Ola’s electric mobility arm said on Friday that it has raised Rs 400 crore ($56 million at current exchange rates) from some of the ride-hailing unicorn’s existing investors including New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management and venture capital firm Matrix Partners India.
Ola Electric Mobility Pvt. Ltd is an independent company floated by Ola as an extension of its Mission Electric programme announced last April to launch 10,000 electric vehicles, most of them three-wheelers, by this year and get one million electric vehicles on the road by 2022.
Headed by Ola executives Anand Shah and Ankit Jain, Ola Electric Mobility primarily focuses on deploying charging and battery-swapping networks for the commercial electric vehicles segment, the company said in a statement.
It is currently running several pilots to deploy electric vehicles and charging solutions, including battery swapping stations, electric two-wheeler and three-wheeler services.
Ola has already partnered with several original equipment manufacturers and battery makers, and intends to work closely with the automotive industry to create solutions for electric vehicle operations, the company added.
“The first problem to solve in electric mobility is charging: users need a dependable, convenient, and affordable replacement for the petrol pump,” said Shah, who is the head of Ola Electric Mobility.
The Bengaluru-based cab-hailing firm had roped in Shah, a former executive at German carmaker BMW, to head its electric vehicles programme last March.
Jain was previously heading Ola Play, the ride-hailing company’s in-car entertainment system. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and the MIT Sloan School of Management, Jain has previously worked with McKinsey and Opera Solutions.
“As Ola's first institutional investors, we are excited to begin this new journey with Ola Electric and partner in creating yet another impactful mobility business," said Lee Fixel, partner at Tiger Global Management.
Ola had earlier partnered with Mahindra & Mahindra, which is the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in the country, to run a pilot project in Nagpur.
Cab aggregator Uber Technologies Inc., Ola’s key rival in the Indian market, had announced its intention to switch to electric vehicles in the long term. Uber, too, had partnered Mahindra and Mahindra to pilot electric vehicles on its platform in India.
Earlier this week, Mahindra decided to enter the shared mobility space independently with an electric vehicles-based ride-hailing service called Glyd that is kicking off operations in Mumbai.
In a related development, the Indian government on Thursday approved a $1.4 billion scheme to subsidise sales of electric and hybrid vehicles as it looks to control pollution and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
The program, named Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME), will offer subsidies based on the battery capacity of the vehicle, ranging from buses and cars to three-wheelers and motorbikes. The incentives would be applicable only on vehicles costing less than Rs 15 lakh.