Amidst government flip-flop policy on electric vehicles, homegrown cab hailing company Ola has once again made a significant move on the battery-powered vehicle front. The Bengaluru-based company is planning to roll out 10,000 electric vehicles over the next 12 months.
Unlike others, the Bhavish Aggarwal-led firm is looking to tap three-wheelers market and deploy e-rickshaws and electric auto rickshaws under its new plan, reports TOI.
Notably, the development comes on the heels of company’s scaling back of EVs plan due to government’s recent back treat on EV policy.
Last month citing source, a FactorDaily report said that the SotfBank-funded company wanted to play an important role in developing India as an EV nation, however, the government’s latest announcements have left plans in disarray.
If a large number of people continue to use petrol or diesel cars and taxis, the economics of investing in EVs is not going to favour Ola, the source added.
On February 15, Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and highways said, “There is no need for any policy now.” The statement was in complete contrast to the minister’s early statement on the government’s ambitious plan to shift to electric vehicles by 2030.
Things seems to have turned around, as Ola is looking to work with driver-partners, cities, vehicle manufacturers, and battery companies to make sustainable technologies that are cost-effective and viable in daily mobility. Ola is also in discussion with several state governments to create an appropriate policy environment to deploy electric three wheelers.
The company is talking to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners and electric vehicle innovators globally to bring vehicles on the road in a planned and phased manner, the report added.
In May last year, the cab-hailing major launched a pilot of its electric vehicles project in Nagpur to deploy electric cars and build 50 charging points committing Rs 50 crore for the project. Ola, earlier committed a big investment in e-vehicles in all cities of India and run one million electricity-powered vehicles on the Ola platform by 2020.
It has already signed a pact with automobile firm Mahindra & Mahindra for the electric vehicle business.
While the government had shown encouraging commitment for electric vehicle in the beginning, it took U-turn as Gadkari told that the central government will not formulate an electric vehicles policy.
According to him, the government would rather work for holistic development of the automobile sector in India.
A group of top vehicle makers — Hero Electric, Okinawa Scooters, Mahindra and Mahindra and Tata Motors, called Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) — is also planning to meet government officials to seek clarity on the position on electric vehicles.