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Ola Electric to axe 200 jobs in engineering as part of “restructuring” exercise

Ola Electric to axe 200 jobs in engineering as part of “restructuring” exercise
19 Sep, 2022
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Bengaluru-based electric vehicle maker Ola Electric has said it will let go of nearly 200 engineers as part of a “restructuring” exercise to focus on building its manufacturing and R&D capabilities in its mobility business.

Ola has shut down its used cars business - Ola Cars, and its quick-commerce service Ola Dash, in an attempt to refocus its efforts towards scaling up its existing electric-two wheeler business and prioritizing its pivot to an end-to-end electric mobility company.

In a statement, Ola Electric said 10% of its workforce of around 2000 engineers will be directly impacted by its move to “minimize redundancy and build a strong lateral structure that strengthens relevant roles and functions”.

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The decision will mostly impact Ola’s software engineers to remove what likely becomes a relatively redundant skill-set in the company’s new ambitions, now as it looks to strengthen its focus on “non-software engineering domains”.

The company, led by Bhavish Aggarwal, founder of Ola Cabs and Ola Electric, has said it has ambitions to enter the electric car segment with a made-in-India product by 2024.

Last week, Aggarwal took to Twitter to announce plans of opening up 200 “experience centers”, or company-run showrooms for its products across the country as sales of its flagship scooter, the Ola S1 pro, have been flattening over the last few months. Ola Electric’s distribution is built on a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model, and the company had earlier stated its intentions to stay with its digital-only sales model, unlike counterparts like Ather Energy, who sell their products at offline dealerships and company-owned experience centers.

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Ola Electric’s e-two wheeler sales volumes were on a sustained downward slide in August, with registrations dropping to 3,421 units in August 2022, down from 3,862 units in July 2022. The company now commands close to 6.8% share of the electric-two wheeler market as of August 2022, significantly below the peak volumes it had achieved in the beginning of the financial year as it started deliveries of its Ola S1 Pro. It had then overtaken long-reigning leaders like Hero Electric & Okinawa in terms of sales volumes. Ola Electric has slid back to the third position in the market. It is now betting on its recently launched low-cost electric scooter, the Ola S1, to revive its place in the market.

Ola Electric is also working on autonomous driving technologies, vehicle design, battery and cell manufacturing and doubling down on building research and development capabilities across all these areas in India and the United Kingdom.

Ola had announced it will invest $100 million over the next five years to build a global centre for advanced engineering and automotive design in Coventry, UK.

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However, even as Ola cuts software engineering jobs, it says it plans to “increase its engineering talent pool to 5000 over the next 18 months”.

“With a focus on being a vertically integrated mobility company, Ola is building on common capabilities and synergies across functions as it strengthens its play across 2-wheelers, 4-wheelers, cell R&D and manufacturing”, Ola Electric said in statement.

The company currently employs around 2000 engineers and aims to increase its engineering talent pool to 5000 over the next 18 months. The EV maker says it will hire for roles in vehicle engineering, sourcing, product management and data science.

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