The company said the majority of the 10,000 vehicles to be introduced in the next 12 months. Source: Shutterstock

India’s ride-hailing giant plans to put 10,000 e-vehicles on the road

INDIA’S biggest ride-hailing company Ola on Monday announced plans to add 10,000 electric vehicles to its platform over the next year as part of its ambitious goal to put a million electric vehicles on the country’s polluted streets.

The majority of the 10,000 vehicles to be introduced will be “e-rickshaws” and will complement the company’s ‘Mission Electric’ programme.

“Three-wheelers are a vital means of transportation and a source of livelihood for millions of people every day. It also represents an immediate opportunity to improve outcomes for all stakeholders while reducing pollution across towns and cities,” said Ola Co-founder and CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal.

The company’s first electric vehicle project was launched in Nagpur in May last year where it deployed electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations, and battery swapping experiments.

“After more than 4 million ‘electric’ kilometers traveled and many lessons learned, we are significantly expanding our commitment to electrify mobility in India,” Aggarwal added.

Ola currently has more than a million drivers across 110 Indian cities. Source: Shutterstock

The company is also working with state governments and other partners to introduce accessible, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions at scale.

According to Aggarwal, the programme in Nagpur allows Ola to obtain insights on managing vehicles, batteries, and operations. The company is experimenting ways to optimize batteries and charging “to develop a strong business model for EV deployment in the country”.

Without disclosing names, Aggarwal said the company will expand its fleet to three other cities in India.

Ola also said it is working with “several state governments to create an appropriate policy environment to deploy electric three-wheelers”, and talking to OEM partners and EV innovators globally to bring vehicles on the road in a planned and phased manner.

According to CNN, Ola currently has more than a million drivers across 110 Indian cities. The company’s ambitious plan would mean electrifying the vast majority of the vehicles available via its app.

Ola’s plans also run parallel to similar electric ambitions of the Indian government: by 2030, the country wants all its vehicles to be electric. However, India is faced with numerous challenges in realizing that goal as it faces a lack of the required infrastructure and technology.