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OLA, the cab aggregator now wants to build electric scooters

Written by Nizam Shaikh

World-leading internet-based cab-hailing aggregate OLA Mobility could be planning to foray into the electric scooter manufacturing industry and sources indicate that the brand could be in talks with the Governments of various states to acquire about 100 acres of land to install the world’s largest electric scooter manufacturing facility in India. This could mean that the cab aggregate will be competing with big players in the electric mobility segment such as Bajaj Auto, TVS and Ather Energy. 

OLA has recently acquired a Netherland-based app-based electric mobility company call Etergo and the management is allegedly in talks with governments of four states in the Indian market out of which three states are from the southern part of India and one in the western region. According to sources, the manufacturing facility is likely to have an installed capacity of 2 million vehicles per annum. The largest so far in Honda which has a capacity to produce 1.2 million petrol-powered scooters at their plant in Gujarat. 

The Central Government, as well as the state Government’s, have been providing subsidies to companies that are engaged in manufacturing electric vehicles and the electric vehicle ecosystem in the country. The Governments are also providing income tax rebate of up to INR 1.5 lakh to individuals who claim interest paid on electric vehicles. Despite the subsidies to manufacturers and customer-centric schemes offered by the Government, the manufacturing sector is still shy in terms of production of both battery packs as well as developing electric infrastructure. In India, only about 7,500 electric scooters were sold in the period between April and September. To put things into perspective, 1.3 million fossil fuel-powered scooters were sold in that same period. 

Sources suggest that OLA is expected to finalise the site for the production plant soon and the brand is expected to begin manufacturing of electric scooter as early as 2022. It is also expected that by that time India will see a trend shift where more individuals are expected to switch to green mobility, as the government continuously and increasingly promotes clean mobility solutions. OLA’s manufacturing plant is also likely to incorporate solar power for many of its production operations.