Just a few days ago, it was reported that Ola Electric, the country’s largest electric scooter manufacturer, would be refunding its customers a total of Rs 130 crore for the off-board chargers it had charged them. In further developments on this topic, Ola Electric has now officially announced that it will indeed be refunding all its customers.
In its official statement, the company said, “We are humbled by the unwavering trust and support shown by our customers in #Mission Electric and #EndICEage. Today, Ola is India’s largest and most trusted EV brand. Despite attempts from vested interest groups, like the recent narrative on charger pricing, the EV industry has witnessed unprecedented success in the last couple of years. As a leader of the industry, we remain committed to putting our customers first. Therefore, setting aside the technicalities and as an example for others to follow, we have decided to reimburse the charger monies to all eligible customers. This move will not only demonstrate our commitment to the EV revolution but also serve to strengthen trust and add more value for our customers.”
The statement also expressed gratitude to the government, especially MHI, for their progressive approach and policies towards the EV industry, including FAME, PLI-AAT, and PLI-ACC. The government’s unwavering support and partnership with Ola Electric and the sector have been instrumental in accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in the country, said the company.
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It has also been reported that other major EV scooter makers, namely Ather, TVS, and Vida (Hero MotoCorp’s EV sub-brand), will also be issuing refunds to customers for the same reason. All of these companies were found guilty of charging their customers separately for the chargers for their EV scooters. This probe on the major automakers was initiated by the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
According to reports, Bengaluru-based startup, Ather Energy, will be reimbursing an estimated total sum of Rs 140 crore to its 95,000 customers across the country. In addition, Ather will also refund Rs 25 crore to the Ministry of Heavy Industries for reduced battery capacity due to not buying the upgraded software. The customers who bought Ather 450X EV scooter up to April 12, 2023, will become eligible for the refund. The company recently also issued a statement addressing the same.
Official statement. pic.twitter.com/MKtMfGREMe
— Ather Energy (@atherenergy) May 4, 2023
Furthermore, TVS will be refunding INR 15.61 crore to 87,000 customers who purchased the iQube S model between May 2022 and March 2023. The government authorities noted that Hero MotoCorp will pay INR 2.23 crore back to the 1,100 customers who bought VIDA V1 Plus and VIDA V1 Pro variants of the e-2W from the start to March 2023.
For those who don’t know, the Ministry of Heavy Industries began an investigation in response to a whistleblower’s claim that all four of these companies had fraudulently claimed subsidies totaling at least Rs 300 crore by billing the two-wheeler’s essential components, such as the charger and proprietary software, as separate items. In February of this year, the government instructed the Automotive Research Association of India to carry out the investigation. Almost a dozen additional electric two-wheeler manufacturers are also being investigated separately by the government for allegedly failing to adhere to the scheme’s localization commitments.
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