Net Zero Summit

The Fault in Ola’s stars, not battery?


Ola Electric has been lately making headlines for all the wrong reasons, starting with its all-new electric scooter going up in flames, unhappy customers to poor software and poor customer service.

Recently we reported how the CEO was trolled after posting a pic on the social media platform Twitter. The photograph posted was not of any political party, religion, or related to intolerance that is usually subjected to trolling these days in India. Probably the trolling was the result of the frustration currently its customers are going through.

The founder posted a pic showcasing 5 Ola electric scooters standing in a row in the valley covered in snow, likely to project how environment-friendly it is. But this did not go down well with its customers.

It looks like the CEO is not ready to accept that there is a fault in their battery; rather he prefers to say there is a fault in Ola’s stars, and tweets “Ola Electric & I are subject to one of the biggest troll attacks in corporate India.” He added “My tweets now get more replies than even Modiji’s tweets despite a fraction of his followers! And all copy-paste negative replies. “

Unfortunately, he even questioned media ethics when one of the renowned media houses “ MoneyControl” citing sources reported that Ola’s vehicle commerce CEO Arun Sirdeshmukh and its chief of group strategy Amit Anchal are leaving the firm.

If today’s reports are to be believed then, Ola Electric’s Chief Technology Officer Dinesh Radhakrishnan has quit the organization as the management exodus continues.

The CEO should come forward and accept that the picture they projected with its electric scooter was all painted in a haste to grab a bigger chunk of the EV market risking not only the lives of its customers but also gutted the main motive of the government to propel EVs in the country.

It has literally pushed the EV movement in the country back to square one. Customers are now more worried about their safety than saving a few bucks.

Ola Electric recalled over 1,400 units of its electric two-wheelers following the recent incidents of e-bikes catching fire. It is worth noting that Ola is not the only one that has recalled its electric two-wheelers, Okinawa and Pure EV also recalled electric two-wheelers to fix battery-related issues.

According to the latest report published by Reuters, faulty battery cells and modules have been identified as the leading cause of electric scooters catching fire in India in recent weeks, according to the findings of an initial federal investigation.

The probe looked into fire incidents involving three companies, including Ola Electric, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, and was the country’s top-selling e-scooter maker in April.

The news agency further citing sources reports “In Ola’s case, the battery cells were found to be an issue as well as the battery management system.”

Last week, ET in its report citing industry experts stated that “batteries unlikely to be replaced in EV recall”.

Sohinder Gill, chief executive of Hero Electric, and president of the SMEV speaking to the publication said that it’s technically impossible to break the battery seal. The faulty battery needs to be replaced, which I doubt any manufacturers will do.

Government testing agencies Automotive Research Association of India and the International Centre for Automotive Technology are working on a more stringent certification process for batteries which is expected to be produced soon.

The Ola CEO on Twitter has been trying to stay blindfolded avoiding questions from unsatisfied customers of Ola Electric scooter and Ola cab services. It’s not just about one or two electric scooters going up in flames, on Twitter alone there are a lot of customers who shared their videos showing how the software is misbehaving, how the battery draining out etc. Instead of blaming media houses, customers, and social media users, it’s high time that the EV firms and CEOs of these startups  should focus more on the quality than touting “TrueRange” and who is “first in the market.”