Most conversations around electric vehicles touch upon sustainability and impact, as they are meant to replace gas guzzlers in the future. Staying ahead of the curve and proving the viability of the model, Bangalore-based Ather Energy just published its Impact Report for the year 2019-2020, revealing the other implications of its EV business.
The impact assessment was done by Gurugram-based Aspire Impact, a social enterprise focused on impact leadership and ecosystem development. It awarded Ather Energy with the Gold Leaf accreditation for overall impact management, which is the second-highest category. Notably, Tesla is the only other automotive company in the world to publish an annual impact report.
The Impact Report rates Ather Energy on over 250 metrics across four key parameters: Product, people, planet and policy. It achieved an overall score of 2.5 out of 4, primarily driven by product and policy.
On the product front, Ather has been an early adopter of simulation technologies which has helped it achieve a 5.4x improvement in product reliability, bringing it on par with ICE vehicles. This model has also accelerated the design iteration process and reduced the need for physical prototyping and testing by three times, thus reducing environmental impact.
On the people front, Ather Energy employs more than 30% female staff at its factories, which is way higher than the industry average. Over time, it wants to improve its score on this front and make the company more inclusive.
For the initial years, Ather Energy also focused on developing a supplier ecosystem before ramping up production. Today, it boasts of 99% component localization (excluding cells), staying true to Make in India goals. Its investments helped increase the capacity by 5.6 times.
Ather’s electric scooters covered over 10 million km in 2019-20, which is equivalent to about 7.5 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided against petrol scooters. The figure is now over 40 metric tonnes.
Going forward, Ather wants to cater to 100 cities in India by 2023 with an unannounced upcoming product line, along with 500 fast-charging points and a manufacturing capacity expansion to 5,00,000 units. Other goals include shifting 80% of its power needs to solar energy and setting up an in-house sewage treatment plant.
“The impact of our work through our products for the EV market is clear but building a long-term impact-focused organization is about more than a few founding product decisions. Just like financial metrics, measuring impact has to be made an institutional process, expanding far beyond just the product and covering people, planet, and policy too,” said Tarun Mehta, Co-founder & CEO, Ather Energy.