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New Delhi to Mumbai in an MG ZS EV - June 2022
The weather had not been kind to us from Delhi to GJ, but MH had a pleasant surprise!
Thank you for giving such an amazing response to the previous post. This part includes our return journey. My good friend Siddharth and the creator of the amazing maps decided to join me from Delhi to Mumbai.
Given my experience of covering the journey in two days, while returning, we decided to break the journey into three days so that we could meet friends along the way and do some sightseeing.
We made our way from Delhi to Udaipur on Day 1, did some sight seeing in Udaipur on Day 2 and headed to Adalaj near Gandhinagar, drove from Adalaj to Mumbai on Day 3.
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 weather was still going to be relentless till the time we entered Maharashtra.
ODO : 4329 km when I reached Delhi, 4595 km when I left Delhi.
Delhi experience :
We were staying at a friend’s place in Delhi in a DDA flats colony. As soon as I pulled in from the Mumbai leg of the trip, we had quite a few onlookers who were curious about an EV in their neighbourhood, that too from Mumbai.
They had the usual questions of “Kitna deti hai” (translation - What is the mileage of the car) and “Ghar par charge hoti hai kya?” (translation - Can you charge the car at home?)
If you’ve ever pulled in a DDA colony, you know that there’s always a fight to find the ideal parking spot. ZS EV is a slightly big SUV, but luckily enough, Siddharth had blocked a spot right under the house, and we could park there, albeit with some help.
We answered their question of charging at home by pulling in a custom 40m long 15A extension cable and put the vehicle on slow charge. Thankfully there were no grounding issues and the car was slowly charging overnight at around 2kW. It was important to slow charge the car after repeated fast charging cycles. The car is usually at 400V and draws around 5A from a 230V 15A socket.
I did some driving around in Delhi for work and clocked around ~250kms. I never really had to charge the car again, except one time wherein I wanted to experience Moolchand parathe at the shop and there was a MG Fortum fast charger at walking distance. Free juice and full stomach, win win.
I have been to Delhi many times and often I’ve relied on the metro network to go from one end of the city to another. There have been times when I would take the car or my friends would drive me around in the city. This was the first time when I was driving in the city and navigating it on my own. I had exclusively relied on MapMyIndia till this leg and boy, did it disappoint me this time around. It made me take random detours in Gurgaon. I did miss a couple of turns on the Delhi Jaipur expressway to turn into Gurgaon because the navigation didn’t alert me sooner, or didn’t show what lane I should’ve stuck in. Thus, for the entire trip going forward, I tried to use Apple Maps everywhere. It was also easy to use Apple Maps with CarPlay because I could easily share the location of the charger on Plugshare to Apple / Google Maps.
The ride to Mumbai was also going to be a different experience. This time, I would have a co pilot who was enthusiastic enough to look up chargers on Plugshare and the individual apps for availability and give them a call if needed. That was a huge help and took some load off me. Thankfully, Siddharth was equally excited about doing the road trip in an EV and could be labelled an EV nerd.
Our route was very flexible based on our moods and availability of our friends along the route.
However, the route that we took this time around was Delhi - Behror - Beawar - Udaipur (overnight) - Adalaj (overnight) - Karjan - Chikhli - Mumbai.
The main reason we wanted to divide the ride over three days instead of two was because
a) I was the only driver and driving over 1400+ kms in two days was exhausting as per my previous experience.
b) We had friends who we wanted to visit along the route
c) We also wanted to take our time and drive slowly, and have the flexibility of doing some sightseeing along the way and in Udaipur.
I was fairly confident of finding the appropriate chargers along the route mainly because I had just driven up a week ago. So charging along the route wasn’t going to be an issue. The only thing that we needed to pay attention to was the heat from Delhi to Gujarat. Friends in Bombay had been mentioning that there were good amount of pre monsoon showers across the city, and as a Bombay boy, I had really missed those.
