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2,20,000 km of driving experience with multiple EVs: My takeaways

Drive in Sport mode and enjoy to the fullest. No need to drive without A/C or limiting the driving speed to 60-70 km/h. Driving EVs is really fun.

BHPian siva61 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Getting into EVs - Mahindra e2o Plus

In January 2018, I was in the organic retail business. I was naturally attracted to minimalism and environmental issues, following e-mobility in the US and Europe, Tesla's progress, renewables, sustainability, etc. I was on a road trip from Tirupur to Kolhapur to visit many organic farmers in various parts of North Karnataka and South Maharashtra. On that trip, while returning via Bangalore, I decided to buy a used Mahindra e2o for my local use. That was the only EV available at that time. But once we visited the used car dealer, he insisted that I buy a new car instead. I had taken the test-drive, was fully satisfied, and booked two new cars in Bangalore for myself and my friend Karthic.

Bangalore to my home was 310 km and the new e2o had a range of only around 110 km. Instead of taking delivery by truck, I decided to drive it all the way. It wouldn't support fast charging. My first charge was after Hosur, at a fuel station. I charged it with a 15A socket for around 5 hours. The second stop was at Alps Hotel, Krishnagiri, where the manager charged me Rs. 2,000 for charging alone and extra for accommodation. I charged it for 7-8 hours. The third charging was near Omalur, in a local workshop where there was no proper earthing and the charger was busted and fried. It was a total flop, but I was happy nothing happened to the car. I arranged a truck and brought the car home safely. I still remember, while I was coming in the truck, I was dreaming that these places where I had tried to charge my EV would be ideal locations for fast chargers in the future for future cars. This experience changed my destiny and it is a different journey altogether as a CPO at present.

Likes

  • From February 2018 to May 2023, I had driven 51K km
  • In the initial days, I was driving around 110-120 km with a full charge
  • It was very good to drive in the city and traffic conditions. Enjoyed it very much
  • Maintenance cost was very low

Dislikes

  • I think there was no suspension in that car. It was too hard. Really bad to drive on bad roads
  • Service was too bad and getting spares was a headache
  • After 2 years the range dropped quickly. After 5 years of usage, it was practically giving only 70-80 km for a full charge, and that too would suddenly stop as if it's below 30%
  • Safety standards were low

MG ZS EV 2020

  • After driving the Mahindra e2o for 2 years, I decided I could drive only EVs and there was no other option. I had to wait and buy. In February 2020, we had 3 new EV models available in the Indian market - Hyundai Kona, Tata Nexon Prime, and MG ZS EV. Again, I traveled to Bangalore to test drive all these cars and selected the MG ZS EV. After the Covid lockdowns, I took delivery in October 2020.
  • Now after 3 years and one month, I have completed 1,00,000 km
  • Maintenance cost so far is Rs. 57,000
  • Changed the tyres twice at 45K and 90K km
  • True range at the beginning was 270-280 km. Even now there is not much of a drop in the range
  • SOH is 98.5%

Likes

  • Value for money. I bought the top variant for Rs. 23 lakh
  • DC charging speed is too good. Nowadays it just needs a 2 x 30-minute top-up charge (while having food breaks) when I am driving from Tirupur to Chennai (460 km)
  • Amazing to drive on good highways
  • After 3 years, I still feel it's a new car
  • Service response is very good
  • No issues with DC charging - no bugs/errors (compared to Tata cars)
  • Panoramic sunroof - My kids enjoy a lot on drives to hill stations

Dislikes

  • Headlights are the worst
  • Suspension - wobbling on bad roads is really bad

Nexon EV 2021

  1. In November 2021, I bought a Nexon EV Prime. It was just before the Max was launched. Mostly, this is for local usage and not for driving more than 200 km.
  2. 55,000 km driven in two years
  3. Maintenance cost - around Rs. 25,000
  4. Yet to change tyres. They may last for another 20K km
  5. True range of 200-220kms
  6. SOH 96.5%

Likes

  • Seating/driving comfort
  • Suspension

Dislikes

  • Charging speed too slow. AC charging only with 3 kW and DC charging only with 21 kW

TVS iQube 2022

I bought it in February 2022 and it has totally satisfied me so far with no issues. It's mostly used by my father. It's a simple model from a trusted brand. There is no need to research too much for me. I've ridden it for 16,000+ km.

Long journeys

My first long journey was in November 2020.

  • Day one - From Tirupur to Chennai (460km). At that time there was only one fast charger available (in Sangagiri). From Sangagiri to Chennai, it was 370 km and my new ZS can practically give only around 280 km per full charge if it is driven at around 60-70 km/h, sometimes without the A/C, hypermiling behind a bus or truck. I slow-charged it for 3 hours at Aiswarya Bhavan Tindivanam and reached Chennai comfortably. It was fun compared to today’s charging infra.
  • Day 2 - Chennai to Bangalore. There were no fast chargers in between. I had to charge at a Relux 7 kW Type 2 charger that was available in Ambur's two-wheeler workshop and reached Bangalore. There were Bescom chargers available in Bangalore.
  • Day 3 - Bangalore to Yediyur to Mysore. There was no issue.
  • Day 4 - Charged overnight fully using a Type 2 charger available at an MG showroom in Mysore and reached Mangalore. Charged fully at an MG showroom in Mangalore using a fast charger.
  • Day 5 - Drove from Mangalore to Kozhikode and charged again using a Type 2 charger at an MG showroom overnight in Kozhikode.
  • Day 6 - From Kozhikode to Tirupur.

