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Why you should think twice before buying an Ola S1 X 4kWh

It is disappointing to see a promising electric scooter getting bogged down by these factors. I was hoping Ola Electric would have learned from its mistakes.

BHPian bijims recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Introduction

First of all, I would like to start off with an introduction on why we decided to buy an Ola Scooter and how it became the second Ola Scooter in the family. I was originally on the lookout for an electric scooter and I finally got one too but there were a few issues associated with it but despite this I still recommended and went for the Ola S1 X 4kWh for my brother, the major reasons for this were:

  • My brother's original 2011 model Pulsar was giving him headaches, over Rs.200 per day spent on fuel and repairs increasing by the day.
  • They had installed a 5 kW solar power generation system at their home, and it had been functional since March.
  • Maintaining his bike and getting the fuel bills paid proved to be very expensive with over Rs.6,000 per month costs to be incurred, once he transitioned to his new job in April end.

So, with his new job requiring him to travel at least 70km a day sometimes rising over 100 km as well with the fuel and maintenance bills burning a hole in his pocket, I suggested him, why not utilize that money for a new electric scooter, (you could pay in EMIs if required and it would still be cheaper than maintaining your bike).

Moreover, since your solar generation system had excess capacity, (utilization was hardly 8 to 10 units a day, whereas production was over 21 to 24 units a day) and since our electricity distribution board was quite greedy and offered only Rs.2.67 per unit for excess generation and charged us anywhere between Rs.5.5 to Rs.7.5 per unit for excess utilization, I told him, the best thing he could do was to put the power you produce into good use.

So, after a lot of number crunching, it was easily understood that even if you factor in depreciation, electricity costs and maintenance, the EMIs to be paid on the new scooter were much lower than the costs associated with maintaining the old bike, and the electric scooter would be a much more sensible affair.

So, with these in mind, we decided to go for an electric scooter.

Choosing the right electric scooter

It was already May, by the time we had decided to go for an electric scooter and by this time, the FAME-II subsidy (which had a cap of Rs.22,500 per vehicle from June 2023) was gone and was replaced the EMPS subsidy which was limited to just Rs.10,000 per vehicle, this had caused price hikes across the board (in varying scale) but somehow it was only Ola which was immune from the price hike (maybe it had something to with the PLI scheme, which Ola was eligible for).

Nonetheless, we decided to try out all the models from the major manufacturers on offer, since my purchase decision quite a few new options had launched and they were primarily the Ather Rizta, the Ampere Nexus, the Hero Vida V1 Plus, the Ola S1 X series and the refreshed TVS iQube lineup (including the ST range).

We tried out each and every one of them, and mostly they were either too pricey [Rizta 3.7 kWh at Rs.1.90 lakh (including the Pro Pack), iQube ST 5.1 kWh at Rs.2.09 lakh or lacked range (Vida V1 Plus and Ampere Nexus)] (All prices are on-road Thrissur)

Moreover, he wasn't a fan of too many gizmos on scooters like me, so the pricier variants, without enough range just didn't appeal to him, he wasn't intent on spending close to 2 lakhs either. The Vida range had some inherent flaws like rainwater seeping into the boot and so on, so it was outright rejected, he needed to carry stuff in the boot, and he couldn't compromise on that, moreover, the range was just over 100 km.

Ampere's presence in our city was quite limited and it wasn't something you see on the roads at all, but despite that we considered it but its range wasn't satisfactory either, the other contender was Chetak, which was built well but lacked range too. The other iQube variants just had over 100 km of range, while the Ather 450 series wasn't great on the range part either.

So, it was either paying over 2 lakhs for a high-range scooter in the TVS iQube ST 5.1 kWh or going for an Ola S1 Pro or S1 X 4kWh which cost around Rs.1.51 lakhs and Rs.1.17 lakhs respectively, and We finally decided that the Ola scooters were the only viable options within budget and with sufficient range.

Having seen my Ola S1 Pro Gen 2, he decided it was better to get something simpler and avoid the fancy touchscreen and gizmos, he felt a no-nonsense scooter with just the basics covered was the right choice and so I booked the OLA S1 X 4kWh for him in the Funk colour (black in the front and green in the back) having seen an Ola S1 X Plus in the same colour and having had a look at the OLA S1 X which was on display at the experience centre where I got most of my panel gaps sorted.

Delivery experience and initial ride

The initial delivery date was set on June 6th and we were waiting, but suddenly my brother received a call on May 27th saying that his scooter was allocated, and it was the initial batch of OLA S1 X deliveries in Thrissur and they were having a small ceremony for it, elated to receive the scooter earlier than expected we arrived at the experience centre at the scheduled time on my OLA S1 PRO GEN 2 (which was also bought from the same experience centre without even a demo given).

The atmosphere was great with our Scooter being the only 4 kWh model and the only one in Funk colour taking centre stage, a cake cutting and photo ceremony along with a brief demo was given and we were off, in both our OLAs, we drove well over 50 km and went back home late in the night, we got to experience the pros and cons of the scooter first hand and how it compares to the other scooters as well as my OLA S1 PRO GEN 2.

As regards the ride and handling, the scooter rides well and is quite pliant. The seat is comfy as is with other Ola scooters. The scooter comes with 3 ride modes, Eco Normal and Sport all of which can be controlled using the toggle on the right, the scooter gets cruise control and a reverse mode as well, controls of which can be seen on the right.

The Eco Mode of the scooter restricts speed to 42 km/h and the Normal mode is perfect and gets speeds upto around 80 km/h whereas the Sport mode provides the maximum torque and goes upto speeds of 90 km/h.

