Recent reports suggest that OPPO plans to debut electric vehicles in India by 2023 or 2024, with the initial model being an affordable electric scooter.
The Initial Phase
The preparations and operations are still in the early stages, which means the launch timetable is undetermined at the moment and could potentially be moved forward. Initially, OPPO is targeting a pricing range of roughly Rs. 60,000 for the electric scooter, putting it in a class by itself given that most electric scooters available in the market right now cost over a lakh.
Oppo now has the largest manufacturing facility in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, where it produces smartphones and other IoT devices for its brands, OnePlus, and Realme. Oppo is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics, a Chinese conglomerate that also owns Vivo, OnePlus, Realme, and Iooo and all of them operate in India in different segments.
According to 91moibles, Oppo and Realme are in the move to develop their EV line up followed by OnePlus. This may not be a surprise move, given that Xiaomi has already revealed its intentions to enter the electric vehicle market. All of them are expected to start with mid-range electric scooters during the initial phase and move on to a more complex and expensive vehicle lineup.
Venturing Into New Markets
The rising cost of fuel has allowed the companies to try something different. For mobile-making companies like Oppo, elements like Manufacturing, distribution, and after-sales service are already part of their ecosystem.
Furthermore, the EV is the logical next step in their growth. Smartphones, Smart TVs, and other IoT devices have reached their point of saturation at least for now, and with no meaningful breakthroughs on the horizon. These smartphone manufacturers can help EVs become the favored mode of urban mobility. The sole difference between the smartphone business and EV manufacturing is the form factor.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to do but unlike some other startups in the industry these tech giants don’t have to build everything from the ground. These companies have a manufacturing facility workforce, supply chain, and most importantly capital to venture into new businesses.
Oppo is rumored to have begun discussions with battery and other component vendors. Some of these firms even supply parts to Tesla, which makes sense given that electric vehicles are OPPO’s first, and the company would want to get things off to a good start.
It was recently reported that OPPO, along with other BBK Electronics subsidiaries Realme, OnePlus, and Vivo, sought a trademark for a variety of electric vehicles in 2018. This could indicate that the company is the first among a slew of Chinese tech firms eyeing the Indian EV market.
Xiaomi, a Chinese tech giant is also contemplating a major foray into the electric vehicle market. Globally, Xiaomi already sells portable electric scooters and the company intends to begin mass production of electric vehicles in the first half of 2024 and has set aside $10 million to expand its electric vehicle business.
While there is clear competition between the companies we have mentioned in the smartphone and gadget markets, it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the electric vehicle sector.