Electric two-wheeler startup Ather Energy today said it plans to invest Rs 130 crore in the next four years to set up charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) across major cities in the country.
The Bengaluru-based firm, which is backed by investors like Hero MotoCorp, Tiger Global, and Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, was founded in 2013 by IIT graduates Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain.
Last month, Ather started installation of 'smart' charging stations across Bengaluru.
"We already have 17 points across 13 locations. In a month's time, this will be scaled up in 30 locations with 40 points...By 2020, we hope to be present across 12 cities and in next 4 years, be there across 30 cities with 6,500 points," Mehta told PTI.
He added that Ather plans to put up anywhere between 150-300 points in one year time in each target city.
"Each point requires an investment of about Rs one lakh... We plan to invest around Rs 130 crore in the next four years for setting up the infrastructure," he said.
The company's own electric scooter - S340 - is expected to be launched soon and making charging infrastructure readily available will help Ather target more buyers.
"EV makers expect the infrastructure to come up first, while infrastructure players seek more vehicles to be deployed to generate the demand. It was a chicken and egg situation, which we seek to solve," he said.
Mehta explained that the charging infrastructure is being set up in prominent locations like cafes, restaurants and malls with the owners offering the space on a pro bono basis. The company would also look at a revenue-sharing arrangement with the space owners in the future.
The charging points will be able to charge two-wheelers and cars like Mahindra's Reva.
"In the first six months, charging will be free of cost for users. After that, they will have to pay. We expect each point of these points to become profitable in 2 years of operations," he said adding that the company could also explore de-coupling its vehicle business from the charging infrastructure business in the coming time.
The company has invested Rs 7 crore so far in testing and installation of Ather grid, he said.
The government's vision is to enable 100 per cent EVs for public mobility and 40 per cent for personal mobility by 2030. A number of auto companies including the likes of Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and even luxury brands like BMW are expected to line up EVs on Indian roads in the coming years.