Bought an Ola S1 Air in Manali: Ownership review with likes & dislikes

The Ola Electric mobile app deserves a special mention and place in the review because it has changed the overall experience by leaps and bounds.

BHPian AdityaDeane recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

SAIR (เคธเฅˆเคฐ) – It is an Urdu term. Its common meanings include Trip, Ride, Pleasure Trip, Spin, Outing, Excursion and many such terms, as per this website.

Exactly the kind of trips I wanted an electric scooter for, for leisure rides around Manali!

As has been my recent habit, I like to name my rides, my Aria is called Saffira and my bike was Uni (2010 Honda Unicorn Pearl Ingenious Black). So, I named my scooter as SAIR!

So, Sair replaces my trusted old Uni! Uni has served me well for 13.5 years, and close to 70K kilometres. But, it’s time to let go of my parent’s college gift and embrace the torquey electric future of mobility.

Introducing the first Ola S1 Air in Manali! Manali has at least one other Ola S1 Pro or S1 scooter, but I hadn’t seen anyone driving an S1 Air till now.


  • Silence – I absolutely love the silence of an electric scooter. The faint whine, no noisy drama of the engine straining hard on inclines. Absolutely adore being able to move silently in the quiet hills around Manali!
  • Torque – EVs have instantaneous torque delivery. I had never driven any EV before, and I was amazed by this fact. If I am not mistaken, the S1 Air hub motor gives close to 150NM of torque, which is more than my Nano, more than my Triber (Ownership Review of my Renault Triber RXZ (Electric Blue)) and more than my A-Star! And all this from 1RPM. The scooter climbs steep gradients even in Eco mode, rarely do I use Normal mode, and have only used Sport mode on one occasion till now, in 1.5 months.
  • Looks – I like the look of the Ola scooters. Ever since I read that the Ola scooter will be based on the Etergo App scooter, I was in love with those looks. I do not mind not having a Single Front Suspension, or vertical Suspension struts at the back, as long as I can travel comfortably, looks do not matter much to me.
  • Reverse Mode – Many times it has been helpful to have Reverse Mode in the scooter.
  • Speaker – Although the S1 Air does not have the dual speaker setup of the S1 Pro, nor does it have any kind of bass in the single speaker that it does have on its right side, the ability to have a waterproof speaker setup in your scooter is a big plus. I can comfortably listen to music while driving, if I’m in the mood to, and can also control it via the switches on the Right side of the handlebar.
  • Maps – Inbuilt Maps is a good thing, as now I do not need to keep my mobile in a holder at viewing level for directions if I’m driving towards a new place nearby.
  • USB Port – The port is nicely angled downwards and is away from direct rain splash. It is a boon to have, as it can help recharge the phone battery on the go. No rubber cover is surely a cost-cutting measure and would have raised the value.
  • Speaker Pockets – They are adequately sized, and I am able to fit my Redmi 9 Power with a Leather Flip Cover in them without a problem.
  • Ola Electric App – I love the animations present in the App. It deserves a special mention for providing so much data, and also the exact color and model of your scooter, not just a random model and color. More details at the end of the review.
  • Party Mode – Great fun trick while stationary and in the mood for some fun or to impress friends, but that’s about it!


  • No Hill Hold – Many times I have had to stop behind traffic on steep inclines, and a lack of Hill Hold is evident when I need to start moving again, and the scooter starts rolling back upon releasing the Brakes.
  • No Cruise Control in Eco mode – This feature may come with Move OS4 update, but is absent at present.
  • Short Seat Length – Even though I am not a fan of driving with my children and wife altogether when we first went on a drive after buying the scooter, it was evident that the seat length was small. We had a hard time managing our 6-year-old son in between us parents, even when he was sitting in the front. Not very comfortable if you want to ride with 2.5 people on the scooter.
  • Rough Edges – The speaker pockets have rough edges on the top, especially on the Left side. On a few occasions, I have been able to scrape my skin off because of them, while keeping gloves and cleaning cloth etc.
  • No inbuilt SIM Card – The S1 Pro and S1 have an inbuilt Jio SIM card for navigation purposes and to share the scooter data with the App. I am not sure if the S1 Air has it, because I have been unable to use Maps when the scooter is not connected to a WiFi network, but I haven’t tried it after my App was activated after over a month of using the scooter without App activation.
  • Sudden Loss of Performance Issue – I live in Manali, and the roads towards Atal Tunnel, Rohtang Pass, and even some villages are pretty steep. I have noticed that the scooter is suddenly switching off without any warnings while going uphill, and sometimes even while going downhill! I have scheduled a service appointment for Thursday (23rd Nov.) and will update what problem was diagnosed and how it was rectified, after doing another trip towards Atal Tunnel after the service is done.

