Bike Reviews Reviews

Ola S1 Pro Electric Scooter – First Ride Review

Written by Parichay Malvankar

First, let’s talk about pricing. Ola Electric has two versions of this scooter on sale, the S1 & S1 Pro. What we are riding is the S1 Pro version. In states where you do not get subsidies, prices start at INR 99,999 for the S1 variant and INR 1,29,999 for the S1 Pro variant.

Next, let’s understand the variants. By now, you might have checked out the significant differences between the S1 & S1 Pro. What should matter to you are these numbers. S1 has a range of 121 km, 90 kmph top speed, 0-40 in 3.6 secs, 0-60 in 7 secs, 2.98 kWh battery capacity, and 100 % battery charge comes in at 4 hours 48 min via a home charger. The S1 Pro, on the other hand, has a range of 181 km, 115 kmph top speed, 0-40 in 3 secs, 0-60 in 5 secs, 3.97 kWh battery capacity and achieves a 100% charge in 6 hours 30 minutes with a home charger. Both scooters get Normal & Sports mode, while the S1 Pro gets additional Hyper mode. With a fast charger, both scooters can get 75 km of range in 18 minutes. The S1 Pro tips the scale at 125 kg, which is 4 kg heavier than the base S1 variant. Between the two variants, the MCU will also be different.

This will be a short review because we had less than 2 hours to put it all together. Let’s talk about the design because it is pretty refreshing. Now the S1 & S1 Pro journey started thanks to Amsterdam-based Etergo, which Ola Electic acquired. Long story short, the Ola S1 & S1 Pro models we have out on our streets today look nearly the same as the model revealed abroad, and there’s nothing wrong with it. This electric scooter has a nice and sleek design language, which is neutral and should appeal to the masses.

The best thing about this scooter is that Ola Electric offers ten colours, which will help customers pick one that suits their personality. My personal favourite colour is the one I am riding today, Anthracite Matte Grey. The seamless panels and the curvaceous design of the scooter are elegant and straightforward. What works in favour of the design is that there are almost no decals except for the branding, which is the bare minimum. You have the Ola branding on the front apron and above the speedometer and the variant branding on the flap that reveals the charging point. That’s it. I like this clean design approach.

The scooter gets flush-fitting pillion footpegs, but it is difficult to kick them. Also, while doing so, you will most definitely smudge or scratch the side body panels. The side stand also sits flush with the floor console, but when you kick it, it shakes a bit too much and looks a little flimsy. The black alloy wheels are exposed on one side, thanks to single-sided mounting. The Ola Electric scooter also has a unique monoshock at the front, and apart from the functionality, it also helps in the styling. The rear monoshock isn’t seen much but is offset and almost horizontally mounted. Design features include a full LED headlamp with LED DRLs, and the headlamp design is iconic enough for anyone to identify the ola scooter. There’s LED turn indicators and a tail lamp as well.

The highlight of the Ola Electric scooter is the touchscreen speedometer console because this is the heart. These high-tech scooters depend a lot on the software than hardware, and thanks to OTA updates, Ola Electric can remotely fix minor bugs and have your scooter up to date with its new development. The 7-inch touchscreen is easy to operate and uses the brand’s proprietory Move OS based on Android.

The handlebar switches are a little confusing, to begin with, because there are a lot of buttons placed here. There’s so much functionality that the elderly who don’t appreciate tech will not appreciate this. However, buttons are large enough, so you can easily find the right one. To lock and unlock the scooter, you have a digital key, which is your phone’s app, and you can also unlock it via a passcode.

The display screen will have multiple moods and widgets along with specific sounds to keep you entertained. Of course, there are call and SMS options thanks to the connected tech, but you can also play music because these scooters will come with two speakers under the handlebar. On-board navigation from MayMyIndia is a little slow, and it also depends on the network connectivity strength. With soo much demand from your smartphone, there is a practical USB charging point available.

To charge the scooter, you have a press-to-open flap at the rear end, with a rubberised cover underneath for protection from the elements. The seat can be opened using the app or by using the touchscreen. Underneath, you have space to hold two half-faced helmets or a lot of oddities. This is the largest boot capacity available on an electric scooter as of date. Some things could be better though, like the quality of plastics overall, mirrors could have been more stylish, and even the bezel around the speedometer could have been thinner.

Panel gaps were a concern on our review unit, but these were pre-production prototypes, and this should be resolved on the scooters delivered to you. The software version we were using had some limitations, but new OTA rollouts will begin soon, so your scooter will be up to date, just like your smartphone.

The riders triangle is very comfortable. For some reason, I found the Ola S1 Pro to be more accomodating than the Ather 450X. I am 5’8″ in height, and I was happy on the saddle of the S1 Pro. Even while making u-turns, lock to lock, the handlebar did not touch my knees, suitable for city manoeuvrability. The seat was fantastic, accomodating and supportive. It even gets contrast stitching to add a premium touch. The rubber floor mat looks a little tacky, but it offers excellent grip.

