After building an electric two-wheeler ecosystem, Softbank-backed Ola Electric has set its sights on entering the four-wheeler electric vehicle segment. The company’s founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said the car is expected to debut in 2024 and claimed it will have a range of around 500 kilometres on a single charge. Aggarwal also said Ola plans to develop two vehicle platforms and six different cars, all of which will be manufactured from its giga factory in Tamil Nadu after it has been expanded.
While not much has been revealed about the vehicle, two key specs were announced: a range of 500 kilometres, and that the car will accelerate from zero to a hundred kilometres per hour in 4 seconds. To put that into context, Tata’s Nexon EV claims a range of 437 kilometres. The electric vehicle from Tata goes from zero to a hundred kilometres per hour in about 9.4 seconds.
However, it is worth noting that the Tata Nexon is a compact SUV, and that Ola is yet to confirm the form factor of its new car. A teaser image shared by Aggarwal in July this year depicted a hatchback.
While Ola has been hinting at launching an electric car for a few months now, Aggarwal responded to a tweet by Tesla boss Elon Musk about not setting up a manufacturing plant in India. Aggarwal responded, saying: “Thanks, but no thanks”. Tesla’s entry into India has been on hold since 2019, as authorities want it to first set up a manufacturing facility in the country.
Last month, Ola said it had signed an agreement under the Centre’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to manufacture batteries in India. The company said it is the only Indian electric mobility company selected by the government under the Rs 80,000-crore cell PLI scheme, receiving a maximum capacity of 20 gigawatt hour (GWh) for its bid in March.
Aggarwal showed a battery module on screen and claimed it is made from cells developed indigenously by Ola Electric; a first for any Indian vehicle OEM. “We missed the semiconductor, solar, electronic and other manufacturing revolutions. But everyone around the world is still getting started with electric cells and batteries. If we invest now and at scale, we can lead the market,” he said.
According to data released by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations of India (FADA), in 2021-22 (April-March), Ola Electric had a market share of 0.79 per cent in the two-wheeler EV segment. Hero Motocorp was the market leader with a market share of more than 32 per cent. In July 2022, Ola’s market share stood at 0.34 per cent, according to FADA’s data.
In April, the company said it was recalling more than 1,400 of its electric scooters in the wake of dozens of incidents of two-wheelers catching fire. One of the manufacturer’s scooters burst into flames while parked on the roadside in a busy area in Pune in March, which the company later called an “isolated incident”. More than two dozen electric scooters have caught fire in India since last September, claiming at least four lives so far.
The incidents prompted the Road Transport Ministry to rope in the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) to investigate these incidents and suggest remedial measures.
In April, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari cautioned EV manufacturers, asking them to take “advance action” in recalling all defective batches of vehicles immediately, and said the government would soon issue quality-centric guidelines for electric vehicles.