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Tesla rival from India: Ola to open £100M facility in the UK to build its first electric car

Ola Electric Car
Image credits: Bhavish Aggarwal/Twitter

In recent years, the world has seen a massive shift from traditional gas vehicles towards electric vehicles and it has taken the mobility market by storm. With exponential growth expected in this industry, global manufacturers are coming up with electric bikes and cars that will make the earth a greener and better place to live.

Previously, India’s shared mobility tech giant Ola expressed its interest in developing electric vehicles with various levels of performance. Following this, the company took the Indian EV market by storm with the launch of its S1 Pro electric scooter under its EV wing Ola Electric.

Ola R&D centre in the UK

Now, Ola Electric has announced its plans to open a global R&D centre in the UK. The new facility by the company will be known as Ola FutureFoundry. It will be based in Coventry and complement the work by its team in Bangalore. Ola expects to deploy 200 designers and automotive engineers at the FutureFoundry. Also, it is in plans to invest $100 million in the centre over a period of five years.

As per Electrek, Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal stated, “At Ola we are building the future of mobility and continue to attract the best global talent across disciplines. Ola FutureFoundry will enable us to tap into the fantastic automotive design & engineering talent in the UK to create the next generation of electric vehicles. FutureFoundry will work in close collaboration with our headquarters in Bangalore, India to help us build the future of mobility as we make EVs affordable across the world.”

The development regarding an R&D centre in the UK has come close to the heels of Ola Electric’s $200 million financing that valued the company at $5 billion. The financing came from Tekne Private Ventures, Alpine Opportunity Fund and Edelweiss.

Ola’s EV car design teased

Earlier this week, the first glimpse of the potential Ola four-wheeled electric car that is in the pipeline was out. Aggarwal shared a rendering via his Twitter account to reveal a sleek and streamlined electric car. This car appears to take design cues from many popular electric cars in the market.

The hatchback appears to feature an aerodynamic design. The glass windshield continues into a glass roof that extends across its top. The car features four doors sans visible door handles and there is an LED light bar across the front.

Given that this is a rendering and not the final design of the electric car, we can expect changes when it is official. Also, there could be modifications to include mirrors, headlights, and windshield wipers.

It is likely that this new design will be a significant step taken by Ola to develop electric cars.

Ola Vice President of Vehicle Design Wayne Burgess explained: “We want to create a world-class design and R&D team with global sensibilities. Ola FutureFoundry is an important step in building a multi-disciplinary team that is agile, flexible, and responsive to the various needs of our consumers around the world. We are setting up in Coventry a global epicentre of automotive and technology talent. FutureFoundry will supplement and collaborate with our core team in Bangalore, India to deliver exciting new EVs across two-wheeler, four-wheeler, and other form factors.”

However, the company has not revealed any word regarding the specific timeline of when we can expect the electric car to be released.

Acquisition of Etergo

Netherlands-based Etergo is one of the ambitious EV makers involved in making electric scooters. The Dutch electric scooter maker ran into financing issues ahead of the production of its highly anticipated AppScooter and Ola came into the picture at the right time. Ola, one of the most valued Indian companies, acquired it in 2020 before it produced the scooter itself.

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