Ather Energy rolls out buyback scheme for e-scooter

PTI Mumbai | Updated on October 20, 2020

Ather energy logo   -  Twitter/Ather Energy

Hero MotoCorp-backed EV maker Ather Energy on Tuesday announced an “assured” buyback scheme, the first of its kind in the domestic EV space, for its 450X e-scooter model, which is set to hit the road by Diwali.

Besides, the Bengaluru-based firm also revised downward the price of its Ather 450 Plus e-scooter by Rs 9,000 to Rs 1,39,990 from Rs 1.49 lakh and said it will expand its scooter leasing options to all its operational cities in the wake of larger acceptance in Chennai and Bengaluru.

Launched in January this year, Ather 450X was scheduled to be delivered earlier but the Covid-19 pandemic not only impacted its business but also forced the company to defer its various timelines.

The EV maker has already announced that the scooter will be available to customers in 10 cities -- Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Coimbatore.

e-scooter buy back

Ather Energy will buy back Ather 450X e-scooter at Rs 85,000, at the end of three years, Tarun Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Ather Energy, said at a virtual press conference.

The high reliability of the product will ensure that the scooters will command a strong value in the resale market, as witnessed by existing owners of Ather 450, as per the company.

“We believe Ather Energy’s electric scooters are going to have a fantastic value for years and will keep improving with new features which we will roll out as over the air upgrades. And to strengthen that assurance we are announcing a resale guarantee,” Mehta said.

He said the company will be opening the window for payment completion to customers who have already pre-booked the scooter and will commence deliveries by Diwali, which falls around mid-November this year.

Under the new lease plan, customers can take home their e-scooter at a minimum down payment of Rs 25,000 or a maximum of Rs 60,000 while the monthly rentals inclusive of routine service and insurance start at Rs 3,900.

Post the success of the lease model in Bengaluru and Chennai, the company will be extending the same for the Ather 450X across all cities. The model allows the customers to access a fully loaded Ather 450X at a lower price point and a nominal monthly fee, Ather Energy said.

Ather Energy has on-boarded electric automotive financing firm Autovert for its leasing model.

However, the customer would have the option of either exiting anytime after one year or retaining or surrendering the vehicle at the end of three years.

Initially due to the lock-down, the supply chain was impacted,” Mehta said, adding that there was also reluctance on the part of the financial partners in trying new models due to the significantly-decreased risk appetite.

In terms of groundwork, opening up of experience centres in the new cities, onboarding new dealer partners and identifying charging infrastructure locations along with new development work have all been taking longer due to the outbreak of the pandemic, he said.

Battery subscription model

On the battery subscription model, which was announced at the launch of the 450X, Mehta said he was giving it a “pause” owing to factors such as reluctance to perennial subscription as well as customers resistance to part-ownership, besides lack of clarity in the recent government policy, among others.

The revised subscription plans, starting at Rs 125 per month, now offer four independent packs that the customer can choose from based on their usage.

Ather Energy said it will continue expanding its charging infrastructure network and would add 135-140 public charging points, Ather Grid, and offer charging at Ather Grid, public charging points, free of cost till March next year.

On the expansion, the company’s chief business officer, Ravneet Phokela, said that the plan is to end the current fiscal with some 15-16 cities and looking at another 20-25 next fiscal.

“For the moment, we are looking at, for the next 18 months, about 35-40 cities,” he added.

He also said the company’s manufacturing facility, with 50,000-unit annual capacity, at Hosur in Tamil Nadu will be functional by December.

Published on October 20, 2020

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