The former Tesla India Policy Manager said he will join Ather Energy as Vice President

Tesla’s former India policy chief is joining domestic electric scooter company Ather, one of the most heavily funded startups in the sector attracting record investment.

Manuj Khurana, who left his post as head of policy and business development at Tesla in June, will start next week at the company in south Bangalore, a person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News. Khurana will take up the position of vice president, although his role there is not yet clear, said the person, who refused to be disclosed as the matter is not public.

Ather, which competes with local rivals including Ola Electric, this year raised $128 million (about Rs. 1,050 crore) from investors including Hero Moto, and India’s National Investment & Infrastructure Fund. It is one of the few players vying for a slice of the market that is expected to cross $150 billion (roughly Rs. 12,33,900 crore) by the end of the decade – about 400 times its current size.

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

Indian consumers are expected to flock to electric vehicles as the nation battles some of the worst pollution in the world. Venture capital and private equity funding in Indian power companies are on track to cross $1 billion (about Rs. 8,225 crore) for the first time in 2022 as sales pick up, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Khurana joined Tesla in March 2021. The American electric car manufacturer, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has faced many challenges in India regarding import duty and local industry. It wants lower tariffs in India to test the market by selling cheaper imported electric cars before committing to production.

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