Enroute Udaipur :
I had planned to ride on the Statiq 50kW wave from Delhi to Udaipur. I was honestly tired of charging at 25kW and 30kW chargers, so wanted to fully maximise the availability of 50kW ones. For those, I needed to stop and top up at Behror and Beawar. Behror is around 2.5h from Delhi, which would make a perfect breakfast stop given our ~6am start.
We got to Behror in time and I could hammer till there namely because I knew we were going to charge at a much faster rate. Plus, we didn’t leave with a full battery either. We left with around 77% SoC and reached Behror with around 43%. Our breakfast took longer than the charging time :D
In the last blog, I had mentioned that Statiq’s charger at Rani Bagh Resort in Beawar was showing offline on the Statiq app. When we were preparing to leave from Behror, we decided to check the Statiq app again and voila, online. I thought it was my lucky day today. Knowing that we had to cover a good amount of distance ~ 310kms (from Behror to Beawar) in increasing heat, I drove slightly cautiously.
Last time around I had to skip the Rani Bagh charger and go towards the Tata Motor’s Ajmer charger. The other options I had were to charge earlier at one of the Jaipur’s chargers for which I would have to not take the Jaipur bypass, which meant facing traffic. So that too was out of the way. We genuinely need more chargers along the route!
Half an hour into the drive we checked the Rani Bagh charger’s status again and it showed offline. Bummed, we were reconsidering entering Jaipur. However, we checked Plugshare and there was a successful checkin after my Mumbai - Delhi journey. I was determined to find out what exactly was the scene, so we called up the Behror charger’s hotel and they told us that there’s a power cut and hence the charger is showing offline. The hotel guys also told us that it will be available online after 2pm. Our expected time of arrival was around 2:45pm, so we were slightly relieved, but still on the razor’s edge.
We tried calling the charger again once we had left the Jaipur by pass and were about to reach Ajmer. The hotel guys didn’t pick up. So we called them from another number, and this time enquired about availability for a room for 2 people to stay overnight. Casually we also asked them if they had power at the resort because we had gadgets to charge etc. They said the same thing that the power is expected to be back by 2pm or so. Trusting them, we headed towards Rani Bagh Resort.
We checked post 2pm and the charger was alive on the Statiq app! We were elated and just hoped that there was no car charging, because we didn’t want to wait. We pulled in and the charger was empty. We put the car on charge and enquired where we could have lunch. The resort guys opened up their kitchen and were ready to serve us whatever we wanted. We had a delicious lunch and with the car at full charge, we headed towards Udaipur. The journey had some uphill climb to reach into Udaipur, and we didn’t know whether there would be slow charging capability at our hosts’ place.
We had enough luckily charged enough to reach into the city and do some sightseeing at night and next day in the morning. The drive to get into Udaipur is always amazing and is flanked by gorgeous sights all around. The big and wide highways are very inviting.
Siddharth had this idea of visiting Rajasamand lake, which is roughly 1h before Udaipur, and a very short detour from the highway. We loaded it on Apple Maps and we took the detour. We reached there just in time before the sunset and soaked in the views of the majestic 16th-17th century man made lake. There were a handful of tourists around and it was really an amazing sight to see. Turns out, this was one of the oldest man made interventions in Rajasthan to preserve and hold water for the tough times to come.
After reaching Udaipur, we went to our friend’s place, parked our car and had some well deserved dinner. We relaxed for a bit and went off to sleep. The next day, we wanted to visit the Monsoon Palace (Sajjangarh Fort) whose constructions was started by Maharana Sajjan Singh. This beautiful white marble building overlooks the entire city of Udaipur and the Fateh Sagar Lake.
