Ola Electric has quickly become the largest electric two wheeler manufacturer in India, but there’s more to its growing market share than meets the eye.
Ola’s parent company, ANI Technologies, has purchased over 12,000 electric scooters from Ola Electric, Mint reports. These purchases were made between April 2022 and December 2023, and weren’t declared in Ola Electric’s DRHP, which it had filed late last year. The majority of these purchases took place in December 2023, when Ola Electric had clocked a 40 percent market share in the two-wheeler EV segment.
There had previously been information that Ola would buy Ola Electric scooters — Ola had said in September last year that it would use Ola Electric scooters as a part of its ride-hailing service in Bangalore. “The fleet will be all-electric, and feature Ola’s own S1 scooters,” Bhavish Aggarwal had then said. A month later, Ola had also begun using these scooters for its own parcel delivery service.
A few months later, Ola had widened its lead as India’s top 2 wheeler EV seller — in December, it had sold 30,219 units of its electric scooters. It had been far ahead of rivals TVS, which had sold 12,216 units, Bajaj Chetak, which had sold 10,323 units and Ather Energy, which had sold 6,481 units over the same period. But it now appears that many of Ola’s scooters were sold to Ola’s ride hailing business, which is a related party transaction and might not reflect the reality of Ola’s market share going forward.
Now there could be two ways to parse this information. It appears that Ola Electric has a ready customer in Ola’s ride hailing arm, which could possibly end up buying many of its scooters. But Ola’s ride hailing and fleet arms aren’t exactly making money — they lost nearly Rs. 1000 crore last year — so it’s unclear for how long they’ll be able to keep giving orders. The other way to parse this information could be that these purchases could be a means for Ola Electric to prop up its market share before an IPO — by purchasing over 12,000 of its own scooters, Ola Electric has made its market share look a lot more formidable than it otherwise would’ve been, which could help generate interest for its stock market debut. In either case, Ola buying Ola’s scooters is a noteworthy development, and could serve as a interesting signal for both retail and institutional investors as the company looks to go public.