Ola on Wednesday said it would soon deploy 10,000 premium electric vehicles (EVs) for users on its cab-booking platform and was in the final stages of rolling out the pilot programme. This is the second time Ola is toying with the idea of operating an EV fleet. In 2018, it ran a similar project in Nagpur, but shut it down after it failed to take off.
The company, however, did not provide more details. “Once Ola has figured out the sourcing of the vehicles, the charging infrastructure and based on the pilot’s results, the company will decide when to exit the pilot phase and formally launch the service on its app,” a person aware of the development told FE. This announcement comes at a time when Ola, along with Uber, has received several customer complaints about the poor services, ride cancellations, surge pricing, among others. Driver partners on Ola and Uber have also been complaining about decline in their earnings over the past few months.
These, however, have worked in favour of BluSmart, which is the largest on-demand EV fleet operator in the country and promises zero cancellations and no surge pricing. Customers have been flocking to avail of services from the Gurugram-based company. BluSmart owns all the 3,000 EVs it has on its ride-hailing portal and is also present in some parts of Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.
Ola is, however, assuring that new services would be operated by “the top rated drivers and will provide benefits like 100% ride assurance post allocation of the cab, zero cancellations, facilitate 100% cashless payments and a seamless ride experience”.
“Electrification of the ride-hailing fleet is the next frontier for the industry and a huge step in the direction of the future of mobility. Our road map of developing in-house core technologies and products that can be leveraged across group level gives us a very strong competitive advantage in the ride-hailing business,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, founder and CEO, Ola Electric.
He added: “We are completely reimagining this segment to not only improve the driver and consumer experience, but also offer clean and green mobility options eventually to 500 million Indians.”Ola had made similar claims in the past as well, but failed to deliver on those.
“The company will develop ‘Mission: Electric’ as a platform to bring one million electric vehicles on the road by 2021…with a commitment to place 10,000 e-rickshaws and electric auto-rickshaws in its service in the next 12 months. From cycle rickshaws to ‘shuttles’ and last-mile transport, three-wheelers,” Ola had said in a blog post in 2017 ahead of its Nagpur launch.