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Would I recommend the Tata Tiago EV after 1 yr and a 2500 km road trip

The small electric vehicle has outperformed itself in every challenge I have thrown at it. It does have its limitations but those are more related to the current state of EV infrastructure.

BHPian piyush.bhandari recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

  • Model: Tiago EV LR XZ+Tech Lux
  • Purchased: June 2023
  • City: Pune
  • Odo: 7600 km

Intro:

We are a family of 3 and wanted a small city car. The main purpose of the car was to enable city commutes with our 1-year-old and occasional trips around the city. I did not want to pay anything over 10L as an expensive and/or bigger car just for city use did not make sense to me. This comes after 4 years of Tata Harrier ownership. Also, I did not want to go for a manual. I was inclined towards Tata products because I have had a major accident with the Harrier and the way it performed and saved us was something I can never be thankful enough for.

The Options:

It majorly boiled down to 2 options (both of which were slightly higher than my budget)

  • Tata Altroz DCA
  • Tiago AMT
  • Tiago EV

There was a third option Nexon EV, which we loved. However, we loved the concept of the Harrier EV more, so we reduced our budget for the current car to make room for the Harrier/Safari EV purchase in the near future. Making the current car our city/errand car and the SUV more of an intercity car.

The Decision:

I liked the concept of an EV. Since the first launch, I have been following the progress and current scenario of the EV infrastructure. Needless to say, it did not give me a lot of confidence, especially for drives outside of the city. However, once I arranged a test drive for the Tiago EV, I immediately fell in love. The interiors were way better than the first-generation Harrier (which was surprising). The quiet cabin with a decent sound system was extremely pleasant. It included all the tech that you might need on a day-to-day basis.

The decision was clear - at almost the same price, the Tiago EV felt more like the car I needed compared to the Altroz.

Tiago AMT was also considered, and it would have cost about 3L less, but I went ahead with a risk on the EV as I was more inclined towards this tech and did not like AMT as a gearbox.

The Good:

Post delivery, the experience was amazing. We always looked for reasons to drive in the city while enjoying the onset of monsoons.

  • City Handling - I cannot recommend a better city car than this. High-speed braking is a bit scary though.
  • Quiet Cabin - The silence is amazing! It takes some time to get used to. However, since the cabin is silent and the road noise isolation is not that good, you hear a lot of noise which you normally won't in other cars.
  • The power - You will never feel a lack of power, even in normal driving mode.
  • The Sports mode - Amazing! I somehow feel the initial power in sports mode is even better than Harrier's sports mode. Need to test them back-to-back on highways to confirm though.

Though a bit sceptical, I took the car to Lonavala after a planning session on Plug Share. There are a couple of chargers in Lonavala, therefore I was confident enough that we would make it back home safely. Once we returned safely from the trip, we started going a bit further every next trip and have not been stranded anywhere... mostly (more on that later)

The Bad:

Of course, it's a Tata, it will have niggles. There were a lot of alignment issues with the body panels when I did the PDI along with other minor problems. I'm glad that I took the time out to do a thorough inspection. I spent 2 hours on the inspection and shared everything with the representatives in the WhatsApp group they created. Most of them were sorted before delivery. I was glad they tried to solve most of the issues and not give me any BS to not get the work done.

Additionally, there are 2 major instances which I can recall over the last year.

First

I went to pick up a guest at night. When I was putting their luggage in the boot, I realised that the boot wouldn't close. Thought it was due to the luggage, but it was not. Had to get the guests home with an open boot. Thankfully the pickup point was not too far away from my house, and it was late at night. Next day at the service centre we came to know that it was an actuator issue. I asked them to order a replacement and get it changed ASAP.

"How long can getting a Tiago actuator take, right? It should be easily available. It's not like it's a special part just for the EV." I thought to myself.

Well, Tata did not disappoint here, it took them 2 weeks to get an actuator and let me know that I can come and get it replaced, 2 God damned weeks!

I was questioning my decision to buy a Tata. A lot of owners had bad experiences with their service and products. Was I going to be another "case"?

Second

Couple of months down the line, I had to run a quick errand at night and thought of taking the car out. However, the car won't even unlock! I tried a couple of things, and recorded a video in case something was needed to be shown to the service guys. The previous thought again crept into my mind, and I was almost sure that my money had gone down the drain. I called the RSA, took me about 30 minutes to get them to understand my situation and provide a resolution. I asked them to send the RSA guy the next morning as I did not want any further stress that night as I had been exhausted talking to them over the phone.

Next morning the guy came, checked a couple of things, unplugged the aux battery and reset some fuses.

He jump-started the car and told me that the Aux battery was discharged. I need to let the car run for a couple of minutes for it to be charged again. I was shocked as my daily running is about 10 kms and the possibility of the aux battery being discharged was rare.

A couple of things to note:

  • The RSA tried their best to provide a solution. I only feel that their best needs to be better.
  • The above were one-off problems and have never occurred since.

Other than these, I don't really have any complaints about the product.

The Ugly:

I was not sure what to put in this section, but then I realised there's a thing called Z Connect. Let's talk about it.

In a recent event with Tata Representatives, I highlighted the same, and I say it again, the App is just bad! The app as a whole package just does not work! It is marketed as an amazing tool to help you with your day-to-day driving, but it fails to deliver. The network reception of the car is generally bad. I have had situations where the car when standing on the road, where there are no reception blockers have very little or no reception. In case when there is proper reception, it takes painfully long to execute even simple commands. I have had situations where it has taken me about 5 minutes to try and execute the desired command. I don't see any convenience to it.

