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Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal has a message for Tesla's Elon Musk: Build, don't just import

The co-founder and CEO of Ola said he 'strongly disagrees' with Tesla's Elon Musk and Hyundai's SS Kim who called for lower duties on imported EVs

July 27, 2021 / 03:40 PM IST
Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola said he disagrees there is need for reduction of duties in India on imported electric vehicles

Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola said he disagrees there is need for reduction of duties in India on imported electric vehicles

Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal, waded into the debate of high duties for electric vehicles, tweeting that he disagrees with Hyundai and Tesla, who called for lower duties in India on imported EVs.

"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.

He was responding to a tweet by auto journalist Hormazd Sorabjee, who said Hyundai MD SS Kim backed Tesla's call for lower duties in India on imported EVs as lower duties will help grow the market.

Interestingly, Ola and Ola Electric received an investment of $300 million from Hyundai and Kia a couple of years ago. As part of this, the three companies said they would collaborate on developing unique fleet and mobility solutions, building India-specific electric vehicles and infrastructure.

Ola in fact recently roped in Hyundai Motors and Kia veteran Yongsung Kim as head of Global Sales and Distribution, to manage India and international markets as the company prepares to launch its electric scooter.


Aggarwal's comments come days after Elon Musk tweeted about India's high import duties, stating that this was pushing back the entry of Tesla in the country.

Moneycontrol reported that senior government officials have categorically ruled out any possibility of granting it any company-specific incentives.

Ola Electric recently opened reservations for its electric scooter for a refundable deposit of Rs 499, with its bookings already crossing 1 lakh

The Bhavish Aggarwal-led firm, spun off from ride-hailing firm Ola, is setting up a 500-acre factory in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri, aiming to make 10 million vehicles a year at full capacity - making it the world’s largest two-wheeler factory, the company said.

It recently raised $100 million in long term debt from the Bank of Baroda to close the first phase of development of its factory, where it plans to make electric two-wheelers.

Moneycontrol had reported in April that Ola Electric plans to invest $2 billion over the next five years along with its partners to set up more than 1 lakh charging stations across 400 cities. Lack of charging stations is currently one of the biggest hindrances to mainstream EV usage in India.

Ola Electric is valued at over a billion dollars, with the backing of investors such as Matrix Partners, Tiger Global Management and SoftBank, among others. Ola’s core ride-hailing unit is also planning to list on stock exchanges soon, for which it raised $500 million from Warburg Pincus and Temasek, giving early backers Tiger and Matrix a part exit from their stake in the company too.
Chandra R Srikanth is Editor- Tech, Startups, and New Economy
first published: Jul 27, 2021 03:29 pm

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