I used Ola S1 Pro for a few weeks and while my feet flirted with air, I had fun during my grocery runs
- The Ola S1 Pro has seen both the extremes of a product’s lifecycle – from being hyped as the next jackpot to being panned as a scooter doomed to fail.
- But the reality is somewhere in between, and that’s where most people exist.
- I have used the Ola S1 Pro for hundreds of kilometers to help you and myself decide if Ola’s first ever electric scooter is worth considering.
- If you are in the market for a new scooter – electric or otherwise – read this detailed Ola S1 Pro review to find out if this could be your next.
AdvertisementRising petrol prices have brought electric vehicles into focus unlike anything else – and in a country like India, electric scooters have caught the public imagination. After all, being able to ride at a fourth of the cost of a petrol scooter is an enticing proposition – and that’s where companies like Ola, Ather, TVS, and Bajaj, among others, see the next big opportunity.
The Ola S1 Pro changed what and how much Indians talked about electric scooters. Going from a novelty – and a slightly expensive one at that – electric scooters are fast becoming a family topic.
It’s not like the Ola S1 Pro has been a flawless electric scooter – it has had its share of controversies, some due to product issues, and some due to user errors. But despite all the challenges along the way, it has managed to spread a lot of awareness about electric scooters amongst Indians.
Ola Electric rolled out the much-awaited MoveOS 2 update that unlocks several features that were announced at the launch of the Ola S1 Pro but were inaccessible.
Over the past few weeks, I have been riding the Ola S1 Pro as my primary ride, spending hours and riding hundreds of kilometers across the city – in the sun and rain. Here’s my detailed review of Ola’s first electric scooter.
Ola S1 Pro – price and availability
The Ola S1 Pro is now priced at ₹1,39,999 ex-showroom – up by ₹10,000 from the launch price. The actual price will include taxes, registration charges, and in some states, an additional subsidy deduction.
The electric scooter comes in 10 colors – that’s a lot to choose from. I received the midnight blue variant that comes with a matte finish.
Design and build quality
At the outset, the Ola S1 Pro’s design might look familiar if you observed scooters – the front apron of the S1 Pro is reminiscent of the Vespa. It flows better and is cleaner, though, and helps keep the front of the S1 Pro lean and slim.
The front only has a single-suspension design that hooks into the alloy wheel, and there’s a spine going through the middle of the floorboard. This makes it a little difficult to place things on it – something that we are all used to doing, be it groceries or small carry bags. Either way, there’s a hook up top that you can use instead.
The smiley-shaped LED daytime running light (DRL) along with the two projector lamps complete the modern design of the Ola S1 Pro.
Personally, though, I found the frame a bit too narrow for my body, with my feet constantly flirting with the air outside the floorboard. The Ola S1 Pro looks very neat on the whole, but it perhaps suits slim people the most.
The rest of the design flows very nicely, from the rear of the scooter to the well-hidden footrests.
AdvertisementWhat I did not particularly like was the rubber buttons on the switchgear. The buttons, while shaped differently to help you distinguish one from the other, do not give the quick response and feedback that the plastic buttons do. These buttons will take some time to get used to, and Ola could have done a better job here.
One of the key selling points of the Ola S1 Pro is the tech features it comes with. From the 7-inch display to navigation, music playback, keyless locking, and more, the Ola S1 Pro is loaded with a wide range of features.
The Ola S1 Pro can be used without pairing it with a phone, too, but you miss out on features like music playback, locking/unlocking using the phone, and opening the trunk using the Ola Electric app. But the rest of the functionality is fully usable.
My unit came preloaded with MoveOS 2 out of the box – this update unlocks several features that Ola had promised at the launch.
The user interface is simple and easy to use, with easily tappable elements. The screen is not the most responsive, though, so it takes a bit of fluidity away from the user experience.
First up, the home screen shows the basics like the parking indicator, Bluetooth connectivity, time, and the range left. It also has a button to open the trunk.
The rest of the interface is simple – there’s a navigation screen, a music screen, and battery stats.
There are two other riding features available on the Ola S1 Pro – the reverse mode and cruise mode.
As the name suggests, reverse mode allows you to ride the scooter in the reverse direction. It needs to be enabled first and you have to accelerate in the reverse direction. The speed is capped at 4 kmph and it’s useful when you want to pull out of a parking spot.
The other mode on offer is cruise mode – it basically maintains your speed once you engage it. Don’t use it in city traffic where speeds vary a lot – but on highways where speeds remain the same, the cruise mode comes in handy.
