According to Swapnil Jain, co-founder of Ather Energy, the company is working quickly to locate a third manufacturing facility. The plant will be operational by the end of the next fiscal to meet growing demand.
The startup, which sells two electric scooters, the 450X and 450 Plus, expects to use its entire current production capacity in Hosur (Tamil Nadu), by the next fiscal end.
Although operations began in October, Ather officially inaugurated the second plant in Hosur.
Two separate manufacturing facilities are now available at the company in Hosur for producing batteries and vehicles.
“By next year’s end, we will run out of capacity in Hosur,” Swapnil Jain, co-founder and CTO of Ather Energy said. In a conversation with PTI, Swapnil Jain, co-founder of Ather Energy and CTO, said that the same timeframe is when we’ll be looking into having the new plant.
He said that the company would be closing the facility before the end of this financial year because it takes time to build a plant. However, he did not disclose the exact location of the plant.
When completed, the plant will likely have a production capacity of 10 million units per annum. This would increase Ather Energy’s total annual capacity to more than 145,000 units.
To set up the plant, the company is currently in discussions with several state governments such as Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The company’s installed production capacity has increased to 4.2 million units, from 1.2 lakh units annually before the commissioning of its second plant.
Hosur can also be home to 4.3 lakh batteries per annum.
Jain stated, “This new plant will allow us to further strengthen and lead in the delivery of quality vehicles.”
Jain spoke out about future growth plans and stated that Ather intends to grow its sales network, and improve its product portfolio, as well as exports, over the next two years.
Jain stated that “We are currently working on two platforms” and that the number of products released will depend on how the market develops.
He added that “in the next two to three years, anywhere from 5-10 products should be developed.” It will include both trims of existing and new products.” Ather said that he has no plans to enter the three-wheeler or bike segments anytime soon.
Jain answered a question about exports and said that the company would likely look to start overseas shipments within the next year.
He noted that the product was already built according to international standards. This will allow us to strategically de-risk from one market.
He stated that the company plans to open 350 dealerships (experience centers) in the country’s 95 largest cities by the end of the current fiscal.
Ather expects to have 350 experience centers in 250 cities by the end of the next financial year.
Ather plans to increase its charging infrastructure (Ather Grid), to 1,400 locations by the end of this fiscal year, up from 600 at the moment.
Ather Energy currently holds a market share in the electric scooter segment of approximately 12-13 percent. This is compared to 79,000 units sold in October.
From 5% in October 2021, the electric scooter share in overall electric two-wheeler sales increased to 17% last month.
The company has raised approximately USD 320 million from different investors so far and is open to receiving additional capital.
“We aren’t actively seeking it..but it is very dynamic, and it is always beneficial to have funds to increase faster… so …,” Jain stated.
In 2019, the company announced a capex amount of Rs.650 crore over five years. It has already invested Rs. 320 crores in various initiatives, including the second plant in Hosur.
Concerns about the lack of lithium in the country were raised by him. However, the recycling process would soon be underway which would increase its availability on the market.
He said that although cobalt is rare, everyone is moving towards a lower cobalt content in their chemistries.
Jain stated that India plans to tie up to produce batteries in India. “We haven’t placed a timeframe…all parties are looking at the growth of the market…if it continues growing at the pace it is right now, it will be possible to do it very quickly.”
He said, “Discussions are taking place but it is hard to predict when it will take place,”
Ather Energy, which was founded in May 2012, raised USD 128 million from the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd (NIIFL), Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF), and Hero MotoCorp.
Hero MotoCorp was an early investor in Ather Energy and has been a part of the company’s growth story since 2016.
The company holds a 35 percent stake in the electric-two-wheeler manufacturer.