OLA PLANS TO HAVE 1 MILLION EVs ON ITS PLATFORM BY 2021
Ride-hailing firm to launch 10,000 electric rickshaws by end of 2018-19 in first phase
Ride-hailing firm Ola has aligned itself with investor SoftBank’s dream of getting a million electric vehicles (EVs) on Indian roads, at a time when the company is looking to edge out rival Uber.
SoftBank Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son had said in December 2016 that he was willing to “gift” one million electric vehicles to India through his investment in Ola.
SoftBank is the leading investor in both Uber and Ola and is said to be pushing for a potential merger of the two.
Ola on Monday announced ‘Mission: Electric’, a project to put a million electric vehicles on India’s roads by 2021. In the first phase, the Bengalurubased company will launch 10,000 electric rickshaws in the four metros by the end of 201819. It has been running a pilot for electric mobility in Nagpur since May 2017.
“We are in talks with state and municipal governments, original equipment manufacturers and electric vehicle innovators globally. Ola is willing to work with any city committed to sustainable mobility solutions,” a company spokesperson said.
BusinessStandard reported in January that Ola had hired former Bajaj Auto executive Chinam Netaji Patro as its senior director for electric vehicles, with a plan to develop electric auto rickshaws. In March, Ola also roped in formerBMWexecutive Anand Shah to head its new initiatives, including its electric vehicle division.
Ola was working on developing technologies for electric auto rickshaws, and while it could not get into manufacturing, the company is trying be an integrator to hasten development in the space, sources said. “Three-wheelers are a vital means of transportation and a source of livelihood for millions. It also represents an immediate opportunity to improve outcomes for all stakeholders while reducing pollution across towns and cities,” Ola co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement on Monday.
In May last year, Ola had kicked off its first electric mobility pilot in Nagpur with help from the government and manufacturers such as Mahindra Electric. While insiders said the experiment failed due to the high cost of electric vehicles and lack of charging infrastructure, it pushed the company to focus more on electric three-wheelers for the time being. Ola said the pilot clocked 4 million kilometres.
Bhavish Aggarwal-led Ola has been running a pilot for electric mobility in Nagpur since May 2017