New mobility solutions to fix archaic world of internal combustion vehicles: Ola co-founder

Spelling out Ola's mobility vision in a blog, Bhavish Aggarwal noted that the company is building a new ecosystem keeping the customer at the core.
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Internal combustion engine vehicles are a remnant of the past and new transport solutions like electric vehicles are trying to fix this archaic system by making mobility universally accessible and sustainable, Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal said on Thursday.

Spelling out Ola's mobility vision in a blog, Aggarwal noted that the company is building a new ecosystem keeping the customer at the core.

"The IC engine, automobiles and the related ecosystem is a remnant of the past and assumes unsustainably high ownership of vehicles manufactured by OEMs and sold through dealers. Consumers have been downgraded to being just a cog in this giant wheel. This is best indicated by Henry Ford's - 'You can have whatever colour you want, as long as it's black'. Try saying that to an ecommerce customer today!" he stated.

In India, just 2 percent (30 million) people own a four-wheeler and only 12 percent (160 million) have a two-wheeler, Aggarwal noted.

"That means more than a billion people in India have been shut out of mobility by this system!" he said.

New mobility is fixing this archaic system by making mobility universally accessible, sustainable, personalised and convenient, he added.

"To do this both shared and personal mobility will grow significantly in India through a combination of purpose-built EVs lowering costs, digital retail driving convenience and the cloud enabling personalisation," Aggarwal said.

Elaborating on the company's strategy, he noted: "Ola is building this new mobility ecosystem with the consumer at the core. The three pillars of this new ecosystem are new mobility services, new energy vehicles and new auto retail. These three pillars amplify and enhance the impact of each other as part of an integrated Ola New Mobility Platform".

Aggarwal noted that currently, Ola provides multi-modal mobility access to 10 crore people through taxis, auto-rickshaws, 2Ws, day hires, outstation rides etc.

"But this is just 7 percent of India's population. We will bring this multi-modal mobility to all 1.3B people by Ola designed EVs customised for the diverse shared mobility needs. EVs are 80 per cent cheaper to run so the service will be more affordable and accessible to all," he said.

The company already sees strong adoption of its multi-modal platform across Ola's 150 cities, he added.

"As we expand to 500 towns and bring shared mobility to 500 million people, the multi-modal offerings will grow substantially and will be central to driving affordability and access for these 500 million people," Aggarwal stated.

Noting that 40 percent of air pollution in India is due to vehicles, he said that the number of vehicles in the country would grow exponentially with a rise in affordable shared and personal mobility.

"Our EVs are smart, connected AI machines, and will leapfrog current personal vehicles that are dumb mechanical devices. They will serve diverse needs through a variety of form factors, including kick scooters, e-bikes and yes even drones and flying cars while costing 80 percent less to run compared to IC engines! This will cause vehicle ownership to explode to 40 percent of the population with 50 millionn 2Ws and 10 million 4Ws sold per year in India in the coming years," Aggarwal said.

Not just the vehicles but the 100-plus-year-old model of dealership based sales and service, standard financing and insurance and unorganised used vehicle sale/purchase is also out of date and needs to change, he said.

"We have already built a powerful digital retail platform that bypasses physical infrastructure and hosted the largest automotive launch in history with the Ola S1. In future, we will open up this platform to other OEMs too, giving them unparalleled digital distribution. It will bring consumers wide multi-brand choice online, at home test rides, personalised financing, insurance and more," he added.

Aggarwal further stated: "We are living through a once in a century rewiring of the entire mobility industry. Modes, vehicle form factors, energy sources, distribution are all fundamentally changing. India has the opportunity to leapfrog old mobility and adopt New Mobility".

Ola has a significant advantage with it being the only mobility company that does the hardware (EVs), software and service (shared mobility services and auto retail) entirely in-house plus has the deepest understanding of urban mobility needs of consumers, he said.

"We will lead the development of new technologies and build this future of new mobility to bring a billion people more choice, convenience and affordable mission," he added.

Last week, Ola Electric announced that it was able to generate Rs 1,100 crore from the two-day sale of its electric scooter S1.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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