Mumbai - Pune - Mumbai in a TigorEV on a single charge. Possible?
I rented a Tigor EV. The range that I got is unbelievable. All hail the efficiency king. Value for money.
I was recently invited to speak about my experience of driving ~10,000kms in an electric car across India, at Ador Digatron’s Energising India Summit in Pune. Here’s the link to the talk I gave.
Normally, I would’ve made the trip to Pune in my MG ZS EV, but my parents decided to take the MG for a road trip. Data from their trip is available here. (Sorry, no trip report!)
The options that I had were to either travel by PuriBus (electric bus between Mumbai and Pune) or train. Since the event was in the Chinchwad area and with the railway station being too far from there, the train made no sense. While researching EV Taxis in India, I came across Mr. Gurmeet from EV Cars Corp based out of Mumbai.
EV Cars Corp (no website) is in the business of leasing out cars to clients based out of Mumbai for short durations. The pricing structure is based on a per day basis. He owns 2 BYD E6s and a few Tigor EVs. Tigor EVs are used for travel within Mumbai and E6s are reserved for outstation travel. Clients often take these cars to Nashik, Shirdi, Pune, and to other cities / towns in Maharashtra. P.S. : The BYD is registered as a tourist vehicle and can’t be hired without a driver.
I reached out to him asking if any of his cars were available for me to rent for an outstation journey to Pune and back on the same day itself. This drive would be no challenge to a BYD. So I decided to go with the Tigor. I had never used any of these cars for a whole day, so everything about the car was going to be pretty new to me.
I picked up the Tigor from Vakola (a nearby suburb) at around 8 am. The odometer on Tigor would complete 15k kms on my ~300 kms journey from Mumbai to Pune and back.
It makes sense to get out of Mumbai by 9 am and not get stuck in the city traffic. The weather is also great in the mornings, so I was strapped in for an exciting day. The event was scheduled for late afternoon, so I had enough time on hand in case there was a need to charge anywhere along the route.
I was comfortable with not using the air conditioner (AC), so I kept it off during my entire trip. While returning, I started from Pune at around 10:30 PM. The city traffic had died down and there was a nice breeze with a nip in the air. The full trip was done in eco mode, and I also drove the car in the single pedal mode - which meant that I would only use the accelerator, and brake via regenerative braking.
On getting into the car, I immediately struggled to get Apple Car play working, switching off the FM etc. The infotainment system was not familiar to me. The only thing I managed to do before starting was to set the Trip A meter to 0 and connect my phone via BT audio. I decided to figure out the rest of the things on the way.
First impressions - seats were thin, but still comfortable - more breathable than the MG. I had clearly not missed using a physical handbrake in a car. The Infotainment system couldn’t identify soft touches, but nothing too bad.
The two vehicles don’t deserve a comparison because they belong to different classes and cater to different price points in the market. For the past 6 months, my MG has been my daily driver, so there was some adjusting to do.
The MG has a battery pack of 50.4 kWh and costs around 28L on road. Tigor has a battery pack of 26 kWh and top model costs around INR 14L on road. Half the price, half the battery size and none of the fancy bling of the MG.
The Tigor is built as a rugged efficient car expected to take you from point A to point B in the cheapest possible way, for now. Soon to be replaced by the Tiago EV.
I am going to keep shuttling between units of consumption - km/kwh and wh/km. Here’s a quick reference guide, with numbers rounded :
I’ve done Mumbai - Pune drives multiple times, as day trips and otherwise too. I had done one with the MG ZS EV wherein I came back home with under 10% charge to spare, having driven around 356 kms in 94% SoC and with the AC on for 85% of the journey. Here’s the trip report about it.
I had asked around and most people said that it is advisable to charge the car at the Khalapur charger before climbing the ghats while going to Pune. People said that they usually end up at Baner / Wakad area with 10-20% charge remaining depending on where they start from Mumbai.
Plenty of chargers exist between Mumbai and Pune. My idea was to evaluate how well I am doing at 4 different checkpoints. The four checkpoints were - Start of expressway, Start of ghats, immediately after exiting the ghats and Balewadi (Pune). I would proceed only if I was sure to complete the next segment of the drive.
When I started driving, the consumption was hovering slightly above 100 wh/km (10 km/kwh) and this was without regen active (since the battery pack was 100% full). Seeing this number itself, I was glad that the car was an efficient beast when compared to an MG, which would usually be around 8 km/kwh (125 wh/km).