Video of the problem when my son and I tried in Eco mode

Video of the problem when I tried in solo, in Normal mode, the next day

Alternatives Considered:

Kullu district had only 3 companies which sold EV Scooters by September 2023. Okinawa, Ola and Kinetic Electric/Green something. Gutkar (Mandi) had a showroom of Benling scooters, but it wasn’t showing up on their website, so I didn’t bother.

Okinawa – I loved Okinawa scooters, but the only powerful scooter they had was Okhi-90, and it was close to 2 Lakhs ex-showroom, which was way beyond my budget.

Kinetic didn’t have models to my liking.

I loved the Ola S1 Pro Gen 1 and Gen 2 both, but by the time I could book online, Gen 1 was sold out, or had become unavailable to book online, and Gen 2 was a stretch in my budget, which I did not want. I did not want to take up another EMI on my head, not even for a few months!

Then I carefully examined between Ola S1X+ and S1 Air, as both had similar specs, but different looks, features and speedo consoles, and I decided that I wanted to fancy touchscreen, the speaker setup and the fast charging ability of the Air, and not stick with lesser features and slower charging of the S1X+.

After the decision was made, the choice of color was between Stellar Blue and Midnight Blue. I prefer darker shades, and hence I finally decided to buy the Midnight Blue color.

Complete Booking Experience:

I made the booking on the Ola Electric website. It was very easy, and I was able to choose between 2 Insurance providers and also Extended Warranty and Ola Care+ plans.

My booking details have been documented here. I booked my scooter on 27th September 2023 through the Ola Electric website, and completed all the payments online.

The scooter was scheduled to be delivered on 22nd October, but I wanted it to be delivered on or before 7th October (being our Wedding Anniversary), I prayed really hard, and I finally got a call from Mr. Chakshu from Ola in Banur, Punjab that they will be coming to deliver my scooter tomorrow. By the way, my payment included the “Home Delivery” option, as the nearest Experience Centre was still not active in Kullu by that time. But, ultimately their plan got cancelled due to a lesser number of scooters to deliver!

Delivery Experience:

Then again on 8th October he called and informed me that he had started from Banur, Punjab, and would reach me before midnight, and I should be ready for delivery, I was more than happy to get it delivered even on 8th, a day after our special day.

They were out to deliver 3 scooters on that day, they delivered 1 in Mandi, the middle one was mine, and the silver one on the right was to be delivered in Palampur or Dharamshala. My scooter was delivered at 11PM that night, and the next scooter would have been delivered the next morning in Palampur or Dharamshala. The whole process of Home Delivery has been documented in this video.

So, the scooter was delivered with 1Km on the Odometer, and I have covered close to 350Kms in my >1 month of ownership.

On-Road Price:

On-The Road Price : Rs.1,43,744/-

Dealer : Ola Experience Centre, Kullu (selected the Home Delivery option, which costs Rs.999/-, included in the OTR Price written above)

Accessories : None so far, only the Helmet and Cover were available from the Ola website, and I didn’t want them.


I did not get any discounts, as this was a new product and there was no way to haggle for discounts on the Ola Website!

Extended Warranties & Service Packages Chosen:

  • Digit Insurance (including 1 year Own Damage, 5 years Third Party, Personal Accident Cover, Zero Depreciation, 24/7 Roadside Assistance)
  • Charger and Screen Protection (โ‚น799/year)
  • Rodent Protection (โ‚น699/year)
  • Comprehensive Extended Warranty (โ‚น7,299 for covering Battery, Motor, Charger and Head Unit)
  • Ola Care Plus (โ‚น3,599 for Annual Comprehensive Diagnostics, Free Home Service and Pick Up/Drop, Free Consumables, 24/7 Doctor and Ambulance Service)

My Usage Pattern:

I walk to work, as I live on campus. And I do not need a 2 or 4-wheeler to commute to work, so the sole purpose of buying a 2-wheeler was to drive around town when needed, without getting stuck in long traffic jams, common around the tourist season.

