Ola Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd is building an e-scooter factory occupying 500 acres of land in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district, making it the largest two-wheeler maker in the world.
From a ride-sharing company to an EV manufacturing franchise, the high-profile entrepreneur Bhavish Aggarwal has established his stand in the uproaring electric vehicle industry with a view to assembling a full line-up of electric cars in a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India' and sustainable mobility ambitions.
The founder envisions pitching the world's largest electric scooter plant on Bangalore's outskirts within the next 12 weeks. The company's initial plan is to produce 2 million e-scooters in its first phase, to be retailed in India and exported, reports Bloomberg.
Ola Electric Mobility Pvt hopes to make 10 million vehicles annually or 15% of the world's e-scooters by the summer of 2022. That would be one scooter rolling out every two seconds after the plant expands next year.
It will not be easy for the EV makers to compete with the fume-erupting scooters and motorcycles since these are likely more popular among the Indians for their comparatively low cost as locals have to spend twice the price of a regular scooter for an electric version. But the country is now pushing electric vehicles and self-reliance in battery technologies that could underpin a USD206 billion EV market in 10 years, according to the think-tank CEEW Centre for Energy Finance.
This USD330 million mega-factory empathises on selling affordable two-, three- and four-wheelers for urban rides. For this, they have to fend off competition from not just local rivals Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto, but also forerunners like Ather Energy and Chinese brands including Niu Technologies.
To catch up with the running market in India, Ola will have to consider the affordability of EVs. So to keep costs in check, it is designing, engineering, and manufacturing its own battery pack, motor, vehicle computer and software. Inspired by Tesla, Agarwal wants to keep costs down by building its own power cells. They are working on charging solutions and battery-swapping stations too.
The price of e-scooters yet to be disclosed. Though it is informed that their product would compete with traditional scooters going for about USD1,000 apiece.
The integrated manufacturing plant will have 10 assembly lines, 3,000 robots and around 10,000 workers. The factory's roof will be covered with solar panels and be carbon negative. Each e-scooter will have two removable batteries and the company is building a charging network.
Ola Electric is Aggarwal's second manoeuvre. Some 10 years ago he pioneered the country's most demanding ride-sharing agency which took on Uber Technologies Inc, expanding across 200 cities before heading overseas to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Then the company's second approach- SoftBank-backed Ola Electric, set up in 2017, became a billion-dollar company.