India's Ola Electric to set up $500 million battery research centre

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FILE PHOTO - A man checks his mobile phone as he waits while recharging his Ola electric scooter, in New Delhi
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Softbank Group-backed Ola Electric will invest $500 million to set up a battery innovation centre in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, it said in a statement.

The facility will house advanced labs and high-tech equipment for battery innovation, and is part of India's push towards becoming a global electric vehicle hub, said Bhavish Aggarwal, founder and chief executive of Ola Electric.

The company will hire senior engineers and research scientists at the facility, potentially one of the world's biggest battery research centres, the statement said. In March, India launched an investigation over safety concerns after a spate of electric scooter fires. Faulty battery cells and modules were identified as the leading cause of e-scooters catching fire

India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to make up 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, from about 2% today.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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