Ola Electric is with two attractive models for the price of Rs 99.99 or Rs 129 the youngest market participant in the segment of electric scooters. This may seem a bit expensive to some, but remember that you can get a discount if the state government subsidizes the costs. In Gujarat, for example, the cheapest version is expected to cost just 77,999 rupees.
At this point, you might ask if the revolution of electric scooters is just around the corner. For starters, there is no doubt that the electric vehicle industry is indeed experiencing a perfect storm. Nothing is closer to the utopian dream of building a market for electric scooters at a competitive price.
Fuel prices are at a record high. Production costs are constantly falling. State governments are competing for subsidies for electric vehicles. The likes of Ola and Hero Energy are hyping an all-electric future. Big investors are financing their dreams.
The public seems to share this vision, at least for now. There is still time for another foray into the segment of electric scooters, but this time with success.
Last year, the industry sold about 25,000 units before the pandemic. This year, 30,000 units were sold in the first six months. These are not world-beaters, but people like Ola promise to increase production to a million a year. Ola’s nearly 100,000 pre-orders show this scale.
Sign of Future Era
But lofty goals must be reconciled with the cold, hard reality of building a scalable business in this area. For example, Ola has promised to design, and manufacture its own batteries, engines, controls, and software, which was acquired by a Dutch electric vehicle company last year. But sales have not yet recovered. And Ola isn’t overly optimistic.
In fact, they have never done anything like it. It will be a challenge to produce millions of scooters without encountering any hiccups. They will have to build a supply chain to sell the vehicles to the masses.
It’s not easy when you’re on the clock. Tesla, for example, recently began production of the Model 3, an affordable mass-market electric vehicle that has achieved its goals.
Companies “automation dreams were shattered, and Elon Musk called them” production hell “in an infamous interview with CBS. “There were problems with the assembly line. There was a problem with battery manufacturing. And then there was the problem with robots. That was what was needed to solve all these tricky problems.
Those looking for practical benefits face a number of problems. There is also the demand side of the equation. While prices are beginning to moderate, more and more people are warming up for the idea of owning an electric scooter.
The most expensive variant of the Olas range is said to offer a range of 180 km. This is by no means an untenable claim. It is in line with real-world experience, and if you are afraid of stranding your vehicle without cargo, you can hope that the charging infrastructure will be expanded to production capacity. However, there are still uncertainties regarding charging standards and adapter technology.
Admittedly, the government and other stakeholders in the industry are working on it and we talk to them regularly, so we hope this will speed up the discussions and we can talk about how we can manifest the electric vehicle revolution in the next few years. India will be electric one way or the other.
The only question is when and where we get there. In a state where dreams do not always come true, it feels surreal to reflect on the progress we have made over the last decade.