Is Ola Electric halting production of the S1 scooter?

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#Auto, #Electric Vehicle, #EV, #Ola, Ola Electric, #Ola Scooter, January 15, 2022

For those who simply want to purchase the lighter and cheaper S1 without the option of upgrading its features, you’re going to have to wait a lot longer till the S1 makes it to production. If it ever does.

Ola Electric, it would appear, is facing another delay in the delivery of its scooters. This time the delay concerns the production of the S1 – the wallet-friendly alternative to its fully-loaded offering, the S1 Pro. Granted the brand hasn’t clearly spelt out that it is discontinuing production of the scooter, but its recent moves have put the S1’s future in doubt.

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Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Agarwal’s recent tweet reaffirmed the brand’s earlier communication, albeit in a cryptic manner. All customers who had booked the S1 on the 15th and 16th of September, were now being “automatically upgraded” to S1 Pro hardware.

We’re upgrading all our S1 customers to S1 Pro hardware. You’ll get all S1 features and can unlock Pro range, hyper mode, other features with a performance upgrade.

Thank you for being early supporters of Mission Electric!

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Dispatch in Jan, Feb. Email to follow with details.

— Bhavish Aggarwal (@bhash) January 15, 2022

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What the tweet failed to mention is that the hardware is essentially deadweight (4 extra kgs of it) without the essential software, which costs an additional Rs 30,000, adding up to cost as much as the S1 Pro. Ola has made it clear that the software upgrade is optional, and customers can choose to activate the amount, pending payment, at a later stage, should they choose to.

Unspecified, undecided timeline

The company also stated that it is, effectively postponing the production of the S1 to an unspecified (and undecided) date later this year. Ola claims to be doing so in order to prioritise the S1 Pro’s production, given that, according to the brand, the predominant number of customer requests were for the S1 Pro.

Also Read: Ola Electric to open final payment window for scooter buyers on January 21

However, it failed to address the fact that not a single S1 scooter has made it to a customer’s doorstep. And Ola’s claim that this is because customers requested for the option of having Pro-level software upgrades doesn’t quite add-up.

There are no free lunches—or software updates

Nor does Aggarwal’s recent tweet, which once again attempts to obscure the fact that these software upgrades are not available free of cost. When contacted, an Ola spokesperson said those receiving the S1 Pro still benefit from a better range of 105 km, which is less than the 135 km real-world range of the software-activated S1 Pro, but more than that of the S1.

Also Read: Ola Electric says it is upgrading S1 customers to the S1 Pro. What’s the catch?

The problem is that not a single production-version of the S1 has been spotted in the wild, and has never been made available for a customer test ride. So well, this claim would be hard to put to test.

For those who simply want to purchase the lighter and cheaper S1 without the option of upgrading its features, you’re going to have to wait a lot longer till the S1 makes it to production. If it ever does.

For those who accept Ola’s offer of a hardware-only upgrade, the brand has extended the final payment window (for those who did not do so in November) to January 21, 2022. However, when a fresh batch of customers will be able to book their scooters, still remains to be decided.

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