The Ola S1 Series – Revolutionizing how India Rides

The Need of The Hour

The Indians have hailed the skyrocketing fuel prices as among the highest drainers of their income, we see petrol now racing above the Rs 105 mark too making nearly a 40% increase to the price in just 4 years. Travel of course is essential for everyone, but at this price, it is now turning to be critical for anyone to afford to maintain a two-wheeler. Bringing cheerful news, this Independence Day, Ola provided a chance to freedom from the tiresome fuel price war, with the launch of their game-changing scooters, The Ola S1 and The Ola S1 Pro. It seems like the scooters are efficient, smooth as butter, and definitely look classy, also, quick to manoeuvre through the tiring traffic of the city as well. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly Ola has to offer to the people, and how this journey began!

The Beginning

Ola acquired etergo
Source: Cleantechnica

Etergo, based in Amsterdam, was founded in 2014 developed an entirely electric scooter, The AppScooter which was revealed in 2018 for the first time. They sought to use swappable high-density batteries for their e-scooter range to provide a longer running duration per single charge.

 In May 2020, Ola, the Bengaluru based aggregator cab service, announced its acquisition of Etergo to launch its entity Ola Electric Mobility with the initial funding of 56 million USD in February 2019 with the goal of bringing not just the electric scooters for the Indian market, but also, EV batteries and viable infrastructure so as to start production and sales at a large scale. And hence, Ola set their vision into action, by announcing the launch of their EVs on the 15th of August 2021 for which bookings had begun on July 15th for a simple sum of Rs.499/-. Its popularity among the people could be seen as merely within 24 hours of accepting bookings, Ola Electric received a staggering 1 lakh plus bookings, not to mention, these bookings come from over a thousand plus cities and towns all across India.

To facilitate this huge demand, Ola CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal also announced the opening of the Ola Futurefactory, a 500-acre site in the Krishanagri district of Tamil Nadu where the Ola EVs will be manufactured. In the first phase, the plan is to produce 2 million units annually however upon successful completion of the production unit one can expect 10 million units to be produced per year. With the launch of the Ola S1 and S1 Pro, it will be interesting to see the refreshing new scooter range on offer!

Ola Future Factory
Source: thenewsminute

What's Coming?

The Ola EVs come packed with a fully digital instrument panel and a boot space large enough to house two helmets, LED headlamps with DRLs, LED winkers and a LED tail lamp system as well powered by a powerful motor charged by a Lithium-ion battery! Alloy wheels with disc brakes at the front and rear and 10 attractive colour options, which calls for a super appealing look for all age groups!

The Ola S1 claims a range of 121 kilometres on its full charge with a top speed of 90kph while touching 0-40 in 3.6 seconds on the 2.9 kWh battery while the S1 Pro makes for a stunning 181 kilometres range with a top speed of 115kph while doing 0-40 in flat 3 seconds. The battery on the S1 Pro is a more powerful unit hosting the 3.9 kWh unit and while the S1 comes in 5 colour options the S1 Pro houses the far more attractive lineup of 10 different colour options!

The S1 and S1 Pro come with driving modes such as the normal and the sport mode, the S1 Pro housing an extra hyper mode as well, these additions make this range of scooters far more unique than other two-wheelers on the market. The feature list on these two vehicles don’t just end here, to make it more efficient for the buyers, Ola has a host of segment-leading specs in their lineup! 

Power Packed Features

Hosting a large TFT display which not only shows the driver GPS navigation but also lets you switch between rider profiles to bring customization for individuals while also displaying the amount of CO2 emissions you have saved by the usage of an electric motor in place of the petrol two-wheeler options available in the market. The Ola EVs pack a reverse mode as well as proximity unlock which unlocks your scooter ready for you when you’re in its close proximity. Isn’t this simply magical? Your scooter awaiting your arrival ready for getting away the instant you set your hands on the handle! All you have to do is use the Ola Electric app on your smartphone and your scooter will automatically sense your arrival and unlock its handlebar. WOW is the word! More importantly, the S1 Pro variant gets a hill-hold function, cruise control and voice assistant functions; these aren’t available on the S1. 

All these features and the mouth-watering range has surely impressed the customers. According to Ola, they have sold 4 scooters every second! This has generated Rs.1100 crore in revenue over two days. On the first day the amount stood at Rs.600 crore which is more than the entire 2-wheeler industry’s total sales figure.

The next purchase window for Ola S1 & S1 Pro was announced as November 1, however, the official website has removed the said date and it now says “next purchase window starts soon”. Let’s see how things turn to be and whether Ola breaks any new records in the coming future.

Ola charging network
Source: Economic Times
Ola Hypercharging Network
Source: Olaelectric

Pricing

The Ola S1 and S1 Pro come with the price tag of Rs 99,999 and Rs 1,29,999 respectively however, the government, being highly supportive of the transition from petrol to EVs, have announced subsidies on these scooters in their respective states. Post state subsidies the pricing turns:

Ola S1
Delhi – Rs.85,099/-
Gujarat – Rs.79,999/-
Maharashtra – Rs.94,999/-
Rajasthan – Rs.89,968/-

Ola S1 Pro
Delhi – Rs.110,149/-
Gujarat – Rs.109,999/-
Maharashtra – Rs.124,999/-
Rajasthan – Rs.119,138/-

Read More: Govt. Incentives on EVs

This and the huge amount customers save up on the fuel expenses whilst saving the environment from harmful emissions as well make for a complete value for money package for owning the new electric vehicles being introduced! However, on the downside, Ola has still not announced any buyback policy for its E-Scooter range which Ather had until recently. Generally, an EV has a very low resale value and in the case of it requiring a battery replacement, one can only expect a scrap value to be returned in the second-hand market.

