Intelligent scooter manufacturer Ather Energy, which sells the Ather 450 electric scooters, has been developing smart vehicles since 2013.
It recently signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a 400,000 sq ft manufacturing plant for electrical vehicles in Hosur at an estimated investment of $89 million.
Ather’s biggest advantage lies in its product development approach. The startup creates software based API( application program interface) driven platforms as the backbone of the vehicles. This allows for updates and additional features to be added seamlessly and cuts down deployment time.
The Bengaluru-based startup, founded by IIT graduates Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, began 2020 with a teaser for its new scooter, the Ather 450X, on January 7.
The 450X comes with new ride modes and six OTA (over the air) upgrades. Ather claims the new scooter will also be equipped with better performance, better connectivity and more intelligent features. The company will utilise data collected from over 5.5 million kms ridden by its users, to boost the scooter’s performance.
“We had to rethink our approach to connectivity for the vehicle. The first step was to ensure that the scooter was built from a platform perspective and not from a features perspective,” Swapnil Jain, co-founder, Ather Energy said.
The platform based approach allows for the creation of multiple applications and features that will be added to the vehicle. The scooter is also enabled with 50 IoT (internet of things) sensors that relay critical data back to the cloud. This data helps Ather’s team to find the most apt riding metrics to take its electric vehicle game forward.
The company has raised a total funding amount of $91 million with the most recent series C round in May 2019, which was led by Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal. In 2016, it raised a series B round of $29 million from Hero Motocorp, through which the two wheeler giant gained a 32.31% stake in the electric vehicle maker.
In a recent interview with TechCircle, Jain spoke about Ather’s software development strategy, competition from established automotive giants and new data driven features expected in the newer models.