Even under hard braking, my feet stayed in place. For utility, you have a luggage hook in front of your legs, but the floorboard is not flat, so that might be a significant deterrent for a few potential customers. Overall, although what we tested felt like a beta version, the Ola Electric S1 Pro has serious potential to become a game-changer in the mass-market electric two-wheeler space.

Both the Ola Electric S1 & S1 Pro have an 8.5 kW peak power, 5.5 kW rated motor power and 58 Nm of torque at the motor shaft. There’s a fixed battery on offer, and the S1 gets a 2.98 kWh unit while the S1 Pro has a 3.97 kWh unit. Both scooters will come with a 750W portable charger. The dimensions between the two variants remain identical, with the seat height being 792mm, which is on the higher side for a scooter. Ground clearance is ample, at 165mm, even with the batter positioned in the floorboard section protected by the tubular chassis. Apart from the battery tech and the software features, most of the parts are shared by both versions.

Riding the Ola S1 Pro was a fun experience. We did not get a lot of time, but whatever we managed was quiet & fun. The EV motor whine is not annoying, and it is far less, of course, compared to scooters burning fuel. We played a lot with the Normal, Sports & Hyper modes, and the performance in each mode should keep everyone in the family happy. Ride quality is comfortable, and the suspension setup did not leave us wanting more. Is there scope for improvement? Probably yes. But the basics are taken care of. The tubeless MRF zapper tyres offered a good grip on the tarmac as well as on gravel.

This EV does not get ABS; it only gets CBS combi-brakes. Braking bite is sharp, but one will get used to it. We sensibly tried hard braking multiple times, and we did not notice too much wheel locking. So this should be safe to manage scooter for you. With a top speed of over 100 kmph, we need to test this scooter out in the open to elaborate more on the stability. But for now, it has been a pleasant experience. In the high power modes, the S1 Pro effortlessly moves past 80 kmph, so you will not be a slow sitting duck on the motorways. This electric vehicle is undoubtedly not a boring one. Thanks to the low centre of gravity, one can flick this scooter from left to right effortlessly. A short ride with a full-sized adult pillion revealed that there was enough room on the seat.

You can do three things with the accelerator. Use it for standard propulsion to go ahead. Twist it in the opposite direction for energy regeneration and twist it reverse to reverse the scooter. But before reversing, you have to press the reverse button on the switchgear. The throttle input, though, needs to be worked upon, as there’s some hesitation felt. If you tap the brakes accidentally when the throttle is twisted, the power will be cut off. This can surprise you while making u-turns, so be careful. This would most definitely be fixed with a software update. The S1 Pro also has a hill hold, which will be helpful in long traffic snarls. Ola claims that the S1 & S1 Pro are ready for dusty, broken and flooded roads. But I would think twice before riding it in water-logged situations, at least until the brand’s marketing team releases a prototype demonstrating this.

This scooter can be an easy commuter to work/college or a fast companion out on the highway. What’s impressive is that even when riding in hyper mode, you will get a 90+ km range which is far superior to Ather’s Warp mode. Numbers suggest that the Ather is also slower than the Ola scooter. But we have to ride them back to back to confirm the claim. This Ola S1 Pro, on paper, is the fastest electric scooter with the best range on offer. And this should turn heads. Since Ather’s scooter has been on sale for quite some time, the product has matured, while the early birds buying the Ola EV would probably have to live with a few niggles initially.

There’s a lot that Ola Electric is promising with the S1 & S1 Pro scooters. And there’s a lot of scope for improvement for sure. Most of this improvement will happen overnight via a software update, so owners need not worry. The team has worked hard to deliver this product fast to the market, and we hope it is reliable. And if reliability is not going to be a concern, Ola Electric has a winner.

These new electric scooters will help accelerate the electric mobility initiative in the country. The bikes are also in line with the Government of India’s plans for electrification. Ola Electric also opened the order books for the Ola S1 and S1 Pro in India at the price of just INR 499.

Ola Electric S1 and S1 Pro – Colours

Ola offers the S1 with Porcelain White, Neo Mint, Coral glam, Jet Black, and Marshmellow Yellow colour options. At the same time, the S1 Pro comes with Liquid Silver, Millennial Pink, Anthracite Grey, Midnight Blue and Matte Black colours on top of the five colour options from the Ola S1. 

Ola Electric S1 and S1 Pro – Top Features

The Ola S1 and S1 Pro come with features such as a 7-inch touchscreen display with a smart vehicle control unit (VCU). The dashboard features an octa-core processor, 3GB onboard RAM. Bluetooth, LTE and GPS. The brand offers Move OS and helps the user stay connected all the time. The electric scooter also comes with onboard navigation, geo-fencing, cellular calling, and message alerts. The Ola Scooter comes with proximity lock/unlock, remote boot lock/unlock, 36-litres of boot space, hill hold system, reverse park assist, and cruise control.

Also Read: Ola electric scooter bookings will re-open on December 16th