Ola Electric expanding fast, to cross 1,000 experience centres this year

As part of that strategy, the SoftBank-backed electric vehicle company on Saturday opened its 500th experience centre (EC) in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Peerzada Abrar Bengaluru

Ola sets up largest D2C automobile retail network in India, opens 500th Experience Centre in Srinagar

Ola Electric is rapidly scaling up building its experience centres and plans to have 1000 such centres across the country by August this year. As part of that strategy, the SoftBank-backed electric vehicle company on Saturday opened its 500th experience centre (EC) in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.
With a presence in nearly 300 cities, Ola has been launching ECs all over India. It is building the largest D2C (direct-to-consumer) retail network in the country's automotive industry in under eight months since its first EC was inaugurated in Pune last year.

"The pace of market (EV) growth is very high. We have been seeing it across small towns, Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and towns, and that is why we've expanded our network so fast and much in advance," said Anshul Khandelwal, chief marketing officer of Ola Electric, in an interview. "With the inauguration of our 500th store in India, we take immense pride in establishing a comprehensive presence across the entire nation through our direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach. With our D2C model, we are excellently positioned to create a significant impact in the realm of electric mobility."
The Ola Experience Centres are a one-stop shop for all things related to Ola's electric vehicles. They provide EV enthusiasts with the opportunity to experience Ola's products and avail guidance on the purchase journey, financing, and after-sales services. Visitors can even take a test ride of the S1 and S1 Pro before making a purchase decision.

The Bhavish Aggarwal-led firm competes with Ather Energy, Okinawa Autotech, Ampere, Hero Electric, and TVS Motor Company. Ola said it currently has 40 per cent of India's EV scooter market. Last month, the company recorded its highest-ever monthly sales, selling over 30,000 units and cementing its position at the top of the EV 2W sales table for the eighth consecutive month.
Due to the omnichannel strategy and speed of offline expansion, Ola said it has achieved a 98 per cent market reach in India, covering almost all markets within the country. Ola introduced its D2C sales and service model for two-wheelers in India, which included doorstep delivery and servicing, making it the largest D2C outreach in the Indian automotive industry. Although the company now has 500 ECs nationwide, a significant portion of its sales still comes from its website and apps. Ola's omnichannel approach has facilitated EV accessibility throughout India, particularly in remote areas where EVs were previously unavailable.

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"A large part of Tier-3 and Tier-4 and even some parts of Tier-2 and towns in India are just waiting for someone to come and sell EVs," said Khandelwal. "We've seen firsthand where EVs have already reached a lot of villages and towns and we also don't know how they reached there and how are they aware about EVs. It was quite surprising. We also have data to support that."
Early this year, Ola Electric teased five new electric motorcycles that the company is working on, announcing the range after selling electric scooters. The products are labelled cafe racer, an adventure tourer, a scrambler and a naked motorcycle. According to the sources, the motorcycles are expected to be launched by next year and would include premium and mass-market versions.

Ola Electric also has plans to launch an electric sports car in 2024. That will put the company in competition with India's Tata group and Mahindra & Mahindra and global giants Tesla and Hyundai.
India's electric vehicles (EV) market is expected to grow to one crore units annual sales by 2030 and create 50 million direct and indirect jobs, according to the Economic Survey 2022-23.

The survey said that in December 2022, India became the third-largest automobile market, surpassing Japan and Germany in terms of sales. It said that the automotive industry is expected to play a critical role in the transition towards green energy. "The domestic electric vehicles (EV) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 per cent between 2022 and 2030 and is expected to hit one crore units of annual sales by 2030," it said.
As per industry estimates, the total EV sales in India stood at around 1 million units in 2022.

India's electric vehicles (EV) value chain revenue pool is expected to reach between $76 billion and $100 billion by 2030, potentially translating to a $8 billion–$11 billion profit pool, according to a report released today by Bain & Company.
The Indian automotive market is poised for rapid EV growth due to the convergence of factors, including government incentives, improving cost competitiveness and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) investment in the industry, along with increased customer readiness and awareness.

The Indian EV sector has already seen $3.7 billion in private equity and venture capital (PE/VC) investments in this space over the past three years. This number looks set to increase significantly as the industry transforms.
Findings from the report indicated that 35 per cent–40 per cent of all vehicles sold in India by 2030 will be EVs, up from 2 per cent in 2022. This equates to approximately 14 million to 16 million new EVs sold yearly.

First Published: May 13 2023 | 6:08 PM IST

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