Ola Aims to Add 10,000 Electric Auto-Rickshaws to its Fleet in India Over Next 12 Months

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A Softbank-backed cab aggregator, Ola announced that it aims to add 10,000 Electric Auto-Rickshaws and E-rickshaws to its Fleet in India Over Next 12 Months.

This program is part of its ambitious plan to put 1 million electric vehicles on to the road by 2021 and called the ‘Mission Electric’ which aims to boost the electric vehicle ecosystem in the country. Last year, in the city of Nagpur, Ola launched its  trial EV program but faced many road bumps.

In many cities in India, the popular way of making quick trips are the 3-wheeled rickshaws which can be hailed through Ola’s mobile app. Ola’s Mission Electric program also includes infrastructure like rooftop solar panels and charging stations that will enable drivers to switch to electric vehicles. Has to wait and see how successful this program might be as the Govt. of India is less interested in making an explicit electric vehicle policy, despite it stated to make all the new vehicles electric by 2030.

Many Ola drivers in the Nagpur trial in May 2017, switched back to fuel-backed cars due to high operating costs and long waiting times at the charging stations. And even Ola faced problems in setting up required charging stations and even forced to close them by the protests due to traffic jams caused by taxi drivers.

To save the time, Ola has installed charging dockets at the homes of some drivers that will help them to change or swap their batteries in quick time. The Bengaluru-based company is currently in discussions with several state governments to create an appropriate policy to launch its 3-wheeler electric rickshaw program. The company plans to continue its experimentation in optimizing batteries and charging which develops a strong business model for electric vehicle deployment in the country.

“Three-wheelers are a vital means of transportation and a source of livelihood for millions of people every day. It also represents an immediate opportunity to improve outcomes for all stakeholders while reducing pollution across towns and cities,” Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said and further added “After more than 4 million ‘electric’ kilometers travelled and many lessons learned, we are significantly expanding our commitment to electrify mobility in India. We look forward to working with state governments and other partners to introduce accessible, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions at scale.”