Ola launches Self-Drive Car Rentals on Road by 2020

According to a company statement on Thursday, Cab aggregator Ola today formally launched a self-drive car rental service on its platform with a plan to add 20,000 vehicles by the end of 2020. The service was initially rolled out for users in Bangalore as a lead, with plans to launch into Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi shortly.

Ola Drive will allow users to plan their own rental plan, with the option of pre-setting everything from a number of kilometers and hours before booking a vehicle to fuel inclusion. Pick-up and drop-off points will be designated by the company around different residential and commercial hubs. Users can choose to book sedans, hatchbacks, and SUVs of their choice for at least 2 hours along with a security deposit starting from Rs 2000.

All Ola Drive cars will be equipped with Ola Play, enabled through a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment device, include GPS, media playback and Bluetooth connectivity. Users will also have access to assistance and security features such as a 24/7 help line, on the roadside and an emergency button.

Existing players in the self-drive system, including Zoomcar and Drivezy, allow users to sub-lease their cars under the revenue-share model to platforms. Currently, three companies, including Zoomcar, Drivezy, and Revv, dominate the self-drive car rental market. Drivezy has more than 4,000 cars on its fleet, Zoomcar claims to have more than 7,000 vehicles and Revv has more than 3,500 vehicles, which contributes to roughly 14,500 on the highway.

“Ola’s core ride-hailing businesses maybe have hit a flat growth, hence why the company is exploring several other avenues such as Ola Drive, Ola Food, and Ola Electric…” said a venture capital investor in the mobility space, requesting anonymity.

“Hence, at times these vehicles (on self-drive platforms) will remain un-used during the weekdays, so if Ola would be able to utilize un-used assets directly on their core ride-hailing, that could be a game-changer for Ola”.

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