India reportedly orders Uber and rival Ola to electrify 40% of fleets by 2026

India appears to be doubling down on its push to replace gasoline and diesel vehicles on its streets with environment friendly electric cars. The government plans to order ride hailing firms such as Uber and Ola, that operate hundreds of thousands of cars in the nation, to convert 40% of their respective fleets to electric by April 2026, Reuters reported today.

As part of the push, Uber and Ola and other companies would need to onboard with this goal as soon as early next year, the report claimed. The ride hailing giants will have to convert 2.5% of their fleet of cars by 2021, 5% by 2022, and 10% by 2023. A source familiar with the matter corroborated Reuters‘ findings to TechCrunch.

The move comes as New Delhi looks to cut reliance on oil imports and bring down air pollution to abide by its commitment as part of the 2015 Paris climate change treaty. In recent years, China has also ramped up similar efforts with even tougher EV sales targets.

Electric vehicles still account for a tiny portion of all the cars that are sold in India. In the year that ended in March, only 3,600 electric vehicles were sold in India, compared to 3.3 million diesel and gasoline cars.

At an event last year, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi urged industrialists and global business leaders to work with the government on creating a “new mobility ecosystem” that is in “sync with nature.” He added, “my vision for the future of mobility in India is based on 7Cs: common, connected, convenient, congestion-free, charged, clean, and cutting-edge.

India’s electric push will spell new frustration for Uber, which is already struggling to fight back Ola, the market leader in ride-hailing space in the country. Ola, which is also backed by SoftBank, started working on electric vehicles several years ago.

It conducted a first of its kind trial in Nagpur three years ago and clocked millions of kilometers through electric vehicles. The company said last year that it aims to launch 10,000 three-wheeled electric vehicles in 12 months and one million electric vehicles by 2021.

Uber, which recently attempted and failed to sell its food delivery business Uber Eats to local rivals Swiggy and Zomato, has appeared to dial down on its focus on India. The company currently has no programs around electric vehicles in India, other than a limited pilot project it announced with electric scooter maker Yulu last month.

Earlier this year, Ola also spun off its electric mobility unit and raised $58 million for its expansion. In March, Ola raised $300 million from Hyundai and Kia to collaborate on building mobility solutions and electric vehicles.

Ola and Uber did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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