That's around 1,700 km and there were hardly any fast chargers at that time.

In the last 3 years, I have driven to almost all parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and South Karnataka. I've done a Tirupur - Bangalore - Hubli - Goa - Udupi - Coorg - Tirupur trip with my family and many more long drives. There are plenty of fast chargers available now compared to 2020.

Long journey tips

  • Make sure to fully charge at home before you start long trips.
  • Don’t forget to take a portable charger.
  • Make use of the Plugshare app to plan where to charge. There is a trip planner on the Plugshare website.
  • Try to select reliable chargers with amenities. Check the last 10 check-ins.
  • Download and top-up the wallet before you start.
  • Plan your food breaks while the car is charging (in my case, most of the time, the car will charge quickly and there is no time wasted for charging)
  • If you want to charge twice, try to plan for 3 charges with quick top-ups on a long journey. Don’t waste time charging up to 100% at fast chargers. Generally, the charging speed will drop after 80%.
  • Don’t go with too low SOC. Rarely, there might be power cuts or a queue on holidays and weekends. There should be enough backup to reach the next charger.
  • Elevation also matters. In the hills, you might need 1% for 1 km, and downhill, you will get regen. Always try to have a 20% buffer to avoid range anxiety.
  • Initiate conversations with fellow EV owners who come to charge and help them by sharing knowledge.
  • Try to give ratings for charging stations on Google and Plugshare so that it will be helpful for others.
  • Make use of destination charging. For example, if you are staying at a hotel, try to talk to the manager or electrician in advance and ask for a 16A socket to charge overnight. Try to share an image/video of the car charging, using a 16A socket.
  • Getting RFID or Autocharge features will also help in saving time to initiate charging at fast chargers.

Takeaways

  1. 90% of the time, our cars will be charging at home or office. There are plenty of public chargers available in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. So no need to worry about charging. Charging an EV is like charging mobile phones. You can charge anywhere.
  2. Apart from personal use, all my office two-wheelers and cars are EVs only.
  3. There will be 8 years of battery warranty and even after that, it is most likely that the battery will last for another 7-8 years. For 12-15 years we can use EVs in my opinion. There will be a negligible drop in range after a few years.
  4. Drive in Sport mode and enjoy to the fullest. No need to drive without A/C or limiting the driving speed to 60-70 km/h. Driving EVs is really fun. No need to compromise.
  5. No need to download 100s of apps for charging. You just need Plugshare to plan. Zeon, Tata, Relux, and Jio are more than enough if you are in South India.
  6. With solar power at home and office, my local running costs are negligible.
  7. Make use of personal tax saving options. If it's in the company's name there is 40% depreciation on EVs.
  8. Running and service costs are very low. That makes the cost of ownership far lower than ICE cars. I had saved more than Rs. 15 lakh in comparison.

Once EV, always EV

Here's what BHPian vivek_lo had to say on the matter:

You are an EV Legend adopting EVs from the time of conception. I am currently looking to replace my 10-year-old Ecosport. Test drove many cars, Taigun, Hyryder, GV, New Seltos, and Elevate but not fully satisfied with any of them. One day out of curiosity, I took a ZS test drive and the driving experience was overwhelming. My only concern was planning the charging, not on the long trip but at home! I have Ather scooter for two years. Since I don't use it every day, I don't charge it routinely. When I want to use it, many times I find the available charge is not adequate for the return trip but too early to charge. This is the problem of the 65km range. But made up my mind to go ahead, since the 300km range is good for my weekly city drives. But suddenly my Ather showed a strange problem. The electricals including the engine stopped when I was riding! I took to the side and stopped. When I restarted, it worked flawlessly. This incident scared me and made me rethink ZS. Wondering if I should go with Seltos? The EVs seem like gadgets and could throw such problems. Have you ever faced similar issues in cars?

Here's what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

As a new entrant to the EV club, I find your long-term experience to be positively reinforcing. I agree, once you get used to the smoothness, the silence, and the instant pick-up, it is very hard to go back. I switched to my Jeep Compass after a week of driving my Nexon LR. The Jeep felt positively crude and lazy! Never thought I would say that about Compass.

You are absolutely right, EVs should be driven in sport mode, and we should enjoy the drive and not worry about range. My Nexon is closing in on 1000km, and I have driven most of it in Sport mode. The effortless torque is damn addictive.

Here's what BHPian shyampsunder had to say on the matter:

Loved the write-up.

I bought an EV only due to the work put in by you folks at Zeon Charging by building reliable charging infra in South India.

A lot of people in my friends and family circle look to me as a pioneer in driving EVs over long distances but I tell them about how you guys did such long trips without any fast charging infra!

You should definitely write more about running a fast-charging CPO for the wider knowledge of the community here.

Here's what BHPian rsidd had to say on the matter:

As a very new EV owner (about 80km so far!) I find articles like this very useful, and previous articles along the same lines convinced me to take the plunge. Within the city, if you can charge at home, just go for it. We have shared Bolt charging points, not yet installed one in our parking lot, discussing with the association. But the highway too seems very doable with a bit of planning.

I have only driven it in eco and city modes. Not taken it on the highway yet. But eco with Regen 2 seems basically perfect. I can do single-pedal for the most part. Too early to say what the range is. True, it's cheap to run even in sports mode, but (in my opinion) focusing on range also encourages good driving practices.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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