SoftBank-backed Ola to launch first electric car in 2024

Environment

Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal appears on screen during a presentation in August 15, 2021. The company’s EV-arm, Ola Electric, plans to launch an electric car in 2024.
Samyukta Lakshmi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The CEO of Ola Electric said Monday his firm would launch an all-electric vehicle that can go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (just over 62 mph) in four seconds, as the race to gain a foothold in India’s fledgling EV sector intensifies.

In a video presentation, Bhavish Aggarwal offered up a number of details about the Indian-built vehicle, which will be its first electric car.

It would, he said, have a range of over 500 kilometers per charge (around 310 miles), an all-glass roof, and assisted driving capability. The EV would also be keyless and “handle-less.” The company plans to launch the vehicle in 2024.

“Global automakers think that the Indian market is not ready for world-class technology and, hence, sell their hand-me-down tech in India,” he said. This needed to be changed, he added.

Monday also saw Aggarwal announce plans to develop what he called a “full-EV hub” by expanding the company’s “Futurefactory” in Tamil Nadu state, which currently focuses on the production of two-wheel electric vehicles.

At full scale, he said the extended facility would produce 1 million cars, 10 million two-wheelers and 100-gigawatt hours of cells each year. “This … reimagined Ola Futurefactory is going to be the world’s largest EV ecosystem at a single site,” Aggarwal said.

Ola Electric is the EV arm of ride-hailing firm Ola, which was established in 2011. Both Ola and Ola Electric have attracted investment from SoftBank Group.

India, which is on track to become the planet’s most populous country next year, is something of an untapped market when it comes to electric cars, lagging behind China, the European Union and the U.S.

“In Brazil, India and Indonesia, fewer than 0.5% of car sales are electric,” the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook notes.

Ola’s venture into India’s electric car market will see it compete with Tata Motors and Mahindra Electric Mobility, among others. According to the IEA, Tata’s Nexon BEV SUV was India’s best-selling electric car in 2021.

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