Mobility startup Ola Electric is trying to build battery charging infrastructure, even as the rollout of its electric two-wheeler has been delayed.
The Bengaluru-based firm is in advanced stages of negotiations for a partnership with state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd to set up its fast chargers – called hyper-chargers – at petrol pumps across the country, two sources aware of the matter said.
The company is also in talks with multiple builders and real estate developers to set up charging points at their premises.
Apna Complex, an apartment management software company, is another player that Ola Electric is in talks with for targeting residential complexes, ET has learnt.
Internally, the company has set a target of setting up 140 charging points across the country by March 2022, sources said. ET has learnt that the company plans to inaugurate the first public charger early next month.
“The tie-up with BPCL is close to being formalised,” said one of the sources.
Hypercharger roll out has begun across cities. At key BPCL pumps as well as residential complexes. 4000+ points up… https://t.co/1pKQN7Ajrx
— Bhavish Aggarwal (@bhash) 1640708143000
According to people aware of the company’s plans, Ola Electric plans to monetise these charging stations by asking customers to pay for the service in the long term, though it could be free initially or for the first set of customers. The company has yet to decide on that, they said.
Ola Electric and BPCL did not respond to ET’s emails till press time Tuesday.
“Lot of deployments have already started in BPCL locations in major cities like Bengaluru, New Delhi, Chennai,” said a second source. Ola Electric has yet to sync the software of the hyper-charger with the scooter. “It will take a while, but it will happen soon,” the person said.
In April, the company said that it would build the “widest and densest” electric two-wheeler charging network in the world, with more than 100,000 charging points across 400 cities.
The company would set up 5,000 charging points across 100 cities in the first year, it said, claiming that it was more than double the existing charging infrastructure in the country.
Ola plans to open up these chargers to other brands in future if the manufacturers choose to have Ola’s charging cable standards installed in their vehicles.
The Ola Hypercharger will also be the fastest two-wheeler charging network, it said. Ola S1s can be charged 50% in 18 minutes for a 75-km range, the company claimed.
Ola Hyperchargers will be widely deployed across cities and will be found in city centres as well as dense business districts as standalone towers, it had said. It will also be put up in popular locations such as malls, IT parks, office complexes, cafes and more, it added.
Once plugged in, users can track the charging status through an app and use the same to pay for the service.
ET reported earlier this month that Ola Electric delivered its first 100 scooters without all the promised features. Smart features like the app, proximity sensors, Bluetooth, hill hold and cruise control will only be available through over-the-air updates.
The company has been under immense pressure after promising to deliver the scooters in October.
Public charging stations are necessary to curb range anxiety, which is a fear that the battery would ruin down while on the road, causing the rider to stop mid-way.
It is one of the biggest impediments in the adoption of electric vehicles.
In September, Ola Electric raised more than $200 million from Falcon Edge, SoftBank Group and others at a valuation of $3 billion.
On Monday, rival electric mobility player Ather said it had tied up with EV charging company Zeon Charging to expand its charging network.
According to the deal, Ather will install its chargers wherever Zeon has deployed four-wheeler chargers.
Zeon will also deploy its four-wheeler chargers wherever Ather has installed its own chargers, called Ather Grid.