two-wheeler ev companies global: Premium Indian two-wheeler EV companies eye global foray for growth

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Premium Indian electric two-wheeler makers are accelerating their expansion into international markets in search of growth, even as domestic sales recover from reduced FAME II subsidies, as they look to capitalize on a rapidly growing market for electric vehicles.

Legacy two-wheeler maker TVS Motor-backed Ultraviolette, which makes the performance electric bike F77, is set to enter European markets like Spain, Germany, Italy, and France. On the other hand, Hero MotoCorp-backed Ather Energy, which currently makes two models of its 450 series of electric scooters, started selling its vehicles in neighbouring Nepal earlier this month.

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The international expansion comes as the industry saw a 25% decrease in subsidies for electric two wheelers impacting sales earlier this year though it eventually recovered. At the same time, investors continued to put money into Indian EV makers – Ather raised Rs 900 crore ($108.27 million) in September, while rival Ola Electric secured a total of $384 million in a debt and equity round.

Also read | Ather Energy’s operating revenue hits Rs 1,783 crore

Senior executives at both firms said expansion into international markets had always been on the cards.

For Ather, Nepal made the most sense as the first international market due to the similarity in regulations, proximity, and its similarity in geography and culture, said chief business officer Ravneet S. Phokela. The Ather 450X scooter is retailing from 3.8 lakh Nepalese rupees (2.37 lakhs Indian Rupees) to upwards of 4.2 lakh Nepalese Rupees (2.62 lakh Indian Rupees).

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Ultraviolette’s chief executive Narayan Subramaniam said the company had developed the F77 keeping European specifications in mind right from the start. The F77 Recon bike will be retailing between 9,000 euros (Rs 8.19 lakhs) and 11,000 euros (Rs 10.01 lakhs) in the European Union and will be available from the second half of 2024.Footprint plans

Ather plans to open 7-10 more stores across Nepal over the next three quarters, to add to the first one in capital Kathmandu. The firm is working with Nepalese conglomerate Vaidya Group to distribute and sell its vehicles.

Ather is also working on building a charging grid in Nepal, with two charging stations already up in Kathmandu, and another eight set to come up in the next month-and-a-half. “We want to cover the network of towns across Nepal with the grid, and are open to partnering with other firms to scale up the grid,” Phokela told ET.

The hilly terrain in Nepal lends itself to powerful vehicles like the TVS NTorq, and that is the need that Ather wants to exploit, he says. “I think the Nepalese EV market is where India was four years ago, filled with cheap and low-quality Chinese imports. As it matures, we want to be there when customers ask, “can I have a good electric scooter?” Phokela said.

Ultraviolette will focus on countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, and France, where a strong propensity towards two wheelers exists, Subramaniam said. The firm is in discussions with distributors in the region.

Ultraviolette will be competing with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles made by brands like Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki, as well as American electric bike maker Zero Motorcycles.

“Beyond the capital cities, we are also looking at data to decide which other cities we want to expand to. For instance, eastern Spanish cities like Barcelona and Valencia also have a strong bike riding culture,” he added.

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