The recent development is in line with the acquisition of Netherlands-based Etergo by Ola earlier this year
One industry that was badly hit during the Covid-19 pandemic was the shared mobility sector. Since the outbreak of the virus was followed by a long stretch of lockdown in which public transportation was disallowed for better parts. This led to fleet owners and cab and rickshaw operators incur heavy losses.
Even though the lockdown period is over and restrictions have been eased, people are still very apprehensive about opting for public transportation. This may continue for a long time since it is still sometime away before we attain pre-Covid normalcy. Hence, shared mobility firms have to think about alternate methods to expand their avenues of income.
India’s largest shared mobility company Ola has decided to foray into electric scooter manufacturing in order to expand its business prospects in future. Switching gears from being a taxi aggregator to a vehicle manufacturer, the company is currently in talks with different state governments in order to procure land for its proposed manufacturing facility.
As per reports, the Bengaluru-based mobility giant is looking for 100 acres of unencumbered land to build the world’s largest e-scooter facility. Currently, the largest two-wheeler manufacturing facility in the country belongs to Honda 2Wheelers India.
Its Gujarat based facility rolls out 1.2 million petrol-driven two-wheelers every year. This will also pit it against segment leaders such as Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor. The homegrown public mobility service has been backed Korean auto giant Hyundai.
Ola’s acquisition of Etergo BV
This development comes on the backdrop of Ola’s recent acquisition of Netherlands-based Etergo BV for an undisclosed amount earlier in May this year. Developed as an all-electric state-of-the-art App scooter, Etergo BV uses swappable high energy density batteries to deliver a range of up to 240 Km. This acquisition has helped Ola Electric develop strong engineering and design capabilities as the company has had development experience with leading automotive brands like General Motors, Tesla, Ferrari, BMW and Jaguar.
As of now, Ola’s senior management is in talks with government officials of four states- three in the South and one in the West. Currently, Karnataka and Maharashtra seem to be ahead in this race. Maharashtra has even started scouting for suitable land for the upcoming e-scooter manufacturing facility including prime locations in Pune, Nashik and Nagpur.
Ola’s future in electric mobility
According to sources, Ola is looking to set up a 2-million electric scooter capacity plant. While Maharashtra holds a geographical advantage due to its strategic location which eases exports, Karnataka on the other hand has been lauded for its forward-looking EV policies and incentives. Both Central and State governments have been offering incentives to companies venturing onto the electric vehicle business.
With the future looking bright for EVs in India, Ola might want to utilize this opportunity to expand its avenues. Ola is still very tight-lipped about this development, however, the Bengaluru-based mobility firm intends to zero in on a manufacturing site soon as it aims to commence production in 18 months. The manufacturing site is expected to adopt Industry 4.0 philosophy and will use solar power and will have test tracks.