An Ather electric bike doesn’t make sense yet, says Tarun Mehta

The launch of the Ather electric bike (Ather motorcycle) could be farther than previously thought. Tarun Mehta, Co-Founder and CEO, Ather Energy, has just told that launching an electric bike hasn’t made sense for the company yet.

People ride motorcycles (referring to entry-level bikes) because they are cheaper to buy and run than scooters, but with electric scooters, that’s not the case, Mehta explained. He hasn’t understood the need that an electric bike can solve, but at some point, he’d love to launch one, Mehta said. We reckon that’d happen when it’s feasible to make a model that can easily allow inter-city travel of at least 300 km. That’s what Mehta hinted talking to us in January 2020. The following Q/A was at the unveil of the Ather 450X:

EVW: Will there be an Ather electric bike?

Tarun Mehta: We are a scooter company but we will do motorbikes too in a few years. But it will not be in the immediate future as we don’t even have a motorcycle concept for demo. Our focus right now is exclusively on the 450 product line.

EVW: What range do you think is suitable for an Ather electric bike?

Tarun Mehta: I think a good electric bike should have a range of 300 km. If it is less than that, it will be intended for only city use. I could be wrong and I haven’t spent enough time in that sector. But my thought is I want to be able to get to another city and then stop for fast-charging.

Mehta told in September 2020 that the company has stopped looking at an Ather electric bike for the time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bangalore-based startup partly owned by Hero Motocorp won’t work on developing new products, including the possible Ather electric bike, anytime soon. The focus is on the current products (Ather 450 Series) and increasing its reach in India. Late last year, Ather Energy started selling the Ather 450X, the Ather 450 successor with better performance, faster charging, and new features, and the Ather 450 Plus, its low-cost variant.

Ather Energy is making both 450X and 450 Plus at its new plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. At the same time, it is expanding their availability to new cities. There’s no plan to launch a cheaper scooter either right now, Mehta confirmed to EVW:

EVW: Is there a low-cost scooter model that Ather is working on?

Tarun Mehta: No, we are not going to do that. The 450 stands for a great experience and we don’t want to dilute that. We have been able to reduce the price for 450X by introducing the subscription plan, which brings down the upfront payment. But we don’t want to do a stripped-down version of this scooter with a smaller battery. There are a lot of other players who will do a fantastic job at it. We want to focus on things that we do well which is to offer a fantastic and great experience for our customers.