Ather Energy gives us a tour of their new production plant

Written by Parichay Malvankar

If you’re considering to buy an electric two-wheeler here in India, you have to know what the benchmark is. And if you’re unaware, in the EV scooter space, the benchmark is the Ather 450X. Ather Energy invited us to have a look at their brand new production facility at Hosur, in Tamil Nadu and we were impressed looking at how the brand has evolved over these years. The brand started its journey with the Ather 450 & 340 electric scooters back in 2018 and noticed a phenomenal response from the market. Back in the day, acceptance for a premium electric scooter was unheard of, and that is what drives Ather in trying to offer the best electric mobility to customers rather than a cheap alternative.

The brand has a strong focus on collecting data points straight from sourcing parts from vendors to customers riding their scooters on a daily basis, which helps them evolve and improve the product for the future. What impressed us further was that Ather procures 90% of the parts from India and only a small share like the cells for the batteries are being imported. Ather’s scooters are assembled in India end to end. For all the parts sourced, Ather does a quality check before they are fit on the scooter. If at all there is a part which doesn’t meet the quality or specification; that entire batch is pulled out for scrutiny. This highlights how Ather wants to take baby steps in ramping up their production, but want to do it right so that their customers enjoy a hassle free ownership experience.

Ather Energy opened its doors to us for a visit to the brand’s latest manufacturing facility which commenced operations from 2nd January 2021. The 123,000 square feet Mega-Factory is located in Hosur, Tamil Nadu and since the beginning of operations, the brand started deliveries to new cities where the brand is now leaving its Carbon-Free footprints such as Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad along with 21 planned cities which will receive deliveries of the 100% electric scooter in a phased manner.

Make In India Vision

Ather Energy brings 90% localisation including the Battery Pack making the Ather 450x and the Ather 450 Plus electric scooters true Made in India products. Ather designs its electric scooters are in Bengaluru and many of the supplier base required for production are located in Tamil Nadu making Hosur the ideal place for the Mega-Factory. Apart from the Make In India vision, Ather also receives support from the government of Tamil Nadu under its EV Policy. The new factory is not just making eco-friendly scooters but also creating job opportunities in the region. As part of the initiative, Ather will be training more than 4,000 employees in the EV sector over the next 5 years.

Vehicle Production Capacity

Annually, Ather Energy has the capacity to produce 110,000 units to cater to the demand of Ather 450x and Ather 450 Plus from markets across the country. The brand has already started distribution and presence in 27 cities across 15 states in India. Cities include Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Coimbatore, Calicut, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Kochi,  Kolkata, Mysore, Hubli, Jaipur, Indore, Panaji, Bhubaneshwar, Surat, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Nasik, Nagpur, Noida, Lucknow, and Siliguri). Ather Energy is likely to expand to 40 cities by the end of 2021.

Battery Production Capacity

Ather Energy also possesses the capacity of producing 120,000 battery packs in a year. The brand also boasts to be the only OEM to manufacture its own battery packs and lithium-ion battery manufacturing is one of the key areas of focus for Ather Energy. Ather Energy has filed 13 patents on the design and manufacturing of Lithium-Ion batteries and currently employs a 2.9 kWh battery on the Ather 450X which uses 21700 type li-ion cells giving the battery a high energy density, high performance and high charge-discharge rates enabling fast charging capacity. The brand also makes sure that all E-wastes are handled by Authorized Recyclers.