Photography: Vaibhav Dhanawade
The Ola S1 Pro has been the highest selling premium electric scooter thanks to its heady performance, impressive range and a plethora of first-in-class features. The more accessible S1 Air looks promising on paper, but does it manage to retain the premium essence of its larger sibling?
The S1 Air sits on Ola’s Gen 2 platform which is lighter and more importantly, gets a flatter floorboard. It gets a clever two-tone paint finish which essentially is only the top part of the plastic bodywork being painted. The boot space is now 34 litres and has the same nice rectangular shape. It gets steel wheels instead of alloys and a larger grab rail. The signature LED headlamp and all-LED lighting have been retained.
The colour TFT touchscreen instrument console is shared with the S1 Pro but features a lower resolution. Interestingly, the S1 Air gets the S1 Pro’s party tricks like digital key sharing, screen moods, party mode and even music playback.
The Ola S1 Air gets a smaller 4.5kW (8.16PS) hub-mounted electric motor. 0-40kmph comes in a claimed 3.3 seconds while the top speed is a claimed 90kmph. The performance is strong from the get-go but has a linear delivery as revs rise. It’s quite enjoyable in the city and quick too. It misses out on the Hyper mode though, but gets Eco, Normal and Sport mode.
The battery pack has shrunk to 2.98kWh. It sits in a new, well-packaged and lighter casing and offers an impressive claimed range of 125km. Given past experience with the S1 Pro, we expect 100km of range in Normal mode. It takes five hours for a full charge.
The new Gen 2 platform claims to be lighter and stiffer and the S1 Air gets conventional telescopic forks and dual shock absorbers. The suspension has been well-tuned for city riding and delivers exceptional ride quality. It handles well too, the narrow tyres offering good grip. It gets drum brakes on both ends and while braking feels adequate and surefooted, we hope Ola offers an optional disc brake.
At Rs 1.20 lakh ex-showroom the S1 Air is among the most affordable premium electric scooters and will certainly help Ola expand its customer base. It offers a premium feel, while performance and range are adequate too. It is priced even closer to petrol powered scooters like the Honda Activa 125 and Suzuki Access, which should make the ICE versus EV wars even more interesting!