Indian electric scooter startup Ather raises $51 million in fresh funding round

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Electric scooter maker Ather Energy raised $51 million in a fresh round of funding, the startup said on Tuesday, at a time when rising pollution levels have prompted the Indian government to push for more electric vehicles on the road.

Earlier this month, the government’s leading think tank proposed electrifying most motorbikes and scooters within the next six to eight years, a source with direct knowledge of the matter had told Reuters.

Ather, which raised the fresh round of funding from existing backers Hero MotoCorp, Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal and hedge fund and investment firm Tiger Global Management, will use the money to scale itself up, Chief Executive Officer Tarun Mehta said in an interview.

“The government intent towards electrification has changed the ecosystem from the supplier perspective,” Mehta said.

Around 20 million motorbikes and scooters are sold in India annually, clogging roads in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru with some of the world’s worst traffic and highest levels of pollution.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has set a target of electric vehicles making up 30% of new sales of cars and two-wheelers by 2030, from less than 1% currently.

Other than Ather, Hero Electric, Twenty Two Motors and Okinawa currently sell electric scooters in the country.

Ather opened pre-orders for its flagship scooters last June. The company plans to hit a production capacity of 20,000 scooters annually by early 2020, CEO Mehta said.

A source close to the matter said the latest funding brought Ather’s valuation to around $400 million. Mehta declined to comment on valuation.

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