Electric vehicle maker Ather Energy’s revenue for the year ended March jumped over five times to Rs 408 crore from Rs 79 crore in FY21, but its losses increased 47% on year at Rs 344 crore.
This despite the company was able to service only 50% of the orders received during the year due to severe constraints regarding supply of some critical components, Ather said in its report.
The top-end Ather 450X model constituted around 81% of the total units sold and the remaining 19% were Ather 450 Plus model, suggesting good traction amongst the premium scooter buyers.
The EV industry has been going through a component shortage crisis as demand for battery cells and chipsets skyrocketed during the pandemic.
Ather’s operating expense more than doubled to Rs 718 crore for the year, which largely consists of costs of materials and employee benefit.
The company said in the financials that it is in the process of increasing production capacity at its Hosur facility to 400,000 vehicles per year from 120,000 vehicles by setting up another manufacturing plant in its vicinity.
“With this expansion, the facility is all set to serve as the company’s national manufacturing hub catering to demand from across the country for the foreseeable future,” it said. “Apart from EV manufacturing, the facility also focuses on lithium-ion battery manufacturing.”
Ather had in May raised $128 million in a funding round led by National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), the Indian government’s sovereign wealth fund, and existing investor Hero MotoCorp.
The Bengaluru-based EV maker expanded from nine retail stores in nine cities last year to 34 stores in 28 cities at the end of FY22. The geographical spread of the network comprises 51% in the South, followed by 21% in the West, 20% in the North and 9% in the East of India. The company said it moved away from the company-owned store model to a dealership model to scale its sales and service network.
“These cities have a healthy mix of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with an extremely encouraging response from smaller towns,” the company said. “The penetration of EV scooters as a percentage of population is significantly higher in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as compared to the big metros. Big cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai now have multiple Ather Experience Centers testifying the depth in demand in these cities.”
Ather said it has also set up 203 fast charging points this year, taking the total number of charging points to over 351 across 28 states.
The company said it launched the second generation of fast charging systems this year. The new system increases charging speed by 50% over the 1st generation, with a higher degree of reliability.
The penetration of EV scooters in the overall scooter industry reached 11% in Q4 FY22 with March 2022 touching 12.5% penetration. This, the company said, is faster than any of the industry predictions.
“However, the outlook on the supply side continues to be challenging with several unpredictable factors,” Ather said of its outlook. “Shortage of battery cells and chips are two of the major factors that continue to be a concern for the near future. Recently, some incidents of EV two-wheelers from other brands having battery and/or other product design and quality related issues were reported, leading to recall of products in some cases by the OEMs.”
Ather’s competitor Ola Electric and other manufacturers like Okinawa and Pure EV have seen its scooters catch fire since March this year, increasing scrutiny in the burgeoning EV two-wheeler industry.
In May, Ather was the only two-wheeler EV maker among the top five manufacturers to see its sales rise as the recent fires have dampened the demand for electric scooters.