Originally Posted by HappyRider
Hi.. need advice from friends in Karnataka.
I am planning a trip from Hyderabad to Chikkamagaluru in 2nd half of March. I was wondering whether I can comfortably use my MG ZS EV 2022 version. I have checked plugshare and it seems before entering Karnataka my last charging option is in Gooty near Anantapur. From there Chikkamagaluru is around 349 Kms. So, I will have to stop for a top up either at Chitradurga (210 km) or Hiriyur (214 km). I have to use them as back up option of the other.
Now my question is even though 210-214 kms is quite easy with MG ZS EV in normal circumstances, I am not aware of terrain and road conditions in this route. Is anyone familiar with these routes. If so, can you please let me know if I would be fine or should I be cautious. Please note that this trip would be with my family. So, cannot afford any adventures
Honestly, I don't want to borrow an ICE car from any of my friends and give them any opportunity to say "I told you". I would rather proudly show them that EV only is an option in India now.
I have done this trip last week. Sharing my experience. Apologies for long write-up.
I was travelling with my family. This was a short vacation and we did this along with a friend’s family who drives a big 7-seater SUV. Of course, to carry the luggage he will have to fold the 3rd row which means it can only seat 5 for long trips. So, we decided that we will drive separately in our cars till Chikmagluru and then for all local sightseeing we will use his big SUV so that all can travel in one vehicle.
I decided that I will mostly use the battery between 15% to 90% only. I didn’t want to wait at DC chargers after 90% charge as it would take too long. At the same time, I didn’t want my family to get nervous with low state of charge. So, my threshold from charger to charger was set to a max of 275 km.
Started off with 100% charge which was done at home using wall charger.
Stop 1: We decided to start at our respective homes but meet for breakfast before going our ways to meet again in Chikmagluru. So, this was breakfast stop at Manjira Hotels near Jadcherla on NH 44. It has a 50 KW charger with 2 guns by Magenta Chargegrid. When I reached there, a Nexon prime was already being charged. This meant I can charge only at a max of 25 KW speed. My car had SOC of 79%. I plugged in for quick top up. I decided that I will only charge till another car comes in. So, I charged till 96% just because the charger was free. Another Nexon came in and I stopped to make space for him. This charging station seems to be a busy place especially in morning. Along with mine, 4 cars charged here in 45 mins time that I was there.
Stop 2: My wife took over the wheel after breakfast and she drove 235 km to reach our second stop. This was a Tata charger at Hotel Blue Moon just after Gooty, Anantapur. I was worried that one of the other 3 cars at our breakfast point will reach here before we do and we may have to wait. But fortunately, all of them were Nexon primes which mean they had to stop at Kurnool for another top up. When we reached, the charger was free and we were at 33% SoC. We plugged in but the restaurant was still not ready for lunch service. So, we spent close to 40 minutes just walking around and then went for lunch. Just about the time we were finishing our lunch, one of the Nexon prime we met at breakfast reached. My car was already at 92%. So, I stopped charging and decided to move on.
For me, this stop was very critical one. Although there are few other chargers in Anantapur vicinity, they all are in IOCL petrol bunks and are not reliable. Only other option is 7.2KW Type 2 charger by Lion in a hotel in Anantapur. Had the charger at Bluemoon hotel didn’t work, I would have to move to plan B which might mean a break in Journey at Anantapur. Fortunately I didn’t have to go that way. Hotel Bluemoon is a nice facility and I think would be right place for other CPOs to consider setting up a higher capacity charger. A 50-60 KW charger here would be perfect for Hyd-BLR travelers.
Stop 3: Zeon Charger at Chitradurga. We reached here with 27% SoC. Road after entering Karnataka is not very good. So, we managed only around 6.1 KM/KWH mileage. Once again the charger was free and we plugged in. I really liked the Zeon charger. Easy interface to use. Display is bright and looking cool. So, we plugged in and went in for coffee and snacks. I was done with my coffee and got up to go and use washroom, I realized the charging had stopped. Found out there was a power outage. Checked with Hotel manager and he mentioned that this is frequent occurrence as their location falls outside Chitradurga urban. Being in rural area, they face power cuts often. While we were having this conversation, power was back. So, I restarted charging only to see the next power outage within 13 mins.
Now it was decision time for me. I was suspecting uphill terrain from there to Chikmagluru. So, was not sure if I can drive next 150 km with 56% SoC that I had. Plugshare was showing couple of BPCL chargers in Chitradurga. So, decided to go and check them out as they are not out of way for me. To my horror, both these BPCL petrol bunks had Chargers nicely wrapped in bubble wraps. They were not even commissioned but were showing online.
Now, couldn’t go back to Zeon charger as it would be mean driving back 15-20 km. We decided to drive without AC just to be sure. It was already past 6 pm. So, we thought we can do it. First time since I took delivery of my car back in August 2022, I drove the car without AC for this long.
Stop 4: We reached our homestay at Chikmagluru with 16% SoC. Though roads were not the best, terrain was not that steep and all my EV driving skills I learnt in last 6 months came to use. Our homestay had a 16 Amps plug in parking itself. Though I could just plug my portable charger directly, I decided to use my extension kit as I didn’t want to take chances with earthing.
My car was resting for next 3 days.
My friend's family was travelling back to Hyderabad after Chikmagluru but we had planned to make a stop in Hampi. So, we parted our ways and I started towards Hampi.
Stop 5: Though with MG ZS EV, I could do Chikmagluru to Hampi non-stop, it would be good 5 hours +. So, we decided to take a break in Chitradurga. So, back at Hotel Mysose Café Zeon charger. This time there was no power outage. Also, I really didn’t need to top up a lot. So, I just charged to exhaust my money in Zeon wallet. Since zeon has negligible presence in Telugu states, I know I wouldn’t be charging at their facility in near future.
Stop 6: Homestay at Hampi. Reached Hampi with 43% SoC. I had purposefully booked homestay here as I thought it would be easy to convince them to give me a 16 amp plug. Was not sure about hotels there. It is a shame that none of the hotels in such a highly visited tourist place has EV chargers. My homestay owner was seeing an EV for first time. He didn’t have any 16 Amp plug points near parking but when I called him before the trip he promised to arrange one provided I take care of extension cable. So, when I got there, only thing he could find was a geyser plug in an unoccupied room. So, I pulled out my 20 mtr extension cable and used that plug point to charge overnight.
I did not use my car for local sightseeing as I found auto-rikshaws more convenient.
Stop 7: Non-stop from Hampi to Hyderabad is not possible. So, I was looking for right route. My family made it easy for me as they wanted to check out Konda Reddy Buruju in Kurnool (couple of telugu movies made this famous recently). So, we decided we will stop at Hotel Sasya Pride for lunch. Reached there with SoC of 36%. Charged there till 83%. Checked out Konda Reddy Buruju and returned to Hyderabad.
Stop 8: Reached home with 22% SoC. Later charged the car back to 100% using wall charger at home.
Though manual calculation shows a mileage of 6.8 km/kwh, MG’s own calculation shows it at 7.3 km/kwh. Not sure if the difference is power lost while charging or if there is some other factor. Any expert opinion on this?
• Wait time should be slightly lesser. This is possible only with faster chargers. We need more 50-60 KW chargers on highways.
• IOCL and BPCL chargers – We just cannot trust them. I guess these companies and staff are just not serious about EV charging. They are just installing them due to grants and pressure from governments. I would just not consider them for my long trip plans.
• Homestays are better for EV drivers. They will provide you a 16 amp plug. Just speak to them before booking.
Here is the summary: