Ola said on Monday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Tamil Nadu in India to set up what it claims would be the “world’s largest scooter manufacturing facility” in the South Indian state as the Indian ride-hailing firm begins a new push with electric vehicles.
The SoftBank-backed Indian ride-hailing firm said it will invest about $327 million in setting up the factory, which it says would create almost 10,000 jobs and have an initial capacity to produce 2 million electric vehicles in a year.
The move comes as Ola plans to launch and expand its two-wheeler electric vehicles in several markets in the next two quarters, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ola Electric, which spun out of the startup last year, acquired Amsterdam-based Etergo earlier this year. The Dutch has a fleet of scooters that uses swappable, high energy battery that delivers a range of up to 240 km (149 miles). The startup plans to replicate production of similar model of vehicles, the person said.
Ola launched its two-wheeler business, which like the cabs business sees someone drive a passenger around, in 2016 and has created livelihoods for over 300,000 people in India. One of India’s most valuable startups, Ola has made big bets on two-wheeler in recent years to expand the reach of its services to smaller cities and towns across the country. (Compared to four-wheeler, two-wheeler and three-wheeler offer a much more affordable ride to customers and zip faster in busy traffic.)
In a statement, Ola said the new factory would improve India’s electric vehicle ecosystem and serve customers in Europe, Asia, and Latin American among other markets.
“We are excited to announce our plans to set up the world’s largest scooter factory. This is a significant milestone for Ola and a proud moment for our country as we rapidly progress towards realising our vision of moving the world to sustainable mobility solutions across shared and owned mobility. This will be one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world. This factory will showcase India’s skill and talent to produce world class products that will cater to global markets,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, Chairman and Group CEO of Ola, in a statement.