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With unique customer experience and new technology, Ola plans to grab new customer base


On-demand cab-hailing service Ola is aiming to circumvent Uber on various fronts. It has ramped up the expansion of its content platform Ola Play and is pushing electric vehicles in its fleet, which will be the two major differentiators from its rival business Uber, as per the report by Mint.

Last November, Ola launched Ola Play, which is available on tablets installed in the Prime cabs, offers music, shopping apps, movies and other video content to customers, on some of its Prime cabs in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. It later expanded the service to all the Prime Cabs in the three cities.

According to the report, betting on its content platform’s unique experience, Ola plans to attract a large number of customer base and keep them away from Uber. However, cab-users typically choose between Ola and Uber depending on which offers the lower prices.

The Play service, which is currently free, will become chargeable in coming future. As it expands Play to more cabs, Ola also plans to generate revenues by serving ads on the platform, the report cited.

Besides, the company is also focusing on its electric vehicle business. The company plans to introduce electric cabs and rickshaws in at least eight cities by next March. Another news platform FactorDaily reported Monday that Ola plans to become an electric vehicle maker. These initiatives will be funded by SoftBank Group Corp., Ola’s largest investor, the Indian government, car and bike makers and Ola, they said.

Ola launched electric vehicles in Nagpur last Friday with 100 e-taxis and as many e-rickshaws sourced from companies including Mahindra Group, Tata Motors Ltd, Kinetic Engineering Ltd and TVS Motor Company.

Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal told reporters then that Ola had invested Rs50 crore in the Nagpur initiative and planned to invest $2 billion to run one million electric vehicles across India by 2020.

Ola is also investing in charging stations to support its push into electric vehicles, the people mentioned.

In December, SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son had said Ola may introduce a fleet of one million electric cars in partnership with an electric vehicle maker and the government.

Similarly, Uber has also started a pilot in India to offer in-car entertainment, according to Factordaily. The pilot was started in Delhi a couple of months ago and has been taken to Mumbai and Bengaluru.

It will be interesting to see with the introduction of new technology and user experience how Ola maximizes the business, acquires new customers and defeats the price-oriented cab-hailing market in India.

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