Aura Electric Mobile Pvt. An earlier IPO than its founders had thought, reflects the Indian startup’s whirlwind growth since it began selling electric scooters in late 2021. “I thought it would take four to six years of revenue to go public,” founder and chief executive Bhavish Aggarwal said in an interview over a Vietnamese iced coffee in New Delhi’s bustling Connaught Place. “Now I can feel it will be much sooner. Ola Electric has grown and matured faster than I originally planned because the market reaction has been so strong.”
The company, whose backers include SoftBank Group Corp and Tiger Global Management, has become the leader in India’s electric scooter market with a 38 percent share. The company has sold more than 239,000 electric scooters since December 2021, according to the Electric Vehicle Manufacturers Association.
Aggarwal, 37, wearing a black Nehru jacket, said that while demand initially came from first-time scooter buyers, most of Ola Electric’s customers are now full converts. the Beatles.
Aggarwal has ambitious plans to launch a motorcycle by the end of this year and a battery-powered car in 2024, though the timetable could change. Agarwal also continued to consider exporting scooters to Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe, but the proposal was shelved because domestic demand is so strong. Agarwal’s first startup, ANI Technologies Pvt., runs Ola’s ride-hailing business.
Ola Cabs even picked banks for a $1 billion IPO in Mumbai, Bloomberg reported in August 2021, but that never materialized. The company, which competes with Uber Technologies Inc., “is now a profitable business for us,” Agarwal said in an interview in Delhi last week. He did not comment on any relisting attempts, nor did he mention a listing date. A possible Ola Electric IPO.
Agarwal is building a 115-acre battery factory in southern India, competing with billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. Electric vehicles produce lithium-ion batteries and have the potential to provide energy storage and home energy solutions.
Agarwal, who is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, said making EV components in-house will help Ola EV sell cars on a larger scale and boost profits. Designing the vehicle from the ground up will give the company better control over quality and cost in a market where most electric vehicles are retrofitted from gasoline models, he said.
Succeeding in the field of electric vehicles will not be easy. Internal combustion engine vehicles remain the most popular form of personal transportation in India and dominate the country’s roads. The development of electric vehicles has been hampered by the lack of charging facilities in the country and its high cost. National sales reached 49,800 last year, accounting for just 1.3 percent of the 3.8 million passenger vehicle sales, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Bengaluru-based Ola Electric faces competition from more experienced manufacturers such as market leaders Tata Motors Ltd., Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and even Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc., which is considering investing in India.
Ola Electric’s scooter business has also been affected by delivery delays caused by chip shortages, as well as quality and fire issues. Sales in June fell 39% from the previous month to 17,590 units, a trend that also affected other automakers after the government cut subsidies offered under a program to accelerate the adoption and manufacture of (hybrid and) electric vehicles.
Still, Agarwal said better technology has shortened the time to market. Ola Electric uses digital simulation and artificial intelligence in manufacturing to save time. “I’m building a technology-focused group of companies,” he said. “The other big tech theme of our generation is going to be computing and artificial intelligence. So we’re going to do something about it.”
Aggarwal, who is involved in day-to-day decision-making at his company, which employs about 7,000 people, said the so-called flat organization also speeds up the production process.
“What would have taken a month at the company, we could do in a day,” he said. “Our execution philosophy is that we want to do things as well as possible without compromising quality or safety. And at the lowest possible cost and as quickly as possible.
Agarwal believes his strategy of controlling every stage of the EV supply chain will reduce costs and improve product performance and design.
“Tesla is for Western countries, Ola is for other countries,” he said.
First published date: Jul 17, 2023 09:59 AM EST