Mumbai - Udaipur - New Delhi
A 2 day journey covering 1400+ kms at 40 degrees average temperature
I had to be in Delhi on 5th June for World Environment Day. We had a New Delhi premiere for Veditum’s documentary - Moving Upstream : Ganga, at India Habitat Center.
My parents decided to join the trip till Udaipur because they too wanted to be a part of this road trip. It was going to be blistering hot with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius.
Read on more to find out! Or if you’d like to skip the text and dive into the data, here is the spreadsheet.
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Status Update :
The home charger was installed soon after my parents came back from their Igatpuri trip.
ODO : 2884km prior to starting the trip
I broke the idea to my parents, who were very supportive of their single child wanting to do this big a roadtrip. A couple of days later, they decided that they’d like me to drop them off at Udaipur, so that they can do some sight seeing. Alright then, it was going to be a memorable ride.
I had roughly two weeks to prepare and plan and map out the routes and the charging locations. I wanted to do this route in the most efficient way possible. Given my previous experience with Gulbarga route, I was inclined to extract the maximum from the battery and get the maximum range. However, with parents joining, the most efficient driving could go for a toss and would be completely different from say when I was driving alone.
Figure 1 shows the route that I took. The usual route from Mumbai to Delhi goes as follows : Mumbai - Surat - Vadodara - Godhra - Udaipur - Jaipur - Delhi.
There are close to none fast or slow chargers between Vadodara and Udaipur via Godhra. The distance between Vadodara and Udaipur is 344 km with an incline climb of 650m. That would simply not be possible in an MG without a slow charge somewhere between.
The closest best option was to take a detour via Ahmedabad / Gandhinagar, which added 10 more km, with plenty of chargers, with the last one being Capital EV in Gandhinagar, which is still 245 kms from Udaipur.
We were a total of 4 passengers, my parents, a relative and me. My parents had planned to stay in Udaipur for 4 days and my trip was going to be for a total of 9 days. The MG had enough boot space to carry luggage for everyone, with more to add. 4 people is also the ideal number of passengers in MG to go on long trips.
Mumbai - Udaipur :
Udaipur was a natural overnight halt for us because it breaks the journey in almost two equal halves. Mumbai Udaipur is roughly 790 kms and Udaipur Delhi is around 650 kms. Plus, parents also wanted to stay in Udaipur. So this lined up perfectly.
We decided to leave from our house at 4 am on 3rd June, Friday. My initially planned first stop was expected to be at Karjan’s Honest Restaurant charger which is roughly 374kms from Mumbai. It was possible to cover this distance without AC and on full load. The journey was expected to take 7 hours, but there’d be breaks in between, obviously. Thankfully, this route had enough chargers along the way, till at least Vadodara, that minor changes in the plan wouldn’t cost us too much wrt time lost.
The time from 4AM to 6:30AM was very pleasant and we didn’t need to switch on the AC. However, once the sun was up, we had to switch on the AC. Thus, my Karjan plan was not going to work out anyway.
Hotel Fun City, Navsari
We did decide to take our first break near Navsari at Hotel Fun City. We had been driving for around 3+ hours and a break was in order. There was a ChargeZone charger at the Hotel. I had not used this network before and many chargers on the initial stretch belonged to ChargeZone, so I downloaded the app the previous night and topped up the account with INR 1000.
I reached there and saw a Nexon was already charging. It had two guns, 30kW each, so far so good. I plugged in the car to charge and family went off to have their tea / coffee. The fellow Nexon owner was headed to Ahmedabad, and this was his second stop of the journey so far. He was intending to do a deep charge so that he could go all the way to Vadodara’s Taksh Galaxy mall for the next charge, which is around 170kms, which is pretty much 80-90% of the Nexon’s battery capacity.
As soon as I plugged in my charger, the Nexon stopped charging. I had read about this issue on multiple groups, but experienced this first hand. It was disappointing to see such behaviour. He told me that he needs only 10-15% more to top up and he can then leave. We anyway had enough charge to get to either Karjan or the charger prior to that.
Parents’ tea / coffee got over before the Nexon could complete the charging, so we went ahead. We could barely add any charge to the car.
Kismat Kathiyawadi, Near Bharuch
We drove for another 30 mins to get to this charger from Navsari. Please beware, there are hundreds of Kismat Kathiyawadi on this route, but only one of them has a charger, afaik. Please use the location given on the Plugshare app to reach there.
After seeing this, I was like, yeah, this is going to be a long stop. I had pulled in with around 15% SoC and it was around 9-10 am and it was starting to get really hot. The next stop would’ve been Capital EV at Gandhinagar, which was around 211 kms from here. Quick math would tell me that I need around 70 % charge assuming a range of 300km with AC on and full loaded car.
