New Delhi: Ola Electric, an Indian electric two-wheeler manufacturer, has decided to reimburse its customers Rs 130 crore for overpriced EV charging. The Ministry of Heavy Industries had initiated an investigation into Ola Electric for overpricing, and the company is responding by reimbursing the price of the off-board charger to all customers who have bought it as an accessory when purchasing an Ola S1Pro model scooter from FY 2019-20 until March 30, 2023.
Ola Electric Founder and CEO Bhavish Agarwal have stated that the company will comply with the government’s requests regarding the government’s probe and suspension of subsidies. Ola Electric remains in contact with the government to resolve all issues.
Reports suggest that the government investigates irregularities in the FAME scheme after whistleblowers raised concerns. As part of the investigation, inputs from the Commerce Ministry and Directorate of Revenue were sought to crosscheck customs records and ascertain whether there was any deviation from the phased manufacturing programme.
Complaints had alleged that all four companies were charging customers over and above the Rs 1.5 lakh threshold under the central government’s FAME scheme for availing the subsidies. Earlier, the companies had claimed that the additional cost was for additional software features and the off-board charger. Ather Energy and Ola Electric both have also reduced the cost of their electric scooters to meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria.
The FAME Scheme Phase II was approved by the government with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore for a period of three years commencing from 1st April 2019. About 86 percent of the funds have been allocated for demand incentives to create demand for EVs in the country. The scheme mainly applies to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes, but privately owned registered e-2Ws are also covered under the scheme as a mass segment, according to the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
In conclusion, Ola Electric’s decision to reimburse customers for overpriced EV charging is a positive step towards complying with the government’s requests. The government’s investigation into irregularities in the FAME scheme and the companies charging customers over the threshold shows the need for transparency and compliance with regulations. The FAME Scheme Phase II aims to create demand for EVs in the country and support the growth of the industry.