Ather CEO Tarun Mehta shares insights on electric motorcycle | Autocar Professional

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Company officials have recently shared that Ather is working on an electric motorcycle. However, very little is known about what kind of motorcycle this will be, so we asked Ather Co-founder and CEO Tarun Mehta what to expect at the company’s recent Community Day event in Bengaluru.

 

Ather electric bike details

At the outset, Mehta gives us an idea of what kind of motorcycle Ather will build. He acknowledges that there are largely two types of motorcycle buyers. First there’s those who buy purely for the performance or freedom you can get from a motorcycle and such products need a very large battery, which creates multiple complications including packaging, weight and cost. These complications are why no one has strongly broken into this space, even overseas.

However, Mehta says that there is a different kind of customer that Ather will be targeting. This customer buys a motorcycle for more operational reasons. Such customers typically appreciate the stability that comes from larger wheels compared with a scooter. Interestingly, he also mentioned that such customers (in the ICE space) expect lower upfront costs and reduced running costs when compared with a scooter. 

This type of motorcycle is essentially a 110-150cc commuter machine, and Mehta believes that this space can be disrupted by the EV industry. He goes on to say that he thinks EVs have all the ingredients to offer a better riding experience and lower costs.

Mehta states that the big question to answer is range and what the right battery size would be for the market to be happy enough to make the transition. He admits that this is such a highly loaded question that the industry at large has not been keen to address it yet. With a smile, he said “someone has got to at some point.” 

Since these are not going to be high power machines, Mehta tells us that most of the core technology that has been developed for the scooters can be carried forward. “A motorcycle like this could have between 12-15kW of power and (electric) scooters are within striking distance.”

Interestingly, he also stated that he doesn’t believe that it is a matter of waiting for better battery chemistries to hit the market and that current technologies are sufficient to make such a product. 

So how long will all this take? Mehta says it’s a matter of someone experimenting with it at scale and Ather probably won’t be doing that this year as the new Rizta is the immediate focus. However, he also said that the company will continue to work on the motorcycle in the background even though the launch timelines are not clear yet. 

     

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