Ola Electric weighs bid for lithium mining rights, says report

Ola Electric, the e-scooter manufacturer, is mulling to participate in the bidding for lithium mining rights that the government is auctioning, according to sources, Reuters reported. This potential move could enhance Ola Electric’s plans for manufacturing electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, poses for a photograph with the new Ola electric scooter during its launch at the Ola headquarters in Bangalore on August 15, 2021. (AFP)
Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, poses for a photograph with the new Ola electric scooter during its launch at the Ola headquarters in Bangalore on August 15, 2021. (AFP)

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To ensure a steady supply of minerals crucial for EV batteries, like lithium, the Centre started the first phase of critical minerals auctions late last year.

Electric vehicles constituted approximately 2 per cent of the total car sales in India, amounting to 39 lakh vehicles in the last fiscal year. However, the government has set an ambitious target to increase this share to 30 per cent by 2030. To achieve this goal, the government is actively promoting the production of electric vehicles within the country. With this, the government also aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the nation’s dependency on imports of fossil fuels.

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Ola is yet to take a final call

“Ola has expressed interest and has raised numerous inquiries regarding land acquisition and the exploration of minerals beyond lithium in the blocks,” as per one of the sources.

According to a second source, Ola executives have actively participated in auction meetings. However, the final decision is pending and hinges on factors like global lithium prices and the feasibility of mining, the source said.

Lithium holds significant importance for Ola, given its strategy to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles locally. This move is aimed at achieving vertical integration within the supply chain, the second source added.

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Govt plans to raise 45,000 crore from auction

In the ongoing auction, the government is expected to raise approximately 45,000 crore by auctioning 20 blocks in eight different states.

Other companies looking into bidding for lithium include Adani Enterprises, Vedanta Ltd, Reliance Industries, and Himadri Chemicals.

Additionally, sources indicate that Dalmia Cement, UltraTech Cement, and NLC India have also expressed interest in acquiring the lithium blocks.

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