The lake was originally built to observe the monsoon clouds and was deemed to be converted into an astronomical center, however those plans fell through. Post our visit at Sajjangarh, we went to the Tata Power charger in the middle of the city and put our car to charge for at least 1-1.5h (because 25kW!). Last time around, I was almost locked inside the charging complex here. However, this time, it was day time and was fairly confident that there would be help easily available should it happen again. I pulled in the complex to charge, and was quickly greeted by a couple of TATA showroom employees. They asked me to keep the car outside and pull the cable out to charge. This sounded like a more reasonable way to do it, and I couldn’t do it last time around because the spot was ICEd. (A non EV car - ICE car Internal Combustion Engine car - had parked on that spot). The showroom also requested us to do so because they had a delivery or two of the vehicles and they needed to use the tight space in the complex for the same. Suggestion : Do mark the parking area as a designated spot for EV charging only!
Post this, we headed to the nearby Pichola lake and had our pizzas with this view.
After filling our bellies and seeing that the car was almost fully charged, we made our way back to the charger and off we went to our next destination, which was Adalaj.
I had never heard of this town before this trip. We put the location on maps and it was a delight to see that we didn’t need any extra charge to get there. We had left from Udaipur at around 2:45 pm and were expected to reach in little under 5h, covering almost 250kms.
There was a lot of rock cutting on the outskirts of Udaipur. A stone bounced off the foot of the hill and hit our car. This was the impact.
We reached Adalaj with around 30% charge in a beautiful township where my friend was staying. We got settled in and put our car to charge. Again, it was important to AC charge the car after repeated fast charging sessions, plus the next day, we would have more fast charging sessions. We freshened up and headed to a local Kathiyawadi restaurant for some good food. It was open air seating, which one rarely gets to see in the cities because of pollution and constant traffic noise. We had some amazing dinner and we decided to go for a drive in my friend’s car around Gandhinagar area. We visited GIFT city, which is slightly far off from Gandhinagar. I had always assumed it was something like Bombay and Navi Mumbai, but it was still further away.
GIFT city was like an extension of Golf Course Road, Gurgaon. Big glass buildings with important company offices, some infra work always ongoing etc etc. There was also a school, possibly for the parents’ children who work in this area. All in all, the weather was kind to us and we enjoyed our time there.
The next day, we had some gathiya and fafda and were ready to head towards home, Mumbai.
Adalaj - Mumbai
Honest Restaurant, Karjan
We left from Adalaj with around 80% charge, which gave us enough range to reach Karjan, which is after Vadodara but before Bharuch and roughly 175kms away. In today’s part of the journey, I had decided to ride on ChargeZone’s 30kW chargers. They were slightly faster than the 25kW ones. ChargeZone says that their chargers are 60kW, but even with a single car capable of taking more than 30kW, the chargers can’t provide more than 30kW speed. They should ideally be labelled as 2x30kW chargers for accurate representation. However, I wanted to verify this, and well, they should change it to 2x30kW soon! Sadly there aren’t many 50kW chargers on this route, so it had to be 30kW ones.
I also wanted to try out ChargeZone to test their book a slot feature at the charger. The good thing is that the charger allows you to book one hour slots and you can arrive within 15 mins of the charge starting time on either side. And if I recall correctly, the charger allows you to book time slots that are only from say 1pm to 2pm and not 1:30 pm to 2:30pm. I think it is a minor software update that can be pushed, should it become critical. Given my previous experience with the non charging at Navsari, enroute Delhi, at the ChargeZone charger, I decided to get Siddharth to book a timeslot to the closest hour of our arrival.
We reached there and there was a Nexon that was trying to charge the car, but couldn’t because one of the charging gun was reserved for us. It was a newly bought Nexon by a local and they were trying out fast charging and trying to understand how it works. Sadly they were using the same gun that we had blocked, hence were unable to charge. They did try charging using the other gun, but faced the same issue that had occurred with us at Navsari. I was glad that I had booked the slot and I could continue charging. Since they were locals, they were ok to wait and hang around and charge later.
