Hello everyone, this is my first post on Team-BHP. I am glad to be part of this forum after being a reader for the past 2-3 years and I would like to describe my initial ownership experience of my 2023 Ola S1 Pro which is going to be a month old with 453kms on the odo. This is not going to be a traditional ownership experience thread, but an analysis of Ola S1 in 2023, giving insight for people who are looking to buy an EV scooter and if Ola S1 happens to be one of their choices in 2023.
Why this thread? There's already a wonderful review of the Ola S1 link to official review
posted by CrAzy dRiVeR. But it is over a year old, and Ola seems to have updated the scooters if not fixed. I will start off with my observations first and then get to the analysis. Model
: Ola S1 Pro Colour
: Liquid Silver Mode of Purchase
: Offline - through Ola Experience center, Guindy- Chennai Purchased on
: 14th Jan 2023 Delivered on
: 18th Feb 2023(with some delays, but better than delays others are facing I guess) Costs as per Invoices provided
Ex showroom cost(with GST): Rs.1,63,549
Fame -II Subsidy: 59,550
Half face helmets(2 nos.) - It is billed as Rs.0 but alongside "RTO charges collected as pure agent" for Rs.990.
Portable charger group with packing: Rs.10,000
Ola S1 Pro charger: Rs.15,000 Accessories
Buddy Step: Rs.1,999 - on the expensive side, but went with OEM step to preserve the OEM finish.
As of today, both accessories are not delivered and the delay is annoying as estimated delivery was showing as 7th march and suddenly its now showing as 10th April. Total Amount paid
: Rs.1,32,987 Delivery Experience:
My parents took the delivery from the showroom and I was not there with them. Their feedback was positive about the experience, and they were informed about all the operational procedures by the sales executive. All paper works were done properly. No fuss. Initial observations:
Coming from riding a humble 2010 Activa(I call it the OG because it's the 1st type of the current 2G,3G,etc shape), it was a radical change.
The Brakes are sharp. The Front wheel skids quite a lot on hard braking(even while using combi brakes). I rely on regenerative braking for 90% of the time and use the brakes only if I sense that regen cannot stop on time. It is more than adequate to stop you on most occasions if you maintain a speed of around 40kmph or less.
A question to current Ola owners: Have you received your RC Card? Its been a month now and Ola says it will take up to two months. But the shocking part is another owner told me that he hasn't got it 4 months after delivery and there are some owners who haven't got it even after 1 year.
My scooter comes with Ceat tyres. Ola Recommends maintaining a tire pressure of 33PSI(both front and rear) in their owner's manual. I realized the majority of S1's come with MRF. Members, please let me know if this tyre is good or bad compared to MRF's.
Regarding driving modes and range,I will first touch on normal mode as the scooter has been used in Normal mode for 90% of the time. It is plenty for city roads and city traffic even with 2 people on board. Accelaration on full throttle is enough to keep up with fast moving traffic. It starts off pretty slow until 20kmph and then picks up from 20-50kmph and then linearly accelerates till 80kmph. I have not calculated the full range as it was never used in a single stretch but 100kms would be a rough ball park. Sometimes with pillion, and sometimes alone with average speeds of 40-50kmph.
Eco mode may be helpful if you want to make it to your destination with a concerning amount of battery percentage. The top speed in Eco mode is 43kmph. Other than that, its pretty useless as the pickup with one 70kg rider is very slow, slower than most 100cc gearless two wheelers that normally accelerate in traffic. This might be slightly unsafe when in fast moving traffic (average speeds of over 40kmph). It might be useful for small grocery runs around the block but life feels too short to ride in Eco mode.
Sport and Hyper modes are exciting and give an adrenaline rush which is mostly unwanted for an average 2 wheeler rider. It is purely for the joy of accelerating and to keep up with other fast bikes. I assume both modes go till the indicated speed of around 115kmph. I have not exceeded 80kmph as I haven't crossed city limits with the scooter.
Regarding Charging, as I'm still making arrangements to install a household 3 pin plug in my apartment parking, I have charged the scooter majority of the times with Ola Hypercharger(which I understand is not healthy for the battery, but so far it has been charged only 5-7 times in total), and charging from 30-70% is quick(takes around 1-1.5hr) and the charging speed drops to what is offered by the home charger after 70%. On 2 occasions, the hypercharger was out of service and Ola was quick to respond to my complaint and the chargers were fixed within 2 days on both occasions. Practical analysis of the Gizmos present: Navigation
: Onboard navigation is provided by MapMyIndia. It has been really useful(with a slight niggle that will be discussed below). It selects routes exactly the way I would choose(i.e the good roads I usually prefer even though there might be 2 other routes for the same destination). The Phone app:
The app takes 2-4 days after your purchase to let you login and use it. Once it is enabled, you get live battery status(faced a niggle, more on that below), and when you are near the scooter you can unlock/lock the scooter using the app. There is a feature called Proximity unlock that requires a small setup that locks and unlocks the scooter as you walk away/towards it like on some BMWs. It is in beta testing and I have not enabled it. Since the app got enabled I have been using the app solely for unlocking and locking the scooter. It seems better as you don't have to enter the passcode around everyone. The only gripe is that there is no location tracking of the scooter. Ather has it in their app and I don't know why Ola is being lazy. They've done so much, this shouldn't be hard. Bluetooth connectivity:
Just like in a car, you can pair your phone to the scooter, play music using onboard speakers which are plenty loud(people give you a confused and weird look for blasting music tho
). The same goes for Bluetooth calling. You can accept or reject calls using the buttons on the right portion of the handlebar.
