Following reports of Ola executing a recall of 2 lakh electric scooters, Ola said in a blog that a concerted campaign is being run against the company with a “deeply malicious intent” and elaborated why the company’s offer to upgrade S1 and S1 Pro scooters with new front fork design cannot be called a recall.

Earlier this week, Ola Electric announced that its existing customers will have the option to upgrade their scooters to the new front fork design for free. The replacements will begin on March 22. This development came after a number of front suspension breaking issues were reported online. 

“There’s been a non stop effort for the last 1.5 years to throw mud at us in one form or another. Over the last 2 days we’ve seen another such attempt. And I’m sure this won’t be the last. So, for those who want to know the facts, we are publishing this technical blog about the engineering behind the Ola scooter, which will dispel many myths and bust many fake narratives,” the company said in a blog. 

The blog added that claims of Ola e-scooters being hardly tested, being a European product, brought to market quickly, “is all false and spread with a deeply malicious intent.” Further, talking about the front fork redesign, the blog noted that the company has had 218 failures out of 2 lakh vehicles on road and have cumulatively driven 700 million km. Of these, 184 are said to be accident cases, 34 are inconclusive and not accident linked. 

“34 out of 2,00,000 is 0.017 per cent and 34 in 700 Mn km is 1 in 20 Mn kms. That number is low enough by any automotive standard to not address. But we decided to address it head on. The original part by design has a 75 per cent safety margin over and above compared to conventional twin fork systems. And with the new design, we made this margin 250 per cent,” the company added.

Ola also noted that they are not calling these scooters upgrades recall because typically regulators mandate a ceiling of failures beyond which automakers are mandated to recall. “In India that is 10 per cent of all vehicles sold. In our case, the failure rate is really low. No OEM at these failure levels will immediately call for a full recall,” the company added. 

New design

According to Ola, it recorded the first front suspension breaking in May 2022 and re-engineered the front fork by August, completed the tooling, testing, and validation process by December and the new design was in production by January 2023. 

“Through February and March, we’ve been facing a concerted campaign by publishing images of the front fork broken. This campaign against us was impacting some of our customers and we proactively decided to address our customer community and allow all of them to upgrade free of cost to the new design if they have any anxiety,” the company said.

According to a February report by Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), electric two-wheeler retail sales is led by Ola Electric with 18,245 units sold in January 2023, followed by TVS Motor at 10,404 units sold. Last month, Ola Electric also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Tamil Nadu to expand its manufacturing capabilities across 2Ws, 4Ws and cells.