India may see what Ola deems the world’s largest e-scooter factory being build next year. The Indian ride-service provider has just announced the intent of construction with an investment of 324 million dollars (€265M). The company also wants to sell in Europe and global markets.
The ride-sharing giant Ola – India’s equivalent to Uber (if not above), has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian state of Tamil Nadu government to set up its first factory in the state. Officials say that Ola is also in talks with Karnataka to set up the plant there, so it remains to be seen which cuts.
The plant should create around 10,000 jobs and, when completed, should offer an annual production capacity for two million e-scooters, according to the announcement. Ola says it aims to make India a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and company executives say the manufacturing facility will be completed in about 18 months. The company aims to sell around one million EVs in its first year and eventually build up to producing two million vehicles.
Ola plans to launch the first of a whole range of electric scooters the next few months, not only in India but also in other countries in Asia, as well as in Europe, Latin America and Australasia by the first quarter of 2021.
With significant expansion plans, Ola has hired General Motors veteran Jose Pinheiro to lead the EV division and Julien Geffard to head its business in Europe. The company plans to double its current number of around 2,000 employees in its EV arm.
Though Ola plans to roll out its scooters first, company executives say that they will venture into other categories of two, three and even four-wheelers eventually. “We want to have a product in all EV categories,” a senior official at the company told Mint news site, asking not to be named.
Bhavish Aggarwal, Chairman and Group CEO at Ola, said, “This will be one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world. This factory will showcase India’s skill and talent to produce world-class products that will cater to global markets.”
Ola is moving the transport sector and is becoming more globally committed. Hyundai and Kia invested $300 million in Ola in March 2019. The strategic partnership includes the production of electric vehicles tailored to the Indian market, the establishment of charging infrastructure and the development of fleet and mobility solutions.
Also in 2019, technology group Softbank invested the equivalent of 250 million US dollars in Ola Electric Mobility (OEM), the vehicle arm of India’s largest ride-hailing firm. This made Ola Electric a Unicorn, which means that then became valued at more than $1Bn.
Recently the mobility solution company has made strategic acquisitions like Ridlr, India’s largest public transportation platform and Amsterdam-based electric scooter OEM, Etergo BV. The Dutch startup Etergo (formerly Bolt Mobility) secured ten million euros for the mass production of its first electric scooter, AppScooter in 2018. The investment came from an unnamed ‘German automotive specialist’.
Ola further claims to be is India’s largest mobility platform and says it is serving over 250 cities across India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, including key global markets like London and Sydney.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey, London.