Uber’s competitor in India — Ola Cabs — is all set to add an electric version of the world’s cheapest car in its fleet as it plans to expand into the electric mobility on the back of supportive policies of the government.
Indian business daily Financial Express has reported that Ola Electric Mobility, a subsidiary of Ola Cabs, is planning to offer electric versions of Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car introduced in 2009. Ola Electric is reported to have entered a funding deal with Tata Motors Finance, a subsidiary of Tata Motors, the original manufacturer of Nano.
Under this deal, Tata Motors Finance will provide Rs 40 crore (US$5.7 million) debt funding to Ola Electric to purchase electric Nano. While Tata Motors has stopped manufacturing the traditional Nano model, its electric version is being manufactured by Jayem Automotives.
We covered a story in late-2017 about Tata Motors supplying empty body shells of Nano to Jayem with the latter fitting the electric train and other components to it. At that time, Ola was reported to have plans to procure 400 electric Nanos to add them into its fleet. Now, based on the size of the funding it is speculated that Ola may now acquire 1,000 to 1,300 models of electric Nano.
The 2017 report also mentioned that the electric Nano would have a 48V electric system and a range of 200 kilometers per charge. It is unclear in which city Ola would introduce these electric cars, but the cities of Hyderabad and Delhi have been mentioned in multiple news reports over the course of time.
Ola Electric Mobility recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Group. The funding is likely to be used towards the company’s goal to to bring 1 million electric vehicles to the streets of India by 2021. The company is believed to have been running a pilot project in the city of Nagpur with around 200 electric cars.
The news of this deal between Tata Motors Finance and Ola Electric comes around a months after Uber announced plans to induct 50 electric hatchbacks and sedans in its fleet. The cars shall be supplied by Mahindra Electric, a subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra, a competitor to Tata Motors. Mahindra Electric would supply e2o Plus hatchback (an improved variant of Reva, perhaps among the first electric passenger car to come on Indian roads) and eVerito sedan (an electric variant of the traditional Mahindra Verito) which is used by multiple government agencies in Delhi.