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by Narasimhan Santhanam

Ola’s Plans for E-Mobility – EV Next


This posevnext-logo-v-smallt is a part of EV Next’s EV Perspectives.

EV Nexta division of EAI, is a leading market intelligence & strategic consulting firm for the Indian e-mobility sector.


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Ola, India’s largest ride-hailing company, plans to have one million EVs on the roads by 2022. With recent investment of $250 million from SoftBank added to a series of successful funding rounds, Ola has become the first EV startup to gain “unicorn” status in India, meaning it is valued at over $1 billion.

Company Profile

Founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola is one of the world’s largest ride-sharing companies. Ola integrates city transportation for customers and driver-partners onto a mobile technology platform ensuring convenient, transparent, and quick service fulfilment. Ola is focused on leveraging the best of technology and building innovative solutions ground-up, that are relevant at global scale. Notably, in 2016, Ola Play the world’s first connected car platform for ride-sharing was launched, transforming commuting experiences and setting the tone for global innovation in this space. 

Product Profile

Currently, the company is  running various pilots across the country including Nagpur and Gurgaon. So far,the company has over a thousand EVs in their fleet. They are actively expanding this to meet their goal to roll out 10,000 electric three-wheelers and two-wheelers by the end of the current financial year.

Ola launched its first electric vehicle project in Nagpur in 2017 and the project includes electric cabs, electric auto rickshaws, electric buses, rooftop solar installations, charging stations, and battery swapping experiments.

ACME - Charger

 ACME EV Chargers and Swapping equipment were used for Ola’s fleet in Nagpur

Future Plans

  • Currently, their focus is on business models to deploy batteries as a service and distributed charging solutions for electric two and three-wheelers
  • Ola Electric Mobility is intensively focused on solving the technical and business model challenges of making charging and battery-swapping solutions reliable enough to boost vehicle electrification in India. The Nagpur pilot indicated that battery swapping is a promising charging mechanism for Indian use conditions. Equipped with the learning of the Nagpur pilot the company is already running several other pilots in the country and work towards a sustainable business model that accelerates the pace of EV adoption in India. They have also released a report named “Beyond Nagpur” encapsulating the learnings of the Nagpur pilot


  • In May 2017, the ride-hailing giant partnered with the Indian government and carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra to launch an “electric mass transport project” in Nagpur. The project proved so successful that in March 2019 Ola spun out a separate EV business: Ola Electric Mobility (OEM).
  • In November 2019, Ola Electric inked a partnership with India’s leading power distribution companies, BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) to expand its network of charging stations to the national capital 
  • Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors have announced in March 2019, that they are going to invest $300 million in cab aggregation service provider Ola. This is their largest combined investment to date. As part of the strategic collaboration, the companies have agreed to co-create solutions to operate and manage fleet vehicles, marking the Group’s first foray into the EV industry, as they expand operations from automobile manufacturing and sales to total fleet solutions. The partnership will offer Ola drivers various financial services, including lease and installment payments, while vehicle maintenance and repair services are expected to enhance customer satisfaction.


 Ola used Mahindra’s eVerito for their first fleet in 2017

Global Work

  • Ola Singapore Pte, the investment entity that controls Ola’s interest in international markets received $6 million from its parent ANI Technologies in March 2019. New Zealand, Australia, UK, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the US fall under Ola Singapore.
  • The cab aggregator moved the entity which runs its UK operations from Singapore to The Netherlands in May 2019
  • Ola Cabs announced that it will launch its operations in London on February 10, 2020. As part of the announcement, the company revealed that it will start its service with over 20,000 registered drivers.

Read EV Next posts on the India electric vehicle strategy for these companies: ABB | ACME | Altigreen Propulsion | Amara Raja | Ashok Leyland | Ather Energy | Audi | Bajaj | BASF | Bharat Forge | Black & Veatch | BMW | Bosch | Continental AG | Denso | Exide | Exicom | Ford | Fortum | General Motors | Great Wall Motors| Greaves | Hella | Hero Electric | Honda | Hyundai | JBM | Kia | Kinetic Green | LG | Mahindra Electric | MG Motors | Nissan | Olectra | Panasonic | Piaggio | Porsche | Renault | Samsung SDI | Schneider Electric | Sun Mobility | Tata Autocomp | Tata Motors | Tata Power | Toyota | TVS Motors | Uber | UL | Volvo |


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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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