Ola is charging up India’s electrification push. An affiliate of the Softbank-backed (9984.T) ride-sharing outfit launched the battery-powered S1 scooter on Sunday. It’s the first model to roll out of its Future factory, which the company says will eventually produce 10 million scooters a year – equivalent to 15% of global capacity. Ola Electric wants to make electric cars too.
The bold initiative led by Bhavish Aggarwal has the scale and design savvy to lead disruption. About 15 million two-wheelers were sold in India in the year to March, accounting for some 80% of all vehicles sold domestically. The S1’s high-tech features, including voice-controls and a sensor-based locking system, will appeal to the country’s young population.
Aggressive pricing will speed take up. The basic S1 will cost 99,999 rupees ($1,348), which compares favorably with the small but growing number of rival offerings. After factoring in government subsidies, it could be almost as attractive as the popular, traditional-powered Honda (7267.T) Active too. Highly taxed retail fuel is another compelling financial reason for Indian commuters to go green . (By Una Galani)