Ola To Add 10,000 Electric 3-Wheelers To Fleet Over Next 12 Months

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Despite the current and reportedly ongoing problems with its electric vehicle pilot in Nagpur, the India-based on-demand taxi service Ola is now planning to add a further 10,000 electric vehicles — 3-wheelers this time — to its fleet over the next 12 months.

The deployment will be made with backing from the investment group SoftBank Group, and represent part of the company’s plans to possess an electric vehicle (EV) fleet of at least 1 million by the year 2021.

In the press release on the matter, the firm noted that coordination with various state governments was planned for the deployment (as well as battery and auto manufacturers, of course).

“From cycle rickshaws to ‘shuttles’ and last-mile transport, three-wheelers continue to be a dominant form of daily transit for many people across the nation,” Ola stated. “Building on the pioneering EV pilot by the company in Nagpur, Ola believes electrification can improve outcomes for drivers, customers, and its business model.”

With regard to the EV pilot project in Nagpur, as we reported previously, a notable portion of the drivers of the EVs in question are apparently looking to return their cars and replace them with petrol/gasoline powered options again, due to overly long waiting times at fast-charging stations. Company reps have commented, though, that lessons have been learned…

“The EV (electric vehicle) program in Nagpur has provided Ola with significant insights into effectively managing vehicles, batteries, and operations,” a statement read. The company is now reportedly working to improve the charging situation.

Reuters provides more: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is determined to promote electric vehicle use, starting with public transport and taxis, to combat rising pollution, and reduce the nation’s dependence on imported oil. India has also set a target to make all new vehicles electric by 2030.

“Ola, which operates in 110 Indian cities and has over a million driver partners, said the electric 3-wheelers will be introduced in 3 cities but did not name them. Three-wheelers are commonly used, especially in smaller cities, but electric variants were introduced only a couple of years ago.

“Ola did not say which manufacturers would provide the 3-wheelers or whether it would be the company making the purchases or whether the vehicles would be driver-owned. It also did not provide details of when it planned to introduce electric cars.”

Presumably, then, that means that specifics have yet to be firmly decided upon on those counts.

Here’s Ola’s closing paragraph in this week’s press release:

Ola is in discussion with several state governments to create an appropriate policy environment to deploy electric three wheelers.  The company is also talking to OEM partners and EV innovators globally to bring vehicles on the road in a planned and phased manner.  With the addition of 10,000 vehicles across three cities this year, Ola is quickly set to become one of the largest EV fleet operators in the world.”

To learn more about the new initiative, go to: mission-electric.in

All images courtesy Ola

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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