Its no secret how Indian cities are topping the list of being most polluted cities. From decreasing quality of air to breathe, to increasing time for crossing even a 5km stretch during peak hours. Air pollution and Traffic congestion are the two major problems that most of the Indian cities are facing.
India is a country where people care more for mileage than the amount of carbon footprint that particular vehicle is leaving behind. For those who can afford a car, their interests lie in mileage, design, features, and branding. Hence, more people opt for heavy polluting diesel variants than the petrol variants. For those who can’t afford would definitely own a two wheeler and India actually has a massive population that uses two-wheelers.
Hybrid cars are yet to take off in India. The Tesla’s and the Toyota Prius is nowhere to be found. Although there are electric two wheelers available in India, but they lack design, battery longevity as well sufficient power.
Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, classmates from Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai. They looked at selling batteries, before doing R&D into electric vehicles. Mehta says, they became aware that Indian customers preferred a finished and well-polished product rather than DIY solution.
Inspired by Tesla’s high-end approach by not compromising on design or aesthetics, Ather Energy is developing a smart scooter called the Ather-S340.
Tarun promises that the Ather S340 will not feel like a step down from the common petrol scooters. Ather’s smart scooter would deliver a top speed of 75kmph, and will do 0-60kmph in 11 seconds with recharge time to about 90% in half hour. The lithium-ion battery will have a life-cycle of 50,000 kilometres, with a lifespan of five to six years. The scooter will be priced under Rs. 1,00,000, with a formal price announcement. He says, “We don’t let the battery charge up to 100 percent, otherwise you will just damage the battery for an extra 2-3 kilometres”
On asking about why the name Ather? Tarun says, “We always wanted to produce clean energy, hence the name, ‘Ather Energy,’. Ather refers to its Greek origins, “aether” or the cleanest air possible, which the Greek gods would have breathed. Ather currently employees more than 80 people and is located in Bangalore.
With the recent funding from Flipkart and Tiger Global and positive test runs, Ather S340 is planned for launch in Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi by early 2016.