Cab aggregator ventures into two-wheeler manufacturing with a designed and Made in India product that it proposes to sell in India and across the world. If it succeeds, it will come as a massive booster shot to two of Modi’s flagship schemes.
This is possibly the biggest case of Start-up India meeting the Make in India initiative and scaling up to a global scale in the quickest possible time, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Unicorn cab aggregator Ola has begun constructing the world’s largest two-wheeler factory on a 500-acre plot in Tamil Nadu that will churn out 10 million electric scooters and two-wheelers, or one EV every 2 seconds, once it reaches full capacity by June-July 2022. This means the OlaFuture Factory, as it is called, will account for 15 per cent of the two-wheeler capacity in the world.
It is expected to begin operations soon with an initial output of 2 million EVs.
Carbon Negative and Sustainable
“Sharing our vision of the Ola Futurefactory! With 10M units/yr, it'll be the largest 2W factory in the world, 15% of the world's capacity! With 3000+ robots, it'll be the most advanced & with 100 acres of forest, carbon-negative operations, it‘ll be the most sustainable,” Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal tweeted recently.
Top Investor Backing
Ola Electric is his second start-up. Incorporated in 2017, it counts the likes of Softbank and Tiger Global Management as investors and has already crossed the billion-dollar valuation mark.
These two marquee global venture capital funds are also big investors in Agarwal's cab aggregator as well. Besides, South Korean automobile majors Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motor Corporation have also invested in this venture.
A Crowded Field, Heavy Competition
Then, every automaker worth the name, from Toyota Motor Corporation to Daimler Benz to homegrown majors like Tata Motors-Jaguar Land Rover, Hero MotoCorp and several others are racing against time and each other for a piece of an emerging $200-billion market, which is fast becoming the new automotive holy grail.
Designed and Manufactured in India
“It’s a vehicle we’ve engineered ground-up so India can get a seat at the world EV table," Agarwal said in a recent interview, adding that domestic firms “have the smarts and energy to leapfrog into the future of EV”.
The factory will be among India’s most futuristic manufacturing units. Mostly automated, much of the assembly operations will be carried out by about 3,000 robots and automated guided vehicles.
Start-up India meets Make in India
If this venture succeeds – and given the pedigree of the founder and his investors, there is every reason for optimism on this count – it will provide a massive boost to Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India and Start-up India initiatives by producing the country’s first domestically designed and manufactured world-class, global-scale product.
Modi had launched both these programmes early in his first term to transform India’s business landscape and position the country as a global innovation and manufacturing hub. The Ola venture could just tip the balance decisively in India’s favour.