The Ola S1 Pro is a fun, fun scooter and that’s not in doubt, especially coming from an ICE scooter. You get to choose between four modes – Eco, Normal, Sports, and Hyper. By default, the scooter starts in Normal mode. You can even toggle the modes while riding.
The ‘normal’ mode justifies its name quite well, and it is the most suited for city riding – you know, for doing things like buying groceries, riding to and from the office, navigating traffic jams, and the likes.
The scooter lets you adjust to its style from 0-10 kmph, post which the real magic of the Normal, Sports and Hyper modes kicks in. The normal mode is not as zippy as the other two, but it’s still abundantly quick when compared to ICE scooters.
If you want to flick the scooter around easily, the Sports mode offers a great balance between power and range.
I found myself using the Normal and Sports modes the most, and on really empty roads, Hyper mode. The Hyper mode is the most thrilling, and I managed to hit 85 kmph even without trying too much.
Despite the high speeds, the ride was reassuringly safe and I always felt in control.
The most annoying mode – and perhaps needed – is the Eco mode, which slashes the performance a lot to conserve as much power as possible. It automatically kicks in at 15% and there’s nothing you can do to disable it. But if it’s the difference between reaching home safe and being stranded, I’ll pick the Eco mode.
The S1 Pro comes with two disc brakes but misses out on ABS (anti-lock braking system). To test it out, I rode through the city on blistering hot days and under heavy rains and noticed no issues with gripping and braking. Still, ABS is a safety feature that is fast becoming necessary, so that is something worth considering.
AdvertisementOverall, the Ola S1 Pro is a solid performer – from speeds to control and features, there’s enough on offer here.
Range and charging time
The most crucial aspect of an electric scooter, apart from performance, is undoubtedly the range and charging time.
Powered by a 3.97kWh battery, this is what the Ola S1 Pro promises at 100% charge:
It comes with a 750W charger that you can plug into a regular 5 amp socket in the parking of your home or apartment. It takes a little over 6.5 hours to go from 0-100% and charges approximately 15% in an hour.
While charging times were accurate in the real world, the on-road range varied a bit. As far as range is concerned, though, my experience showed the actual range was around 123-125 KM on a full charge, with a pillion rider.
However, regular usage will likely include a mix of Normal and Sports mode. Here, my range hovered around 105-110 KM.
Note that playing music and using navigation will consume power, too, which will reduce the range a bit more.
However, all things considered, even if the Ola S1 Pro’s real-world range on a single charge is in the range of 100 KM, this is still good considering all that’s on offer.
Note that the actual range will vary based on your usage, but these numbers should give you a broad idea of what to expect.
I did face issues initially with my housing society not allowing me to install the charger in my parking, but eventually, they relented. However, before you take the plunge and buy an electric vehicle, make sure your society allows you to install a charger.
Who is the Ola S1 Pro for?
The Ola S1 Pro is for anyone who uses a scooter or bike to buy groceries, run chores in the city, ride to and from the office and the likes. It’s a powerful yet sensible machine, and with MoveOS 2, it covers most of the bases well enough.
However, there are a few design aspects that I am not a fan of – the first one is the spine on the floorboard. Unless it serves some use, it is a cosmetic decision that hampers usability.
The second aspect I don’t like is that the seat is not long enough, so the ride is a little uncomfortable if both the riders are full-sized adults.
The grab rail on the sides don’t help, either, since they don’t offer any back support to the pillion rider.
AdvertisementLastly, Ola should have done a better job of using better quality – and perhaps plastic – buttons in the gearbox, instead of the rubber ones. The feedback is not the best and while I will miss the performance, I won’t miss these buttons.
Should you buy the Ola S1 Pro?
The Ola S1 Pro is a very good electric scooter, especially for a version 1 product. Ola has done many things right, and there are some things that could have easily been changed to improve the overall ride quality and comfort.
I have used other electric scooters for a while – including the Ather 450X and the TVS iQube. I am not a big fan of the subscription model, and while I loved riding the Ather 450X, I put my purchase plans on hold.
So, should you buy the Ola S1 Pro? An average of 110 KM range with a mix of modes, pillion rider and some groceries – if this describes your normal use, then perhaps the Ola S1 Pro is worth considering.
The Ola S1 Pro competes with the likes of Ather 450X, TVS iQube ST, and the Bajaj Chetak. Here are the ex-showroom prices and promised range at a glance:
|Ola S1 Pro||₹1,39,999||136 KM|
|Ather 450X||₹1,38,006||85 KM|
|TVS iQube ST||₹1,40,000*||145 KM|
|Bajaj Chetak||₹1,51,598||90 KM**|
Note: *expected price, charger costs extra. | **range in Eco mode.
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