Ola to focus on electric two/three-wheeler, for now

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on May 12, 2019 Published on May 12, 2019

Expecting rapid adoption of four-wheeler electric vehicles on a mass scale to take time, ride-hailing firm Ola is betting big on two- and three-wheelers for its electric mobility drive, according to a senior company official.

With lessons learnt from its experiment in Nagpur, where the company had partnered with Mahindra & Mahindra in 2017 for a multi-modal electric mass mobility project, Ola believes that “four-wheelers are not yet ready” for such usage in India on a large scale.

Therefore, the company is now focussing on deploying 10,000 electric two- and three-wheelers by the end of March 2020. “The biggest lesson (from Nagpur) was that (electric) four-wheelers are not yet ready. It is going to take a couple of years for the math on four-wheelers to work,” Ola Electric Mobility (OEM) Co-founder Anand Shah said. He, however, said the company hasn’t given up as it is confident that electrification is viable in the long run. Sharing the company’s road map for electric mobility, Shah said, “In our view, we are putting our bets on three-wheelers and two-wheelers in the coming year.”

EV market

Right now in the EV market in India, he said, it is mostly three-wheelers, with E-rickshaws being “the largest population of EVs by natural adoption”. Further, he said, “We think two-wheelers are also emerging very quickly, partially because of policy and also because of the rising interest in commercial use of two-wheelers, whether that is in deliveries for our own food business or any of our competitors, e-commerce companies or scooter sharing.”

Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, AP and Gujarat could be some of the places of early adoption, he said. Reiterating that Ola is still “actively working on electric four-wheelers”, he said, “We are testing electric cars. We have tried every electric car that exists in India today, but we think it’s going to take some time for rapid four-wheeler EV adoption at scale.”

On investments for electric mobility, Shah said, “We have raised ₹400 crore from some of our early investors — Tiger Global Management, Matrix India. That money will be spent on meeting these milestones, on getting the technology right, getting the business model right and we will keep growing from there.”

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Published on May 12, 2019
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