I called up the number, the guy was quick to pick up. He said that he is enroute. He showed up in 5 minutes, which was a great sign. We plugged it in and it started charging smoothly. This was the first time that I had seen Tirex chargers. It was a single gun 30kW charger. Plugshare says that it has both CCS2 and ChaDeMo, but I have edited it to say that it has only 1 CCS2 port.
There are a couple of eating options at the charger, and there is also a mall, which was shut at this time in the morning. The family decided to have their breakfast and stretch their legs for a bit. The guy was hanging out and about the charger while the car was being charged, because he assumed that it would be a quick pitstop. We charged for around 1h15m and we were ready to leave at around 82%. When we were leaving, a Kona pulled up with around 80k kms and has had a battery change too.
The payment is also cashless here. You can UPI the amount to them via any of the apps and they charge a flat INR 18/unit.
Capital EV, Gandhinagar
My mom was behind the wheels for this leg of the journey. She still hasn’t had a lot of experience driving the EV, so the efficiency took a hit and we reached Gandhinagar with around 6% charge. It was, on an average, 40 degrees outside and the air conditioning was on at full blast.
The main reason to charge here in Gandhinagar instead of Ahmedabad was, that we were going to have an incline till Udaipur and the distance that we had to cover from Gandhinagar was at least 245kms.
We somehow reached Gandhinagar at around 2pm, which looked like a town with no life because of the heat. Capital EV charger is located in an industrial estate, so lunch options there don’t exist. We decided to drop off my parents at a restaurant which is around 4km away from the charger. I’d go to the charger, plug it in, then hitch a ride back to restaurant for lunch. I knew hitching a ride wouldn’t be a problem because I had read that Capital EV is like BluSmart, wherein they have fleets of electric vehicles plying in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
The location was easy to find and the charging spot was unoccupied. However, there were a bunch of older Tigor models charging, which were their fleet cars. I could count at least 4 chargers in that location, which is more than what I had ever seen in one go.
The TataPower one was open and I quickly plugged it in. The charging session was started and I went inside to enquire about their fleet service, to drop me off to the restaurant. They asked me to download the app, and book a ride from there. The driver, the car and the passenger were all in the same location, still the drive had to be booked via the app. I paid around INR 80 for the 4km drive, which I thought was preposterously expensive.
Once at the restaurant, I checked the app to see the speeds that I was getting. It was disheartening to see that I was getting only around 21kW. Possible reasons could be - extreme heat was slowing down the charging on both the charger and the battery side, or it could also be that because there are already many cars that are charging here, it decided to supply less power due to the load on the local grid. I don’t know yet.
We were ok to wait in the restaurant for some time if it meant that the car would have enough range, with AC on, to get us to Udaipur. We decided to go on till 93%. I started making my way back to the charger when it was around 90%. Thankfully two gentlemen gave me a ride on their bikes till the charger. I unplugged the car and went to pick up my parents.
It was interesting to know that Capital EV has around 50 cars in their fleet and a quarter of those charge regularly at the charger in Sector 25. Interesting, but expensive ride.
TML Chambal Motorcorp, Udaipur
The drive till Udaipur was a pleasant one, except for the rerouting that MapMyIndia was wanting us to do. It wasn't too far out that we realised the estimated SoC at arrival in Udaipur immediately went down by 10% and the time of arrival too shot up by 45 mins.
We checked Google maps and realised that MMI has changed our route and is asking us to go via some weird inside routes. We were thankfully only a few kms off the main route, so we quickly got back and started following google maps.
For the better part of the journey, MMI still wanted us to take the other route and kept showing us wrong directions, SoC and time of arrival. It was pretty annoying and frustrating. I’ll be writing a post on my experiences of using MMI in the MG ZS EV.
The drive to Udaipur is a very pretty one, save for the multiple diversions that exist on this route, as of now. The climb, the wide 8 lane highways with little traffic are a sight to see and drive.
I had emailed Kamleshji and Atalji from PlugInIndia about this trip and they had just released a video of their Tigor journey from Ahmedabad to Udaipur. There were a lot of learnings from the video that I kept in mind.
We reached Udaipur, dropped off parents at the hotel and I went to get the charging done at the TML Chambal Motorcorp. When I plugged in at around 9:30PM, there was a Nexon that was already charging up, which seemed like it belonged to the showroom. However, there was another charger which was open, so I plugged it in and the session started. I decided to top up till at least 70-80% so that I could skip a charger or two the next morning if needed.
There was a guy at the showroom / outside the shop and he said that this charger is accessible 24x7. There are two ways to get in the showroom charging area, and by the time I returned, both the gates were locked. I was too exhausted and this just frustrated me to no end. After looking around for a bit, I found a guy who was doing his own thing in the complex. I requested him to open the door and I could finally get to the hotel to get some sleep for a few hours, with 76% charge.
