Sunny SenJan 28, 2020 13:08:07 IST
Roger Looney, a senior executive with a Chinese automaker, has joined Ola Electric as the head of vehicle engineering to lead the push for electric vehicles at the Indian ride-hailing firm, sources have told Tech2.
Looney, whose expertise includes hybrid and EV development, comes to Ola after spending 11 years at Shanghai-headquartered Qoros Auto, which aims to be the Tesla of China. His last role in the company was that of the vice president, vehicle engineering and electric propulsion. Looney’s experience will come in handy at Ola Electric, which has set itself the target of putting one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2021.
Ola was yet to respond to the mail and messages sent by Tech2 about Looney’s appointment.
Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal is keen on building an electric mobility company that can offer customers everything — vehicles, batteries and charging infrastructure. It was to further this goal that in March 2019 the cab aggregator launched Ola Electric Mobility. Within months, the new venture acquired the unicorn status with SoftBank pumping in $ 250 million.
While Ola Electric’s ambition is to be a complete electric mobility company, Looney will focus on building batteries, which account for a sizable chunk of the cost of an EV, sources said.
Last few days have been exciting for India’s electric mobility space, which has had less than a smooth sailing even though the country wants to be a global hub for EVs.
During his recent visit to India, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the American e-commerce giant company will have 10,000 EVs in its fleet by 2025. As reported by Tech2, Noida-based Pace Electric Vehicles and Kalinga Ventures are among the EV makers who will power Amazon’s fleet. In an email statement, a Mahindra spokesperson said the automaker was in talks with Amazon on EVs, without divulging more details.
Amazon rival Flipkart, too, has launched its electric mobility fleet for delivery. There are 1.5 million e-rickshaws in India and e-scooters are also taking off, with at least 50 makers launching operations in the last four years.
For Ola Electric to make its mark in the still-nascent but an exciting market, execution will be critical. Aggarwal has proved himself with taxis, his new battlefield is EVs and of course, the batteries.
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