Indian electric mobility company Ola Electric has always been about innovating and manufacturing its products locally. With ideals such as sustainability, women empowerment, and local manufacturing at its core, Ola’s mega factory churns out two-wheelers that are, for the most part, entirely Indian-made. Soon, this will include the scooter’s battery, something Ola Electric has developed and engineered in house.
The CEO of Ola Electric, Bhavish Aggarwal, released a picture of a lithium-ion battery cell, which he says is the first battery made in-house by the business. By 2023, Ola hopes to start manufacturing its NMC 21700 cell in bulk at its Gigafactory. Aggarwal also disclosed that the company's plan for cell technology will be expanded. This suggests that starting in 2023, Ola will assemble its batteries using its own cells, which could lower the cost of the battery as a whole.
On the cathode side of this Ola cell are nickel, manganese, and cobalt (NMC), while on the anode side are silicon and graphite. The cell's ability to store more energy in a given area and to improve its overall lifetime are both made possible by the exact chemistry and materials employed. Ola asserts that this cell was created with consideration for the weather in India—meaning it should be able to withstand the sweltering heat of the summer. Owners' overall cost of ownership would significantly decrease if the new cell can hold more charge as Ola says. However, the business has not provided any technical details on this new battery cell.
For its electric scooters, Ola Electric currently purchases battery cells from LG Chem in South Korea. The most expensive part of an EV is its battery, and producing it locally may reduce prices by about 30 percent. Ola Electric's plan included developing the battery cells in-house from the beginning, and it's good to see that these plans are now taking shape. The S1 scooter kept the external battery cells because it is built on the Etergo AppScooter, a platform which Ola Electric acquired prior to developing the S1.
This could soon change, when Ola Electric begins mass-producing its battery packs. As things stand, the Ola S1 is already a very affordable electric two-wheeler retailing for as low as the equivalent of $1,100 USD. This means that the price of the S1 electric scooter could drop even further—to around the $700 to $800 USD mark, should the new batteries prove to be cost-effective. A quick video summary of the Ola S1 can be watched below.
Sources: BikeDekho, Ola Electric