The maximum range shown in each mode differs with the Eco mode showing an indicated 167 km range and Normal Mode showing 134 km of range. The scooter performs as expected and performance is brisk in Normal and Sport modes, In Eco mode, the scooter is quite slow to respond and takes its own sweet time to get to even the 42 km/h mark.

To conclude the ride and performance is on expected lines and nothing different from what you see in the Ola S1 Air or Ola S1 X+

Pros and cons

First of all, let's start with the Pros:

  • The dimensions, seat, length, width, floorboard, underseat storage and overall structure is the same and is definitely a Pro.
  • The rounded mirrors somehow feel better in quality than the S1 Pro's mirrors.
  • The switchgear is much better and easier to adapt for those coming from ICE scooters, unlike the switchgear on the other Ola models.
  • The range is definitely a Plus; you can easily get over 160 km of real-world range if you ride sedately. (This is from an estimation concerning the kilometers we rode, and the battery capacity used, however, a range test will be done soon)
  • The display on the scooter shows all the necessary details and you don't have to toggle around.
  • The Key fob and the functions associated are as is with a regular scooter and is a welcome move and a first in an OLA scooter.
  • The charger is the same as in the OLA S1 PRO (750W) and it takes the same 6hr and 30 mins to juice it up from 0 to 100.

Now with the Cons noticed as of now:

First

Sadly, our scooter has an issue whereby the display housing is not sealed in tight and is rattling all over when riding on even a slightly uneven road, even if we fix it in place, it comes back out and rattles again on even the slightest undulation. We didn't notice it much on the main highway, but on to the state highway, the slightest undulation would cause it to rattle, so we went to the Service centre in Thrissur, from where we bought the scooter and to our surprise the staff told me they could do nothing about it as it was a new scooter.

Moreover, they had the audacity to make us wait for a couple of hours just to take it in, bring it back out and say nothing could be done, such is the service at Ola Thrissur MG Road where customers who just bought the scooter a day back, that too the first deliveries in Thrissur are treated like beggars and it is no wonder why it is rated the worst on Google, Initially I had the impression that the service at OLA was improving but with this ordeal, I understand that it has gone to dogs.

After literally making us wait for a couple of hours just to have a look at it and to tell us that since it is the initial batch, issues are bound to crop up, It has become evident that OLA has made the initial customers of the S1 X beta testers for their new product making them pay for it, with no fixes to whatever issues that may crop up in sight, and with the attitude that customers will buy anything and will keep quiet about it.

That time has long gone, At least a few knowledgeable customers will resort to means to let the public know their true colours and I sincerely hope that Ola changes its ways (of making initial customers their testers of the product like they did with the first gen S1) and takes note of these issues and fixes this issue at the earliest and secondly kindly make sure to train their service Centre staff to not treat people like garbage, People have believed in your product, spent over Rs.1.17 lakh on it and it is a shame that they are made to visit the service centre the next day to fix issues.

Second

The second issue as with other Ola scooters is Panel Gaps which have become inevitable with Ola scooters. there are a lot of them, but the rattling is more of a functional issue and takes centre stage here as against panel gaps which are aesthetic issues.

Anyways hopefully, these can be rectified, and I should say apart from these flaws, my initial impressions of the scooter are good, and I would have recommended this scooter to anyone looking for a no-nonsense long-range scooter had they been without these issues. However, if this is the case with every model, then please stay away, you are getting yourself into a lot of unnecessary hassle when you buy a product just to be its initial tester.

Moreover, from our OLA S1 PRO GEN 2 ordeal we had the slightest hope that service at OLA is improving and they had started to care for their customers, but NOT AT ALL, it was only because the top brass had noticed the thread at Team-BHP and the service centre had strict instructions to fix these issues, that the most issues with the S1 PRO GEN 2 were fixed without much hassle, However, if for every issue with the scooter, customers have to resort to social media and web forums, OLA will surely die a slow death because customers will soon find out your true colours.

It is such a shame that a product with a lot of promise is bogged down by poor craftsmanship, lack of any QC (Quality Control) at all and worst of all the customer service centre experience which never seems to improve, even though you may feel it is improving, they show their true colours once the next innocent customers come through their door

As a parting note, here are a few pictures we had taken soon after delivery. I will make sure to keep updating this thread as our journey with the all-new OLA S1 X 4kWh continues. I, who was initially happy with the scooter on receiving it, am now prompted to resort to the help of the forum to advise potential customers to kindly avoid this scooter until its issues are sorted.

I never wanted to be this way and was hoping OLA would learn from its mistakes, but they keep continuing the way they used to without a care for its customers, they may open 600 service centres, start 1000 fast charging points or whatever, but once customers lose their confidence, there is no looking back, As I had iterated in my post on the S1 PRO GEN 2, there will be a time when customers understand that it is simply not worth going for OLA and will happily buy their alternative just for peace of mind, if that is not what OLA wants, OLA must act immediately, not just for customers who bring these out on web forums and social media, but to all their customers and improve their QC ASAP.

View of the Scotter from the front immediately after delivery

The view of the Scooter from the rear

A close-up view of the side of the scooter

View of the side of the scooter from afar

A view of the other side of the scooter

Both our OLAs together

Another view of both of our OLAs

The KEY of the S1 X

The under-seat storage

The MID turned on

The look of the handlebar

A look at the scooter from the rear while charging

Left side view

Right side view

Close-up right-side view

A view from the front

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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