Ola Cabs is a famous and renowned name in the Indian market. It is an online transportation network company based in India and the biggest cab-hailing application of the country. Ola was developed by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd on 3 December 2010. At the initial phase, it was working as an online cab aggregator in Mumbai. In November 2014, Ola enlarged and started auto rickshaws on a trial basis in Bangalore, soon, it expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Today it is based in Bangalore. Present-day, Ola serves as an excellent taxi aggregator and tries to bridge the gap between cab owners and commuters. It comes up with advanced solutions time-to-time to support people in better ways. Starting self-drive car rental service is one of them. Presently, the company has become one of the largest cabs sharing platforms in India will soon get into the self-drive car business.
Ola has decided to venture into self-driving service in the coming days; under this plan, its focal point will be the top five to seven markets. It is planning to invest $500 million to introduce this first ever self-driving car service. It will be the first time that Ola will invest in such a business in the Indian market. As per the strategy, the company will deploy nearly 10,000 vehicles including SUVs, luxury sedans, and hatchbacks in the major Indian cities including Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Kolkata to kick start the service. If we talk about the investment, sources say that it will come from a mix of debt and equity over the next couple of years.
It is true that the cab-hailing app is aggressive, has tons of money for investment and most importantly, it has excellent scaling capacity. Within a year itself, Ola has the great capability to grow in the market 10 times more than Zoom. Though, just hoping they manage the quality of cars because it is not going to be a piece of cake. It will be actually difficult as Ola does a pretty good job with its cabs. But there is a huge difference between a professional driver taking care of his cab and multiple customers. After the initiation of this service in the market, the home-grown cab hailing start-up, Ola will be the largest self-drive car rental company in India. Till date, it has only offered short distance and inter-state rental cabs. Furthermore, with the introduction of these new services, the portfolio of Ola will increase as well.
The sector is highly fragmented with small regional players and some larger players. With the new service plan, Ola will compete directly with the giant companies like ZoomCars, Avis, Revv, CarzOnRent, and more such brands that currently offer self-driven vehicles in the country. As per reports, the self-driving service will be subscription based, here those customers, who opt for the longest tenure plans; the company will provide those discounts. As per the market feedback, the company is piloting the Ola Self-Drive offering in diverse formats like rentals, subscription and corporate leasing in select cities in the coming weeks. Till now, this sphere is underserved, and there exists a great opportunity to create a superior experience with an integrated mobility platform like Ola.
Self-driving niche is growing at an astonishing pace in India, and the major players include Myles, Zoomcar (backed by Sequoia Capital), and Drivezy (backed by Y Combinator). Ola recently collected a huge investment from India’s second largest manufacturer – Hyundai and its sister brand and upcoming manufacturer in India – Kia. Hyundai also recently invested big bucks in Ola and became a partner.
In the contemporary world, India is one of the world’s largest car market, and it is growing at a rapidly fast pace. But, the problems like maintenance of the car keep many prospective buyers away. Self-driven vehicles eliminate the need for such ownership experiences and only focus on the time spent and comfort with the vehicle. In the last few years, the company has come up with a slew of businesses that generate higher margins such as outstation rentals.
The decision to enter the self-drive rental category is in line with Ola’s broader strategy of extending its transport solutions beyond just cabs to include scooters and electric vehicles towards ensuring sustainability and positive unit economics. Through the self-drive service also plans to offer customers subscription-based plans while also presenting leasing options for corporate executives. The self-drive car service from Ola is part of its larger plans to offer a wide assortment of transport solutions in the Indian market. The app is also working towards expanding outside cab services and includes two-wheelers and also electric vehicles.