IPO-bound Ola has been working on electric vehicles for quite a while – its electric scooters are a testament to this – and now, the ride-hailing major is looking to start its own EV cab service. For the second time in the past six years, Ola will conduct a pilot of its EV cab service – this time, in Bengaluru.
According to an ET report, the Bengaluru-headquartered Ola is looking to begin the pilot with around 1000 cabs. This number will eventually increase to over 10,000 over the course of a year. It seems that the EV cab service, should it take off, will be marketed as a “premium offering” by Ola to its customers, and will not include cancellations from drivers. If users are interested to hail an EV cab to get to their destination (only in Bengaluru for now), then they will see the option to do so straight from the Ola app. It will be available alongside the regular cab and auto service.
Ola’s cab service is a widely-used one, and the firm is one of the biggest names in the ride-hailing business in India, competing with the California-headquartered Uber. Alongside offering its ride-hailing services, Ola has also been working to further its EV ambitions and bring a greater number of electric vehicles to Indian roads over the course of the next few years.
From the looks of it, the pilot of the EV cab service merges two of Ola’s biggest businesses – EV and its cab service. It also comes at a time when several other, smaller players have come across the country, in the EV-only cabs space. BluSmart, one of the major ones among them, already runs its service in Bengaluru, though it is limited to Airport drops and within city limits.
The pilot of Ola’s EV cab service in Bengaluru comes on the heels of a prior pilot that the company had undertaken in 2017 – at that time, it had joined forces with automotive manufacturing major Mahindra with around 200 electric vehicles in Nagpur. However, the pilot was eventually shut down.
This development comes soon after it was revealed that Ola and Uber, along with Amazon Flex and some others, are among the lowest ranked when it comes to working conditions for gig workers. A recent report by Fairwork India found that the aforementioned companies scored 0/10 in their assessment and failed to provide their gig workers with any fairness when it comes to payment, contracts, management, representation, or working conditions.
The concerns of gig workers have generated their fair share of controversy, and Ola seems to have considered this for its Bengaluru-based EV cab service pilot. It will lease out the electric vehicles to drivers who will have a fixed income alongside variable pay.