Technology group Softbank is investing the equivalent of 250 million US dollars in Ola Electric Mobility (OEM), the vehicle arm of India’s largest ride-hailing firm. This makes Ola Electric a “Unicorn”, which means that it is now valued at more than $1Bn.
Ola is India’ largest ride-hailing services, comparable only to America’s Uber or Didi Chuxing of China. Softbank is the company’s single largest investor as well and has now increased its commitment by giving the electric vehicle making arm Ola Electric Mobility unicorn status – financially at least.
Ola Electric is currently running several pilots involving charging solutions, battery swapping stations, and deploying vehicles across two, three and four-wheeler segments. The subsidiary OEM was initially established to enable Ola’s electric mobility pilot programme in Nagpur.
Moreover, in 2018 Ola announced ‘Mission: Electric‘ to bring no less than one million electric vehicles on Indian roads by 2021. Following the plan was the announcement last April, that Ola would deploy 10,000 electric vehicles, mostly rickshaws as reported.
Back when the news broke, Ola was in talks with municipalities over electrifying the taxi services. Shortly after, support if not explicitly, came from the central government that was to channel funds away from grants for buying private electric cars and into EVs used by drivers working for shared mobility services such as Ola through FAME II reportedly. Ola, of course, welcomed the initiative.
Since then India has solidified the ambitious goal to convert 40% of the fleet of cabs and scooters to electric by 2026. And, Ola wants to be right there. Not only through vehicle and charging programmes mentioned above. The parent group raised $300 million from Hyundai and Kia to expand its mobility solutions and electric vehicles programmes earlier this year.
More so, the firm that recently expanded into the UK, New Zealand and Australia now also wants to jump right into Uber’s backyard and plans to build a new advanced technology centre in San Francisco.