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Ola Electric's car debut in 2024 pits it against Tata Motors, Hyundai, Mahindra and Mahindra, MG Motors

According to industry data, sales of electric-powered vehicles grew 207.66 per cent in July 2022 over July 2021, with Tata Motors leading the pack, followed by MG Motors

Ola Electric's car debut in 2024 pits it against Tata Motors, Hyundai, Mahindra and Mahindra, MG Motors
Ola Electric

Vinita Bhatia

POSTED ON August 16, 2022 9:15 AM

While the country hailed its 75th Independence Day with gusto, Ola Electric's founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal had yet another reason to celebrate. He revealed the company's plan to debut an electric car in India by the "summer of 2024". 

In a video presentation on Twitter, he gave a sneak peek into the car, which he claimed would be one of the 'fastest' and 'sportiest' to be built in India. It can zoom from start to 100 km per hour within four seconds and has a 500km range after every charge. 

He added that the electric vehicle (EV) will have an all-glass roof, will not have handles and will be keyless like the company's two-wheelers. It will also have Ola's MoveOS software and a 0.21 drag coefficient. Aggarwal stated that the lower the drag coefficient, the better a car's performance.

While elaborating on the design features, Aggarwal said, "India is a young, energetic and extremely ambitious country. But the cars we build now are dull and boring. Countries and generations get associated with the cars they build."  

He pointed out that while Americans are associated with large trucks with high fuel consumption, Germans are known to design well-engineered luxury cars. Similarly, Italians are synonymous with super sports cars, while Japanese automakers are reputed to build high-quality and efficient cars.

"Indian car makers are conservative, thinking that we only want small cars or maybe mid-sized cars. Global automakers think the Indian market is not ready for world-class technology and sell their hand-me-down tech in India," Aggarwal claimed, adding that this needs to be changed.  

Interestingly, Aggarwal's announcement came minutes after yesterday's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation, who also touched upon this topic. While giving his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he urged for a greater push toward solar energy and biofuels and the adoption of electric vehicles for India to "reach the next level for energy independence."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that adoption of electric vehicles will help India "reach the next level for energy independence."

Changing gears

During the presentation, Aggarwal highlighted some upsides regarding pricing advantages Indians supposedly enjoy. According to him, a car in western nations costs $70,000 on average, while the same would cost $20,000 in India. Though he did not share the cost of the upcoming electric car, he maintained that its portfolio would range from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.

With the debut of its electric card, Ola Electric, the electric mobility arm of ANI Technologies, is driving into the domain dominated by car makers like Tata Motors Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Hyundai Motor Co and MG Motors. India is seeing increasing acceptance of EVs , which is evident in the rising sales of electric-powered vehicles. 

According to data shared by the Federation Of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) this figure stood at 3,295 units in July 2022, which is a 207.66 per cent rise over 1,071 units sold in the same month last year. Leading the pack were Tata Motors' Tata Nexon and Tigor, which sold 2,878 units sold in July 2022. MG Motors came second, selling 263 MG ZS EV in the month, followed by Hyundai Kona EV, BYD e6 and Mahindra eVerito EV.

Recently, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari claimed that over 13 lakh EVs are registered in the country. "The number of EVs in the country is 13,34,385 (excluding data of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Lakshadweep, which is not available in VAHAN 4) as on 14-07-2022 and a total of 2,826 public charging stations are operational in the country, as per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency," he said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

Some reasons for this uptake include the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) Phase-II scheme, which has encouraged companies to invest in EV manufacturing facilities. Introduced in 2015 with a $130 million first investment in electric car subsidies, FAME’s second iteration in 2019 saw the government increasing the EV subsidy to $1.4 billion.  

Electric vehicle charging
2,826 public charging stations are operational in the country, as per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency

A long way to go

However, inadequate accessibility to EV charging stations remains a huge hurdle in the adoption of EVs. The government is trying to address this by expanding the EV charging infrastructure in the country. 2,877 public EV charging stations have been sanctioned in 68 cities and 1,576 EV charging stations across nine expressways and 16 highways, Gadkari claimed.

Another stumbling block is the high upfront cost of buying an electric-powered car, which is significantly higher than that of vehicles with internal combustion engines. This elevated cost is largely because of the lithium-ion battery installed in the cars. 

Incidentally, most of these batteries come with a eight-year warranty. However, after that period, if the battery stops working, a consumer would have to purchase a new one. 

Preempting this challenge, Aggarwal claimed that Ola Electric's Future Factory in Chennai would produce a million cars, 10 million two-wheelers and 100 GW/hour of cell capacity annually. Moreover, it will also manufacture the company's own lithium-ion batteries.  

However, Ola Electric will need to check other boxes, including addressing the safety concerns following recent cases of its two-wheelers catching fire. And it will have to keep an eye on competitors like Tata Motors and MG Motors that have already dug into deep grooves in the circuit. 

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