Ola Electric ramping up production to ensure timely deliveries, Auto News, ET Auto

 Ola Electric Mobility has so far not on-boarded any dealers, and does not have any third party affiliations, or offline sales models.
Ola Electric Mobility has so far not on-boarded any dealers, and does not have any third party affiliations, or offline sales models.

Ride-hailing major and electric vehicle maker Ola said it was ramping up production operations and ensuring deliveries as scheduled, amid allegations from a dealers’ body of receiving consumer complaints regarding non-adherence to committed timelines.

“We’ve pioneered a direct to consumer delivery model and dispatched the 4000 vehicles we had committed for December. We are now focussing on the dispatches we have committed for January and February 2022. We are ramping up our production accordingly,” Varun Dubey, chief marketing officer, Ola Electric Mobility, told ET.

The company’s statement comes at a time when Industry body Federation of Automotive Dealers’ Association (FADA) said it has received several complaints from consumers regarding the non-adherence to delivery timelines and product specifications committed by Ola Electric Mobility. Ola Electric Mobility has so far not on-boarded any dealers, and does not have any third party affiliations, or offline sales models.

Vehicle registration data of Ola Electric scooters are significantly lower than the number of deliveries the company has claimed so far. As per the road transport and highways ministry’s VAHAN dashboard, which maintains real-time vehicle registration data, about 439 Ola Electric vehicles have been registered as of Thursday morning. This is contrast to 4,000 dispatches the company said was made in December alone.

Ola Electric said the discrepancy in data could be on account of delays in updating the VAHAN data by regional transport offices (RTO).

“It is important to understand the nuances in VAHAN data. Several states do not report vehicle data in VAHAN. Many are on the older VAHAN version, which causes information to flow with delay. Further, temporary registration data is not reflected on VAHAN. We’ve started deliveries from 15th December onwards, so obviously the complete data will reflect on VAHAN portal only by Jan end,” Dubey said.

The data on the VAHAN platform doesn’t include sales in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Lakshadweep which could add 10-15% discrepancy and the data also come with a lag in many cases. However, with over five days since the end of December, most RTOs are likely to have uploaded their December numbers by now, said people familiar with the portal.

Ola founder & CEO Bhavish Aggarwal too mentioned in a tweet on December 31 that “the registration process took longer than we anticipated as a fully digital process is new for all.” But had assured, “Lots of learnings for us on varied RTO systems, regulations across states. Will be faster with registration in future!”

In fact, Aggarwal Thursday said the company has commenced manufacturing 1000 scooters a day at its facility in Tamil Nadu. “Futurefactory now producing almost 1000 scooters a day. In pic below: production just for today so far! Opening up purchase window for remaining customers soon,” Aggarwal said on micro-blogging platform Twitter.

Meanwhile, FADA president Vinkesh Gulati said the association is getting a lot of adverse feedback on social media from Ola customers, “Customers are facing three major issues with Ola scooters. Firstly, they are not getting the range the company had committed. The instrument panel on the vehicles delivered are different from those they saw or test drove, which the company has termed as a design element. But mostly importantly, there are concerns related to transparency; consumers who were told they will receive their vehicles before Dec 31 have not got deliveries or any updates”, he said.

FADA is in the process of putting in place a system for customer complaints. “We will assess if these complaints are genuine and collate them. Then we will send a letter to Ola and to the road ministry for redressal,” Gulati said.

Ola Electric launched electric scooters S1 and S1 Pro tagged between Rs 99,999 and Rs 129,999 (inclusive of FAME II, exclusive of state subsidies) on August 15, 2021. Ola Electric Mobility commenced deliveries of the products from December 15, 2021. The company said it was scheduled to start deliveries a month earlier, which was delayed due to the impact on production operations stemming from the global shortage of semi-conductors.

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The company also organised special events for the first 100 customers in Bengaluru and Chennai for the deliveries of Ola S1 and S1 Pro e-scooters.