Ola has been building up to its new electric scooter for months now, and customers finally have a first look at what the vehicle will look like.
Ola has unveiled its new electric scooter in a video featuring CEO Bhavish Aggarwal. The video says it’s from a recent Sunday morning in Bangalore, and shows Aggarwal taking the Ola bike for a spin. The video shows Aggarwal driving the bike around the streets of Bangalore, and claims such as “incredible speed”, “ergonomic seating” and “supreme ride comfort” flash on the screen. The video ends with him having a cup of coffee as he shows off the bike to admirers.
It’s a slick teaser, but is scant on details — Aggarwal only says that the bike goes from 0-60 “faster than you can read this tweet”, and doesn’t mention the bike’s range or top speed. Crucially, there’s no indication of how much the bike will cost.
Over the last few months, Ola has embarked on an ambitious electric bikes project. It has announced a Rs. 2,400 crore investment in building the world’s largest EV scooter factory in Tamil Nadu, and said that it’ll set up a charging infrastructure with 1 lakh charging points in 400 cities across India. Ola says its factory will have a capacity to produce 1 crore vehicles per year.
These are some big numbers, but the fact remains that India’s electric scooter market — at the moment — is minuscule. In February this year, the entire industry, put together, had sold just 6,059 scooters. Hero Electric had the biggest market share, selling 2,201 scooters, and was followed by Okinawa which sold 1,059 scooters, and Amere which sold 800 scooters. Bangalore-based electric scooter startup Ather Energy was fourth having sold 624 scooters in February. In comparison, Honda Activa, which is India’s top-selling petrol scooter, had sold 1.09 lakh units this April.
With the entire industry having sold 6,059 bikes in February, Ola’s production target of 1 crore bikes a year does look ambitious, but there are trends that could help accelerate adoption. Petrol prices are rising, and the government’s FAME subsidies have meant that electric bikes, in spite of their higher initial costs, are more competitively priced against conventional bikes than before. If Ola can can price its bikes competitively, and provide a robust charging network that makes the bike easy to use, it can potentially make a dent in India’s electric bike space.