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How Ola Electric took Indian EV market by storm and became a $3B startup

Image credits: Ola

A few years back, hiring a rented vehicle for cross-city travel was a significant issue in India. However, globally ride-hailing startups have made things easy for consumers. In India, Uber rival Ola gained massive popularity for its cab service and is now attempting to foray into the electric segment.

Valuation of $3B

The leading electric vehicle manufacturer in India, dubbed Ola Electric, recently raised above $200 million in funding round led by Falcon Edge, Softbank, and more. With this, the valuation also crossed $3 billion. The EV arm of the ride-hailing company announced that it would use the investment to accelerate the development of other vehicle platforms such as electric motorbikes and mass-market its electric scooter and car.

The latest investment round will also strengthen its “Mission Electric” that urges consumers and the industry to commit to EVs and ensure that petrol two-wheelers get banned in India post-2025. It comes at a time when Ola Electric sold electric vehicles (their S1 and S1 Pro models) worth $150 million in a two-day sale.

Besides the aforementioned, Ola is exploring going public and could file an IPO in 2021.

World’s largest scooter factory?

Founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola Electric has already created a buzz in the Indian market with its ‘Future Factory’ and production plans. Its electric vehicles offer best-in-class features and are likely to create a niche in the Indian market. Furthermore, Ola is setting up Future Factory in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which will debut operations in 2022.

As per reports, this could be the world’s largest scooter factory and could have ten production lines. The 500-acre factory of Ola Electric is touted to roll out a scooter every two seconds, thereby taking an annual output to 10 million units of electric scooters. If this turns out as intended, it will be 15 percent of the total two-wheelers capacity globally.

Future is electric

Ola Electric has cracked the industry at the right time when EVs constitute 1 percent of the total two-wheeler sales in India. The Indian two-wheeler market is ripe for disruption, and the country is the world’s largest two-wheeler market, responsible for 20 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions. In 2020, EV sales contributed to 150,000 units in India, including both bikes and scooters. Also it is determined that the number will be over one million by 2025.

The only challenge is the lack of charging infrastructure across India. This situation is all set to change as companies such as Tata Power and Magenta are eyeing to expand the network. Furthermore, Ola plans to deploy 100,000 hyper-chargers that can charge a battery to 50 percent in just 18 minutes, and it will be deployed across 400 cities soon.

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