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Ride-hailer Ola wants 1m electric cars on India's roads

Target is set at 2021 as three-wheelers lead the way

Ola joined with Mahindra & Mahindra in 2017 to offer ride-hailing services using electric vehicles.   © Reuters

MUMBAI -- Indian ride-hailing app Ola plans to build up its electric-vehicle count to 1 million by 2021, aiming to increase its market share with the eco-friendly autos backed by the government.

The ANI Technologies unit will start by adding 10,000 electric three-wheelers to its fleet over the next year.

"Three-wheelers are a vital means of transportation and a source of livelihood for millions of people every day," said Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of ANI Technologies. By starting its expansion with electric rickshaws, Ola will help in "reducing pollution across towns and cities," he said.

Ola operates its ride-hailing service in more than 110 cities across India, with more than 1 million registered drivers under its wing. The company's fleet includes compact cars, sedans, sports utility vehicles and auto rickshaws.

It is still unclear whether Ola will rent the electrics, or if drivers will be expected to purchase their own vehicles.

In May 2017, Ola joined with leading Indian automaker, Mahindra & Mahindra, to bring electric vehicles to the transportation system of the city of Nagpur in the western state of Maharashtra. As part of the initiative, Ola set up solar-powered charging stations across the city. Travelers in Nagpur can now hail electric vehicles with Ola's service.

The Maharashtra state government has also waived value-added taxes, road taxes and registration fees for electrics in an effort to promote their use. Ola is said to be seeking similar arrangements with other state governments to support the adoption of electric three-wheelers on the policy front.

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