Ola S1 Pro Review: Likes And Dislikes

Modified On Nov 15, 2021 03:35 PM By Jehan Adil Darukhanawala for Ola S1

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Given that it is Ola’s first attempt at making an EV, is the S1 Pro worth the wait?

Range on tap - 181km. 0-60 in 5 seconds. Top speed - 115kmph. Price - Rs 1.30 lakh. Going by just these four figures, you’d think Ola has a winner on its hands. And we aren’t even mentioning the S1 Pro’s fast charging capabilities, mahoosive boot and loads of smart features. However, all these were just claims. We needed to check out for ourselves just how good it actually is. And while our time with the scooter wasn’t exhaustive, we did find some positives and, sadly, a few negatives as well.

Likes

Light and petite

Compared to other premium electric scooters, the Ola S1 Pro is quite porky. At 125kg, it weighs 7kg more than the TVS iQube Electric and more importantly, a significant 17kg more than the Ather 450X. However, Ola has packaged the battery packs well, lowering the overall centre of gravity, so you do not feel the heft quite as much. 

As a result, it doesn’t take much effort to move the scooter around in a parking lot. Plus, you also have reverse mode to help out, just in case.

Tonnes of storage space

The advantage of having those banana-shaped batteries? Loads of storage space under the seat, 36 litres to be precise. And before you think it can gobble up a proper full-face helmet, we have some bad news: it doesn’t. Since the storage well isn’t deep enough, a full-face helmet will not fit. You can easily squeeze in two half-face helmets with the portable charger tucked inside one of them. That said, the boot is big enough to swallow a large backpack. Plus, there are two small exposed cubby holes at the front to hold your phone and other knick-knacks. 

Loads of cool features

The entire operation on the Ola S1 Pro is keyless. The scooter uses a proximity sensor linked to your smartphone to unlock itself. It can also start up via pressing the starter button and entering the six-digit passcode. Even opening the boot is done via the large touchscreen, which has a proper navigation system, developed along with Map My India, on board, along with the music and phone control functionality. 

Aside from the usual smattering of modern features like LED lighting and geofencing, the Ola S1 Pro also gets hill hold and cruise control features as standard. In order to activate hill hold, you simply need to press the reverse button once and open the throttle like you would when you ride a scooter. Twisting the throttle in the opposite direction, however, will activate the reverse function. While cruise control was not functional on the scooters we were testing, Ola has said that the aid would arrive as an OTA update and the rider simply has to long press the same reverse button to activate it.

Dislikes

Imperfect throttle calibration and BMS

Electrics are known for their instantaneous torque. Sadly, there was quite a bit of lag between the moment you twist the throttle and the scooter moving forward. Even though one could technically ride the scooter quite easily in Normal mode, which has a top speed of 60kmph, the sluggish throttle response would force you to switch to something more sporty. In Sport and Hyper modes, the lag is slightly less apparent. 

However, another issue arises, especially in Sport, which does become somewhat of a serious safety hazard: trailing throttle. Once you do roll off the throttle, the scooter still accelerates for a fraction of a second, which does become a bit hairy during panic braking situations. 

We also felt the S1 Pro was a bit peppier in Sport mode than in Hyper mode, but it was in the latter mode where we saw 100kmph on the dash, which strangely didn’t feel exciting. And within a few minutes of riding the scooter in Hyper mode, it cut down on performance. One of the possible reasons for this could be to protect the motor and battery from overheating and hence the battery management systems simply dialled down the juice until the systems cooled down a fair bit. While we can understand that it was done to protect the electrical components, a simple warning on the dash could have proven to be quite comforting to say the least.

Inconsistent quality

It might not be as apparent on some of the colour options, but the gloss black version of the S1 Pro that we were testing did show some differences in paint quality. Also, the glossiness of the colours was rather different from one another and didn’t have a consistent sheen. 

The switches had a rather rubbery exterior and the ‘click’ didn’t feel very tactile. In fact, they felt like they belong inside the interiors of a car and not on a scooter as their ‘button’ type function meant it had no auto-cancelling turn indicators and even reaching the horn switch took a bit of getting used to.

Lastly, the charging port can be accessed without any lock. The flap isn’t a lockable one like the seat, so the chances of someone fiddling with the proprietary charging point are rather high.

Constricted ergonomics

At first glance, the floorboard of the S1 Pro seems rather large. But when you start riding the scooter, you realise that the curvature of the floor restricts you from moving your feet forwards or backwards too much. If you have large feet like me (I wear size EU45 shoes), you are pretty much locked in one spot. This does start to cause some form of discomfort, leaving you wishing for some more space to stretch your legs a bit.

Also, the S1 Pro has a small central spine for the wires to run through, so the shape of the floor isn’t completely flat and you might find it a bit tricky to carry a gas cylinder on board. Nevertheless, it can fit a small-sized suitcase and there’s a small luggage hook for your grocery bag as well.

Verdict

All things considered, the Ola S1 Pro doesn’t turn out to be quite the wowing product that we had expected. Yes, there is quite a lot of potential in the scooter and it has a lot of good things, like space and features, going for it. Ola should ideally iron out quite a lot of the technical niggles and quality issues that we faced during our short time. Only then would we whole-heartedly recommend you booking one for yourself. Perhaps it is best, then, for you to wait for the second lot of the S1 Pros.

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