Ola eyes full-service electric mobility with motorcycle debut by end of next year
The announcement was made by Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and Founder of Bengaluru-based Ola Electric during the launch of the brand’s first entry-level model with prices starting at Rs 79,999.
Bengaluru-based Ola Electric, while unveiling its latest mass-market scooter Ola S1 Air, reaffirmed its plans to emerge as a full-service electric vehicle maker. The EV brand will widen its two-wheeler portfolio with entry into motorcycles by the end of next year and then cars by December 2024.
Ola Electric Founder Aggarwal said that moving forward, Ola Electric will make its presence felt in all three market categories mass, mid-segment, and premium superbikes. “I have studied the 80,000 to 10 lakh motorcycle market and such hyper segmentation in EVs is not needed. In the bikes, there is a lot more room for bringing a new sphere of technology and we will be announcing this by the end of next year,” he said.
In his trademark style, Aggarwal said he wasn't quite impressed with the electric motorcycles that are making their debut in the country. Obviously, he was taking a dig at the upcoming TVS-backed Ultraviolette F77 launch on November 24.
Speaking about the Ola car launch, which is set to be around December 2024, he indicated that “it was very much on track.”
Ola unveiled its S1 Air at an introductory price of Rs 79,999 for the scooter, which is valid till October 24, after which it will be sold at Rs 84,999. The scooter gets three riding modes – Eco, Normal, and Sports. In Eco mode, it has a claimed range of 101 km.
The Ola S1 Air will compete with Hero Electric, Okinawa and Ampere in the EV Scooter space and go head to head with the Honda Activa and TVS Jupiter leaders in the ICE category.
The Ola S1 Air is equipped with a smaller 2.5 kWh battery pack (0-100 percent home charge in four hours 30 minutes) and a hub-mounted motor making peak power of 4.5 kW, figures which endow it with a claimed top speed of 90 kph and a claimed range of 101 km in Eco mode.
Compared to the S1 and S1 Pro the vehicle is more practical to use. Exhaustive lightweighting technologies and various levels of cost efficiencies have worked to lower the price.
The new Ola S1 Air sports a more basic single-piece tubular grab handle. Storage space on the S1 Air stands at 34 litres, as opposed to 36 litres on its more expensive siblings. It has a flat floorboard, which makes ferrying luggage around easier than on the curved floorboard found on the other two Ola e-scooters.
Customers may reserve it by paying Rs 999 during the festive season. The purchase window is expected to open by February 2023 and deliveries are likely to commence in April 2023.
Aggarwal also refrained from giving numbers on the annual estimates of total sales he would be looking to close but instead said that the company is seeing a "strong momentum at the premium end of the electric scooter market.
Regarding the current cell chemistries being used, Ola has said that they are using 2170 category cells and once the company starts its cell production it will undertake the necessary migration. On the overall growth of India's two-wheeler EV market, Aggarwal said that when they started off India was doing very limited numbers at around 4,000 units. Now EVs stand for 15 percent of the entire scooter segment.
“In cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune, the number is even higher at 40 percent of the new scooter sales. We have transformed the everyday scooter from being merely functional to a sophisticated and technologically advanced product with the latest MoveOS features. Our mission of ensuring all 2Ws in India are electric by 2025 is in sight!” Aggarwal added.
Denying that there was any crisis in the company due to his organisational style he said, “we are a very different organisation. We are breaking away from the stereotypical working style of a traditional automobile manufacturing company. We have no plans of changing our working style.”
Ola Electric expansion plans going ahead, exports also on cards
Founder of Ola Electric, Bhavish Aggarwal has been in the headlines quite often due to his quirky and unusual style of working. Some say he is too aggressive, moody and ill-tempered at times and spares no one for mistakes. So, far it has worked well for him and his company with just a few hiccups on the way.
The electric two-wheeler market seems to be at an inflection point. According to industry sources, the market for electric two-wheeler is set to cross 7.5 lakh units this financial year due to improved parts supply, almost doubling in a year.
At the recently held SIAM conclave, Amitabh Kant, the former Niti Aayog head said, there is a potential for the overall two-wheeler market to shift towards EVs in the next four to five years.
Ola Electric’s business plans are moving forward as expected. The Bengaluru-based EV maker is now gearing up for the second round of CAPEX push as it begins to look beyond India.
The idea is to prepare or add new assembly lines to help ramp up its existing production capacities at Hosur Pochampalli plant in Tamil Nadu Krishnagiri District by FY 24. The current production capacity is 10 lakh units per annum from this unit.
Keeping the aggressive style of working the EV maker plans to scale up service infrastructure by adding 300 service centres and Ola experience zones from the current 20 to 50 Pan India in six months.
On battery chemistries, a vital component in the EV ecosystem, Ola Electric says that the current LFP chemistries are much more suited for India, and hence they plan to continue with it for now and not consider alternative battery technologies that have sodium in it.
Meanwhile, Ola is looking to push its current valuations at US$5 bn with entry in neigbouring Nepal through distribution agreement with local company CC Motors.
Besides domestic markers, Ola will explore fast EV adoption markets like Europe and Latin American markets for exports.
Tata Group inks US$ 1.6 billion EV battery plant transaction: Report
As per the statement, the plant will have initial manufacturing of capabilities of 20 Gigawatt hours.
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