Ather Energy, one of the few hardware startups in the entrepreneurial landscape in India, has just launched the S340 Scooter for the Indian market. The company is based out of Bengaluru and started by two IIT’ians – Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain. They’ve received funding from Tiger Global and Sachin & Binny Bansal (of the Flipkart fame). Their claim to fame of the S340 scooter is the fact that it’s India’s first Electric Smart Scooter.
The S340 is powered by a battery which should give you a 60-kilometer range on a single charge, good for a day out in city driving. The quick charge option allows the battery to gain 80% charge in just 50 minutes in fast-charge mode. The company pegs the batteries lifetime of around 50,000 kilometers of travel.
What makes the scooter smart is the Linux-based touch-screen dashboard with maps for onboard navigation and options to configure the vehicle. The onboard computer also sends your driving data to their cloud servers to help personalise scooter. You will be able to access insights about your daily rides, send navigation routes and personalise the scooter via their mobile application which is connected to the scooter. Ather Energy also plans to use your ride statistics to help deliver customised vehicle upgrades directly to the scooter via over the air upgrades.
Ather Energy plans to roll out the vehicle to the market by the end of this year. Each one of the scooters will be made in India in a manufacturing unit set up in Bengaluru. You’ll be able to request for test drive requests and purchases online with the vehicle delivered at your doorstep when sales start. Pre-orders for Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai will start in the next few months.
To help you keep the scooter charged, they’re also planning on setting up charging infrastructure in partnership with the government and enterprises. I for one am interested to see how much the S340 would cost and whether the price Ather launches would attract customers to this electric alternate. We’ve earlier seen electric cars from Reva (now Mahindra e2o), but the “premium” price of the tiny car (starting at around 5 lacs) and the prohibitive cost of battery maintenance kept it away from the reach of most people. I strongly feel the government should be promoting electric vehicles in the city by giving companies tax or other subsidies in order to bring down prices of EV’s to help increase their reach and in turn reduce pollution levels in cities.
Get more information about the company and their product over at their site www.atherenergy.com.