Ola to introduce e-scooter by Jan 2021; Uber launches 500 e-rickshaws in Greater Kolkata

Earlier this month, Uber had deployed 100 e-rickshaws across 26 Delhi Metro stations, offering riders sustainable mobility solutions for better first and last-mile connectivity and short distance commutes.
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Ride-hailing unicorn Ola is foraying into electric scooter manufacturing and plans to hit the market with its first vehicle in January next year, sources said.

Meanwhile, its competitor Uber has also announced that it will deploy 500 e-rickshaws, the first three-wheeler micro mobility product on its platform, in Greater Kolkata.

Riders from Howrah, Barasat, Madhyamgram, Rajarhat, and Salt Lake will be able to book the e-rickshaws on Uber app from Thursday, a statement said.

Earlier this month, Uber had deployed 100 e-rickshaws across 26 Delhi Metro stations, offering riders sustainable mobility solutions for better first and last-mile connectivity and short distance commutes.

Ola's electric scooter, initially manufactured at a facility in the Netherlands, will be sold in India as well as Europe, the sources close to the development said.

However, Ola did not respond to emailed queries.

In May this year, Ola Electric announced the acquisition of Amsterdam-based Etergo BV for an undisclosed amount. At that time, the firm had said it aimed to launch electric two-wheeler in India in 2021, and that the acquisition of Etergo further bolstered its engineering and design capabilities.

The sources said Ola Electric, the EV arm of the ride-hailing company, plans to launch e-scooter simultaneously across India and several European markets by January next year.

The e-scooter is expected to be priced competitively against the current petrol variant scooters, as the company is looking at tap into the 20 million units-two wheeler market in India, they added.

One of the sources said Ola is looking at sales of a million e-scooters in the first year.

The person added that while the initial batches of vehicles will come from the manufacturing facility in the Netherlands, Ola Electric is looking at setting up a facility in India to meet the local demand more efficiently and participate in the government's Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision.

Ola is said to be in talks with various state governments to set up India's largest e-scooter manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of about two million units.

Founded in 2014, Etergo has developed an all-electric 'AppScooter' that uses swappable high energy density batteries to deliver a range of up to 240 km.

The move to offer e-scooters will pitch the SoftBank-backed company against players like Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp-backed AtherEnergy, Hero Electric, and others that currently make electric two-wheelers in the country.

Uber had partnered with Yulu to launch a pilot offering riders smart and affordable micro mobility options in Bengaluru in 2019.

The launch is in line with Uber's recently announced global commitment to make all rides on its platform 100 percent emission-free by 2040 through zero-emission vehicles and the integration of public transport and micro mobility.

Since the last few years, the government has introduced new laws to govern battery operated three-wheelers for safety.

Edited by Megha Reddy