Home / Companies / People /  Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal's ambitions may play spoilsport to Elon Musk's plans in India

Ola Cabs founder and Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal is planning to ride an Ola electric car in 2023. The public revelation from the CEO comes two days after the pompous launch of the Ola Electric scooter - on the eve of India's 75th Independence Day. When the scooter opened for pre-bookings a few weeks ago, the company received over 1 lakh orders within 24 hours. The fight for the EV segment in India has just started heating up. 

Aggarwal says his goal is to design an electric car with 90% of locally-sourced components to help bolster Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative.

Bhavish Aggarwal's ambitions to ‘revolutionise' the electric vehicle segment come at a time when Tesla's plans for India are still in jeopardy. Its call for lower import tax cuts finds no takers in New Delhi. EV sales are low in India but have been climbing slowly as the government boosts mass adoption through financial incentives. 

In July, Elon Musk had said that American EV maker Tesla may set up a manufacturing unit in India if it first succeeds with imported vehicles in the country. Musk had said Tesla wanted to launch its vehicles in India "but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!"

Hyundai Motor India chief also backed Tesla's call for lower duties in India on imported electric vehicles.

Opposing their call for the tax cut, Bhavish Aggarwal said he was not in favour of the government paring duty on imported electric vehicles. "Strongly disagree with both. Let’s have confidence in our ability to build indigenously and also attract global OEMs to build in India, not just import. We won’t be the first country to do so," he tweeted.

Currently, India imposes 100% import duty on fully imported cars with CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value more than USD 40,000 and 60% on those costing less than the amount.

“Anyone who wants to import vehicles into India should invest in the country," Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said while launching the scooter. 

As the numbers suggest, the level of mass-market penetration awaits a huge disruption for the electric automobile players. India sold just 5,000 of the 2.4 million cars the total cars sold in India last year.  Most of the electric cars were priced below 20 lakh. According to think tank CEEW Centre for Energy Finance, India’s electric vehicle market could be worth nearly $206 billion in a decade with over 100 million units sold -- about 200 times the current number.

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