Ola hires ex-Jaguar and Aston Martin designer to work on electric vehicles

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The Ola app displayed on a smartphone.

Mint | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Ola, an Indian competitor to Uber that makes its own electric vehicles, announced Tuesday it has hired Jaguar Land Rover veteran Wayne Burgess as its head of vehicle design.

Burgess, who spent almost 20 years at Jaguar Land Rover working on models including the XF, F-Type, F-Pace SUV, XE, has joined Ola’s electric vehicle business, Ola Electric, where he will lead design across the company’s entire EV product range, which includes scooters, bikes and cars.

Prior to Jaguar Land Rover, Burgess worked at premium British car makers including Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce. He worked on the Bentley Arnage in 1998 and Aston Martin’s DB9 in the mid 2000s.

Bhavish Aggarwal, chairman and group CEO of Ola, said in a statement that Burgess “will bring global appeal and design aesthetic to our industry changing electric vehicles.” Burgess said he’s looking forward to leading a team “that will work on designing cutting-edge electric vehicles for the world.”

Ola is the largest ride-hailing company in India and competes with California heavyweight Uber in several countries.

Founded in 2010 by Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, the Bangalore-headquartered company is planning to launch its first electric scooters in coming months. These vehicles will be more like mopeds (motorbikes without gears) than the e-scooters associated with firms like Bird, Lime, Voi and Tier.

The Ola Scooter will be manufactured at the Ola Futurefactory in Tamil Nadu, India, which is still under construction. When fully operational, Ola said, it will make 10 million Ola Scooters per year at the facility.

Ola spun off its electric vehicles business into a separate unit with $56 million of funding in February 2019. In addition to EVs, it works on charging solutions, EV batteries and developing infrastructure that will enable commercial EVs to operate at scale.



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