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Grinding noise in my Ola S1 Air: Hub motor replaced in warranty

I also noted that setting regen to higher levels increased the noise, but turning off regen didn't make the noise go away.

BHPian vivekgk recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I was unable to provide regular updates on my Ola S1 Air situation. As I last mentioned, the scooter was at the ASC, and I was not getting proper update from them. I was following up with the Customer care every day, and they kept insisting that I would get an update from the ASC. the only way I could get in touch with the ASC was if I were to go there in person.

As I was busy at work even on holidays, I was only able to try and go to the ASC after work. To their credit, when I went there once at 8 pm, they were still open! I had a discussion with their manager, and he said that they had finally got the battery shipped in, and they were just waiting for the approval from the head office to replace the battery. he assured me that the scooter would be delivered in 3-4 days time. I left with slightly lifted spirits.

However, it was another full week before they replaced the battery, and they didn't even inform me. It was only during one of my now "routine" daily calls that they said, yes, the battery has been replaced a couple of days ago, you can pick up the scooter, sorry for not informing you.

I had seen on the app that the battery was suddenly showing 50% charge from 0, and then showed that it was being charged, but I didn't know what to make of it, and they were not answering my calls regularly either.

So finally, after almost a month at the ASC, I picked up the scooter on the 22nd of December, 2023. (It was picked up by the RSA team and delivered to the ASC on 23rd November, 2023, about a week after it had broke down)

I asked about the receipt for the repair, and they said there was no receipt for warranty replacements as there was no bill to be paid. The entire issue was erased from the Ola Electric app's service history as well, as if it had never occurred at all. The scooter had about 94% charge when delivered back.

On the way home, I felt that the motor felt slightly rough while accelerating. Looking back, I should have gone right back and reported the issue then and there, but I was just tired of it all, and I decided to let it go, since it was a minor niggle. Boy was I ever wrong!!!

I took the scooter to work that day itself, and the day after that as well. The scooter seemed OK, and it was accelerating well in all modes. Ola's regen doesn't work when the battery is above a certain level, but after the charge level dropped a bit it started working too. However, in slow traffic, I felt that the roughness was increasing and the motor was feeling strained. After I reached home, I decided to pinpoint exactly at what speed the harshness was felt. After trying at various speeds, I concluded that the grinding was at its harshest at 10-12 kph, and disappeared at 20kph. One worrying thing was that the battery seemed to be draining quite badly, dropping to 50% from 90% after just 2 days, driving less than 20 kms. I recorded a couple of videos of the noise for sending to the service guys.

I also noted that setting regen to higher levels increased the noise, but turning off regen didn't make the noise go away. I parked it safely in the garage and initiated another RSA. Somehow, this RSA request got assigned their Coimbatore service centre in Tamilnadu some 400 kms away, despite me providing the accurate location on the map, and I kept getting calls from them asking about my location. I called up the service centre and explained the situation to them.

As usual, they played the same game of assuring 1me that the vehicle would be inspected and picked up, but nothing happened for a couple of weeks. Then on the 3rd of January, someone came to my home and had a look at the scooter. By then the battery had dropped to 15% from just sitting idle. They connected the charger, said they would pick up the scooter later that day, and I never heard from them again.

Finally on 4th January 2024, I got fed up and took the vehicle to the ASC yet again. They were reluctant to take it in and asked me to come after 2 weeks!!! After about an hour and a half of badgering, they finally entered it in the register. But they still wouldn't even take it inside to the yard, saying that it would be fine on the roadside where I had parked it, right in the baking sun. I finally cajoled a security guard to open up their makeshift barricade and push my scooter into the yard. The yard was full to the brim, and I counted about 130 scooters, a lot of them 2nd Gen.

While I was there, I spoke to several owners, 2 of them were 2nd Gen S1 Pro owners. Both were having issues with severe air leaks from the alloys and tyres. Apparently the tyres were not seated well on the alloy wheels causing tyres to become deflated in a couple of days. Another S1 Pro Gen2 owner said his scooter stopped responding to throttle while he was riding, and had to be towed here. It had been there for 2 weeks, and he was understandably furious.

As soon as I got home, I raised a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline. In the past couple of days, I have been contacted by several executives from Ola Head Office and from their Kerala Service head. I think that the attention that Team-BHP brought to my trials and tribulations has certainly had an effect.

I contacted the service centre yet again today, and they said that they were beginning the repair process, whatever that means. I also got a message on my phone saying that repair had been initiated on my scooter.

At this point, I am completely devastated that my ownership experience with my first EV has come to this. No matter how this turns out, I thank you, Team-BHP and fellow BHPians for the support given to me, and I once again implore prospective EV buyers to stay away from Ola brand. They only have marketing and sales in their mind, and care very little for buyers once they have got your money.

Thank God I didn't use the scrapping policy and scrap my 15 year old Mahindra Flyte, because otherwise I'd be totally stranded. Guess the ICE age isn't quite over yet, thanks to totally incompetent players like Ola.

Update:

On 13th January evening, I received a call from Ola service informing me that the scooter had been repaired and was now ready for pickup. I asked them if it was possible to deliver it home (0.5 kms away) as I was down with a fever, but they politely said that they did not have the staff for it at the time, as it was a weekend. My father drove me to the workshop and we picked up the scooter with minimal formalities, only having to sign a register. The scooter was already placed outside in the pickup area, and I could immediately see that the hub motor looked brand new, compared to the rest of the scooter which was dusty and rather dirty.

My daughter who had accompanied us was very excited to see me on the scooter, and immediately ran over and claimed her place on the footboard. She loves this scooter, I think it's the bright colour and the silent running.

As soon as I started off, I noticed that even in the Normal mode, there was a big improvement in the torque. As with all hub motors there is a small jerk while starting off, and the response is immediate. It definitely felt gutsier on the move as well. The vibration and the grinding noises were completely gone. The scooter felt as it had on Day 1. I had actually forgotten what it was like as it had been so long, and I was using my Flyte in between.

I have not had the time to fully test it as I was down with fever this weekend but I plan to do a full test drive in the upcoming days and see if there's any issue. The reason this vibration bothered me so much was that when my daughter is standing on the footboard, I rarely go over 20 kph, preferring to go at this "snail's pace" for safety reasons, as well as for her to enjoy the ride better without too much wind on her face.

As for me, I was originally planning to go ahead with my case and get a refund from Ola for the scooter, but realistically, it is not always possible. Hopefully, there won't be any more issues, but if I do, I will have you guys on my side to support me.

On a side note, I have decided to restore my 15 year old Mahindra Flyte. It is still one of the peppiest ICE scooters I've driven, and the best part is that it is a sleeper. It does not even try to look purposeful, but anyone who has ridden it will know what I am talking about. Mine needs some cosmetic surgery and some TLC, but if the government allows, I'll be keeping it for the foreseeable future.

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