Last year some 250 startups involved in some aspect of electrification have attracted more than $20 billion in venture capital, notably from a broad array of corporations across multiple industries globally.
Big oil companies such as BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC see EV-related investments partly as a hedge against dwindling demand for fossil fuels for privately owned vehicles. But they also see an opportunity to provide electric vehicle charging at fuel stations that now dispense gasoline and diesel. Large telecommunication companies such as Verizon Communications Inc will play a role in connected electric vehicles, while semiconductor makers such as Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc see their computer chips being used in an increasing number of applications in future electric and self-driving vehicles. Global automakers are heavily invested in battery startups. The field includes General Motors Co , BMW AG , Daimler AG , Renault SA , Nissan Motor Co , Hyundai Motror Co and SAIC Motor Corp
In India recently Mr Ratan Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons Tata invested in Ola Electric Mobility as part of its Series A round of funding. Arun Sarin, former Vodafone Group PLC CEO has invested in Ola Electric Mobility with investments he joins the board of Ola as independent director. Ola Electric is currently running several pilots involving charging solutions, battery swapping stations, and deploying vehicles across two, three and four-wheeler segments. Ola Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd raised a sum of ₹ 400 crores led by several of Ola's early investors, Tiger Global and Matrix India and others, as part of its first round of investment. The company was initially established to enable Ola's electric mobility pilot program in Nagpur.
Ather Energy, Bengaluru based electric scooter maker, closed an investment of $51 Million in its latest round of funding, led by Sachin Bansal, Flipkart Co-founder’s investment of $32 Million. Also, Hero MotoCorp has converted its Convertible Debt of $19 Mn as a part of this round. In addition to this, InnoVen Capital has extended an $8 Mn venture debt. Ather Energy was founded in 2013 by IIT Madras alumni, Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain. The company is backed by founders of Flipkart, Tiger Global, Hero Motocorp and others.
TVS Motor invested around $1 million in Ultraviolette Automotive, an electric mobility solutions firm, in December 2017, for a 14.8 per cent stake. Another $1 mn in August 2018 had raised its shareholding
Last year Bharat Forge announced 45% stake in Tork Motorcycles worth INR 300 Million. Founded in 2009 by Kapil Shelke, Tork is one of the earliest EV startups in India. For their first model T6X, the team packed in a host of features including cloud connectivity, integrated GPS, and in-built navigation capabilities, making it the first smart motorcycle.
Does the investments and interest in the electric mobility startups indicate that the next revolution in urban transport would be in electric mobility and India will achieve its targets of clean fuel. Or the corporates and other investors are just testing the waters to see where does the wind blows in next couple of years.