Overall Build Quality, Fit & Finish and Paint Quality:

The scooter looks sturdy and does not rattle or squeak while driving. There is a ‘thuk’ noise while going through some deep potholes, but it is not consistent and may be due to slightly excessive speed sometimes.

A point of concern is the rounded Rubber at the end of the Rear Grab Rail, it tends to get stuck in clothes and come off, as per online reviews on YouTube. Mine had started to come out, but I was able to push it back in, before losing it out on the road. I have made it a habit to push it back in after every drive with my wife or a rear passenger!

The scooter does have some panel gaps, and that was a known issue in these initial batches of S1 Air models, which was highlighted in many ownership videos on YouTube as well. But, I haven’t done anything to get them fixed yet!

My scooter has a matte finish paint, and the quality looks good. My son has been able to scratch a small section on the Left Rear Panel, due to his shoes dangling while going with me on the drives.

Wheels & Tyres:

The S1 Air comes with 90/90-12 tyres in the front and back. The front has Drum Brakes on a steel rim, while the rear has Drum Brakes with the Hub Motor!

Handlebar / Switchgear / Cluster Design & Quality:

The handlebar has 5 switches on each side. The left side has controls for Headlight/Dipper, Cruise Control/Reverse, Right Indicator, Horn and Left Indicator respectively (clockwise from top left).

The right side has Riding Mode Switch, Power Switch, Volume Up, Play/Pause and Volume Down buttons respectively (clockwise from top left).

The Riding Mode Switch needs to be kept pressed to switch to Eco mode, Normal and Sport modes can be toggled by a short press of this switch.

It is speculated that the Auto Turn Off Indicators feature will come with Move OS4 update, but nothing is confirmed yet for the S1 Air model.

Seat Height and how it may or may not suit short / tall riders:

I am 5’8″ tall and I find it a bit of a stretch to reach the road when standing still. It feels like the seat height is designed for slightly taller riders. The floorboard is flat and has a rubberized feel to it, but an ideal seating position is with the legs stretched forward a little, and there the floor is all plastic, and the shoe soles make a banging noise while going over potholes, I may need to invest in a long rubber floor mat in the future, if my riding pattern changes!

Visibility & size of mirrors:

The mirrors are decently sized and give good coverage of what’s behind you. They are not round but are trapezoidal in shape.

How are the Headlamps

The dipper is ‘figure-of-8’ shaped, or maybe Eagle shaped! It is quite bright and has good range and throw for most of my use.

The headlamp is a small round throw of white light in the centre of that bird figure, which hardly makes a difference for me here in the hills, people using it down in the plains may give their feedback on its effectiveness. I just use it while initiating an overtake, or when cars come towards me with their high beams on.

The DRL or Halo Lamp function is not activated on the S1 Air, it is not illuminated in the brochure, and it does not switch on during Party Mode, but a recent owner of S1 Air with Move OS higher than my 3.1.1 had uploaded a video on YouTube showing the DRLs on during Party Mode, not sure.

Storage & practicality (including underseat storage). Can it carry the papers? How secure is it?:

The new gen Ola scooters have a cavernous 34L underseat storage. It is claimed to be able to carry 2 half face helmets, and I keep 1 in my boot, unless I have a passenger sitting behind me. I use the storage space to carry the Scooter Papers, Tool Kit, First Aid Kit, Waterproof Riding Gloves and Rain Suit, and it barely has space for some more flat items on top of all this.

The pockets behind the speaker grills can carry Mobile Phones or other small wiping cloth etc.

There is a Hook in the front to keep some small carry bags or a backpack while travelling. It is not very deep, and I fear that the carry bag may jump and fall while going over some deep pothole, but I haven’t actually tried carrying anything there till now.

Exhaust note – satisfying? Not so?

By default, there is only an electric motor whine while driving. The scooter comes with 3 skins for the Human Machine Interface (touch-screen), and they include Vintage, Bolt and Eclipse moods, each with a different kind of sound you can use while driving the scooter, to warn pedestrians nearby. Vintage sounds like a Yamaha RX100 bike, Bolt seems like a Petrol scooter and Eclipse is more like a futuristic scooter sound from Sci-Fi movies.

Fuel Efficiency:

Being all electric, there is no Fuel Efficiency per se, but there is a Driving Range to know about.

