Ola Electric’s upcoming two-wheeler electric vehicle (EV) will be a reconfigured version of Netherlands-based Etergo BV’s App Scooter with software integration, including Ola Play, and locally manufactured hardware, including NavIC, the Indian global positioning system, said two people aware of the development.
Etergo, which was acquired by Ola Electric in May, will launch the App Scooter in the European market this year and in Asia next year, with India being first on the list, said one of the persons mentioned above on the condition of anonymity.
The Bhavish Aggarwal-led Ola Electric is expected to locally source and manufacture the App Scooter in India and work closely with municipal corporations and power companies to set up battery swapping stations.
“Battery swapping will be a core product offering and differentiation when the two-wheeler EV launches in India. We will look at all different kinds of ownership and distribution models for these vehicles when it launches,” said the second person, also asking not to be named.
App Scooter was originally a crowd-funded EV with a range of 400km, and an interchangeable battery option. Co-founded by Bart Jacobsz Rosier and Marijn Flipse, App Scooter went on to raise €3.2 million in September 2017, overshooting its original target of €1.5 million.
However, App Scooter will see a complete rebrand and remake when it hits Indian streets, with additional safety features, said the first person mentioned earlier. “Etergo has a tremendous amount of knowledge and intellectual property, which can easily be replicated and transferred to India using localized manufacturing… In India around 2.2 to 2.3 crore vehicles are sold every year, of which EV two-wheeler share is less than 1%, but Ola sees a huge opportunity here and, hence, they acquired Ertego,” the first person said.
Ola will, however, need to scout for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a domestic two-wheeler manufacturing partner to kick-start the manufacturing process, the first person aware of Ola’s operations said.
Ola Electric’s biggest competitor Ather Energy has already raised multiple tranches of funding from Hero MotoCorp Ltd. Bike-sharing startup Yulu also has a strategic tie-up with Bajaj Auto Ltd to manufacture custom two-wheeler EVs.
It is not clear whether Etergo founders Rosier and Flipse would continue to work with Ola.
Aggarwal recently told employees in an internal email that there will be an “organizational restructuring” that will involve changes in KPIs (key performance indicators) and KRAs (key result areas) for existing employees at Ola Electric.
Mint has reviewed a copy of the 25 August letter.
Aggarwal’s email to employees comes just days after the news of Ankit Jain, co-founder of Ola Electric, resigning. Another co-founder, Anand Shah, also resigned a year ago and continues to serve as an adviser. Ola Electric’s chief business officer Sanjay Bhan also resigned in July.