During its Independence Day event, Ola Electric announced it is working on an electric car that is scheduled to come to market in 2024. While the company did not reveal much about its new vehicle, the car has its work cut out for it. There are already a few electric cars on the roads of India, and they will continue to offer stiff competition to the newcomer.
Before we look at Ola Electric’s competition, we need to understand which market segment the first car from the company will compete in. “In the west, the average price of an electric car is $70,000. We in India, cannot afford such a vehicle. The average selling price of a car in India is $25,000. Hence, a focus on India means a very different road map, much more relevant to our markets and our consumer needs,” said Aggarwal during the livestream. So it could likely mean that the Ola EV would be priced somewhere around $25,000, though this is not yet confirmed. Right now, $25,000 translates to about Rs 20,00,000. There are three solid options in the Indian EV market, which are playing at a similar price point.
The company also spoke of how the vehicle will have 500 kilometres of range and will be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just four seconds. Based on that, here are some electric vehicles that the car from Ola Electric could end up competing against when it is launched.
If Ola Electric prices its car at that range, it will stand squarely against the Nexon EV from Tata Motors. In 2022, Tata launched an improved version of the compact SUV called the Tata EV Max, with an improved range and higher power and torque delivery.
The Tata Nexon EV Max comes with an improved 40.5 kWh battery that is ARAI certified for a range of 437 kilometres. The improved version of the Nexon electric compact SUV puts out 250 Nm of peak torque and 143 PS of power. It comes in two variants: XZ+ and XZ+ Lux. According to Carwale, the Tata Nexon EV starts at Rs 18.34 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi) and goes all the way up to Rs 19.84 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi).
According to Tata Passenger Electric Mobility vice president Anand Kulkarni, who spoke to PTI, Tata has already begun selling as many as 3,500 units of the Nexon EV a month.
MG Motor is an iconic British car marque currently owned by the Chinese state-controlled SAIC motors. Its ZS EV is an electric compact SUV that competes with the likes of the Tata Nexon EV. The new ZS EV is offering a range of close to 398 km.
Its electric motors put out peak power of 173.83 BHP and peak torque of 280 Nm. It has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Nexon EV with 2.581 metres and this also translates into increased length. The MG ZS EV starts at Rs 21,99,880 (ex-showroom, New Delhi) and goes up to Rs 25,88,000 (ex-showroom, New Delhi). Just like Tata’s Nexon EV, the MG ZS EV is shaping up to be a competitor for Ola Electric’s future car in the same segment.
The South Korean manufacturer’s compact electric SUV is the third member of the trifecta of electric compact SUVs that are competing in the Indian market at a similar price range. The Hyundai Kona has a 39.2 kWh battery which gives it an ARAI-certified range of 452 kilometres.
The Kona Electric’s motors put out a peak torque of 395 NM and peak power of 136 PS. It has a wheelbase of 2.6 metres. The Hyundai Kona Electric starts at Rs 23.84 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi) and goes all the way up to Rs 24.03 lakhs.
The Tata Nexon EV, MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona Electric are three vehicles that are already on sale. This is what the competition looks like for Ola Electric’s car when it finally launches. Of course, this could change as more details of the Ola car emerge. For example, Ola could price its product lower or even higher than this $25,000 price mark. More importantly, other brands are also expected to introduce EVs in the market so this segment could have a lot more options as well.
While Ola’s promises of a 500-kilometre range and rapid acceleration sound like a big deal, they only tell part of the story. Consumers make their vehicle buying decisions based on a large number of factors that go beyond the spec sheet, including factors like driving dynamics, build quality and vehicle reliability. This is where legacy OEMs like Tata, Hyundai and SAIC motors have an upper hand over Ola. All three are some of the biggest players in the markets and have been honing their art of vehicle manufacturing for decades.
On the flip side, a pure-play electric vehicle manufacturer like Ola could turn to this to their advantage. Keep in mind that all three vehicles that are part of this list initially started off as internal combustion engine vehicles and were later modified to turn into electric vehicles by shoehorning batteries, motors and wiring into an existing platform.
Due to this reason, they cannot compete with the range and other specifications of vehicles that were designed as EVs from the ground up. If Ola manages to focus all their efforts on their new EV offering to bring a better product to the market before other manufacturers catch up, they could still have the upper hand in 2024. But for a nascent industry like the Indian electric vehicle market, two years is a lot of time. Enough time for the playground to change drastically and for the rules to be rewritten. This list of competitors will only keep growing till then.