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Ola Electric and Ather Energy's e-scooter prices to include the charger

The two companies are complying with a direction from the Department of Heavy Industries, which said failure to do so could result in the suspension of the subsidies they receive on each scooter

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Surajeet Das Gupta New Delhi

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Ola Electric and Ather Energy will incorporate the charger price for their e-scooters within the ex-factory price and not bill it separately as an add-on as they did earlier.

The two companies are complying with a direction from the Department of Heavy Industries, which said failure to do so could result in the suspension of the subsidies they receive on each scooter.

Other electric scooter companies, including TVS, are expected to follow suit, although TVS did not respond to a query.    

To avail of the FAME 2 subsidy, the maximum ex-factory price needs to be no more than Rs ,. However, according to a whistleblower's complaint, electric scooter companies were billing the charger (prices ranged from Rs 9,450 to Rs 19,000) and software separately to remain within the price. If these are added, the ex-factory price will shoot up to Rs 1,53,000-Rs 1,95,000.

This practice violated the rules and disqualified them from the subsidies. All e-scooter companies have applied for clearance from the government to avail themselves of the FAME 2 subsidy for another year starting from April 1. Many say that they have complied with the direction.

Ola Electric executives confirmed that they have already done so. They say they provide a high-end charger (which charges to full capacity ranging from 4.5 hours to 6.5 hours depending on the model) within the overall on-road price.  

Ola Electric has also reduced the on-road price of the Ola S1 Pro from Rs 1,39,000 to Rs 1,24,000, which will help it comply with the Rs 1,50,000 cap. The price of the Ola S1 is Rs 1,14,000.

Ather launched the 450X this month and has two new configurations. The new base model will be available at an ex-showroom price in Delhi of Rs 98,183, including a slow charger.

Ather's higher model, the 450X, is now available at an ex-showroom price in Delhi of Rs 128,443, including a fast charger and the software.

Sohinder Gill, president, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, says that the Department of Heavy Industries stopped subsidies to Ather, TVS and Ola over the charger and software issue in January.  

Those who have complained about it say there was a strong logic behind the Rs 150,000 ex-factory price cap. It was kept intact even in the FAME 2 revision done on June 11, 2021, so that the on-road price, without the subsidy, does not go beyond Rs 185,000 or so.

An E2W can be subsidised up to a maximum of Rs 60,000, bringing its on-road price down to around Rs 125,000. There is a similar FAME 2 cap of Rs 15 lakh on electric passenger cars.

However, electric scooter makers disagree with the logic and contend they are on a strong wicket legally. They argue that the charger is not included under the homologation rules for e-scooters and shouldn't be included in the ex-factory price.

Homologation refers to certification that the vehicle parts are roadworthy.

Others argue that a basic charger within the ex-factory price is possible, but its inclusion would compromise the customer experience, affecting e-scooter adoption.

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First Published: Apr 24 2023 | 11:43 AM IST

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