I thought it must be useful just to be notified about an incoming call. Little did I know that the scooter actually has onboard mics! It works like a charm and your voice is heard nice and crisp even with road noise. It might not be a wise decision to speak to someone on speakers that are very loud around people in traffic, but its really useful to accept a call, slightly slow down but keep moving and let them know that you'll call them back once you pullover safely or to speak just a word or two if its a quick call.
Another cool trick is the party mode, which syncs your lights to the song playing and flashes them accordingly like Tesla cars do. You become the show-starter when hanging out with friends. Cruise Control:
Super addictive, really useful. Works as intended. You reach your desired speed, press the cruise control(which dual functions as reverse button when stationary), and immediately leave the accelerator. It kicks in quicker if you release the accelerator first rather than waiting for it to start. To deactivate, simply touch the brakes, accelerate or use regen(do note that the last 2 ways has a delay of 1.5 seconds before cruise control deactivates) Interesting Observations:
1. Lights are nice and as powerful as some cars. Great throw, widespread. But when you ride with a pillion, due to the rear sogging down because of the pillion's weight, the low beam actually rises above the eye level of oncoming traffic. Nothing affects me but the fact that low beam blinds oncoming traffic is ridiculous.
Low Beam output
2. The Lights menu in settings has a toggle for hazard lights, but I discovered that long pressing any ONE of the turn signal button for 3-4 seconds toggles hazards too. It's a quicker and easier way to toggle it when you really need it.
3. Mine is a Jan 2023 batch and you can find the VIN and the exact date and time of manufacturing behind the floor mat to the right side top. It comes with the updated front suspension but my life still flashes in front of me every time I see a pothole thanks to so many horror incidents. I go dead slow over potholes. As I'm editing some parts of my threads in the Assembly line, Ola has just tweeted that they are offering a free front fork upgrade to everyone having the old front fork. It shouldn't have taken them this amount of time to accept their design flaw that has caused serious injuries to owners. Even if the Scooter appears to be good, the Company's integrity and commitment disturbs me.
4. I've spoken to an Ola sales person, a service engineer and an owner and all of them were surprised that none of them noticed this and is a design flaw. The charging flap when opened touches the gap (see picture for understanding) and the paint gets scuffed. I hope it doesn't develop into a paint/panel crack.
5. Open the charging port and you are greeted with what I consider the most pathetic way of cost-cutting on any EV. The rubber cap for the charge port is gone and in place is what looks like a piece of packaging foam picked up from garbage. Why cut costs over here?? How effective is it going to be in preventing the entry of water??
Now for the main part Problems
1. As mentioned above regarding navigation and phone app, the e-sim inside the scooter(a Jio 4G sim) stopped working meaning my phone app doesn't show the scooter status unless I'm close to it connected through Bluetooth. Hence Navigation wouldn't work either. Had to deal with Ola's poor call center experience but within 3 days I was directed to a service engineer at Ola Guindy. Confirmed an appointment and visited the dealer. He updated the software(10-15mins job) and voila things were working normally. Attaching a pic of diagnostic mode(accessed by tapping the question mark in menu tab that shows riding stats multiple times)
2. One fine day, remembering I left the scooter with 57% charge, I unlock it and boom! it shows 0% charge. I tap on the % indicator and it shows 135kms of range!
The scooter turned on, ran in Normal mode with no signs of low battery. It was an evident software hiccup. I did a hard reset by Pressing and holding power button and reverse button for 10 seconds. It rebooted and things were back to normal with it showing 56%. I proceeded with my commute and faced no more issues. Conclusion
Apart from 2 minor niggles, the scooter has been performing better than my expectations.
My verdict for potential buyers: At this point, it looks like Ola has ironed out many issues with some still present or overlooked. If you have time, give it more time for them to update it. If you have a higher budget, go for Ather. Ather's commitment and integrity is impressive. It might not be value for money but you get more and reliable stuff for what you pay. If you want peace of mind, go for TVS ICube. If you are in need of an E scooter immediately, analyze the market and charging infrastructure, take multiple testdrives, and go for the one that fits your budget and needs. Ola definitely has the value-for-money factor but was let down by a history of problems and unfulfilled promises. I hope there won't be further problems and Ola will perform as promised. Cheers!