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It is not very often that you come across a scooter that breaks all previous records of registering pre-bookings. Lakhs of consumers registered their interest to buy the Ola S1 and S1 Pro. Thousands of buyers put their money on the scooter without even getting a look at it, leave alone test riding it.
There simply is no hiding from the fact that the Ola electric scooter is the most awaited electric vehicle in the country. Is it worth the hype though? What is all the noise about? Do the specifications and numbers actually translate into electrifying performance? Is there more to it than meets the eye?
These were some of the questions on our mind when we turned up at the media experience ride organised by the brand on the outskirts of Bangalore. Though it was quite short, the ride was enough to answer some of these questions. If you have similar questions too, read on.
Ola S1 Pro Specifications
When the specifications of the S1 and S1 Pro were released, it was quite obvious that they are game-changers. We rode the S1 Pro for a while, and before we go into how the scooter is to ride, let's have a quick recap of the specs.
The Ola S1 Pro is powered by a 3.97 kWh battery pack that sends juice to a Hyperdrive motor that has a peak power output of 8.5 kW and a rated power output of 5.5 kW. At the shaft, the motor produces 58Nm of torque.
According to Ola, the fixed battery pack can be charged from 0-100% in 6 hours and 30 minutes through the home charger. Ola will be installing fast chargers across the country, and these Hyperchargers can charge the battery really quick. 75 kilometres worth of charge can be sent to the battery in just 18 minutes.
Ola claims the S1 Pro can accelerate from 0-40km/h in just 3 seconds while 60km/h comes up in just 5 seconds. This is stellar performance indeed and it is time for us to put the claim to the test.
Ola S1 Pro Riding Impressions
During the short period in which we got to ride the electric scooter, our main objective was to see if the numbers actually translated into electric performance on the road, and boy were we surprised. The Ola S1 Pro is so quick that it will leave you taken aback, quite literally.
Acceleration is tremendous. So tremendous that we started comparing the off-the-line speed with a certain 373cc motorcycle that revolutionised performance motorcycling in india. Yes, it is that quick.
The scooter has a claimed top speed of 115km/h and this figure comes up really quick. On a short stretch of road, we managed to touch speeds upwards of 90km/h and then ran This sheer acceleration happens in Hyper mode. Range though, decreases in Hyper mode.
We did try out Normal mode too. 0-30km/h is just as quick as Hyper, and then it slows down a bit. The Ola S1 Pro tops out at 60km/h in the Normal ride mode. This is the mode in which the scooter can do 180 kilometres on one full charge. One thing is pretty clear - the Ola S1 Pro is a stellar performer.
You get 3 ride modes - Normal, Sport & Hyper. You also get a reverse mode, and this requires the throttle to be twisted in the opposite direction of what we're typically used to. These modes can be accessed via the buttons/switchgear.
Handling too is brilliant. The electric scooter rides on a single-sided fork up front and a horizontally-mounted monoshock at the rear. We were intrigued to see how the scooter would handle thanks to the single-sided fork. Those who were sceptical about the way it would handle can put their worries to rest.
We tested it on some bumpy tarmac and the scooter didn't flinch. It stayed on the line we wanted it to take. Braking is handled by a 220mm disc up front and a 180mm disc at the rear. The brakes are sharp and powerful. However, at this price point, and especially given the speeds this scooter can achieve, we did feel the need for ABS.
Ola has incorporated another safety feature that cuts off the throttle completely upon detecting the slightest touch on the brake lever. While this helps in preventing unintended acceration, it does take away from the ride experience. If you are like us, and want a slight dab of brakes before entering a corner, this safety feature can be a little too obstructive.
On the whole, the Ola S1 Pro is a fun experience. This is one scooter we cannot wait to test in the real world as it looks so promising. A short ride simply wasn't satisfying enough. Now, this is something we seldom say about vehicles.
Ola S1 Pro Features & Technology
The Ola S1 and S1 Pro come loaded with lots of features. Most of these features are segment-firsts and it is certain these features played a significant role in helping Ola clock the immense number of bookings. We Indians certainly love having lots of features whether we use them or not.
