If you aren't familiar with an electric vehicle, you'll be astounded by how silent an EV can be, and the Nexon EV is no different. The electric motor is rated at 127bhp/245Nm of torque and comes paired to a single-speed automatic transmission. It gets two modes - Drive and Sport. Slotting into the S mode, the Nexon EV will leave you startled with the way it sets off the mark, thanks to a relentless surge of torque right from the word ‘go’. The throttle response is extremely quick here, and you are pushed back into the seats with force. Tata Motors’ claim of a 0-100kmph sprint in 9.9 seconds is believable as the Nexon EV lurches ahead with gusto.
In D mode, the throttle response is subdued but it doesn't feel dull or ungainly. In fact, it is more than sufficient to putter-around in town or cruise on the highways. It is easy to keep up with the traffic or overtake, and is ideal to extract more range from the car. Tata Motors claims that the overall range takes a hit by 20-25 per cent when driven in S mode. It should be noted that Tata Motors has electronically limited the top-speed to 120kmph in both the modes. It comes with brake-energy regeneration, which is set at medium, and kicks-in the moment you lift your foot off the throttle. On the Nexon EV, it isn't intrusive but it takes a bit getting used to. You need to anticipate the vehicular traffic and the stop lights, and if done properly, the re-gen also helps in extending the range by a few kilometres.
As a part of the Ziptron tech, the electric motor is paired to a 30.2kWh liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery pack that delivers an ARAI-certified range of 312km. The battery pack comes with an IP67 rating, which is dust and water resistant under one meter of water. Tata Motors arranged a water-wadding test to take the Nexon EV through 300mm of water, and even after stopping the SUV midway through the reservoir, it came out without any issues. Tata claims a real-world range of 250-260km and in our time with the SUV, which involved some city driving and also gunning the car on the expressway in S mode, it did 190-odd km with 40km of range still remaining.
In terms of handling, the steering is quick with less than three turns lock-to-lock, and the SUV feels nimble on its feet’s when you dial the inputs. The steering is light at low speeds and weighs up nicely as the speeds increase, which inspires confidence to take long corners. However, if you floor the throttle on switchbacks, it tends to understeer as all the torque is instantly fed to the front wheels. As for the ride, the Nexon EV's suspension has a well-rounded edge to it. Because of the added mass of around 100kg (1400kg kerb), the springs have been stiffened. So, the low-speed ride feels a bit firm, but as you build pace, the suspension flattens out most road undulations and section joints. You'll barely notice any pitching or wallowing, and the body-roll is well contained too.