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After five years of being in existence, Bengaluru-based startup Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd today delivered the first batch of its electric scooters from its Whitefield assembly plant to a select few customers in the city. Though the company launched the Ather 340 before the Ather 450, about 96% of the pre-orders was for the latter model—prompting deliveries of the Ather 450 first.
Ather Energy expects to have by June 2019 6,000-8,000 bookings for its electric scooters from Bengaluru city alone. That’s higher than the 5,000 scooters it had originally planned to sell in the first 12 months after deliveries began. It had opened bookings in early June this year and has already sold out inventory for the rest of 2018-19.
The company also plans to open its first experience store in Chennai by the second quarter of 2019 and is looking to expand to Hyderabad, Pune and the National Capital Region (NCR) centred on Delhi by the end of 2019-20.
Ather Energy had until now followed a strategy of focusing only on its home market and had planned to invest roughly $1 million to set up adequate charging infrastructure in the city before it began deliveries. It has stressed over the years that the target is not to rapidly expand to every corner of the country, but rather develop the product well, lay down proper infrastructure and get the right audience for the Ather 450.
Ather Energy—backed by India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd and US-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management—had raised seed funding from Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal in 2014.
“As far as production goes, the low-hanging fruit right now is just to optimise and streamline the entire process,” said Tarun Mehta, founder and chief executive officer of Ather Energy. “Over the next six months that’s what we are going after. Post that if we need to add additional capacity, then we will take a different call. But right now, we are investing in supply chain, improving quality, expanding to new geographies and opening new experience and service centres,” he added.
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