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Tesla’s Former Indian Policy Chief To Join E-Scooter Startup Ather Energy

Tesla’s former chief of policy for India joins homegrown startup Ather Energy, one of the best-funded young companies in an industry that is attracting record investment.

The former chief of policy of Tesla Inc. joins homegrown startup Ather Energy Pvt, one of the best-funded fledgling companies in an industry attracting record investment.

Manuj Khurana, who resigned as local head of policy and business development at Tesla in June, will start next week at the company in Bangalore’s southern tech hub, a person knowledgeable about the matter told Bloomberg News. Khurana will join as vice president, although his specific role there is unclear, the person said, refusing to be named as the matter is not public.

Ather, which competes with local rivals including Ola Electric, raised $128 million this year from investors including Hero MotoCorp Ltd. and the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund of India. It is one of several players competing for a share of a market projected to exceed $150 billion by the end of the decade — roughly 400 times its current size.

Representatives of the startup did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Indian consumers are expected to be drawn to electric vehicles as the country fights some of the world’s worst pollution. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, venture capital and private equity financing in Indian electric mobility companies is on track to exceed $1 billion for the first time by 2022 as sales steadily climb.

Khurana joined Tesla in March 2021. The US electric car maker, run by billionaire Elon Musk, has faced a slew of challenges in India in terms of import taxes and a local factory. It aims to lower tariffs in India so it can test the market by selling cheaper imported electric vehicles before committing to its own production base.

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