Home / Reviews / Tata Nexon EV Detailed Review, Battery Range, Charging Time

 

In the current scenario of the government promoting electric cars, we spend a few days driving around in the Tata Nexon EV to see how it is to live with.

Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

In India, who doesn’t like SUVs? And to prove this theory, a mere glance at the sales charts is sufficient. Let’s go a step further and add — if it’s electric, staying in sync with the call for zero emission — it becomes a perfect match. Yes, we are talking about the Tata Nexon EV which fits this bill perfectly. And what makes this home-grown model even better is the attractive price tag it’s being offered at. So, it just made sense to spend a few days driving around in the electric vehicle to see how easy it is to live with.

Design
The conventional Nexon had received a five-star safety rating in the GNCAP crash test a little while ago and the EV is based on that. It’s reassuring to know that this model is built on a strong foundation. Not surprisingly, the Tata Nexon EV strongly resembles the internal combustion (IC) version, apart from the stylish front grille carrying the tri-arrow theme and the electric blue highlights. The bonnet is also raised slightly, hinting at the car’s compliance with the pedestrian protection norms. It would have received our five-star rating for build as well if only the panel gaps were more consistent. (Also Read: MG ZS EV Review)

Cabin
As you step inside, there’s some more of the signature tri-arrows and the electric blue highlights all around the cabin too. The space is pretty decent for a sub-four-metre car, but what surprised us the most was the low floor-board which gives the Tata Nexon EV a similar cabin room like the IC Nexon. The 30.2-kWh battery pack has been concealed so well within. That’s why my family members on the rear seat were pleased with the decent knee- and head-room. Plus, I had a very usable 350 litres of boot space to stow laptop bags, tennis rackets, and even some grocery bags.

XZ+ Variant
Driving around town, the cabin is extremely quiet, thanks to the improved sound-proofing as compared to the conventional Nexon, though the electric motor whine does filter through, as does the screeching of the tyres when pushed hard. Living with the Tata Nexon EV XZ+ Lux variant is easy, with most of the creature comforts that one really needs. This top-end trim has a few more features compared to the XZ+ trim we drove earlier during the media drive event. The extra bits include a sunroof, USB charging ports, split rear seat with adjustable head-rests, and premium leatherette seat-cover. The light colour seat upholstery looks nice and premium, though maintaining it could be a task.

Other useful features include auto headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, height adjustable driver’s seat and seat belt, climate control, and rear a-c vents. I like the grip of the leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel and the fact that it gets some basic command buttons.

Features
You get a rotary dial on the centre console as a drive mode selector, but a minor gripe is that it sometimes refuses to select Reverse or Sport at first attempt. There’s a simple driver’s information cluster but with all the essential data on display such as battery charge, driving range, average Wh/km, the selected driving mode, and a live graph showing the power consumed and regeneration going to the battery. A seven-inch infotainment comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can get a live feed of the navigation from your smartphone. I must mention that the kids really liked the sound of the music system, giving me the opportunity to rejig my outdated playlist. (Also Read: Hyundai Kona EV Review)

Connected Car
Being a connected car, the Tata Nexon EV gets a whole bunch of features that can be accessed remotely from your smartphone. I realised that these are enough to keep the millennials busy for most of the city commute. Talking of which, the centre console has a few coffee cup-holders but there’s no dedicated place to keep your mobile phone, let alone a wireless charging dock. Although the cabin layout looks visually quite appealing, it could do with better ergonomics. Say, for instance, the position of the USB and 12-volt socket or of the front arm-rest.

Drive
My drive was mostly from home to office and back and, later in the evening, the essential daily runabouts of a family guy (and I don’t mean the local bar). The performance and battery range were quite sufficient for this commute. The liquid-cooled battery pack powers the front wheels through a 129-hp electric motor. Being electric, it’s eerily quiet and free of the usual combustion engine clatter. With the foot on the brake, turn the rotary dial gear selector to Drive and you’re good to go. Thanks to the single-speed gearbox, it zips ahead seamlessly right from go. And the 245 Nm of torque is waiting for your command and begins the onslaught instantaneously. The good-natured Tata rep who came to drop off the car advised us to start in Drive and switch to Sport mode only after reaching 40 km/h. So, like good motoring journalists we decided to start in Sport. Oh, boy!

