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Ola Electric's scooter sales show signs of slowing down

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ETAuto
24th June, 2022 09:43 IST

Ola S1 Pro
Ola Electric’s e-scooter sales have moderated to 130-200 units a day over the last two weeks after the company switched from the multiple-payment window model to one-time full payment for the vehicle, two people aware of the matter told ET.

The SoftBank Group-backed company, which aims to produce 10 million scooters a year, had moved to the new payment model on May 28. Earlier, customers could only make part payments through four separate windows which opened on specific dates.

Several sources told ET that Ola was able to sell around 500 scooters a day for three-four days after moving away from the multiple-payment window model, but sales have slumped after that.

“The company has also offered employees around Rs 10,000 discount if they are interested in buying the scooter,” a source said, adding that some customers are getting delivery of their scooters in 48 hours, which some people say is a possible sign of a shrinking order book for Ola.

Ola Electric did not respond to ET’s request for a comment.

Experts said that even if Ola manages to sell 1,000 scooters a day, it will add to 365,000 a year, which will be far from the company’s target.

The company has so far delivered about 50,000 vehicles.

Before the slowdown in Ola’s sales, India had reported multiple fire incidents involving electric vehicles, including an Ola scooter catching fire in March this year.

Domestic sales of electric two-wheelers in May were down by more than 20% compared with April, registering the second consecutive month-on-month decline in sales. Registrations on the Vahan portal had shown a marginal decline in April, which was the first time the Indian EV two-wheeler industry saw a drop in sales in 10 months, according to data compiled by Elara Capital from the Vahan portal.

For Ola, the month-on-month sales drop was 27%--the second biggest decline among the top five sellers. Hero Electric saw its registrations drop by 56%.


“Ola was expected to top the charts in May, but Okinawa sold the most number of vehicles, and it is expected that Ola’s sales may slump further,” said the source quoted above.

In the past, Ola has faced criticism regarding quality and for not including features it had promised.

“Definitely with the fire incidents customers would like to wait and watch as the government is seeking quality control measures from companies and is trying to formalise a battery safety standard,” said Jay Kale, senior vice president, equity analyst, auto and auto ancillaries at Elara Capital.

Kale expects sales of electric two-wheelers in India to bounce back soon, but does not see sales surpassing 70,000 a month for the rest of the year. For Ola, which claims to be at the forefront of electrification, these numbers may mean a slow sales growth.

The company’s plant can roll out 2 million scooters a year, or about 5,500 units a day.

“After being in operations for more than a couple of decades, Bajaj is selling close to 2 million two-wheelers in India despite having a wider distribution network,” said Kale. “It is good to have these targets, but even reaching 1 million will be a tall ask for them.”

The Ola S1 pro is priced at Rs 1,39,999, excluding the subsidy from the central government. The company is working on a cheaper version of S1 Pro, which could bring down the price significantly.

"In terms of pricing, even with subsidies S1 Pro was quite affordable, but the quality of the product will remain key," said Kale.

Ola is in the process of rolling out the Move OS 2.0 software update for its customers. The update will give customers access to many features which were promised last year when the company unveiled the scooter. This includes GPS navigation, cruise control, a music system and other features.

The company, meanwhile, is also doubling down on its future plans, including manufacturing cars and battery cells. It currently imports battery cells from South Korean company LG Chem. Ola is also scouting for land for both these projects.

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