With numerous customers complaining about the quality of Ola electric scooters in India, a Reuters reporter has posted pictures of hundreds of Ola S1 scooters awaiting repairs. The report claims that the service network of Ola scooters is under tremendous strain and cannot keep up with the repair job.
Ola has over 400 service hubs which repair and maintain the scooters across the country out of which Reuters visited 35 centres in 10 states between July and October and interviewed 36 Ola service staff and 40 customers.
The Ola staff revealed that there are significant amounts of backlogs in the metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. The demand has shot up in these cities, as have the requests for repairs. A typical repair job takes about three days to two weeks.
There are over 100 e-scooters awaiting repairs were parked on the muddy clearing gathering dust and gathering bird droppings.
According to Devendra Ghuge, a Thane service manager, the number of cases dealt with by the Ola service centre has increased from 200-300 to approximately 1,000 per month in the past four months, leading to long waiting times of up to two weeks.
In January, Ola founder and CEO Aggarwal promised same-day service for most cases if customers brought their vehicles to a hub.
In an August interview, Aggarwal stated that Ola EVs were in high demand and that customers were “voting with their wallets each month.” He acknowledged the need for more service capacity and announced plans to open 100 new centres and hire additional technicians.
An Ola spokesperson disagreed with Reuters’ reporting, stating that it did not accurately portray the size and quality of the company’s expanding service operations.
Ravi Bhatia of automotive consulting firm JATO Dynamics emphasized the importance of a strong service network in India, the world’s largest two-wheeler market. He added that Indians were new to tech-packed EVs which required infrastructure that could handle the often-congested and potholed road conditions in the country. To avoid negative word-of-mouth, Bhatia said Ola needs to fix its service infrastructure to align with customer demand.
Ola also offers roadside assistance
After encountering challenges with their direct-to-customer sales approach, Ola Electric has established various experience zones and service centres throughout the country. These locations allow customers to have a hands-on experience with Ola Electric products, as the brand currently does not have any dealerships.
In addition, Ola Electric provides over 200 service centres where customers can bring their vehicles for maintenance and repairs. They also offer roadside assistance programs, ensuring swift assistance anywhere in the country within a few hours.
Customer dissatisfaction with Ola Electric’s service is not a new issue, as there have been previous instances of complaints and protests by dissatisfied customers. In recent news, Ola Electric has announced plans to introduce several new products, including electric motorcycles, as part of their future vision.