Ola accelerates electric vehicles plan, to set up advanced technology center in San Francisco Bay Area

After Flipkart, Ola will be the only Indian consumer internet company to launch a technology center in the Bay Area.

A pedestrian walks past an advertisement for the Ola ride-hailing service and application, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt., in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Ola, the operator of an Indian taxi-hailing app, will lease cars to boost the number of vehicles in its network to stave off competition from Uber Technologies Inc. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

As the government is reportedly looking to get ride-hailing companies Ola and Uber in India switch 40 per cent of their cars to electric by April 2026, Ola is ensuring that it progresses continuously on that part. The company is setting up advances technology center in San Francisco Bay in the US to turn vehicles electric, connected, and autonomous.

“The technology center is likely to be in Palo Alto in the Bay Area and after Flipkart, Ola will be the only Indian consumer internet company to launch a technology center there,” a source aware of the development told Financial Express Online.

Ola would hire more than 150 engineers to work at the center who would also collaborate with Ola’s global team spread across India, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand to develop “next-generation technologies in mobility,” the company said in a statement. The new hires would be across areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data sciences, engineering, and product development.

“The company will begin hiring this week for open positions. This includes hiring a senior data science professional,” the source said.

The centre is a first-of-its-kind in the US even as the local talent is “very conducive” towards Ola’s future mobility plans and the center will serve as the company’s “centre-point of transformative mobility technology in the time to come,” said Ankit Bhati, Co-founder and CTO, Ola.

Ola currently has over 150 million users and facilitates more than 1 billion rides annually, Ola said.

SoftBank-backed Uber and Ola would have to begin switching their vehicles to electric as soon as next year in order to achieve 2.5 per cent electrification by 2021 and 10 per cent by 2023 before taking it to 40 per cent, Reuters quoted a source and records of government meetings around new rules for clean mobility.

India could have 30 per cent cars and around 80 per cent two-wheelers as electric vehicles by 2030, as per the report titled India’s Electric Mobility Transformation: Progress to Date and Future Opportunities launched the Niti Aayog and the Rocky Mountain Institute in April this year.

Ola launched its electric mobility arm Ola Electric in 2017 and had raised Rs 400 crore funding led by Tiger Global Management and Matrix India. The company had last year announced its plans to have 1 million electric vehicles in India by 2022.


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