Ola Electric has officially announced a nation-wide round of test rides for the S1 and S1 Pro, which received Rs 1100 crore in bookings, during the two-day purchase window provided by the company. Despite what has generally been perceived as a delay in Ola Electric’s test ride and delivery window, the brand steadfastly maintains that everything is going as planned. With the deliveries set to take place within the window given to the customers, OLA Electric’s Chief Marketing Officer, Varun Dubey clears the air around the brand’s hiccup-ridden purchase and delivery process.
Have the customer ride dates been pushed?
This is the first time we’ve actually released a test ride date. There was never any previous date given to anyone for a test ride. We opened bookings for purchase on the 15th and 16th of September. And everyone who booked the scooter was given a clear delivery window within which they are to get delivery of their Ola scooter. We also made it clear that the money that we delivered is refundable till we ship your scooter so there’s no problem.
Has there been any change in the delivery window?
There is no change in the delivery window. What we did was, we had told the people that they can pay us the balance amount starting on a particular date. That was the full payment for the remaining amount (after the booking amount had been paid). So those people would have paid us Rs 20,000 and now need to pay the balance amount.
But it’s that date, the date of the final payment, that has been pushed?
Yes. But there was a window for the final payment dates as well. We’d said that they can start paying us from mid-October onwards. But the feedback we received made it clear that people want to test ride the product before they pay the balance amount. This makes sense because it improves the customer experience. So we aligned the payment window to the test ride date. There’s no delay. Instead of giving us the money before the test ride, pay us after the test ride. The delivery window that was committed to every customer, we are on track to deliver in the window. People will now have a much better experience because people will actually know the product before they pay the balance amount. And the test rides are starting on November 10th.
What is the likely delivery window that customers who’ve made the bookings can expect?
Each person has been already given a specific delivery date basis the variant and colour and location of delivery. And we are on track to meet that delivery window. There is no change in deliveries. We have communicated that clearly. The only thing that has changed is that we have taken a call to take the money from the people after they have taken a test ride and not before it.
What is the shortest delivery window for customers who booked it early on the 15th and 16th of September?
Depending on what time they made the booking on those dates, we have given them a delivery window. And on what colour, variant, location they need the scooter delivered to.
So, if someone booked it shortly before the window closed, what would the expected delivery date be?
I think there would probably be a 3-4 month waiting period for them. And we have communicated that to them on the day of the booking. And at any point between now and then they’re free to cancel. We have a full refund policy.
How much of a window do they have, to make the full payment after the test ride?
They’re free to pay anytime after the 10th of November. After they’re done with the test ride. There will be a fairly reasonable window for them to conclude the payment and even if they miss that window, they can get in touch with us and we will figure it out for them. There’s no problem. It’s a bit surprising to see that the same people who were questioning us for asking for payment before the test rides are now blaming us for taking money after the test ride.
What is the test ride roll-out process like? Given that it’s pan-India, will some cities see test rides before others?
Obviously there will be a bit of a roll-out. India is a big country. But 10th November onwards we will start in most major cities. We want to make sure that everyone who has made the booking gets a test ride quickly. There might be a couple of days of a roll-out period purely because of the geographic spread of India.