EVs & Mobility

This article was published on April 25, 2022

Ola’s plan to move from escooters to autonomous EVs is ludicrous

The company expects launch in the next two years


Ola’s plan to move from escooters to autonomous EVs is ludicrous
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives. Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives.

After successfully entering the Indian escooter market, in January, Ola Electric started teasing its debut in the electric car segment — quite a bold move for a five-year-old micromobility company.

On Saturday, Bhavish Aggarwal, the company’s CEO, made some even bolder statements about Ola’s EV, as reported by Indian outlet News18. Speaking at the company’s manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu, Aggarwal said that Ola will be entering the autonomous vehicle segment.

Specifically, it’s developing autonomous driving features that will debut in its upcoming four-wheeler both for the Indian and the global markets.

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Here’s a look at what the EV will probably look like:


Ambitiously, the CEO stated that the tech will not only be able to compete with Tesla and Rivian, but also roll out by early 2024 at the latest.

As inspiring as it is to see the development of minor EV makers, it’s difficult not to doubt Ola’s plans.

The same day of these announcements, the company recalled more than a thousand vehicles, after the battery of one of its S1Pro escooters burst into flames, on March 26 in Prune, India.

You can watch the incident below:

 

In response, Ola recalled 1,441 escooters to conduct diagnostics as a “pre-emptive measure,” although it stated that the battery fire was most likely an isolated incident:


In light of these events, however, it’s worth considering whether Ola should focus on debuting on the challenging autonomous vehicle segment, instead of attending to the more pressing issues regarding its current product.

On top of that, the set two-year timeframe for the launch of an EV with self-driving features in the likes of Tesla and Rivian is extremely optimistic.

It took Tesla more than a decade to establish itself globally, while even younger Rivian is struggling to meet production targets, seeing its stock fall more than 25% during March. Emerging EV startup Lucid Motors is also facing production hurdles.

We’re also talking about automakers with much better resources that are solely focusing their R&D in electric car making. For reference, Tesla’s market cap is at $1 trillion and Rivian’s at $29.69 billion. Now let’s compare that with Ola’s $5 billion.

I can’t help but wonder how Ola will successfully roll out an autonomous EV, compete with the sharks of the market, and solve its existing escooter issues — all within two years and amidst the global supply chain shortages. My guess is, we should expect significant delays.

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