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Ola Electric becomes a unicorn with Rs 1725 Cr SoftBank funding

Ola’s electric vehicle subsidiary Ola Electric has raised Rs 1,725 crores from SoftBank in its Series B funding round, according to corporate filings. The funding came from SoftBank’s SB Topaz (Cayman) Limited and allocated 4,326 shares as a part of this deal. According to an Economic Times report, this round has raised the company’s valuation to $1 billion, making it the latest unicorn in India. Ola Electric has reportedly passed a special resolution to make SoftBank the single largest investor in the company with 22-24% stake.

Ola has declined to comment. Ola had launched its electric vehicle arm in March to focus on e-mobility. Since its incorporation, the company has been backed by several investors including Ratan Tata, Tiger Global, Matrix India, Hyundai Motor Group, and Hyundai subsidiary Kia.

Recent policy changes around EVs

Ola’s electric vehicle initiative comes at a time when the central government has been supporting the cab aggregators to turn their fleet into electric vehicles. NITI Aayog recently proposed that only electric vehicles should be sold after 2030. It also proposed that Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) should issue norms for cab aggregators to replace all fuel-run vehicles with electric vehicles by 2030. MoRTH has also proposed amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and it looks to exempt registration fees for battery operated or electric vehicles. The ministry said it issued a draft notification to amend Rule 81 of CMVR to allow this, and is seeking comments and suggestions from stakeholders.

FAME II

To boost EV adoption, the government launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME II) in February with a total outlay of Rs 10, 000 crores for three years from 2019-2022. The government aims to achieve electrification of public transportation, which includes shared transport. In the 3-wheeler and 4-wheeler segment, the incentives will be provided to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes whereas only two-wheeler private vehicles will be able to claim FAME II incentives.

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The scheme also proposes for setting up of 2700 charging stations in metros,  and over a million in other cities and smart cities across the country to ensure availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km. However, the central government is yet to come up with a National policy on electric vehicles.

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