8 Ola S1 Pro incidents you should know about: fires, missing features, and more

Ola S1 Pro incidents in recent months include fires, reverse mode glitches, software issues, and more.

Ola Electric had taken the auto industry by storm when it first launched the Ola S1 and Ola S1 Pro premium electric scooters in India. The e-scooters were supposed to be value-for-money offerings with modern styling, new-age features and low running costs. The Ola S1 Pro, which is the only variant currently on sale from Ola Electric, posts a top speed of 115kmph and a claimed range of 181km. This premium electric scooter is priced at Rs 110,149 (ex-showroom Delhi). 

However, things have not been going well for the Ola S1 Pro, with a range of issues being reported over the last few months. While some issues are comparatively minor, there are others that can be potentially life-threatening.

Here are 8 Ola S1 Pro incidents you should know about.

  • Delivery issues
  • Post-delivery issues
  • Performance not matching up to claims
  • Missing features
  • Forced upgradation
  • Fires
  • Reverse mode glitch
  • Front suspension failure

1. Delivery issues

Ola Electric launched the Ola S1 and Ola S1 Pro back in August 2021 with the initial purchase windows opening up in September 2021 while deliveries were scheduled to follow in October 2021. Ola Electric was perhaps not prepared for a massive demand and the product’s initial delivery batch got stalled multiple times. The deliveries began on December 15th 2021 which deflected majorly from the initial timeline. 

While Ola CEO Bhavish Agarwal claimed to have delivered ‘ALL’ vehicles in a tweet, many first batch buyers complained it was false as they were yet to receive their scooters. Moreover, Ola Electric boasted of having shipped close to 4,000 units of the vehicle while the government’s Vahan portal showed only 275 registered Ola scooters. The reality of the numbers presented deferred vastly despite the portal not taking Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh sales into account. 

2. Post delivery issues and poor after-sales service

Customers eventually however started receiving their vehicles as Ola Electric ramped up production as initial delays lifted away. Deliveries that were taking place however were plagued with issues that are usually not expected from a modern-day manufacturer. Delivered vehicles with uneven panel gaps, dents on the body, headlight niggles, screeching noises, flimsy side stand, rear grab handle and power socket covers amongst others.

A buyer whose Ola S1 Pro had to be towed away just after running a mere 6km also claimed that the assigned manager offered a repair on a new product rather than a replacement. The after-sales team promised to get it resolved in a couple of hours but faltered and kept the customer waiting. Eventually, when the owner’s scooter was returned to him, the scooter had oil stains over the body and a broken registration number plate!

3. Performance doesn’t match up to the claims

The Ola S1 Pro impressed the audience with its astounding performance claims from Ola. That was aided by its well-priced packaging nature and Ola Electric could’ve had a winner on its hands. The reality however was far from what was desired. 

On the first media ride, Autocar India reported that during prolonged periods of high-speed usage or upon demanding performance, the Ola S1 Pro runs into thermal issues post which the software dials back the performance massively even almost stalling the scooter making it unresponsive to inputs. Autocar India further reported in a comprehensive test that the speedometer posts a significant amount of error. While the speedometer displayed a 115kmph, which happens to be the top speed of the scooter, the true speed was 99.8kmph. 

The actual range of the scooter was also found to deflect hugely from the claimed 181km. While the company later suggested a “True Range” of 135km, that too was found fairly difficult to achieve and would require a highly controlled environment to achieve such a range figure. 

4. Missing features 

Attractive features are what Ola Electric promised to the Indian consumers when launching the Ola S1 Pro. However, many features that were initially promised on the Ola S1 Pro are yet to see the light of the day. These features include – Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, voice control, proximity lock, hill hold, etc. 

Ola, however, promises to roll out a software update by June that will bring some of the missing features along with other bug fixes. 

5. Forced upgradation 

While it is a common practice amongst auto manufacturers to upsell products to drive profits, it’s unheard of to indirectly force existing customers to upgrade to a higher model. Ola Electric did just that, as it suddenly cancelled the lower specced Ola S1 vanilla variant. Ola Electric halted the production of the Ola S1 entry-level variant and suggested buyers pay an extra premium of Rs 30,000 for upgrading their booking to an Ola S1 Pro. In case a buyer would want to hold on to their booking of the plain jane Ola S1, they would have to wait for 9-12 months or even an indefinite period of time until the company resumes production. 

6. Ola S1 Pro fire

In an unfortunate incident, an Ola S1 Pro in Pune caught fire. While a general root cause for such a problem is found to lie in the poor quality batteries which oftentimes succumb to thermal runaways resulting in fires, specifically in hot and humid weather conditions that are abundant in tropical countries such as in India. Ola Electric, despite being a well-funded startup, might have compromised in the product development phase. As an industry insider told ETAuto, Ola Electric might have rushed through some essential protocols during the development phase of the scooter. 

Ola Electric acknowledged the incident and got in touch with the affected customer, it stated in an official statement. 

7. Software malfunction suddenly engages reverse mode 

The Ola S1 Pro electric scooter comes with a feature that allows the vehicle to be reversed with the assistance of the electric motor and that’s essentially what the reverse mode feature is. However, a software glitch automatically enabled reverse mode in a few instances that could have resulted in a serious injury. In a video that surfaced recently, an Ola S1 Pro was seen lying on the ground with the reverse mode engaged and spinning its wheel spinning at 90kmph. 

In another instance, a user complained that his Ola S1 Pro suddenly shifted into reverse mode and started accelerating backward. The buyer, unfortunately, ran into a minor accident shortly after. To the buyer’s misfortune, Ola Electric’s roadside assistance came to no help and the rider also faced many issues when the scooter went in for repairs. Details of this can be read here

8. Front suspension failure 

In a shocking incident, an Ola S1 Pro electric scooter was spotted with a broken front suspension setup. While the exact reason behind such a condition is quite unclear. During the initial unveiling of the e-scooter, many experts and enthusiasts did point out that the single-sided front suspension although stylish might not suit Indian road conditions.