The Ola S1 Pro comes with features like digital key, moods and widgets that the rider can use according to their mood, in-built navigation, smartphone connectivity, voice control, multiple rider profiles, scooter tracking, and you can even control some aspects of your scooter remotely. All this and more can be done via the proprietary smartphone app available on App Store and Play Store.
However, what we rode were the pre-production models. At the time of testing, Ola said these models were as close to production as there was. So, several of these top-notch, segment-first features were missing and we will do a tech review only on these features once the production models are here.
We did experience the 7-inch touchscreen display. It is very intuitive and easy to use. The navigation loads pretty fast depending on the network availability, as it uses Jio connectivity. Other features like the electric lock/unlock, electric seat opening, etc, worked flawlessly.
The switchgear is well-thought-out too. It feels more like a keypad than proper switches as they are all actually soft-press buttons. The buttons make you feel like you re operating a gadget. Actually, this scooter is in many ways a gadget. One can receive/reject calls, control music, activate/deactivate reverse mode or even cruise control through these buttons.
This is an electric scooter that can produce sound too. This sound is produced via the two on-board speakers and the mood chosen by the rider will decide what kind of sound it produces. Calls can be taken via the same speakers and Ola did mention that a future update will allow music to be played on these speakers as well!
Cruise control is yet another feature that will come to the scooters as an over-the-air update before deliveries start, hence we couldn't experience that as well. In conclusion, the Ola S1 Pro features enough and more technology to keep you entertained and other motorists intrigued, while you are on the go.
Ola S1 Pro Design & Style
Fluid, symmetric, and properly pretty, is how we would describe the Ola S1 and S1 Pro in terms of design and style. Everything is in place, all functional elements sit flush in the body panels and nothing sticks out. The entire body seems like a single piece of high-quality plastic.
Up front is a unique headlamp that is instantly recognisable even from a distance. It gets an LED DRL as an outline to the two LED units inside it that handle the high and low beams. The panel surrounding the headlamp houses the aforementioned switchgear and the shatterproof touchscreen.
The front apron looks entirely curved from a distance, but it actually has some design lines on it. There is a kink in the footboard that reminds you of some older scooters and there are rubber inserts to place your foot on. We did spot a couple of odd panel gaps. But these are pre-production scooters and these small issues will be ironed out on the production models.
The seat looks fancy and unlike anything we've seen on any scooter till now as it is really wide and this leads to more comfort for the pillion rider. At 36 litres, under-seat storage is brilliant as well. Two half-faced helmets can be placed in there comfortably. Even the charger can be placed under the seat.
The indicators and tail tamp are really slim and look sleek. The paint finish is brilliant and the scooter looks great in any colour that you pick. Speaking of colours, you can pick from 10 fancy shades. We rode the Marshmallow shade, but we think the Neo Blue and Midnight Blue look the best.
On the right side of the scooter, it is pure aesthetics and hence it looks super clean and tidy. You get the flowing body panels, the unique 10-spoke alloy wheels, and that is it. On the left side though, you see the mechanicals. However, these mechanical cycle parts are also so aesthetically designed that it blends with the overall design.
The single-sided fork has an extension at the bottom that at first glance looks like a plastic cover. However, it is actually made of metal and is a load-bearing member of the suspension system. The rear monoshock is neatly integrated and looks like it is a part of the powertrain. On the whole, it is easy to say that the Ola electric scooter is one of the best-looking scooters out there.
Ola S1 Pro Verdict
It is not easy to create a product that generates so much hype and excitement and for that, we must appreciate Ola. While we're on the subject, it is with great ease that we can say these scooters deserve all the hype and attention they have received so far.
The S1 Pro gets the very best in terms of technology, it looks pretty fancy and it goes like braaap!!, without the sound of course. We're looking forward to ride the scooter on the open road and in the urban jungle to find out what it is like to live with the Ola S1 Pro. Stay tuned to find out more about the Ola S1 Pro.