Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal Challenges Elon Musk With Ultra-Cheap Electric Cars
The company’s founder, Bhavish Aggarwal, was quick to notice a shuttered entryway that should have been left open when he arrived for a recent visit to the Ola Futurefactory, which bills itself as the largest electric two-wheeler plant in the world.
People who were present reported that he immediately called in the custodial manager and gave the punishment of running three laps around the several-acre plant.
Such an unsparing attitude has made Mr Aggarwal, 37, one of India’s most determined entrepreneurs but also one of its most divisive. In his twenties, the founder of India’s largest ride-sharing company held off deep-pocketed rival Uber to remain the country’s top brand. Now, Mr. Aggarwal wants Ola Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd to replace Tesla Inc., owned by Elon Musk, and BYD Co., a Chinese company.
But according to interviews with more than two dozen former and present employees who requested anonymity out of concern for retaliation, Mr. Aggarwal’s relentless pace and management style have irritated some managers and board members at Ola Electric, raising concerns about safety and the business model.
Two-wheelers have been delayed due to supply chain issues. Sales are declining. Customers occasionally report that their scooters catch fire, have defective batteries, or contain accident-causing software, leading to product recalls and Twitter apologies. More top executives have left their jobs within a year or two of joining Mr. Aggarwal’s two billion-dollar companies, Ola Electric and ANI Technologies Pvt, which oversees Ola’s ride-hailing operations, than their counterparts.
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