India’s Ride Hailing Firm Ola Bets On E-Bikes To Flying Cars For Mobility Future

India’s Ola plans to produce kick scooters, e-bikes, drones and even flying cars under its future mobility scheme to help meet the country’s transport needs, the company’s founder Bhavish Agarwal said in a blogpost on Thursday.

Ola, backed by Japan’s Softbank Group, is building what it calls a “New Mobility” ecosystem which will include mobility services, new energy vehicles and digital forms of auto retail, Agarwal said in his post.

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

The future of accessible and cheap transportation in India is electric, and internal combustion engines, vehicles, and the accompanying ecosystem are “relics of the past,” according to Argawal’s article, who adds that customers have been reduced to being “a gear in this huge wheel.”

“Our EVs (electric vehicles) are smart, connected AI machines and will leapfrog current personal vehicles that are dumb mechanical devices. They will serve diverse needs through a variety of form factors including kick scooters, e-bikes and yes even drones and flying cars,” he wrote.

Agarwal believes that because EVs cost 80 per cent less to operate than gasoline vehicles, the company’s mobility drive could increase vehicle ownership in India to 40 per cent of the population, up from roughly 15 per cent now, while simultaneously reducing air pollution.

EVs presently account for a small percentage of the 23 million vehicles, scooters, and motorbikes sold in India each year, with electric scooters leading the way. This is mostly due to the high cost of EVs in comparison to gasoline versions, as well as a lack of charging infrastructure.

To stimulate the industry, India intends to provide around $7.5 billion in total incentives to firms that set up battery and vehicle production, as well as to customers who transition to EVs.

Tesla Inc, the world’s largest electric automaker, is also preparing to begin selling vehicles in India and has been pressing the government to lower tariffs on imported EVs.

(Adapted from LiveMint.com)

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