Bengaluru-based electric vehicle (EV) startup Ather Energy today launched its experience store and charging infrastructure, AtherGrid, for EVs. The charging stations are open to all EVs, and not just Ather vehicles. The experience store is located on 100 feet road at Indiranagar in the city.
Founded in 2013 by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, both IIT Madras alumni, the automotive startup has raised funding from Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, and from Tiger Global. The company had unveiled its vehicle S349 at the Surge Conference in Bengaluru in 2016. The Ather-S340 is a connected vehicle powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, and has a digital touchscreen dashboard, a light-weight aluminium chassis, and offers a top speed of 75 kmph.
Designed from scratch by Ather, the vehicle will also be entirely manufactured in India. The smart dashboard will enable users to create personalised profiles, choose riding modes, and set other ride preferences. Being one of the first connected vehicles in the country, all vehicle data will be constantly logged and monitored, enabling on-board diagnostics and notifications for any maintenance.
While the company had unveiled the vehicle two years back, it has been silent till today. It has only now begun installation of the intelligence and connected charging stations across Bengaluru. “There will be about 30 charging points to be set up in the coming weeks,” said Swapnil.
The team is looking to have close to 60 charging points within the city by the end of the year. Ather is also looking at a charging station within 4 km driving distance from any point in the city. AtherGrid will focus on catering to both, four-wheelers and two-wheelers.
“There is an accessibility to the cloud, which helps the user find the new arch point available and navigate the vehicle to the nearest available charging point,” says Tarun at the launch of the experience space and AtherGrid.
He added that the team is looking at building more awareness, and get more people to use EVs. Ather is yet to get the vehicles in stores.
Ather counts Pune-based Tork Motors as competition, where 21 engineers are working to design the sixth iteration of a bike. Ather and Tork have signed more than 150 vendors – around Bengaluru, Chennai, and Pune ‑ to build their bikes. Coimbatore-based Amphere is also looking to launch electric vehicles in the country.
Globally, Tesla Inc works with over 35 suppliers for its three products - among them the long-range sports car Roadster. Such is the brand of the company that the recently-announced Model 3 has received more than 5,00,000 bookings even when its production is still 18 months away.