Ridesharing giant Ola is switching its focus to a new arm of the business – manufacturing mopeds.
The India-based company has secured land in South India to build a factory which it says will have the ability to produce over two million electric mopeds for purchase each year.
Ola says its mopeds, which will not be for hire, will be priced between $4500 and $5500, with the first local delivery of scooters expected in April or May next year.
The Bangalore headquartered company expects to produce one million scooters in its first year of manufacturing.
Ola country manager for New Zealand, Brian Dewil, said Ola had always had a focus on sustainable mobility and part of its wider vision was to “bring sustainable transport solutions to the world”.
He said the introduction of electric scooters will help support the Government’s goal of on-roading 64,000 new electric vehicles by the end of 2021.
“We have access to technology and manufacturing capabilities which encouraged us to pursue this route,” Dewil told the Herald.
Ola plans to hire more than 2000 staff to work in the Ola Electric business, which first launched in 2017.
Dewil said the Ola Electric business would not overtake its core ridesharing business, at least not in the next couple of years.
The business would focus on mopeds for now before expanding its offering. Its products were considered “the Tesla of mopeds”, having won various design and innovation, he said.
In May Ola acquiredAmsterdam-based Etergo BV electric scooter maker for an undisclosed sum. It has also has raised US$400 million in funding from Tiger Global, Matrix India, Tata Sons chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata and others to expand the business.
The electric scooter/moped market was last year valued at over US$18 billion, a big opportunity for Ola to tap into, Dewil said.
“It’s a cost-effective way to travel in many countries and we believe this is going to continue to increase.”
Its mopeds will be available across India, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Dewil said Ola wanted to play a part in New Zealand’s journey to become carbon neutral. “We’ve witnessed strong and steady growth in the e-scooter and e-bike sector so we believe Ola’s new scooter product will be welcomed by consumers as a way to contribute towards establishing a zero carbon economy.”
Bhavish Agarwal, chairman and group chief executive of Ola, said the company “was excited about bringing our electric two-wheelers to New Zealand to further accelerate development of sustainable solutions”.
“Climate change is a serious challenge and Ola is committed to moving the world to sustainable mobility through our products.
“We welcome and strongly support the move by the Honourable Prime Minister and the New Zealand government towards carbon neutrality, especially in the mobility sector.”
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