Claimed Ranges for Ola S1 Air are: 125Kms (Eco), 100Kms (Normal) and 80Kms (Sport).

Here in the hills, I lose 1.5-2.5% battery per Kilometer, depending upon solo or 2-person riding, and usually get 2/3rds the advertised range in all modes.

0-100% charging takes 5.5 hours with the provided 750Watts charger, which can be connected to any 6Amps plug at home. As of now, Ola Experience Centre Kullu is about to install a 3KW Fast Charger, but I have no confirmation yet.

S1 Air supports Hyper Charging, but the nearest Hyper Charger is in Chandigarh only, so of no use to me currently.

I am in contact with EV Car charger provider Hotels near Manali and Kullu and have advised them to get compatible chargers, or at least charging sockets installed so that Range Anxiety can be taken care of when needed.

Ground Clearance:

If I remember correctly, ground clearance is 160mm. But, I have not had any under body scraping accidents till date in 1.5 months, even while driving over broken roads and rocky sections.


By default, the scooter comes with only a Side Stand, which is made of Plastic. I haven’t tried sitting on the scooter with the stand in place, as the angle is quite a bit to sit and relax, the OEM Centre Stand does not show compatability with the S1 Air model, and hence only option for me is an After Market Stand, in case I want to install one.

The scooter has a Side Stand Warning indication on the HMI, and will not start if the Side Stand is open!

Any Niggles, Problems or Part Replacements:

The only issue I am facing currently is probably overheating while trying to drive up towards Atal Tunnel or Gulaba, or even sometimes locally. I have a Home Service Appointment scheduled for 23rd November evening, will update as to what was the problem leading to this issue after their diagnosis!

My Ola Electric App was not activated till last week. I had sent requests on EMail, and they would revert back after a few days, but do nothing about it. Finally, I contacted the Manager of the Ola Experience Centre, in Kullu, and he escalated the issue to the Punjab Office, and it was activated last week. Now I do not need to enter my scooter’s passcode every time in public places, and I feel so much more relaxed and safe that I can control most of the things with just my mobile!

Accessories Installed:

  • Touchscreen Guard (bought off Amazon)
  • Seat Cover Net (bought off Amazon)
  • Scooter Cover (bought off Amazon)

In the future, I may install a Floor Board Mat and Centre Stand!


I have done some trips in my SAIR, and have compiled the data from these trips in this video I uploaded to my channel.

I hope that this review will help so many other people to help decide if they want to invest in buying an Ola S1 Air or not. For people from the hills, my suggestion is to wait for now, as the scooter is still not there yet, to be used exclusively in the hills. Maybe after Move OS4 update, or some Motor tweaks, but not yet!

Ola Electric App:

This deserves a special mention and place in the Ownership Review because it has changed the overall experience by leaps and bounds. It has a nice Widget to be placed on your mobile’s home screen, from where you can check up on your scooter’s battery and charging statistics.

The app shows the following data:

  • Range
  • Battery Percentage
  • Lock/Unlock Status
  • Boot Status (Lock/Open)
  • Mode (Parked, Charging, Vacation Mode, etc.)

Features of the App include:

  • Scooter Name and Registration Number
  • Proximity Lock/Unlock (BETA version)
  • Scooter Access (to give your scooter to other Ola registered friends, without sharing your scooter password)
  • Add Ons (Ola Care details, Insurance details)
  • About Scooter (Odometer, Purchase Date, Chassis Number, Application Version and Dash Software Version)

Support Section (Ongoing Tickets Raised, Resolved, Topics for raising complaints or seeing troubleshooting guide, Emergency Assistance Button, Fork Arm Upgrade for Gen 1 owners).


A video animation of the charging and Lock/unlock animations that are seen in the App.

Product Brochure

Headlamp throw

Dipper spread (please correct figure of 8 and eagle shaped to Ski Goggle shaped)

USB Charging Port location above the front right speaker

Space behind the speakers

Speakers and Carry Hook

Control Keys on both sides

Rear View Mirror design and coverage

Front view, the Halo Lamp doesn’t work in Air, at least not for the Move OS3.1.1 version scooters

Left side view, due to the dark blue shade, the lower matt black half is not very easily seen, until looked at closely

Rear View, tail lamp design is slightly different from Gen 1 vehicles

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Source: Read Full Article