Ather Energy, an Indian manufacturer of electric two-wheelers, is confident of hitting the five-digit monthly sales mark this year as improved chip supplies help to meet demand, a company official said.
Sales at the startup, backed by Hero MotoCorp, have been climbing every month largely because of ‘pent-up’ demand for its e-scooters, the official said. Ather said it sold 2,389 two-wheelers in July and 6,410 units in August.
“This month we hope to do 9,000 units... And next month, we should be selling 10,000 units,” said Ravneet S. Phokela, chief business officer at Ather. “The sustained growth is there not because demand has gone up. Demand has always been there… Last month, we started solving the supply issues. So we have started catering to the demand which we already have.”
However, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, Ather Energy sold 1,192 units in July and 5,261 units in August. Ather claimed the discrepancy is because the company’s data includes even the last booking done at 5 pm on the last working day of the month, which FADA doesn’t include.
FADA said its figures for August are based on vehicle retail data collated as of September 6 in collaboration with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH). The data was collected from 1,337 out of 1,410 regional transport offices.
Bengaluru-based Ather said its manufacturing facility is being utilised fully now following an improvement in the supply of semiconductors. Phokela said the semiconductor shortage and other supply-chain issues have been resolved and Ather can now churn out more vehicles.
“Our engineers reworked certain subsystems of our products, which ensured we got alternative chips from other suppliers which were readily available,” Phokela said.
New models, plants
According to him, most of the sales in July took place in the last 10 days of the month because production was halted for a couple of weeks for annual maintenance and to facilitate the transition to its new product, the 450X Gen 3.
Phokela said Ather is working on multiple product lines, including an e-scooter below the Ather 450 brand priced from Rs 1.17 lakh to Rs 1.3 lakh and its maiden electric bike by 2024. However, he was categorical that the company will not reduce the prices of its existing models.
“We will not reduce the prices of these (currently selling) products, which are based on the value that they deliver and that is why they (customers) are buying it. The question is whether we will enter new price points, which we definitely will,” Phokela said.
Ather Energy is gearing up to double sales next year, with its second facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, slated to go on stream next month. With the commissioning of the new Rs 650 crore plant, the EV maker expects its annual two-wheeler production capacity to hit 400,000 units when fully operational.
The company is looking for a location for its third facility, from where it plans to produce 1 million units per annum.
“If there wasn’t any sustained growth, we wouldn’t have gone for capacity expansion. As we are about to open our second facility, we will have an installed capacity of 4 lakh units. And we hope to sell 4 lakh units per annum by FY24. We aim to sell 1.4 million units in the long term and are building capacity for that,” Phokela added.
Ather Energy plans to double its retail network to 100 cities with 150 centres by March 2023. Plans are afoot to reach 200 cities by FY24.Hero Electric Vehicles topped electric two-wheeler sales in August with over 10,000 units sold, according to FADA. It was followed by Okinawa Autotech (8,490 units), Ampere Vehicles (6,327) and Ather.