Ola Electric had a gamut of emotions over the last couple of days. The company first announced a new front fork for the S1 range of electric scooters on March 14, 2023. The announcement was made after reports of defective front suspension came to light on social media. While the front fork replacement is for all S1 and S1 Pro customers, the manufacturer refused to call it a recall. Now, clarifying its stance, the Bengaluru-based OEM has published a blog detailing the changes on the new front fork, calling the entire event a “concerted campaign” against the company.
In its statement, Ola Electric said that there were no issues with the front fork on the S1 and yet, the company was offering an upgraded replacement for the peace of mind of customers. The new unit offers enhanced durability and strength with an additional bracing member on the bottom. The front fork replacement for S1 and S1 Pro customers will be made free of charge and are currently underway.
In a blog post, Ola Electric explained that it first learnt about the front suspension-related issues in May last year. The company says it received 218 failures out of over 2,00,000 vehicles sold. This constitutes over 700 million km ridden collectively. Further breaking this figure up, 184 of these cases were accidents and 34 were inconclusive or not accident linked. Ola says that 34 out of 2 lakh is a failure rate of 0.015 per cent or one in 20 million km.
The electric two-wheeler giant says that this needs to be higher a failure rate to warrant a full recall for any manufacturer. The company has still gone ahead and offered a replacement to customers. Ola also says that the original part by design has a 75 per cent margin over a conventional twin fork suspension. The new fork design now has a safety margin of 250 per cent.
Ola further said that its electric scooter has been through rigorous testing digitally as well as out in the real world. It also insisted that the model was extensively re-engineered for India despite being developed by Amsterdam-based start-up Etergo, a company acquired by Ola before its arrival in the electric mobility business.
While it’s great to see the company offer replacements to customers free of charge on the front fork, it should not shy away from calling a recall, even if it may not fall technically under the same category. Recalls aren’t a bad thing at all and, in fact, show an OEM’s willingness to improve and extend the same to customers.
Ola also forgets that when the suspension failure issues first cropped up, the brand was still in the initial stage of sales with monthly figures yet to pick up. It’s taken the brand nearly a year to extend customers the option for a replacement, even if the newer batches have been getting the upgraded suspension right from the factory.