Hyundai to supply electric cars to OLA’s fleet by 20216 months ago Bhavitaavya Dharanikota
South Korean Automaker Hyundai Motors is reportedly planning to introduce its electric vehicles in the cab fleet of Indian ride-hailing company Ola by 2021. Hyundai is said to be developing these special purpose vehicles under its ‘Smart EV’ platform. These vehicles are being specifically made for ride-hailing companies. Recently last month, Hyundai along with its affiliate Kia Motors invested $300Mn in Ola. The $300 million funding was aimed at forming a strategic partnership wherein the three firms will be making India specific electric vehicles as well as their corresponding infrastructure. India is the centerpiece of Hyundai Motor Group’s strategy to gain leadership in the global mobility market and this partnership with Ola will certainly accelerate Hyundai’s efforts to transform into a Smart Mobility Solutions Provider. This strategic partnership with Ola marked Hyundai’s transition from a traditional automaker to a fleet operator.
Prior to the funding announcement, Ola was said to be in plans to deploy 1 million electric vehicles in its fleet by 2022 including both three-wheelers and four-wheelers. Ola launched its pilot EV project in Nagpur in 2018. However, the project failed after drivers started returning their electric cars and switched back to petrol or diesel cars citing high operating expenses and long wait time at the EV charging stations. The investment in Ola was made with the intent of testing these vehicles as electric mobility in India will gain traction in cab services rather than personal usage. The electric vehicles will be launched most likely in 2021, but with Hyundai’s capability, it can hit the market in 2020 as well, because it knows that in India and other parts of the world, electric mobility will be first adopted by cab service providers and other commercial fleet operators. The investment in Ola gives it a ready-made platform to test its vehicles. While, for Ola, this will help it induct quality but low-cost electric vehicles, custom made from one of the leading manufacturers in the world. The electric cars that Hyundai will produce to supply to Ola will be heavily localized, and also manufactured in India. This will ensure that the electric cars are priced within affordable levels for the cab market, and also keep maintenance costs low.
Also, Hyundai’s first electric car for the Indian market, due later this year, will be aimed at the personal car buyer though. A presence market of sorts, the Kona electric SUV will be launched by the end of this year and is likely to be priced at about Rs. 20-25 lakhs. It’s meant to be a demonstration of Hyundai’s capability in the electric vehicle space. The Kona Electric will offer a battery range of about 250-300 kilometers, making it a great intra-city alternative to petrol and diesel cars. It’ll be assembled at Hyundai India’s Sriperumbudur factory, off Chennai.