PHOTO CAPTION: Illustration of Ather Electric e-scooter being developed in India for the Indian market.

Startup Aether Energy Developing eScooter for Indian Market

Chennai, India-based startup Ather Energy asked electric scooter owners in India what pived them most about their machines. Their answers formed the basis for a new, more powerful and reliable escooter.

Published: 02-Jan-2015

The sale of electric motorbikes in India has crashed from a high of 100,000 units in 2009 to just 20,000 in 2013. So, why would Chennai, India-based startup Aether Energy choose to enter the market, investing their time, energy and $1 million in seed funding from Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal?

In classic startup fashion, Aether co-founders Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, believe they can build a superior machine, one that is not only better than the lead battery-based models currently available, but one that is competitive with existing gas models.

In an interview with The Hindu, Mehta explains...
“Our intention is to build a zero compromise electric bike that will compete with the best petrol scooters in the market. The electric scooters that have so far been sold here have all been puny and have been marketed in the space in between a cycle and the low-end motor cycle. But we believe there is a market for a really well engineered product.”

The founders did their research first, asking electric scooter owners what they disliked most about their machines and the most common complaint was battery failure: the lead-acid packs simply didn't last or produce enough power for traffic conditions in India. Aether's answer was to take their cue from Tesla (and AC Propulsion before them) and adapt cylindrical lithium-ion laptop batteries. The company has filed for a patent their battery pack.

The company, which includes some 17 young engineers from ITT-Madras, hopes to have their scooter ready for sales in late 2015 or early 2016.

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