Ola will be tying up with Toyota to make electric cars.

SoftBank plans to turn Ola into an electric car manufacturer
Atom Electric Vehicles Monday, May 29, 2017 - 14:51

Ola launched its first electric week in Nagpur last week. While Ola announced that it will deploy 200 electric vehicles including e-cars, e-buses, e-autos and e-rickshaws, does this mark Ola’s shift towards becoming an electric car manufacturer? It looks it.

According to a report by Factor Daily, Ola’s investor SoftBank wants the cab aggregator to pivot into becoming an electric car manufacturer. And for this, it will be working with the second largest car maker in the world, Toyota.

It’s not an entire shift. Ola will continue to expand its cab-hailing business while also tapping the opportunity the electric vehicles market has in India, given the fact that India wants to become an all-electric car nation by 2030.

In December, SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son told Mint that Ola would deploy a million electric vehicles in the next five years in partnership with a carmaker and the government of India. But it did not talk about turning Ola into an electric carmaker at that point.

Factor Daily reports that the details of Ola’s plans for electric vehicles are sketchy but the source said it was going to be a big, three-way bet between SoftBank, Ola, and Toyota. “Ola is also in talks with Toyota to give them the car bodies, and the companies will work together on electric cars… Ola will be the largest electric car company in India,” the source told Factor Daily.

SoftBank is definitely betting big on Ola after its bet on Snapdeal failing. It has led two round of funding, one in October 2014 ($210 million) and the other in February 2017 ($330 million). FactorDaily reported on Friday that SoftBank is in talks to buy Tiger Global’s share in Ola for $700 million.

An electric vehicle push will be a huge shift for Ola, whose losses nearly tripled at Rs 2,313.7 in FY16. Last week it invested Rs 50 crore to procure electric vehicles and set up 50 charging points across Nagpur.

The Indian government too is working towards its plan of becoming an all-electric vehicle country by 2030. Transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said that the government is in initial talks with SoftBank for a low interest funding of two lakh electric buses for public transport.

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