Ather Energy plans expansion to 90-100 cities by end of this financial year 

Yatti Soni |Haripriya Sureban | Updated on: May 24, 2022
   Ravneet S. Phokela, Chief Business Officer of Ather Energy

Ravneet S. Phokela, Chief Business Officer of Ather Energy

To strengthen manufacturing and supply chain as well

Bengaluru, May 24

EV manufacturer Ather Energy raised $128 million recently in a Series E round led by the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd’s Strategic Opportunities Fund, and Hero MotoCorp. Its Chief Business Officer,  Ravneet S. Phokela, spoke to BusinessLine about the company’s expansion plans following the fund-raise and the fact that its scooters have not been in any EV fire incidents so far. 

How do you plan to use the recent fundraise? 

We have a fast and ambitious growth path over the next few years. Having built up the company in the last seven to eight years, we are now scaling up rapidly in terms of geographic expansion and by strengthening manufacturing and the supply chain. A large proportion of the funding raised will go towards fueling the expansion plans. We will enter new cities through new dealerships, besides expanding our manufacturing capability in terms ofcapacity and importantly by investing in the supply chain. 

We believe the single biggest problem that the EV industry faces is that the supply chain isn’t scaled up. Going forward, we don’t want to be in a position where we’re not able to service demand because the supply chain isn’t keeping pace. We will make investments on the supply chain side to scale the business. 

What are your geographical expansion plans?

Today, Ather Energy has 38 experience centres across 32 cities. By the end of this financial year, we expect to have a presence in 90 to 100 cities and 140-145 experience centres across cities.

In terms of manufacturing capacity, would you open a new plant?

Our current capacity is 120,000 units annually. We are already in the process of commissioning a new plant, which should go live in the next three to four months. This will take the capacity to 400,000 units annually.

Do you also plan to launch a new model? Is that part of your growth strategy?

We will build a platform that allows us to create multiple products, multiple variants. We have started looking at different customer segments, and price points. We’ll most definitely expand. We will consolidate our portfolio over the next two to three years. We’ll look at launching a motorbike as well. However, we do not plan to build EVs for the gig economy or delivery-related mass market segment. 

A number of companies are facing issues with their products. How has Ather ensured that its product does not face such issues? 

I think we just worked on first principles. We have a design that can be optimised for local conditions. When we design a product, we account for all the extreme use cases or the abuse that the vehicle might go through. Importantly, after the design and development stage, a lot of testing and validation is on simulators. But we also invested in real world testing. I believe many players haven’t done that enough. 

Our design is strong and the validation has been done properly. The safety benchmarks that we set for ourselves are much above the government’s compliance requirements. We set our own benchmarks, to make sure that we didn’t leave anything to chance. It’s not like some magic potion. Honestly, it’s just good, strong engineering.

Have the issues faced by the competition impacted customer sentiment for your model as well? 

The impact on our brand has been minimal. We’ve been selling for the last four years. We have about 30,000 products on the road. Our customers are happy and we have built credibility as a brand that has good solid reliable products. However, if such issues continue, at some point it will start hitting the category. But, so far, the impact has not been significant enough for us to start worrying about it in a big way.

Published on May 24, 2022
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