Ola aligns with Softbank's dream of one million electric vehicles

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

Vehicle aggregator Ola Cabs has today announced its "Mission Electric" programme, under which the company aims to ride the upcoming surge in the electric mobility space.

It is looking to work with driver-partners, cities, vehicle manufacturers, and battery companies to make sustainable technologies that are cost-effective and viable in daily mobility. Back in December, it bought delivery service Foodpanda's Indian operations, and then took its ride-hailing service to Australia, which was followed by its acquisition of India's public transport ticketing and commuting app Ridlr. The company is also talking to OEM partners and EV innovators globally to bring vehicles on the road in a planned and phased manner.

In May previous year, Ola had launched its first electric vehicle project in Nagpur.

Aiming to place one million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2021, the startup group ran by ANI Technologies Pvt.

Ola launched its first electric vehicle project in Nagpur a year ago and the project includes electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations, and battery swapping experiments.

Earlier, the company had launched a fleet of electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws and electric buses in Nagpur. Nagpur drivers faced difficulties with long waits for charging stations and higher costs than traditional fossil fuel consuming vehicles. The company plans to continue its experimentation with ways to optimise batteries and charging, to develop a strong business model for EV deployment in the country, it added.

Electric vehicle sales in India, one of the world's fastest-growing auto markets, made up less than 0.1 percent of annual sales of more than 3 million passenger cars. Ola is now in discussions with several state and municipal governments about where to launch its electric rickshaw program and is "willing to work with any city committed to sustainable mobility solutions".

With the latest amendment in Electricity Act of 2003, there is no need for a license to set up an electric charging station anymore.

One of the major setbacks for an EV mobility ecosystem is the unavailability of enough charging stations, and the new law will help to build a wider charging infrastructure, which will indirectly encourage the adoption of EVs in India. As per the new law, it does not in any way include the sale of electricity to any person and vehicles have to be charged within premises.