Ola plans to invest $500 million in debt and equity over the next 2 years in a self drive service, the Economic Times reported, citing sources. It will have a fleet of 10,000 sedans and SUVs with other vehicles in “major cities in the coming months.” An Ola spokesperson told MediaNama that it was piloting Ola Self-Drive with rentals, subscription (for consumers) and corporate leasing via Ola Corporate in select cities over the next few weeks. Ola did not mention the cities in which the pilot would take place.

Ola’s diversification comes on the heels of its Karnataka cab aggregator license being revoked and reinstated, following the paying of a Rs 15 lakh fee to the Karnataka state transport authority, for violating the conditions of license and plying bike taxis in Bangalore. Ola has already ventured into bike rentals with an investment in Vogo, food delivery through the acquisition of Foodpanda, and payments through Ola Money. It offers car rentals and outstation taxi services.

Competition

Ola’s Self Drive will compete with Zoomcar, which raised Series C funding worth $40 million led by Mahindra & Mahindra and others a year ago. In November 2017, Zoomcar had entered into a partnership Mahindra Electric Mobility (MEML) to roll out electric vehicles in Mysore, Karnataka etc. Zoomcar also has a car leasing Zoomcar Associate Program and Hop, a one way intercity service.

In November 2018, self-drive car and bike rental company Drivezy secured $20 million in a Series B equity financing round. It also raised an additional $100 million in an asset financing deal through which it planned to add 50,000 vehicles to its platform via a Special Purpose Vehicle.

In August 2018, Revv raised Rs 100 crore in its Series B funding led by Hyundai Motors, after previously raising $9 million in Series A equity funding led by Edelweiss Private Equity and debt funding from Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services.

Other competing companies include Voler and Eco Rent a Car.

Funding and EV focus

Last week, Ola raised $300 million from South Korean car makers Hyundai Motor Group and Kia. Ola also signed partnerships with Hyundai and Kia where the three will work on becoming a “Smart Mobility Solutions Provider”, develop fleet and mobility solutions and work on India-specific electric vehicles (EVs) and infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Mint reported that Ola was talking to Indian car makers to get custom electric and connected “Special Purpose Vehicles.” Ola’s Electric Mobility arm raised Rs 400 crore led by investors Tiger Global, Matrix India and other unnamed investors. Ola also has a strategic tie up with Mahindra & Mahindra, which manufactures electric cars in India.

Our Ola coverage.