We’ve been closely following along the development of Ather Energy and their first scooter, S340. We were there at their announcement of the S340 in February this year at Bangalore and you can check it out here.
Recently we got an opportunity to ask some specific questions to them and here they are:
1. Connectivity to the Internet. Will you tie-up with network providers and we won’t have to deal with anything or would we have to set it up?
We are in discussion with some of the major telecom operators in the country. We are still in the process of finalizing the details on which network providers will work best for fastest connectivity. The S340 will come with factory fitted SIM cards, and the consumer won’t have access to it.
2. How much is the scooter going to cost, now that we are slightly closer to the launch from the last time we met?
The pricing is still under discussion. But as already mentioned, the pricing of the scooter will be kept between an Activa and a Vespa
3. How much does the government subsidy reflect on the consumer?
The government subsidy amounts are categorised based on the battery type and also if the vehicle is a hybrid or a pure electric or a level 1 or a level 2 type of vehicle. Level 2 vehicles offer higher fuel savings potential (for example – bikes with Lithium Ion battery tech will come into level 2 as they last longer and save more fuel). The subsidy goes upto Rs 29,000 for electric scooters/e-bikes.
This subsidy allows manufacturers to build higher quality EVs with better specifications and this translates to a “no compromise” product for the customers.
4. Who do you think is an ideal consumer for this product?
Our customers will be mostly tech enthusiasts. The core will basically consist of those who get excited by technology and expect the differentiation to come from there. What we have from a tech perspective is so far more differentiated than anything else in the market. It could be the drivetrain, usability or interface. We want to start from these guys and capture 100 per cent of the 100,000-strong market. There are plenty of such people in Chennai, Bangalore and Pune.
5. Why has the development period been really long?
Ather is not building just a product. We are focused on building an entire ecosystem for smart and connected mobility. This includes designing and building charging infrastructure, identifying and partnering with OEMs and vendors, among others. When you are building a product ground up, the cycles of research, design, prototyping, testing etc. takes time, resources and man power. On average most automotive companies take about 7 years to release a new product in the market, we are well ahead of that.
We are looking forward to the actual release and waiting to get our hands on one soon. I might as well buy one! If you have any questions you’d like to ask, leave them in the comments below and I can ask them.