Official data suggest 1.44 lakh electric two-wheelers were sold in FY21. On the other hand, Ola Electric recorded 5 lakh units bookings in a month and Simple Energy clocked 30,000 units in 4 days.
Offerings from both the start-ups are yet to be seen on the road or tested, and yet the tremendous response peaks curiosity. These are pre-booking numbers and not exact sales though. What did Ola Electric and Simple Energy do correctly, that others who came ahead of them failed to perceive:
Game of bulk: Ola Electric and Simple Energy, much ahead of their product disclosure, went ahead and revealed their EV-dedicated facility and long-term goals.
Ola, for instance, is spending Rs 2,400 crore to build a 500-acre manufacturing unit with a capacity of churning out 10 million units a year. Bengaluru-based Simple will stage-wise invest Rs 350 crores in the next two years to increase footprint. The company is also working on a 2 lakh square-feet factory in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. Phase 1 of the factory has an annual production capacity of 1 million.
With both the manufacturers aiming for bulk, the cost of production is optimised and hence Ola Electric and Simple Energy’s e-scooters are one of the most affordable products with premium specifications and a class-leading range.
Moreover, TVS, Bajaj Auto and Ather took time to expand business PAN-India hampering the availability of products. This was due to several factors including low volumes, pandemic-induced lockdowns and sales strategies. Ola Electric is starting operations throughout the country while Simple will be catering to customers in 13 cities and gradually expand.
Strategizing the first move: First impression, as they say, could be your last. Heavily endorsing their products on social media and through various other channels, both the manufacturers could create the much-needed hype they were looking for. Features and class-leading specifications helped them in promoting the same.
Additionally, the nominal pre-booking amounts of Rs 500 and Rs 1,947 for Ola Electric and Simple Energy e-scooters helped them build momentum.
Understanding the customers: All the e-scooters at Rs 1 lakh+ bracket, which came ahead of Ola and Simple, offered range under 100 kilometres/charge, top speed under 100 kmph or took around 5 hours to fully charge. These start-ups cracked the deal, at least on paper.
Simple One is claimed to refill 0-80% recharge in 2.45 hours and internal tests suggest 203 kilometres against a single charge. Ola S1 Pro, on the other hand, takes 6.5 hours to juice up the battery and offering 181 kilometres/charge. Bajaj Chetak, which comes as the closest EV offering from an established automaker, allows 95 kilometres for a single charge.
Blessing in disguise: The government’s decision to revision FAME-II scheme, which almost doubled the existing subsidy with a maximum cap at 40 percent of the cost of vehicles, turned out to be a timely impetus for Ola Electric and Simple Energy.
Ola’s S1 and S2 Pro, priced at Rs 99,000 and Rs 1.29 lakh (ex-showroom) respectively, cost much lower post-revision. For instance, S1 and S1 Pro will cost Rs 79,999 and Rs 1.09 lakh (ex-showroom) in Gujarat and Rs 85,099 and Rs 1.10 lakh (ex-showroom) in Delhi.
Similarly, Simple One is priced at Rs 1.10 lakh (ex-showroom) and is heavily benefitted by FAME-II subsdiy. The electric scooter is eligible for subsidy of up to Rs.60,000, thus the actual price of the vehicle may vary based on the state-wise subsidies, the company claims.