Ola S1 Next Purchase Window
The next purchase window for Ola S1 is not mentioned on the website. Interestingly, it also states that they have NO dealerships. Will the Indian consumer like this new delivery approach? Only time will tell.

Our Word

Well, I might sound very biased, however, the Ola EVs are here to stay, the looks, the styling, the features, the facilities and above all, bringing about a change by being more environment friendly, it’s no wonder how Ola has managed to stir up the nation and register such a huge number of bookings as well as being the centre of talk among EVs being launched.

Amidst this hype, though there are still a few points that make the choice of purchasing the Ola S1 and S1 Pro a debatable decision. The scooter comes with an intelligent AI which prompts the owner when the scooter requires service with the option of booking a service appointment over the application. Post booking the scooter is picked up from the customer’s doorstep and delivered back post servicing as well, however, there has not been confirmation about any maintenance contract or the cost of maintaining these scooters.

However, the fact that Ola has not yet revealed its battery warranty details can make a customer hesitant to see an EV’s battery as its main functional part. Its rivals Simple Energy One, Ather offer three years of warranty whereas Revolt RV 400 offers an unlimited battery warranty up to eight years along with free maintenance up to three years as well.

Read More: Ola S1 Series vs Ather 450X vs Simple One

Not to mention, no IP rating has been specified for the display screen as well. Ola must soon address these questions to stand out from the overall competition. All being said, Ola is promising deliveries from October 2021 and its presence on the roads is something we all eagerly await.

What do you think about the Ola S1 Series? Does it have the ability to disrupt the market and revolutionize the automobile industry as we know it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Trouble Brewing in Paradise (Update)

Ola is staring into the face of trouble. The company for all of its brand new hype and fresh vigor at the time of launch is failing to deliver on their promises. Initially, the deliveries were supposed to begin in October 2021, however, a delay was announced and the company said that it would deliver between October 25 & November 25. As I write this, it is November 22 & not a single scooter has been delivered yet. The company made another announcement saying that the supply is affected due to the global chip shortage but this was ongoing since a long time and the company was well aware of the situation at the time of the launch in August 2021.  

That’s not all. Ola has started test rides for the scooter and it turns out that there are LOTS of glitches in the scooter. Starting from the throttle issues to mobile bluetooth connectivity. The mobile app is not even ready yet and the true range of the scooter is still not known since all the test rides happened in a closed area provided by Ola. As you ride at a high speed, the scooter dies down on its own and has to be restarted to ride again. Also, once the scooter is steered at the fastest mode for 5-10 minutes, the battery takes a massive hit and range decreases marginally. Ola says all of this will be fixed by the time of delivery and some glitches will be solved via OTA updates. You can check out a video review hereThis was just the test ride where the model is supposed to be ‘perfect’. What happens in the real world?

(Dec. 2021) – There is another announcement from Bhavish Agarwal, CEO & Co-Founder, Ola, stating that production has been ramped up and deliveries will begin from December 15 for Ola S1 & S1 Pro. A statement straight from the top boss holds immense value and we do not exaggerate when we say that the company’s respect is on the line this time. Will they deliver this time? Or should we ask the bigger question, which is will the electric scooter meet the expectations and the promises that it made? We wait & watch. 

(Jan. 2022) – It is not turning out to be as envisioned for Bhavish Aggarwal to say the least for Ola S1 & S1 Pro scooters as customers around the country receive the delivery of their much awaited electric two-wheeler. Ola is surely getting a lot of heat for the models delivered. Many of them complaint of lower range (just 100 kms as opposed to the promised 181 kms), dents all over the body of the scooter, inconsistency in the insurance policy & delay in installation of charger. In some cases, Ola states that they will solve the issues or deliver a replacement model but when customers pay for a new scooter, they expect a brand new top-of-the-line scooter on delivery especially when it is already delayed by well over 45 days at least, not a refurbished model or a replacement which completely takes away the charm of buying a new bike or a car. The scooters are delivered without any of the add-on features promised like hill-hold assist, voice control, mobile app, playing music and visual moods. To be honest, these features played a big role in making the Ola S1 series stand apart from the cliché models which are currently sold in the market. Delivery of a half-baked product is never really seen before in the automobile industry and it would be really disappointing for customers to wait for the “OTA Updates” to avail these features. Timeline of these updates is again not provided by the company.   

As per a Bloomberg report, Ola is facing huge production troubles as well and currently produce only 150 units a day. Next Ola Electric purchase window opens in late January as per Varun Dubey, but we highly doubt if this time around the demand will be similar to what we saw in August when the purchase window opened for the first time. 

(Feb. 2022 Update) – As days go by, we see new updates or shall we say issues with Ola and their EV two-wheeler. Ola recently announced that all the customers who booked Ola S1 will be “upgraded” to the Ola S1 Pro scooter’s hardware with the software and features of  Ola S1. Firstly, WHY? Have the consumers asked for it? No, they did not! Was there any hint earlier that this could happen? Nope! Of course, there is no extra cost involved and at the choice of the customers, they can opt for a software upgrade by paying the extra charge.

There are good chances this can cause inconvenient issues for the customers who might want to upgrade in the future because even those who have received the deliveries so far, do not have access to promised features like hill-hold assist, visual moods, voice control and even the mobile app is still not ready. If these issues are still not fixed which were supposed to come with delivery, how can we expect Ola to upgrade the existing software of a scooter to a whole another level without any fuss. 

As per reports, Ola is facing production issues which is why they have taken this decision to upgrade Ola S1 buyers to Ola S1 Pro hardware. They say due to high demand of the Ola S1 Pro version, they will only be manufacturing higher-priced model and it is estimated that the production for Ola S1 will begin by October 2022. 

Ola S1 delivery december 15
Source: Twitter

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