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Ola Electric's high-stakes ride: Can Aggarwal disrupt
India's EV market?
By setting up massive capacities in a limited market against entrenched competition, founder Bhavish
Aggarwal has his work cut out proving the sceptics wrong
His key potential rival, a domestic two-wheeler with a global presence, dismisses the plan as “outrageous” and
impossible to comment on. Others say it is just a game to up Ola Electric’s valuation, because its flagship ride-
hailing business has faced a tough year due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Ola Cabs’ valuation was recently
downgraded by one of its investors, US-based Vanguard Group).
But that does not deter foun der Bhavish Aggarwal from doing what he knows best — disru pt the market — with an
am bitious plan to shake up the internal combustion engine-dominated two-wheeler market over which Hero, Bajaj,
TVS and Honda preside. Aggarwal anno unced that in the first phase he is investing Rs 2,400 crore and put ting up
an electric two-wheeler plant with a capacity to churn out 10 million a year by 2022.
He is hoping the first phase of the plant with a capacity of two million e-scooters will be up and running by June
(construction started in February). He is not ready to offer details about the e-scooter but is certain customers will
lap it up because of its price-value combination. And he will also export to Europe, which is a big e-cycle market,
“We understand the sceptic ism from rivals,” said a member of the Ola Electric leadership team. “But in the past 40
years, one hasn’t seen any significant technological innovation in In d ia in scooters at all — imagine, the carburettor
is the norm. Customers are ready for a superior tech-driven product at competitive prices. And we are buil ding
scale. The inflexion point has come and (the time for) linear organic growth is over.”
True, India is far behind China, which sells 28 million e-two wheelers a year, and Europe (about four million). India
sells just 150,000 e- two-wheelers, most of them