Ola's sputtering India electric vehicle trial a red flag for Modi plan

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NAGPUR, India (Reuters) – Indian ride-hailing firm Ola’s pilot project to test a fleet of electric vehicles in the western city of Nagpur was expected to herald a coming revolution in the Indian autos industry. So far, though, it has only exposed fractures in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitions to make all new vehicles electric by 2030.

Mahindra’s, e2oPlus, operated by Indian ride-hailing company Ola, is seen at an electric vehicle charging station in Nagpur, India January 24, 2018. Picture taken January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Aditi Shah

With an initial investment of about $8 million, Softbank-backed Ola launched the project last year at an event that had all the trappings of a state function, including a big gathering and flagging off by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

But nine months later, the program has hit a snag: Ola drivers, unhappy with long wait times at charging stations and high operating expenses, want to return their cars and switch to fuel-guzzling…



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