INDIA’S largest 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 plan to put a million electric vehicles into the country’s polluted streets.
The SoftBank-backed company said it was aiming to put out one million electric vehicles by 2021 to boost the electric vehicle ecosystem in the country, according to the Economic Times.
Ola, which is based in Bengaluru, said the majority of the 10,000 vehicles to be introduced in the next 12 months are e-rickshaws that would complement its ‘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,” Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said was quoted as saying.
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’ kilometres traveled and many lessons learned, we are significantly expanding our commitment to electrify mobility in India,” Aggarwal said.
The company, he said, is also looking to work with state governments and other partners to introduce accessible, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions at scale.
Aggarwal added the programme in Nagpur allowed 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”.
The company said it will further expand its EV fleet to three other Indian cities but did not disclose the names.
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 realising that goal as it faces a lack of the required infrastructure and technology.
This article was originally published on our sister website Tech Wire Asia.