OLA Electric founder Bhavish Aggarwal.
SoftBank Group-backed Ola Electric is in talks with multiple global suppliers to build a battery cell manufacturing plant in India with a capacity of up to 50-gigawatt hours, sources said. As part of its broader electrification push, the firm plans to invest in companies with advanced cell and battery technology, alongside the 50 Gwh battery plant.
Ola Electric needs 40 Gwh of battery capacity to power 10 million electric scooters annually. The remainder will be for its electric cars, which the company plans to manufacture in the future. Sources said the cell battery plant may cost around USD 1 billion (over Rs 7,700 crore) and may be built with an initial capacity of 1 Gwh, which will be expanded in the future.
Over 40 global suppliers are already in Bengaluru to meet with Ola founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal at the company’s headquarters and are also visiting the Ola Futurefactory in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu this week, sources aware of the matter said. Ola Electric, they said, has initiated talks with global suppliers from Germany, Korea, Japan and other hubs to fuel its battery manufacturing ambitions.
It currently imports its battery cells from South Korea. Companies like Drr and Siemens also seem to be on the list of suppliers.
The battery cell manufacturing sector is dominated by the likes of CATL, LG, Energy Solutions, and Panasonic, which supply to automakers such as Tesla and Volkswagen. Industry experts believe that one of the world’s youngest EV companies is keen to begin cell manufacturing by next year.
Aggarwal has already stated that India can soon replace China and emerge as the global hub for electric vehicles (EVs). Towards this end, Ola plans to develop the entire ecosystem — cell and battery tech, global supply chains, interconnected as well as autonomous vehicle technologies.
Ola Electric is the only Indian auto and EV company that has been selected by the government under its ambitious Rs 80,000 crore cell PLI scheme to set up an advanced cell manufacturing factory in 2 years. Its cell Production Linked Incentive (PLI) bid was for the maximum allowed bid capacity of 20 GWh.
According to sources, Ola is also looking to set up an even larger 50 GWh gigafactory and a battery innovation centre to support its two-wheeler and four-wheeler roadmap for India and the world.