“Through February and March, we’ve been facing a concerted campaign by publishing images of the front fork broken. Many of those images are the same repeated multiple times from different angles, and many are just accident images,” the company said in a blog post on Friday evening.
On March 14, Ola Electric said it is offering customers of its scooters an option to replace the front fork arm, a key component between the body of the vehicle and its wheel. This the company said was free of cost following complaints that the part snapped while on road.
Industry watchers pointed out that Ola’s announcement was akin to a product recall though the company has not used the term in its statement.
Ola said on Friday its announcement earlier this week was not a recall.
“Typically to order a recall, regulators mandate a ceiling of failures beyond which automakers are mandated to recall. In India that is 2% of all vehicles sold. OEMs sometimes do voluntary recalls at lower failure levels by observing the failed parts over a time horizon and concluding that there could be higher level of failures in the future. In our case, the failure rate is really low,” the company argued.
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Ola said it registered 218 front fork arm failures out of more than 200,000 vehicles driven for 700 million kilometres or more. Out of these, the company said, 184 were accident cases, 34 were inconclusive or not accident linked. “34 out of 2,00,000 is 0.015% and 34 in 700 million kilometres is 1 in 20 million kilometres,” it said.
Ola added that the vehicle, including its front fork arm, has been well-tested in all conditions, both in the real world and through digital simulations.
The SoftBank-backed company acquired a Dutch-based EV maker Etergo in 2020 and the firm on Friday said that “a myth” is being perpetuated that the vehicle has not been engineered and tested for India.
“The whole vehicle has been tested at 3 levels – digital simulations, component tests and vehicular lab tests, and vehicular field tests,” it said. “We follow an industry-leading product development and engineering process from concept development to virtual and physical development before deployment and production.”
Ola also issued statements over several accidents, including due to the breaking of the front fork arm in the past. The mobility firm has always maintained that these were isolated incidents. The company has faced quality issues since it started delivering its scooters in December 2021. Despite the complaints, Ola Electric has seen record-breaking sales in recent months.