We were recently invited to get a look at the Ola S1 Pro EV and ride it to bring you our first impressions.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
The Ola Electric scooters have been a hot topic of conversation since they were teased. Bookings went live for a token amount of Rs 500 and the hype was real with a ton of units getting sold out within minutes. Out here we have the top-of-the-line S1 Pro variant sporting the glossy Jet Black colour scheme.
There were many claims from Ola regarding the specifications of the scooters and on paper, they looked very promising. Unfortunately for this ride, we were given the scooter inside a gated community for a very short period of time and the location did not allow us to do any kind of actual testing. So for now, we can only speak about some aspects of the S1 Pro.
The styling is simplistic with the large body panels flowing and merging into what appears to be a blend of a classic scooter design complimented with futuristic elements. The battery in this EV is situated inside the floorboard of the scooter. It is powered by an 8.5-kW (11.6 hp) electric motor with a continuous output of 5.5 kW (7.5 hp) and gets a 3.97-kWh battery. The S1 Pro is claimed to be able to do a top-speed run of 115 km/h. and is said to take a good 6.30 hours to fully charge and a fast charger will be able to provide enough juice for 75 km in approximately 18 minutes. But like I said earlier, all of these are just claims and we have no way of actually telling you about it
Ergonomically, the S1 Pro keeps a rider comfortable and the seat extends in breadth towards the rear making it quite plush for the pillion rider too. In Hyper and Sport mode, the scooter felt fairly quick as I accelerated from a standstill. With gravel, stones, and rocks scattered around the roads at the location, there was no chance of even getting the scooter over 60 km/h so we will have to wait and tell you about the elusive 115 km/h top speed claim. There were some complaints from fellow journalists about how the scooter switched off after a while of riding it around in the Hyper mode. This could have been due to the overheating of the battery. We only got to ride it for less than 7 km with continuous stops in the middle so this is not a problem that I faced.
The Pro model also boasts of a claimed ARAI range of 181 km. Although Ola says that the actual range in Normal mode translates to around 152 km on the Pro model in the real world. With this claimed riding range, it would be the electric scooter with the highest range. This is again something that we could not test.
The Ola S1 Pro makes use of a tubular frame chassis, a single telescopic arm upfront with a linked Gabriel damper, and a horizontally mounted monoshock at the rear. For the short period that I rode the scooter, the ride quality was decent at slow speeds and the scooter felt light on its feet. It makes use of 12-inch alloys shod with MRF tyres. Braking duties are handled by a 220-mm disc at the front and a 180-mm disc at the rear wheel, offered with the safety net of CBS. Considering that there are disc brakes at both the front and the rear, ABS would have made more sense than CBS in terms of safety.
The real appeal to this EV when it was unveiled was in the technological advancements that got many segment-first features to the table. It is equipped with a 7-inch screen at the front that runs on an android based software that they have named Move OS. It includes some standard features like proximity lock/unlock, remote boot unlock, anti-theft alert, geo-fencing, smartphone connectivity with onboard navigation, and a reverse mode. The reverse mode is activated by pressing a button and then twisting the throttle in the opposite direction. Many of these smart features were still not working on the scooter and Ola have said that they will be incorporated via OTA (Over The Air) updates. This was not something that I expected considering that the product has been living on the hype of these features.
Another fancy feature is that there is no key fob – the scooter is unlocked by simply typing a password on the screen and the boot is unlocked via a button on the touchscreen. Because of the location of the batteries, there is quite a lot of storage space at the rear (36 litres), and is said to fit two half-face helmets easily. This will depend on the type and size of the helmets.
A point for interested customers to note is that Ola Electric had acquired an Amsterdam-based EV company called Etergo. Their one and only product was called the AppScooter which the S1 and S1 Pro are based on. The Ola Electric S1 Pro is priced at Rs 1.10 lakh in Delhi while prices in other cities may vary and discounts will depend on the EV subsidy offered in that particular city.
In conclusion, it was a difficult affair to dot down each and every detail about the scooter owing to the limited time frame and the quality of roads at the location. The product seems to still be in the testing phases which is a concern considering that deliveries are supposed to begin very soon.
We hope to spend some more time with this EV to bring you a report where we are able to cover the many technological aspects in detail, tell you how it fares against its competitors, and mainly talk about the reliability of the product. Read a more detailed report in the upcoming issue of Bike India magazine.