Karjan charger is placed with a decent sized foodcourt. It is a lot bigger with many more options than the Kismat Kathiyawadi charger near Bharuch. We reached there with around 30% charge and planned to stay there while we finished our lunch. That took us around 50m and the car was charged up to close to 80%. It was more than enough for us to reach to our next charging stop, which we hadn’t figured out yet.
Hotel Empire, Chikli
After departing from Karjan, we took a short stretching break. Coincidentally, we pulled up in a foodcourt and it had a ChargeZone charger. I was so delighted to see this sight. I didn’t have to charge, but it was great to see that there was a charger, in a very random foodcourt where we decided to stretch our legs. Strangely enough, it was not online / powered on. After enquiring with the locals, they said that it has to be turned on manually by the operator in an office sitting next to foodcourt. The app also showed that it was offline. However, we didn’t bother enquiring with the folks because we didn’t need to charge and we had to head to our next destination, which was Hotel Empire, Chikhli.
Ofcourse, once we finalised the charger location after checking Plugshare and ChargeZone app, we decided to book a slot for us. We were relatively stress free after that. We reached the charger with around 40% SoC and decided that this would be our last charging stop before we reach Mumbai, which was still around 230-240kms away. It was almost evening and we hadn’t had much food except at Karjan. We decided to have some snacks here and 55m just went past. We could see the clouds coming in from Maharashtra and Siddharth recorded a timelapse of the clouds passing by while we were charging.
Before we plugged in, we saw a Tigor struggling to get their charging session started at the charger. They had called ChargeZone and the local restaurant guy was helping them out. It turned out that they had booked a charging slot for 5pm but they reached earlier by 4pm or so and were trying to get their car charged. The charger’s display wasn’t working because there was some maintenance work / service work ongoing. The ChargeZone app guys were confused because they could see the booking for 4pm but couldn’t initiate charging for some reason. It was actually our booking for 4pm for which the Tigor was trying to charge.
Once the ChargeZone team confirmed from the backend that my car had arrived to charge, they initiated the same from their end. I didn’t have to enter the OTP or rather couldn’t because the screen wasn’t working. Naturally, they moved and tried to initiate charging from the other gun and it worked.
We were extremely excited to cross Gujarat and enter Maharashtra. Here’s what was greeting us.
This was also the first time that I would be driving this beast in the monsoons. I was pretty excited and slightly scared about the performance. However, the car pleasantly surprised me and performed brilliantly.
I didn’t pay much attention to efficiency or numbers by the end of the trip, however, in my next road trip in the monsoons, I’ll be very keen to evaluate the impact of rains and head / tailwinds if any! I currently don’t have any handy tools to find out exact head wind / tail wind at a particular location. If you know something that I can use, then please drop a comment or an email.
We were greeted with massive traffic while entering the city, however that is the name of the game, so it was alright. Overall the journey was very pleasant and relaxing.
If we had the flexibility, we would’ve planned to stop at more places along the route just because there’s too much to see in the country! Ability to do that with an electric vehicle is just cherry on top!
The car gave us literally no major issues in the entire 3200km journey, so that’s a big :thumbs up:
There was little to no range anxiety despite a relatively not so strong charging infrastructure all around.
Chargezone chargers are more inefficient than the Statiq chargers. I’m still collecting more data and crunching numbers, but from the looks of it, Chargezone chargers may have an inefficiency of roughly ~7-9%. The car got only 23kW, however, we were charged for ~25kW. This happened at least twice with me. Statiq, on the other hand, was under 5% loss.
This country is huge. We were literally driving one full day across the state of Rajasthan and another pretty much full day across the state of Gujarat. And there is so much to see!
The running cost was around INR 2.3/km, which is surprisingly cheaper than the previous run which was at INR 2.5/km. But this run also included at least one AC cycle at Adalaj, which could’ve impacted the numbers. But relatively speaking, the rates are pretty much similar for charging at 25kW, 30kW and 50kW chargers. Take your pick!
Here are the concise numbers :
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