Here is the efficiency graph plotted at these checkpoints, along with more information.
Before climbing the ghats, I was already doing 86 wh/km (11.6 km/kwh), which in itself is excellent in terms of efficiency. I wasn’t hypermiling nor was I drafting behind a big vehicle. The car itself is pretty efficient! I drove the car like I would drive my MG. I was confident that I would make it to Pune without stopping for a charging break, which was pretty exciting.
Crossing the ghats, my efficiency dropped to 110 wh/km. Over 16 kms in 25 minutes, my SoC had dropped by 14%, exiting the ghats with a 62% SoC.
I was very happy to reach Balewadi, Pune with around 44% SoC still left. That meant I could’ve extracted around 300 kms on a Tigor with a 600 m incline climb.
After running a couple of errands in Pune, ended up in Chinchwad at the event site with 34% SoC remaining. If I had to turn back directly at 44% SoC, I would’ve risked coming back without charging, and I might have barely made it back.
At 34% SoC it was impossible to do the Pune Mumbai return leg, even with the 600 m decline. So I decided to top up my car with another 25-30% charge as a safety buffer. The car charged notoriously slowly at the 120 kW charger. I could add only 6.7 kWh in 22 minutes, translating to 18 kW charging speed, which is kind of disappointing. There was another Nexon charging though, so I had only 60 kW available. My hope was that the Tigor would charge at least at 1C i.e. 25 kW, which would’ve reduced my waiting time by 6-7 mins. I finally left from Chinchwad with 61% SoC.
If the charging speed is stuck at 20 kWh/h, then doing cross country roadtrips would be extremely difficult with the Tigor. Otherwise the efficiency of the car beats any flaw you can find in a basic entry level electric 4W.
The return leg was uneventful. I took the old Mumbai Pune expressway, before merging into the newer expressway just before the Ghats section. Coming into the city at 1:30-2AM is a pleasure on its own. There is a sense of pause while there’s still some gentle hustle and bustle.
The Tigor loves to ding dong ding at you for the smallest of things. I didn’t look for the setting to turn it off, but it was annoying. The car would never want you to leave the car door open and would beep till you closed it. It can also do with shutting off the infotainment screen after turning off the car. I don’t see the point of it being switched on even after turning the car off. The screen switches off only once you leave the car with the key.
Another non intuitive thing (because I was coming from MG) : I kept looking for 10 mins to figure out how to open the charge port. In MG, the car has to be unlocked and you just pop open the charging port. I tried various combinations of just the aux being on, or the car being off, or the car in ready mode with parking brake on and pressing the “unlock charge port” button on the dash, however none seemed to work.
I reached out to someone who owns a Tigor and they asked me to look at the right side of the driver’s seat, where one would usually find the spot to pop open the fuel tank. So intuitive yet so non intuitive. It probably made sense to have that setup in an ICE car, but it was very non intuitive for me.
I have gotten very used to the auto headlight feature on the MG, so much so that I don’t have to ever adjust the light stock during most of my travels. Manually switching on the lights on the Tigor was never a problem, but forgetting to switch it off is another story! The biggest feature I missed was auto hold and cruise control. I always had to have a light feather touch on the accelerator, which probably also helps in achieving these efficiency numbers.
Another thing I definitely missed was the 360 degree camera. Again, I had gotten used to the one in MG (albeit the quality of it isn’t something to write home about). I did not have access to the Z Connect app, which was a bummer. OEMs need to think about it and make the transfer of accounts easier for the folks who lease out the cars.
All of this makes me realize that just 6 months of driving a premium electric vehicle can make it difficult to adjust to the entry level car. Please note, all these comparisons I’m making here are directly with MG, which is in a different class and pricing bracket. The Tigor offers great value for money in the package that it is right now.
About the EV rental service : I appreciate the business that Gurmeet is trying to build. It provides a fantastic experience for someone who wants to try out an EV before buying. It also makes perfect sense for people who would like to hire an EV for their inter and intra city travels. They usually offer their cars with drivers for outstation trips because a non EV driver may find the entire range / efficiency math slightly overwhelming. Plus the charging infra is still a big mess enough to scare away any potential to-be EV converts. You can reach Gurmeet on his LinkedIn.
Would love to see such services pop up in different parts of the country!
Disclosure : This is not a paid review. I paid INR 1400 to lease the car for my trip, which is slightly expensive.
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Text & data collected by Priyans Murarka.
Graph & editing by Siddharth Agarwal.