Just Rs 499 for booking, 130 km range in a single charge and good looks -- these are the key factors that attract customers towards the Ola electric scooter. Same was the case with Stajen, the first Ola scooter owner in Kerala. Stajen, who has previously owned two electric scooters, is an ad film maker. Here, Stajen speaks to Onmanorama on why he chose the top model - the S1 Pro - and how the scooter is performing.
Why Ola scooter
The main attractions were the lowest booking amount and its good looks, says Stajen, who had initially planned to cancel the booking after some time and get his money back. However, he paid Rs 20,000 more to confirm the booking (there are provisions to get even that amount back). But when he test-rode the scooter it was way above his expectations, and thus he decided to pay the remaining amount too.
Online booking, delivery
All the procedures like booking and bank loan were online. However, since it is a new company, Ola faced a lot of teething issues. Though he had a decent Cibil score, Stajen did not get a loan. Later, he paid upfront from his pocket. Next was delivery problems -- the dates changed several times. Finally, the vehicle was delivered home at 1am.
Right from the day the deliveries started, reports regarding quality issues started doing the rounds. However, Stajen found no such issues. Production quality is top notch, he says. Though it looks like a toy scooter in photographs, it is a large scooter, and weighs quite a bit.
No physical key
Right from starting the scooter to unlocking the seat, use the controls on the touchscreen in the meter console. We are used to vehicles that need a physical key to start them. Therefore, we would have only imagined a scooter that can be unlocked using a code. Ola has made it happen. You need to unlock the scooter using a password to start it. Even if you run out of battery, the display will work.
The scooter gets a seven-inch touchscreen panel usually seen in cars. It works even during rain. It has features like Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi. Some features like navigation, hill-hold assist, mood sounds and theme are yet to be made available. Ola would be providing them through updates.
Since we are used to motorcycles and scooters with sound, the silent ride of the Ola scooter is a major turn-off, says Stajen, adding that it is his personal opinion (and he might change his view once the mood sound updates arrive). Performance wise, it can easily beat a petrol vehicle. The 8.5 kW motor takes just three seconds to reach 40 kmph with a top speed of 115 kmph (For S1, the figures are 3.6 seconds and 90 kmph). The weight gives it good stability and enhances the effectiveness of the brakes.
Drive modes, battery
The scooter has three drive modes -- hyper, sports and normal. You get the best performance in the hyper mode and the longest range in the normal mode. The base model does not come with the hyper mode. The S1 Pro uses a 3.97 kW battery. If one unit of electricity costs Rs 6, a 130 km journey would cost only Rs 24. The battery has 224 cells, and this helps in changing just the battery even after the warranty period.
To prospective buyers
The Ola scooter can be bought without any worries. Ola has adopted innovative means to provide sales and aftersales services, leading to teething issues common with new companies. Ola is expected to solve all these issues at the earliest. If you want to own an affordable, zero-pollution travel mode, you can definitely buy the Ola scooter. The ex-showroom price of S1 is Rs 99,999 and S1 Pro is Rs 1,29,999.