Whenever you want to use it, the commands get executed only 5 out of 10 times. And don't even get me started on their smartwatch app. I'm not sure how they have been able to make it even more useless than the mobile app, but they have. Eg: When you open the watch app, it asks you to open the mobile app to sync the status. If I had to open the mobile app, why on earth would I use the watch app?!

The inbuilt sim, from what I've heard is one which supports slow speeds and is capped at 6 gb per year. The lack of faster-supported speeds shows while using the app and deteriorates the overall user experience.

After all these shortcomings Tata is charging ~3500 rupees a year for this app, which does not make sense at all! I can't wrap my head around the fact that people are renewing their subscriptions to this app.

There are only the following features which you would use on a day-to-day basis:

  • Check SOC while charging/ checking the charging status.
  • Lock/unlock the car in case you do not have access to the key and just need to fetch something from the car.
  • Aircon controls. When it works, can be really helpful, especially in summers.

For me, the current state of the application does not bring a value which justifies this subscription fee. Therefore, I would not be renewing it. In case I have a long trip planned, maybe then I can go ahead and renew it because it's helpful on trips.

The Range:

Initially, when I got the car, I was getting something around 180kms on a charge in the city. However, where I lived, the traffic was relatively forgiving. This is when I was being extremely conservative with the car and not driving it like a normal car. I have shifted to a different part of the city now and am not that conservative with my driving. I am not driving it like a maniac with sudden acceleration or braking. I try to use the regen as much as possible.

The driving parameters have stayed almost the same - regen 3, AC always (at 26-27). Now I'm getting somewhere around 120-160 km per charge.

So yeah, not very convenient or even cost-friendly as of now. It is at par with what a Petrol Tiago would have cost per km.

I do not have a charger installed in my parking because the setup cost due to the parking location was costing me around 30k including a new electricity meter and a long distance from the central meter room. I knew I was not going to save this much money in a year and might have to shift the next year. So, it did not make economic sense to get the charger installed.

For the past year, my charging has mostly been DC Fast charging. I would assume the fast-to-slow split to be something about 80-20. However, slow charging also costs about the same price as fast charging if you're charging from an external charger.

So as of now, my running cost is about the same or higher than what a petrol automatic Tiago would have given me.

To summarise:

  • In Bumper-to-Bumper traffic: ~140 kms
  • In the medium to high traffic: ~170 kms
  • On Highway: 200+ kms (easily 200). However, I would suggest plan your charging stops at about 170 kms given the current state of charging infra.

The range prediction on the dashboard though is way off! I've had situations where the car predicted more than the claimed range post driving on the highway, at speeds about 80kmph and with always AC on.

Please ignore my cat's hair.

And at moments it has predicted more than the claimed range when the AEC is close to 200

So yes, you cannot rely on the predictions because this vehicle will not give you anything over 220 on highways with normal use, AC on, with people and luggage in the car.

The Trip:

So, I recently completed a trip from Pune to Kota, which is around 1000 km one side. Obviously, I had to plan the trip in advance and along with backup chargers. I was not entirely sure that I would be able to make it without any hiccups. However, I was able to complete my return journey without any issues other than the one time on return, I was stranded at Hotel Meghadoot in Ujjain (the whole ordeal can be found on Plug share and JioBP). I had to wait 2 hrs over there and would have had to stay in Ujjain just because of it (I had a stay booked in Indore). Thankfully I found an HP charger just opposite to hotel Meghadoot (added to Plug share) where I charged and left for Indore.

There were a few more trade-offs due to the small battery and the lack of infrastructure. Instead of taking the normal route of Indore -> Agar -> Jhalawar, I had to take a detour of Indore -> Jaora -> Jhalawar because there was no charger for about 200 kms on the prior route. Even the new route had one charger at a distance of 180kms till the next one in Jhalawar. Due to this I had to drive at 65 kmph on the Mumbai Delhi Expressway (speed limit 120 kmph) without AC. When you are travelling with family and have to make such compromises, it's a bit inconvenient, especially during the summers. Although I'm sure the infra would get much better in the next year itself as it's been growing rapidly YOY.

Just for reference, I've done the same drive multiple times with our Harrier. One thing I realised was that even though I was on the road longer compared to an ICE vehicle, I was less tired because of the automatic transmission (or lack thereof), the lack of vibrations, and regular frequent breaks to stretch and take a breather. This was something entirely unexpected as I assumed I would be more tired due to spending more time driving.

After an almost entirely successful trip, I'm confident that in the coming years, this car will be capable of doing even longer distances and not be limited to just the hustle and bustle of the city.

Final Thoughts:

Post this short span of ownership I couldn't have been happier with the car. It has outperformed itself, in every challenge I throw at it. It does have its limitations but those are more related to the current state of infrastructure around EVs. The drivability of the car, the comfort, the air conditioner, the music system, everything is as good as it gets in this segment.

Would I have wanted ventilated seats? Yes.

Would I have wanted wireless CarPlay and Android Auto? Obviously!

Would I have wanted better confidence while braking at high speeds? Hell yes!

Maybe the future iterations of the car would address these things. But currently, for what I paid for this car, and expected out of it... It has always outperformed.

I wholeheartedly recommend this car to the people around me looking for a car in this budget. As a city car, there would be only a few (if any) which come close to the experience you get with Tiago EV. If you can charge at your own place, then I don't think anything can even come close to the complete package that this car is!

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