By Srinath Srinivasan
Ride hailing company Ola has launched Ola Drive, a car-sharing service. The service has been initially rolled out for users in Bengaluru with Hyderabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi to follow shortly. Ola intends to host a fleet of 20,000 cars by 2020. The company says that this number is 50% more than the fleet size of the entire industry put together. With over 200 million subscribers, Ola Drive will have the largest user base for a car-sharing service in the country when it goes live. This service will compete with the likes of Revv car rental and Zoom car.
Ola Drive will enable users to design their own package, controlling everything from the number of kilometres and hours, to fuel inclusion. This makes the service highly customised for users, and the freedom of choice allows for savings of up to 30% over other providers, according to the Ola management. Ola will begin with an investment of nearly $200 million and expand into major cities in the country. As of now, the company has completed a pilot in Bengaluru with over 500 cars.
Arun Srinivas, chief sales and marketing officer, Ola, said, “Ola has been deep-rooted in India’s mobility landscape, building technology enabled transportation solutions for millions of users. Our expertise in serving millions of customers through a large fleet of vehicles across 250 plus cities has been instrumental in making ride-hailing a norm in India. Ola Drive has been built on the same DNA and will play a transformative role in defining India’s car-sharing market in the next decade.” According to the company, self drive segment opens up a $1billion opportunity in India and is growing at a CAGR of 35% YoY.
All Ola Drive cars across segments will come equipped with Ola’s connected car platform ‘Ola Play’, enabled through a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment device, and will include GPS, media playback, and Bluetooth connectivity. Users will also have access to the platform’s support and safety features such as a 24/7 helpline, emergency button (which prompts an immediate call from Ola’s dedicated safety response team) and real-time tracking. The service will also include roadside assistance, to ensure a reliable, secure and comfortable driving experience.
Srinivas further added, “in the first phase of its roll-out, Ola Drive will be offered as a short-term self-drive car-sharing service as we look to introduce long-term subscription, corporate leasing, and more options in the times to come.”
The company will source its fleet from various automobile OEMs which will then be monitored and maintained at the Ola drive stations. Ola will have 104 check points in maintaing every car before and after every ride. The fleet will include, compact and premium hatchbacks, SUVs and premium sedans from various brands.
Ola will introduce the service to users in Bengaluru through pick-up stations located across different residential and commercial hubs. Users can choose to book a car of their choice for as little as two hours by paying a security deposit starting at Rs 2,000. This makes the venture cheapest in the market currently. At the moment, the service is live for a select number of Ola app users on Android platform, which will soon expand to other users and iOS users as well.