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Ola scooter goes into reverse mode in full speed; injures rider

The vehicle control unit (VCU) of the scooter had been fixed recently by the company, which should have corrected any of the technical glitches in the vehicle.



Ola scooter

New Delhi: Ola scooters have been facing a whole lot of problems since the time of their launch. From catching fire to reversing their speed, Ola scooters have been facing major issues. Last month, owing to the catching of fire of e-scooters, the company had to announce a recall of its 1,441 S1 Pro scooters for diagnosis and health checks against EV fires.

This is the third time when the scooter, S 1 Pro reversed its speed in excess of 50 kph, following software bugs, injuring a 65-year-old man, the father of the owner. He was just trying to park the vehicle. 

The incident came to light after the owner Pallav Maheshwari shared it on LinkedIn, blaming the scooter’s software.

The post read, “The software bug in the #olaelectric scooter of going in the reverse mode at full speed has severely injured my father. He was the one who even at the age of 65 is very active and was enthusiastic to use #ola #electricvehicle. Please look at what your #poorlytested scooter has done to him.”

“He was only taking the scooter from outside the house to park inside. He has banged his head on a wall with almost the skull open (with 10 stiches now) and broken his left arm which would have to be operated with 2 plates inserted,” he added.

According to Pallav Maheshwari, the scooter was delivered to him on January 15, 2022. While talking to a leading news portal ETAuto, Maheswari stated he had experienced a similar problem on the second day of the delivery. However, as the scooter was new, the incident did not occur again, and he did not pay much heed to it.

The vehicle control unit (VCU) of the scooter had been fixed recently by the company, which should have corrected any of the technical glitches in the vehicle. Moreover, Ola has been silently fixing VCU in their scooters mainly focussing on addressing issues related to battery drainage in the vehicle.

Maheshwari has been regretting his decision on the choice of OEM. “I was looking for an electric scooter, and since everyone is new in the space, Ola seemed to be the best option in the space because they have even acquired a Dutch company. What grabbed my attention about the company was also its looks, the company’s future factory, and a unique all-women employees business model in the company,” he stated.

In 2020, Ola announced the acquisition of Etergo BV, an electric scooter OEM, based out of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Is Ola taking responsibility?

After his post went viral, Maheshwari was contacted by an Ola executive from the public relations department, however, there was no assurance of any help. “Though he wanted to keep himself updated about the hospital proceedings and the health of my father, he did not promise much,” Maheshwari stated.

“I moved back to India last year to take care of my parents and was ecstatic about the India EV revolution. I was not a bit hesitant to book the scooter on the day of opening the booking as I wanted to support companies like you and didn’t think that #healthandsafety norms would be compromised to this level at your #futurefactory,” he added in the post. “Even after multiple reports of the reverse mode triggering in full throttle has been made multiple ola customers, no recall or fixes have been declared. I urge you to make sure no one else gets be harmed because of your faults.”

Not the first time!

Maheshwari’s father is the second victim within a time of 30 days where the user has become the victim of the accident due to the Ola scooter’s breaking issue.

On April 15, the son of a Guwahati-based Ola scooter owner Balwant Singh also met with a similar accident. According to him, it happened “due to fault in regenerative breaking where on a speed breaker instead of slowing, the scooter accelerated sending so much torque…”

However, the company did not take responsibility for the software glitch and said that the accident was caused due to user’s negligence. The company publicly shared telemetry data to prove its point which made them face controversy for not respecting consumer’s right on data privacy.