Ola, a major cab-hailing company in India, may introduce a fleet of one million electric cars, SoftBank Group chairman Masayoshi Son revealed.
Ola cabs might be partnering with the Indian government and an electric car maker to introduce around a million electric cars, as the chairman of SoftBank Masayoshi Son said. SoftBank is an investor in Ola, India’s largest contender to global cab-hailing company Uber that operates within the country.
Bullish on the electric vehicle sector in India, Son insisted that he was exploring investment opportunities in this space. The vehicles will be locally manufactured, in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, he added. “I think this will be the biggest initiative for electric vehicles in India,” Son shared, adding that he hopes for the possibility to turn into a reality.
Masayoshi Son has a wish — to partner with Ola, an electric car maker, and governments to get a fleet of 1 million EVs on road soon 1/n
— sukumar ranganathan (@mint_ed) December 2, 2016
Son, who met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 2, sought to partner with the government for the initiative. He hopes to see the target of one million electric cars met in the next five years, helping in reduction of petrol and diesel use of its car to tackle pollution.
However, Son mentioned that the specifics are yet to be decided, and the project is still in a nascent stage.
Transform India’s mobility landscape
“The introduction of 1 million electric vehicles will transform the mobility landscape in the country. We are privileged to have Masa-san and SoftBank’s commitment to back the shared vision that Ola and the government have towards the future of mobility for India,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ola.
Electric vehicles, the ecosystem required for them and the solar energy business are among the sectors that Son has decided to invest in.
SoftBank, has already invested about EUR 375-468 million in Ola. When questioned on Ola’s struggle in finding new investors, even as the business is seeing significant growth, Son said, “I am going to support Ola.”
Further investment in India
SoftBank has already invested EUR 1.88 billion in India in the last two years, notably in the e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal, in the budget hotels aggregator Oyo Rooms and in the on-demand online grocery delivery service Grofers.
With a commitment of over EUR 9.38 billion investment in India over a decade, Son stated he has a positive outlook for the country, despite the recent funding slowdown in the start-up ecosystem and added he would expand his existing Internet investments. “I see a lot of opportunity in Internet-related start-ups and second is the solar business. We are going to start building a solar plant that will be up and running in generating solar power by spring next year. We are on track for that,” he added.