Performance
Obviously, Sport is plenty of fun provided you’re prepared for some phenomenal torque-steer and Tokyo Drift level of wheel-spin. The tyres smoke and screech trying to keep up with all that torque. The rubber just can’t keep up with the electrifying motor and the rigid chassis, which obviously have been selected keeping in mind longevity and the driving pattern of sane citizens and not manic petrol-heads. Maybe, Tata should have included ESP and traction control to limit all this. The Tata Nexon EV is quick and, in the traffic signal dash, can keep up, if not outrun, most other conventional cars. Tata’s claim of 0-100 km/h in 9.9 seconds does seem accurate and it even comfortably hit its limited top speed of 120 km/h.

EV Range
After driving the Tata Nexon EV aggressively for about 15-20 kilometre, I noticed the battery range dropping drastically from 96 per cent to 80 per cent, while the range dropped by 40 km. This was my cue to turn the drive select to the more frugal ‘D’’ mode. Though the company claims over 300 km of range for the Nexon EV, in the real world it should manage around 200-250 km on a full charge. Obviously, it all depends on various factors like how aggressively you drive, the road condition, mode selected, whether you have the a-c set in freeze mode, and the traffic situation, etc.

Battery Charging
This makes the Tata Nexon EV better for in-city use where you can charge it once and use it for the next four or five days. But there’ll still be some range anxiety, especially on day three or four, so you can’t be making any last-minute driving plans. This also means you need a secure parking spot where you can charge the EV, as you don’t want miscreants fiddling around. Like most other electric cars available in the market, the Nexon EV takes over eight hours to recharge the battery using a regular household electric socket, while a fast DC charger takes just 60 minutes to give it 80 per cent charge.

The other thing that you need to get accustomed to while driving an EV is the way brake regeneration slows down the car, instead of the usual coasting when you lift off from the accelerator. Essentially the system recharges the battery on the go by using the energy from the rotating wheels to charge the Tata Nexon EV’s battery. This improves the range of the car to a certain extent. More premium electric models also provide the driver the option of controlling the level of regeneration intrusion but the Nexon EV doesn’t have that.

Ride Quality
What it does offer is a plush ride that’s been prepped to take on the worst of road conditions. It ensures that the occupants remain comfortable even while tackling rough patches of roads. And even the body-roll is fairly controlled during fast cornering and the Tata doesn’t bob about on uneven roads either. This despite the fact that the battery pack adds over 100 kg of bulk to the Tata Nexon EV. Impressively enough, none of this reflects in the ride quality.

Handling
What also needs a mention is that this e-SUV gets a pretty decent 205 mm of ground clearance. The steering feels effortless and could do with some more weight but is precise none the less. Also useful are the hill-start assist and hill-descent controls, especially while entering or leaving multi-floor parking lots. The former ensures the car doesn’t roll back on an incline without having to apply the brake and the latter helps in crawling down a steep slope without accelerator input.
Tata Nexon EV Car India road test user review

Price and Variants
The entry level Tata Nexon EV XM costs Rs 14 lakh, while this top-of-the-line XZ+ LUX variant costs Rs 16.40 lakh (ex-showroom prices), which makes the Nexon EV the most affordable electric SUV available in India currently. The biggest attraction of owning an electric vehicle is its low cost of running and ownership because during maintenance there’s no engine oil-change, air-filter replacement or similar perishables needed. Not to forget that you don’t need to visit fuel stations ever again and there’s the satisfaction of zero tailpipe emissions. To charge this 30.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack you’ll be spending roughly about Rs 200, give or take. Having said that, the long-term reliability and wear and tear of electric cars in our environment is still unknown. But purely from the experience we had, living with an electric car is pretty doable but there’s a catch — only if you have a limited daily commute and own an IC car for your intercity travel.

Tata Nexon EV XZ+ LUX
Price: Rs 16.40 lakh (ex-showroom)
Battery: 30.2-kWh Li-ion, liquid-cooled
Range: 312 km (ARAI certified)
Max Power: 95 kW (129 hp)
Max Torque: 245 Nm
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; twist beam rear
Weight: 1400 kg

 

Also Read: All-electric Honda e Goes on Sale in International Markets

 

About the author: Sarmad Kadiri

 

 

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