Does the Ola have what it takes to usurp the Honda as India’s bestselling scooter?
Ola Electric has been the bestselling EV two-wheeler manufacturer in India for the past five consecutive months, with its January 2023 sales crossing 18,000 units. In December last year, Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal tweeted, predicting that all variants of the Ola S1 e-scooter will outsell the bestselling ICE scooter, which is the Honda Activa, by August 2023.
While this is quite an ambitious claim, given that the Activa sold a combined 96,451 units in December 2022 compared to Ola’s combined 17,294 units, let’s see how they stack up against each other.
For the purpose of this story, we will be considering the entry-level versions of both scooters, which is the S1 Air in the case of Ola and the Activa 6G for Honda. It’s worth noting that both manufacturers also sell more powerful, better-equipped versions of these scooters like the Ola S1 and S1 Pro and the Honda Activa 125.
Ola S1 Air vs Honda Activa 6G: powertrain
|Ola S1 Air
|Honda Activa 6G
|Hub mounted motor
|109.51cc, single-cylinder engine
|4.5kW/6.11hp (peak output)
Powering the S1 Air is a hub-mounted motor that has a peak output of 4.5kW (6.11hp), with the nominal output being 2.7kW (3.67hp). There are three battery sizes on offer – ranging from 2kWh to 4kWh – which entails it with a claimed IDC range of between 85km to 165km.
The Activa, meanwhile, is powered by Honda’s tried-and-tested 109cc single-cylinder engine that puts out 7.84hp and 8.90Nm of torque. The Activa gets a 5.3-litre fuel tank and the ARAI-rated fuel efficiency of the scooter is 60kpl.
While it won’t be a fair comparison given how different they are mechanically, the Ola’s performance will be sprightlier than the Honda’s.
Ola S1 Air vs Honda Activa 6G: features
Features is an area where the Ola S1 Air has a huge advantage over the Activa 6G. While both get drum brakes with CBS, a telescopic fork and an LED headlight, the Ola also gets a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, navigation and music playback, riding modes, a reverse mode and is capable of over-the-air (OTA) updates.
The Activa 6G, meanwhile, gets alloy wheels, keyless operation, a silent starter and an auto start/stop system in its top-spec H-Smart variant.
Ola S1 Air vs Honda Activa 6G: price
|Ola S1 Air
|Honda Activa 6G
|Price range (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
|Rs 84,999 – 1.10 lakh
|Rs 75,655 – 81,656
The Ola S1 Air is priced from Rs 84,999 for the 2kWh battery version, going up to Rs 1.10 lakh for the 4kWh version. It’s worth noting that these are just ex-showroom prices and they do include the FAME II subsidy, but not the government’s state-wise subsidies and insurance/registration costs.
Meanwhile, the Activa 6G range starts at Rs 75,655 for the standard version, going up to Rs 81,656 for the top-of-the-line H-Smart version. Similarly, this does not include registration and insurance costs.
The Ola S1 Air does have a higher purchase price, but many states currently waive registration and road tax charges so depending on where you live, the Ola might be as affordable as the Activa if not more so. There’s also the fact that it will have much lower running costs. Read on to get an idea of what those costs may look like.
Ola S1 Air vs Honda Activa 6G: runnings costs
The Ola S1 Air benefits from having much lower running costs in comparison to the Honda Activa. In order to fully charge the Ola at your home, it will take 2-4 units of electricity depending upon the model and the cost per unit is around Rs 3-8 – depending on the area you live in and what consumption slab you fall under. Going by the average of Rs 5.5 per unit (kWh), the total cost to top up the 2kWh S1 Air will be Rs 11. Since this version is said to do 85km (IDC) on a charge, that comes up to 13 paise per km.
In comparison, it will take 5.3 litres of petrol to top up the Activa. With petrol prices in the country ranging anywhere between Rs 95 to 110, it will cost Rs 543.25 on an average (Rs 102.5 per litre) to fill up the Honda. Since we considered the IDC range for the Ola, we’ll consider the ARAI figure of 60kpl for the Activa, in which case the running cost comes up to Rs 1.7 per km. Of course, the real-world range figures for both will be considerably lower, but even so, you can see that there is a huge difference in the potential running costs.
For context, by using the claimed figures for the calculation, it will cost you just Rs 6,500 to cover 50,000km in the Ola. Meanwhile, covering the same distance in the Honda will cost you around Rs 85,000. And, of course, there’s also the fact that EVs have extremely low annual service costs compared to petrol vehicles with consumables like tyres and brake pads being the primary expense.
Battery life is an area of huge concern for potential EV buyers and a good warranty helps ease that to some extent. The Activa 6G gets 3 years/36,000km as standard while the Ola gets 3 years/40,000km on the scooter and 3 year/ unlimited km warranty on the battery as standard. Both scooters also come with the option of an extended warranty for an additional cost, with the Activa’s package extending to a further 3 years/36,000km and the Ola’s for a further two years.
Ola S1 Air vs Honda Activa 6G: conclusion
As for Ola’s target of its S1 becoming the bestselling scooter on the market by August 2023, it will be a tall order as its sales numbers are still quite a way off the Activa’s. With deliveries of the entry-level S1 Air set to commence in July, Ola sales numbers will grow substantially, but just by how much is anyone’s guess.
In conclusion, the Ola S1 is better-equipped and cheaper to run, but its long-term reliability remains a question mark, something that is a hallmark of the Honda Activa. There’s also the fact that the most affordable base S1 Air will only make sense to those whose daily running is well under 40-50km and those who can charge the scooter at home. It remains to be seen just how many folks are out there who fit that bill. Meanwhile, the Activa is backed up by its enormous brand value that has been built for over a decade as well as a huge service network. And it also comes with the convenience to fuel up within minutes, which takes several hours on the Ola.
Is the Ola S1 Air tempting enough for you to move away from a similarly priced petrol scooter? Let us know in the comments section below.
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