Bengaluru headquartered smart electric vehicle (EV) maker Ather Energy said it has raised Rs 84 crore ($11.2 million as per current exchange rates) from returning investor Hero MotoCorp in an ongoing Series C funding round.
The firm raised Rs 355 crore in debt and equity in the first tranche of the same round, led by Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, in May 2019.
The Indian automaker made its first investment in Ather in 2016, when it infused Rs 205 crore in the firm’s Series B funding round for a 32.31% stake. Including the current round, Hero MotoCorp has invested Rs 289 crore in the startup.
The fresh capital will be used to fuel the firm’s expansion plans, according to a statement. The firm looks to launch its flagship product Ather 450X in Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai by October 2020, and scale the delivery of its bike to 20 cities by the end of 2021, it added.
“We are in a high growth phase of our journey, and while the last few months have been challenging, we have not altered our expansion plans. Our geographic expansion and the rollout schedule for the Ather 450X are on track, and we will be using these funds to invest in our facilities to meet the demand we have seen for the Ather 450X across the country,” Tarun Mehta, CEO of Ather, said. The company launched the Ather 450X model earlier this year.
Ather, founded by Mehta and Swapnil Jain in 2013, is set to open a manufacturing facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, to produce one lakh units of Ather 450X annually, with a maximum capacity of 50 lakh units per year, at an investment of $89 million. Additionally, it will set up charging points across the country over the next five years as part of its public EV charging network Ather Grid. The company has also introduced new financing and ownership models for the vehicles, including leasing programmes.
“In addition to our efforts of developing a robust external ecosystem for EVs, we are also aggressively working on our internal EV programme. Our aim is to provide accessible electric mobility to customers across the globe. Sustainability and a clean, green environment remain central to our vision to be the future of mobility,” Rajat Bhargava, head of emerging business unit, global business and strategy at Hero MotoCorp, said in the statement.
The startup has stiff competition in the electric two-wheeler segment as Ola Electric, the EV arm of the Bengaluru based ride hailing app, acquired Dutch electric scooter manufacturer Etergo in May this year and announced launching the product by 2021. Hero Electric Vehicles, part of the Naveen Munjal-led Hero Eco Group, announced new models at the Auto Expo earlier this year.