Udaipur - Delhi :
TML Mudgal Motors, Ajmer
I had originally not planned to stop at Ajmer because it was a 25kW charger. My original plan was to hammer till Beawar and charge at Statiq. I was really keen to try out the Statiq chargers, given whatever I had heard in the community circles, and also because it was finally a 50kW (oh god, I was so tired of charging on 25kW).
I was merely 10kms away, when I checked the Statiq app only to find that the station was offline. Firstly, the charger was on the other side of the highway, and it didn’t make any sense to go and check out the charger. I later found out that this happens because of power cuts at the resort. Being disappointed, I had to rely again on Tata Power’s charger at Ajmer, which was around 50kms away from Beawar. Very grateful to Tata Power. However, I had to drive cautiously because there could be a possibility that the Ajmer charger too could be broken. So I verified again via the Tata Power app and it said that it was online and available. I just hoped that I would be able to charge there with no issues.
I reached the station, which was very conveniently located, off the highway. We plugged it in and the charging started with no issues. However, I was pulling in only 22kW. I realised that the next couple of chargers on the route were only 25kW, unless I decided to take a longer detour by choosing the other Jaipur bypass and access Xobolt chargers, which were only 30kW. It would have made sense to take the detour if they were 50kW.
I decided to charge till the time my patience ran out and hopefully I’d have enough charge to reach Behror to ride on the 50kW wave. There were two charging locations, relatively nearby, with more than one charging network present there - Statiq and ChargeZone. Wasn’t excited by either given my previous experiences. However, I didn’t have any better options.
Obligatory, in the OG Bjorn style, I had type 3C discharge because of something I had in Udaipur. Handy reference.
Hotel Highway Xpress Statiq 50kW
I left from Ajmer with 84% SoC, which was enough for me to keep the AC on and hammer till the charger. So I proceeded to do the same. The route was pretty good, the weather pretty bad - 42 degrees Celsius. Amazing highways. I pulled in the charging area and could only see ChargeZone initially. I thought that I was tricked by MapMyIndia maps yet again! I only found out that the CZ charger was kaput. I looked around and finally found the Statiq 50kW charger. I plugged in and the session started smoothly.
Goes without saying, I checked the Statiq app a couple of times enroute to see whether the charger was still working fine and if it was occupied or not. It felt so great to see your car almost fully charged in under an hour. The hour was perfect time for me to grab some lunch and catch up on emails and notifications.
The other option was to probably stop at Hotel Highway King after Behrour. However, it said that it is a 60kW charger, and I wasn’t sure if my car would be able to take in 60kW + I needed at least an hour’s break to get done with my lunch and reply to some notifications. Hence I decided to stop earlier here. Also, Highway Xpress was at INR 17/unit whereas Highway King was INR 20/unit. Lastly, there were too many Highway Kings on that highway and I didn’t want to experience another Kismat Kathiyawadi.
I petition the highway dhabas to come up with slightly unique names, so that it is just easier to plug in and look for them on Google Maps.
I had an errand to run in Gurgaon and reached Delhi safely with around 46% SoC. The journey was complete and was quite a success!
There have been a lot of learnings from this journey. I am looking to alter a few things to see if the journey can be made more comfortable / easier. The return trip will start later this week and the experience, shall of course be documented.
Closing thoughts and learnings :
Don’t underestimate how bad the 40+ degree heat can make you feel. One possible solution would be to drive as much as possible at night / super early morning.
The AC on eco mode does nothing in the MG. Should only switch to it when you’ve cooled your car enough in Normal or Sport mode.
MG already has the hardware for ADAS, it should unlock adaptive cruise control already!
Don’t simply rely on the car’s navigation.
Driving the car for two days or being on the road for more than 30h out of 40h can be exhausting on the body. Plan more breaks → plan for longer vacations. I think 600km / 10h is a sweet spot for a single day’s travel in India. I am yet to do a drive in South India and this thought can change based on those upcoming experiences. Ofcourse, this is also based on the availability of charging infrastructure.
The tolls can add up quickly!* The toll costs initially listed were INR 795, but the actual cost is INR 1770.
The running costs were around INR 2.5/km. It totally makes sense for a party of 2 or more to travel such long distances in the car to make it cheaper than flying. Of course the joy / pain of doing the long trips is priceless!
The maps were created by Siddharth Agarwal - you can buy him a coffee here.
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Edit : The post is edited to reflect the toll costs.
Hi Priyans, Very interesting insights here. Could you also write about your experiences with charging issues at home/society/workspace in Mumbai? Would love to know your experience.