-mover advantage in India’s premium electric scooter market, but it looks like it will soon have its hands full with newfound competition from brands like Ola Electric and Simple Energy. Not only do the Ola S1 and Simple One promise to offer better features and specifications, they also undercut Ather’s most affordable product, the 450 Plus (Rs 1.13 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi).

    New Ather e-scooter

    To fend off these new rivals, Ather is gearing up to launch a more affordable scooter based on its existing 450 platform, which will sit below the 450 Plus.

    Speaking to our sister publication, Autocar Professional, Ather’s chief business officer, Ravneet Phokela, says, “We are already working on a product that will come at a price point lower than the 450 Plus; it will start playing in the same kind of price band like the others (read Ola and Simple). That’s a few months away, and you understand that thedecision toroll out aproduct takes18-24 months. It is not a knee-jerk reaction. The idea is to consolidate the scooter market, unlocking more segments than we do today, by way of price points and importantly in new states. It’s a journey to keep adding products as we go along, because we have our own platform and a very strong control on costs. And when you have strong control on costs, then you have control on pricing.”

    Sub Rs 1-lakh price tag

    Considering how much the Plus costs, it’s quite likely that the new Ather e-scooter will be priced under Rs 1 lakh (ex-showroom), thus making it more affordable than the Ola S1 (Rs 99,999) and Simple One (Rs 1,09,999). But since even Ather’s flagship, the 450X, can’t match the two new entrants for motor power or battery capacity, it’s unlikely that its entry level product will be able to either. Nevertheless, Phokela is undeterred.

    “If better specs ensured more sales, the TVS NTorq would score over the Honda Activa but the sales numbers reflect a different picture. Model specifications are important because they define a basic threshold — but it is about how overall specs come together, how relevant they are for the customers, the experience they get, the ride quality and so on.”

    The Bengaluru-based startup has largely had its way in the Indian market so far, with very little serious competition to face. But with more startups making sincere efforts and major auto manufacturers now scaling up their EV efforts, it will be interesting to see how Ather fares.

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