Ola has launched its electric scooters S1 and S1 Pro, with industry-leading range of 121 km and 181 km respectively. The scooters are priced at Rs 99,999 and Rs 1,29,999 respectively, without including state subsidies.
Ola Group CEO Bhavish Aggarwal told CNBC-TV18 that he is confident customers will choose Ola's EVs and that the EV business will be more profitable than the gasolene competitors.
Here's an excerpt of the interview:
1) You have industry-leading performance for the Ola electric scooters. What do you expect the real-world performance to be like?
I have driven this on the city roads and this is the fastest scooter. It's a delight to leave the traffic behind. Consumers will love the speed. It is an industry-leading range by far. It is not an incremental movement. In cities, even though there is traffic. you can still accelerate and you still need range. In cities, people only need to charge the battery once a week. This product truly is a generational advancement on what exists in the market. Consumers want the future, companies are not ready, but we are ready
2) What is the overall response you got on the bookings for Rs 499?
We will share the numbers soon. It was a response we never expected. We got 1 lakh on day one and multiple of that later.
3) But currently, the market share in electric scooters is among those who have slightly lower prices but of course with a lower range. Range anxiety is a factor for those looking to adopt electric. But do you think that behaviour could continue market-share wise? How are you looking at the competition?
Many EV products in the market today are low quality, low-performance products and that is why the market has not grown so far. The products are not there. As soon as there is a good product, consumers will flip. Our product is a generational advancement. I am very confident that people will buy our product over some cheap import or some cheap import assembled in India.
4) So you have competitive prices. What about unit economics?
We want to invest for scale and invest for the long-term. We are possibly the only one investing this amount of capital and technology investments to create this future. What has to be measured is investment and not cash burn. Incumbents are not making those investments, they are making dividends. The question is for them to invest in technology, not to make dividends.
5) But at what volumes do you think this will turn into a profitable business.
You will be surprised at the speed at which our business will be profitable. We are confident and clear on how soon profitability comes. We are building the world's largest two-wheeler factory. So we are building at scale and also at high profitability. Our EV business will be more profitable than the gasolene competitors in due course.
6) Speaking of volumes, even now reports suggest that EV two-wheeler demand could touch 8-9 mn by 2030 in India. Do you expect more demand to come from outside India?
The customer doesn't think EV versus gasoline. They only want a vehicle. We have the best product, not just the best EV product. This is the first product in the line of future products. Consumers are ready and the response to our reservations was unanticipated. The consumer is ready, they are the smartest. Indian consumers are very inspirational. He or she wants the best in the world.
7) How much are you counting on exports as part of total sales?
We have not thought of how much we will sell in India or in exports. We will sell everywhere.
8) What about B2B plans?
People will use our products in B2B. No partnerships yet, but Ola itself will be a potential customer in our ride-sharing business, with some different models.
Several delivery boys have also reserved the scooters.
9) Anything on the IPO plans for Ola?
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST