With electric cabs, Ola plans to leverage its scale to bring out safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly ‘Tesla’-like version of cab-hailing in the market.
Heads Up! What You’ll Read Below
- Rise of Cab Aggregation
- Change in Public Transport Preferences
- Ola’s Foray into Electric Vehicle Industry
- Who Owns Ola Electric?
- Hurdles for Ola’s Electric Dream
- 40% Ola fleet to go on electric by April 2026
Cab aggregators with peer-to-peer ridesharing services triggered a revamp in public transport system. In India, the two most popular cab aggregators are Uber and Ola.
Ola Electric has the potential to redefine how the India’s middle-class travels affect the climate.
While Uber is American owned and funded, Ola is Indian and one of the most successful unicorns in the country. Now with Ola electric vehicles, they also plan to leverage its scale to bring out safer, cleaner and more comfortable products into the market.
The largest ride-hailing service of India, Ola recently stepped into two-wheeler service in 150 Indian cities. Backed by SoftBank, Sequoia India, Tencent, Matrix, DST Global and also Didi Chuxing, Ola claims to grow this business thrice by 2020.
Ola doubling down on electric vehicles
The electric vehicle industry has seen many ups and downs since the initial time. The idea itself took a great time to turn into action, mainly due to the lack of investment and infrastructure. However, Ola is a successful brand pulled in $56 million in early funding for the dedicated EV business. Early investors also included Ratan Tata.
Interactive Infographic: Who Owns Ola Electric
So, Ola Electric Mobility is set up as an independent business backed by Ola and their investors. Some of the initial funding groups of Ola Electric Mobility are Matrix Group and Tiger Global, who are also the early investors of Ola Cabs.
Also, Ola Electric is led by BMW former executives, along with Ola executives Ankit Jain and Anand Shah, who also led the connected car platform strategy.
Hurdles for Ola Electric
Although sparse mapping and diverse geographies of India has always been a challenge for ride-hailing services and automotive companies. The government wants to introduce electric vehicles to the streets by 2030.
However, no formal policy or guidelines yet introduced and India still does not have enough charging stations, Ola flocked to electric with an innovative eco-friendly idea.
With no formal policy yet introduced and dearth of charging stations is the biggest hurdle for Ola Electric in India.
In May 2017, Ola joined hands with both the Indian Government and car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra to unleash the ‘electric mass transport project’ and pledged to add one million EVs to its fleet by 2022. This project will also include 10,000 electric rickshaws.
This Electric vehicle project was first launched in Nagpur, Maharashtra, but is not limited just to the vehicle launch. Ola has a far wider remit with subject to the charging solutions. However, Ola needs to build a viable infrastructure for the project to work. This includes the development of charging stations and EV batteries.
How far is Ola Electric from being Big?
Ola Electric has already partnered with battery makers, OEMs and several automotive industry leaders for smooth electric vehicle operations.
“India can leapfrog problems of pollution and energy security by moving to electric mobility, create millions of new jobs and economic opportunity, and lead the world,” Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder, Ola Electric.
The project in Nagpur was hugely successful. In fact, the customers who were hesitant on using an electric cab are now frequently booking electric cabs and auto-rickshaws. The Project in Nagpur was such a hit that Ola has launched a separate Electric Vehicle Business.
Consequently, this business too proved to become a big hit and achieved the Unicorn Status and raised 250 million dollars from the Softbank. Furthermore, they have already been funded by Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal into the series J round for $92 million.
40% Ola fleet to go on electric by April 2026
Ola is now thinking of turning their 40% fleet to go on electric by April 2026. The Softbank has also backed the company. Ola would need to achieve a 2.5% electrifying of the cars by 2021. Arun Sarin, former CEO of Vodafone Group, joined as an independent director. The success of Ola’s new venture is in its spirit.
Ola Electric also recently appointed auto industry veteran and Hyundai India’s former president BVR Subbu to the board. Subbu is also behind the success of the iconic Santro in India.
This would be less expensive and a lot eco-friendly than petrol and diesel ran cars. We are already facing the problem due to the smoke emitted by the vehicles. Hence, just like Tesla, it would be of great for the environment if Ola Electric Cabs can lead the public transport system into an eco-friendly future.