Ola Electric, the eMobility offshoot of Indian ride-hailing giant Ola, has announced the creation of an exclusive network of more than 100,000 charging points for its upcoming electric two-wheelers. This is expected to come up in over 400 cities in India within five years.
The development of the ‘Ola Hypercharger Network’ is to begin in the first year with a good 5,000 charging points in 100 Indian cities. The rollout of this network is to be coordinated with the first launch from Ola: an e-two-wheeler called Ola Scooter, which will be launched in the summer. According to The Economic Times, Ola, together with unspecified partners, plans to invest around 2 billion US dollars (around 1.65 billion euros) in the charging network.
Analogous to Tesla’s Supercharger network, the Ola network is to be reserved exclusively for the company’s vehicles. The Ola scooter and upcoming products are not to be compatible with other charging networks. “If there’s another network that wants to allow Ola vehicles to charge on their network, we will take it as it comes. We will reassess our model as the industry matures,” Ola chief Bhavish Aggarwal told The Economic Times.
Ola is planning both free-standing ‘Hyperchargers’ and destination chargers at malls, office complexes, cafes, etc. While the former will offer 12 kW charging power, the electric two-wheelers will charge somewhat slower at the destination chargers. That said, the majority of the network is to consist of the company’s Hyperchargers. Ola says that the batteries in the upcoming electric scooters could be charged at a Hypercharger from 0 to 50 per cent in 18 minutes, which corresponds to a range of 75 kilometres. Charging the vehicle’s battery to full capacity should take “less than an hour.”
The initial 5,000 charging points planned in 100 cities alone will represent “more than double the existing charging infrastructure in the country”, according to Ola. “Electric is the future of mobility and we are reimagining the entire user experience of owning an electric vehicle,” Aggarwal says, referring to his group’s transformation from a pure ride broker to an e-vehicle and charging infrastructure provider. “Our plans to build a comprehensive charging network is a key piece of this. By creating the world’s largest and densest 2-wheeler charging network, we will dramatically accelerate the customer adoption of electric vehicles and rapidly move the industry to electric.”
Complementing the exclusive charging network, Ola also plans to provide mobile home charging solutions to the buyers of its scooters. Both the chargers for the Hypercharger network and the scooters will be built at a manufacturing facility that Ola is currently building at record speed in Tamil Nadu. By 2023, Ola aims to have an annual production capacity for ten million electric two-wheelers. In its first stage of expansion, the plant is scheduled to be commissioned in June. The first deliveries of the Ola Scooter are scheduled for July.