From electric bikes to flying cars: the Indian Ola is preparing the future of mobility


Girls ride an electric scooter in Ahmedabad, India on December 30, 2018. Photo taken on December 30, 2018. REUTERS / Amit Dave / File Photo

NEW DELHI, September 23 (Reuters) – India’s Ola plans to produce scooters, e-bikes, drones and even flying cars as part of its future mobility program to help meet the country’s transportation needs, Company founder Bhavish Agarwal said in a blog post on Thursday. .

Ola, backed by Japanese group Softbank (9984.T), is building what it calls a “new mobility” ecosystem that will include mobility services, new energy vehicles and digital forms of automotive retailing, has Agarwal said in his article.

The company’s electric unit will soon begin production of its first electric scooter at a factory in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the largest in the world, it says. The Indian start-up also plans to expand into electric bikes and cars.

The future of accessible and affordable transportation in India is electric, and internal combustion engines, automobiles and the associated ecosystem are “a holdover from the past,” Argawal said in her post, adding that consumers have been demoted to to be just a “wheel in this giant wheel”.

“Our electric vehicles (electric vehicles) are smart, connected AI machines and will overtake current personal vehicles which are dumb mechanical devices. They will meet various needs through a variety of form factors including scooters, bicycles. electrics and even drones and flying cars, ”he wrote.

Agarwal estimates that with electric vehicles costing 80% less to run compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, the company’s mobility push could increase vehicle ownership in India to 40% of the population from around 15% currently. , and also reduce air pollution.

Electric vehicles currently represent only a fraction of the 23 million cars, scooters and motorcycles sold in India in a year, with electric scooters leading the pack. This is mainly due to the high cost of electric vehicles compared to petrol variants and insufficient charging infrastructure.

To give the sector a boost, India plans to give around $ 7.5 billion in total incentives to companies to set up battery and vehicle manufacturing, as well as buyers to switch to electric vehicles.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), the world’s largest electric car maker, is also preparing to start selling cars in India and has lobbied the government to reduce taxes on imported electric vehicles.

(This story corrects to say Ola, not Ola Electric, in the title, lede and paragraph 2, clarifies to say the electric unit in paragraph 3)

Report by Aditi Shah; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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