Last week, in the foothills of the ancient fortress of Nandi Hills, about 60 km north of Bengaluru, Ola Electric hosted an invite-only event for journalists to test out what it claims to be the best scooter ever made. .
Colorful, shiny and stylish Ola S1 scooters brightened up a cold and humid November evening as The Ken arrived at the scene, uninvited. It was the first time that the electric two-wheeler manufacturer allowed anyone to test scooters.
Ola Electric, whose parent company ANI Technologies also owns the main Ola Cabs taxis, has generated a lot of buzz around its scooters this year. The company aims to manufacture 10 million scooters per year by 2022 at the world’s largest two-wheeler factory, the Ola Futurefactory. He already claims to have sold scooters worth Rs 600 crore ($ 80 million) in a single day – nearly four orders per second – during his first buying window in September.
On September 30, a month and a half before the opening of pre-reservations for S1, Ola Electric
over $ 200 million in a funding round led by leading investors SoftBank and Falcon Edge. The fundraiser valued the company at $ 3 billion.
However, three months after the start of pre-reservations, customers still have not received their vehicle. From an initial October deadline, Ola Electric says deliveries will start “soon”. The second buying window has also been pushed back to mid-December from November 1.
While delays are common in the auto industry, Ola’s scooter has suffered its fair share of speed bumps, from software to hardware. This was evident in the trial run. In one case, The Ken observed Varun Dubey, Marketing Director of Ola Electric, struggling with the navigation function on the scooter’s touchscreen.
While the journalists who were able to test the scooters (The Ken was refused a try despite several requests) raved about the design, price and performance, they also ran into issues. One of the journalists claimed that his scooter had reversed when it was not in reverse mode. Automotive journalists also said they didn’t have enough time with the scooter to test its lineup. One of the biggest barriers to adopting electric vehicles is range anxiety.
Dubey sought to allay concerns by saying The Ken that the current software of the scooter is a beta version. He added that all of these minor issues will be resolved soon through live updates. Dubey also said the company is on track to begin deliveries as soon as customers make final payment, which can be done after testing is complete.