New Delhi -Indian transport company Ola, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, said it will add 10,000 electric three-wheelers to its fleet over the next 12 months as part of a plan to promote the use of electric vehicles.
Ola plans to have 1 million electric vehicles offered by 2021, it said in a statement, adding that it will work with state governments, vehicle manufacturers and battery companies to meet its targets.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is determined to promote the use of electric vehicles, starting with public transport and taxis, to combat rising pollution and reducing the nation’s dependence on oil imports.
India has also set a target to make all new vehicles into electricity by 2030.
Ola, which operates in 110 cities across India and has more than one million drivers, said electric tricycles will be introduced in three cities but did not name them.
Tricycle vehicles are commonly used, especially in smaller cities, but electric variants were introduced only a few years ago.
Ola did not say which producers would provide a tricycle or whether the company would make a purchase or whether the vehicle would belong to the driver. It also does not provide details about when it is planned to introduce electric cars.
Last May, Ola launched a pilot project to test a fleet of electric vehicles in the Nagpur West city. But the drivers, unhappy with the long waiting times at filling stations and high operating costs, said they wanted to return the cars.
“The EV program (electric vehicle) in Nagpur has given Ola significant insight into managing vehicles, batteries and operations effectively,” the company said in a statement on Monday. He added that it plans to continue exploring ways to optimize batteries and charging.
Sales of electric cars in India, one of the fastest growing car markets in the world, make up less than 0.1% of annual sales of more than 3 million passenger cars. They are expensive and the infrastructure to fill the vehicle is inadequate.