Ola has just announced a major new funding round and a sky-high valuation that follows on the heels of unprecedented demand for its new electric scooters. With an extra $200 million of funding raised at a new $3 billion valuation, Ola is quickly becoming a major disruptor in the electric scooter market.
The Indian electric mobility company began selling its first model of electric scooter earlier this month.
The Ola S1 and S1 Pro were in such high demand that they were selling at a rate of four scooters every second.
Reaching speeds of over 70 mph (115 km/h), Ola’s electric scooters were met with a huge wave of enthusiasm upon their unveiling in August.
Ola Electric’s CEO Bhavish Aggarwal spoke of the occasion:
We’re proud to lead the EV revolution from India to the world. India has the talent and the capability to build technologies of the future for the industries of the future for the entire world. I thank our existing investors and welcome new ones to Ola. Together we will bring mobility to a billion and sustainability to the future.
The new funding round of $200 million follows the approximately $150 million in revenue that Ola received from pre-selling its upcoming scooter.
According to Aggarwal, the funding will be used to expand production at Ola’s FutureFactory as well as spur on further development of an Ola electric car that Aggarwal wants to see produced in the next few years.
Ola Electric is seen as one of the best opportunities for converting India’s massive number of gas-powered scooters and motorcycles into electric alternatives.
Many other electric entries in the Indian two-wheeler market have targeted moped-class specifications with lower speeds and smaller batteries. But Ola has set its sights on higher power and higher speeds to effectively replace 125cc-level gas scooters and motorcycles.
The Ola S1 and S1 Pro are powered by an 8.5 kW electric motor. The base-level S1 has a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) while the S1 Pro can reach higher speeds of up to 115 km/h (71 mph).
The two scooters also include relatively large batteries, with 3 kWh of capacity in the S1 and 4 kWh of capacity in the S1 Pro. Those large batteries provide ranges of 121 km (75 miles) and 181 km (112 miles), respectively. However, such high ranges are usually calculated at lower city speeds.
The scooters certainly offer compelling performance specs, but the real headline-grabbing feature of the scooters upon their unveiling was the price, which was revealed to start at just Rs 99,999 ($1,350).
Now the company’s announcement of this major new funding round is likely to help strengthen Ola’s “Mission Electric” – which urges the industry and consumers to commit to electric vehicles and ensure that no gas-powered two-wheelers will be sold in India after 2025.
In addition to Ola’s electric scooters, the company’s FutureFactory is an engineering feat in and of itself.
The sprawling facility was built in just six months and has the capacity to produce 2 million electric scooters per year. Ola plans to eventually increase that annual capacity to 10 million units.
In addition to being the world’s largest electric scooter manufacturing facility, the FutureFactory has achieved another major distinction. It is the largest female-run and operated automotive manufacturing facility in the world. The factory is entirely staffed and run by female employees, with an expected staff of 10,000 employees once production reaches full capacity.
That huge workforce and vast production capacity will become even more critical when Ola begins international exports. The company’s high-tech electric scooters have generated huge demand outside of India as well, and Ola plans to begin meeting that demand with international exports as soon as next year.
Aggarwal even declared on Twitter that US exports could begin in early 2022, with other company representatives confirming European expansion plans are also in the works for early next year.
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