Homegrown cab-hailing major Ola has announced Mission Electric, a programme to launch 10,000 electric vehicles, most of them three-wheelers, over the next 12 months.
The move comes one month after the Bengaluru-based firm roped in Anand Shah, former executive at German premium carmaker BMW, to head its electric vehicles programme.
Mission Electric, which builds on India's first electric-vehicle pilot project in Nagpur launched less than a year ago, comes after Ola recently raised more than $1 billion, acquired a food delivery platform, launched its services abroad, and decided to shut its bus unit, Ola Shuttle. More importantly, the move comes amid talks of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which has been consolidating its investments in cab-hailing services globally, trying to broker a merger deal between Ola and Uber.
'3 mn e-vehicles by 2021'
Ola is aiming to get one million electric vehicles on the road by 2021.
“Three-wheelers are a vital means of transport and a source of livelihood for millions of people every day. They also represent an immediate opportunity to improve outcomes for all stakeholders while reducing pollution across towns and cities.” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola. Aggarwal added that the Nagpur pilot project had clocked four million kilometres.
To expand its green mobility programme, the company said it was in discussions with several state governments to create an appropriate policy environment for deployment of electric three-wheelers. The company is also talking, globally, with original equipment partners and electric-vehicle innovators to bring vehicles on the road in a planned and phased manner.
Operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Ola was set up in 2011 by IIT-Bombay graduates Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati.
Ola claims to have a user base of 125 million in India and a network of over one million driver-partners across 110 cities.
In January 2018, Ola made its first overseas move by launching its services in Australia.
Ola’s international foray follows a large funding round. The company had raised $1.1 billion from investors, including Tencent and SoftBank, last year, and was in the process of raising another $1 billion.
It has also acquired Foodpanda India recently and has committed to invest $200 million in the food-ordering business.