Long charging times are one of the most significant drawbacks of electric vehicles, but which electric vehicles get you back on the road fastest? Can you guess…? Ather is building the best scooter in the country and not just a good-enough electric scooter. A scooter that can out-accelerate its petrol counterparts, charges up over a lunch break, has a Smart dashboard, and has an immortal battery pack.
An Electric Scooter
For four years, Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain slogged for hours in their dorm rooms, working on prototypes of devices ranging from clean combustion engines to efficient battery packs. By the time they graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) in 2012, their dream of building an e-bike had slowly begun taking shape.
“We discovered that this was a dying industry,” 25-year-old Mehta told Quartz. “People weren’t buying electric two-wheelers anymore as they were severely disappointed by the product. The scooters would take eight hours to charge and came with a top speed of 25km/hr—people almost run at that speed!”
It seemed the time was right to enter the industry as others were slowly scaling down their production and even planning on leaving the market. So, in April 2013, with virtually no financial capital at their disposal, Mehta and Jain quit their corporate jobs and began building Ather Energy. The plan was to design prototypes of electric two-wheelers that could potentially compete with the speed and durability of the conventional scooters that the country had fallen in love with.
Two years later, the duo has created an e-scooter—the S340—whose battery charges within an hour. “It is faster than your mobile charging time,” said Mehta.
Over the last few months, this promising technology has also attracted funding from institutional investors, as well as prominent entrepreneurs, including the founders of Flipkart—Sachin and Binny Bansal. According to the Times of India, the share that scooters take in India’s two-wheel vehicle market grew 25 percent from 2013 to 2014, compared to just 14 percent from 2007 to 2008.
For a while, sales of scooters dipped as more riders turned to motorcycles, but now they are enjoying a revival because they are easier to navigate in heavy traffic and more fuel-efficient.
Furthermore, the Indian government also announced plans last year to subsidize electric vehicles, which should benefit Ather as well as rivals like Electrotherm and Hero Electric. (Source: qz)
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