Electric cars till now in India have either been expensive or have too little range for making any sense. At the lower price point cars like Tata‘s own Tigor EV was not meant for personal car buyers hence this is the first proper affordable EV for India.
By affordable we mean at a price of Rs 13.9 lakh starting. You can buy the car across more cities (22) than any EV too with nearly 60 dealer outlets-which is more than both Hyundai and MG with their EV cars. Thus the Nexon is the first and most affordable EV that is available nearly throughout India. So is it any good? Here is a road test.
Let us head straight to the main talking point and that is the electric motor and battery. Unlike the Tigor the battery is larger and there is a more powerful electric motor as well.
The battery pack is a 30.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack and the electric motor makes 130 bhp and 245Nm. The battery pack is placed underneath the car and that reduces the ground clearance but not by much.
We will get to that later as for now let us drive it first. As with all electric cars the way the Nexon EV accelerates from zero or the way it behaves in traffic is super smooth.
There is silence and performance is instant but delivered in a smooth manner. There is no confusion or a jerky delivery which means any person can drive this car from a regular car easily. In standard mode the performance shock of an EV in terms of the instant torque is toned down and in every day mode, you will like it.
But what if you want performance? Shifting the round gear selector to ‘S’ does the job. Instantly the car gets more punch and you simply hold on as the car gets very quick. In-fact it is so quick that you feel the rest of the car including the tyres cannot match up as there is wheel-spin. But you do get really quick performance.
0-100 km/h is under 10 seconds and that is impressive. We will say one thing that the gear selector takes a second too long to engage and for example getting to reverse you end up using the gear selector twice as reverse does not engage fast enough.
We liked the steering though as it is light but direct and while the ride is a bit firm over the standard Nexon, it is still quite decent.
Unlike a Kona you cannot modulate the regen or in other words when you take off the brakes the regen transfers the energy and charges the battery. The regen is not tricky to get used to and you will soon get the hang of it.
Range is the main issue with an EV along with charging infrastructure but Tata claims 312 km per full charge and that is pretty good however in real world with a lot of the sport mode being used, the real world range is actually more on the 200-220 side- that too with a decent mix of fast/normal driving.
About the safety aspect, we actually drove the EV through water and the car can take any abuse which the normal weather conditions bring. So flooded roads is not an issue.
In terms of charging, when plugged into a Fast DC Charger, the Nexon EV will get to 80% battery within 60 minutes. In addition, the Nexon EV can be charged from any 15 amp plug point.
There are also 35 Mobile App based connected features including locating nearby charging points, TML service stations, set-up speed alerts, track vehicle location etc.
The battery and motor have an 8-year/1,60,000km warranty while Tata Motors have tied up with Tata Power for the charging infrastructure. You have mobile charging in case you get stuck and will have access to 300 charging stations plus of course Tata Motors will install in your home too.
Which variant to buy?
There are three trims only with XM, XZ+ and XZ+ Lux. Even the base trim is well loaded but the top-end has features like the sunroof, eight speaker Harman audio, height adjust driver’s seat etc.
Prices start at Rs 13.9 lakh to Rs 15.99 lakh and there is no rival at this price point. The Nexon EV gets the same updates as the regular facelift Nexon and the only difference is some blue EV highlights. This is the best you can get in terms of value and thus if you want a city commuter and have the charging infrastructure at your home/office then the Nexon EV makes sense, as after all it is India’s first proper affordable EV.
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