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    Tata Nexon EV Real-World Range Test Review

    Authors Image

    Desirazu Venkat

    100,319 Views
    Tata Nexon EV Right Front Three Quarter

    Why I would buy it?

    • Feature list
    • Driving experience

    Why I would avoid it?

    • Average range
    • Poor charging infrastructure

    Verdict

    The Nexon EV in terms of interior space and features as well as practicality copies everything from the regular Nexon making it a competent product. The novel nature of driving an electric car makes the Nexon EV a fun and fast car to drive. It still rides beautifully and while the additional weight from the batteries has changed the handling, it's not something that would affect the driving experience vastly. The main issue for a car like the Nexon EV is that while Tata claims a range of 312km, in our real-world tests we got a significantly lower range.

    Action

    This lower range would have not been an issue had there been a fully developed charging network across the country. We are still some time away from that and it makes cars like the Nexon EV currently limited to urban areas or in the purview of someone who wants to be in with the times, have space and bandwidth to have a charging point or lastly keep this as a secondary vehicle.

    Powertrain

    Engine Shot

    The Tata Nexon EV’s electric motor produces 127bhp and 245Nm of torque and is powered by a 30.2 kWh lithium-ion liquid-cooled batteries pack. There’s a single-speed gearbox powering the front wheels. The battery pack is certified for IP67 level of protection and the car can wade into a foot of water with no worries which when combined with a 205mm ground clearance is quite a good offering of this kind for our roads. At 1440kgs, it is significantly heavier than the ICE powered Nexon and that’s due to the battery pack which sits low down and has been positioned to give the car a 50:50 weight distribution.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The Nexon EV is offered with two drive modes with D being more city-oriented with a reduced torque figure while slotting the car into S mode will give you access to all 245Nm of torque and is useful on an open road where you have to go faster.

    On paper, the engine and battery pack seems like a good deal but to truly tell you what they are capable of we had to dig deeper. For this, we put the Nexon through its paces over a mixture of city and highway driving conditions. We also strapped on our testing equipment to give you some numbers in terms of the Nexon EV's performance.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Highway

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Now given the Nexon EV’s relatively small battery pack, range and yet to bloom charging infrastructure across our country, you are never going to be crunching the miles over long distances. It’s something you would have to plan in sequences if you need to do and even that would be dependent on where you can get charging for the car. Nonetheless, if you venture out on the highway, the Nexon EV makes easy work of picking up and dropping speed due to the instant availability of torque.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    With two people in the car and with a full charge, we were able to extract 233km from the drivetrain while adding three more adults to the mix dropped the highway range to 225km, an impressive figure for the amount of added weight. This should bode well for a fully-loaded car (people and luggage) over a quick weekend getaway.

    Daily commute

    Left Side View

    In the city conditions, the instant torque is a boon as you need very little effort to move forward. It would take you a few tries to get used to the car’s silent nature and tendency to jump forward if you dab the throttle too hard. However, once you get the hang of it, the Nexon EV feels like any other automatic in traffic responding the same way. You sit high up among the traffic but in a compact footprint and this combined with the instant torque makes manoeuvrability a breeze. You need 2.5 turns to go from lock to lock and there's even a little guide in the MID telling you the position of the front wheels.

    On our range test with a fully charged car, we were able to extract 197km with two people in the car and 179km with five people in the car. If you are one of those that live in a city with ups and downs, the Nexon EV gets hill-hold as well as hill-start but the car tends to roll back quite a bit before the power train kicks in.

    Performance figures

    Action

    Our testing revealed some impressive figures for the Nexon EV when it comes to some straight-line thrills. In the full-fat S mode, it does the 0-100kmph sprint in 9.14 seconds while in the more subdued D-mode it drops to 17.38 seconds. In city conditions, since driveability is the key, the all-important 20-80kmph roll-on time in S-mode was achieved in 5.11 seconds while in the D-mode it dropped to 8.33 seconds.

    Ride and handling

    Action

    In terms of the handling, the steering weighs up nicely as you go faster and gliding from the point will reward you with a good driving experience. As we said before, putting the car into S mode gives you access to all 245Nm of torque and this livens up the acceleration quite a bit with noticeable torque steer as you get off the line. Now Tata says it could have dialled back the delivery but left it this way just to give an extra kick in the driving experience.

    The Nexon EV's ride is on the firmer side due to the 16-inch wheels and to also compensate for the extra weight. However, this has not affected the quality of the ride. Like its ICE powered sibling gobbles up most of the stuff in its way without losing a step. The ground clearance at 205mm allows you to clear everything that our road throws up in terms of obstacles and imperfections.

    Charging

    Exterior

    The 3.3kW AC charger when plugged into a 15A plug point will take eight hours to be fully charged. However, if you plug the car into a fast charger you can go from 0 per cent to 80 per cent in just over 60 minutes. Tata also provides you with an emergency charger which can take up to 24 hours for a full charge. The car also has regenerative braking which gives you engine braking when you get off the throttle and also helps recharge the battery. The latter soon becomes a challenge to see how much you can give back to the battery.

    Interior and quality

    Dashboard

    Like the exterior, the cabin of the Nexon EV is shared with its fossil fuel-powered sibling but with a host of updates in line with its electric-powered nature. In this top-spec model, the cabin is a mix of white, grey and black with these blue inserts in various places. For the other two trims levels, you get a full black cabin which doesn’t feel as airy or spacious but does lend a hint of sportiness to the overall feel.

    Front Row Seats

    The quality of plastics used is par for the course and everything around is more or less easy to access with most buttons and switches falling easily to hand. What we found odd is the placement of the USB port which has been carried on without change from the Nexon’s launch in 2017. Another issue we have are the gloss black plastics that are spread out across the cabin. While they make the interiors look attractive, they are dust and fingerprint magnets and will need constant attention especially if you live in a relatively dusty area.

    Second Row Seats

    Now an issue with EVs is that the rear seat is usually much higher than the front one reducing the useable space as well as headroom. However, that’s not the case here and you get a good amount of space all around for two to travel in comfort.

    Open Boot/Trunk

    What’s more, the rear seatback has been scooped out for additional space but at the price of no rear seatback pockets. Here you also get an armrest, vents and a 12V socket built into the back of the rear seats. As is the case with the standard Nexon, you get a 350-litre boot and you can fold down the rear seats in a split design for a whole load of additional space.

    Features and safety

    Instrument Cluster

    This top-spec XZ+ Lux variant that we are driving gets all the usual niceties like climate control, height adjustment for the driver’s seat, cooled glove box and an infotainment system with a seven-inch floating touchscreen display. All versions of the Nexon EV get dual front airbags and ABS with EBD. This is a comprehensive system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and over 35 connected car features like Geo-fencing, remote AC control and an SOS alert. However, this is an EV and so you get some dedicated features like remote monitoring of the current charge levels, charging history, available range and nearest charging stations.

    Exterior

    Conclusion

    Left Front Three Quarter

    The Nexon EV as a product is a very competent one and electric drivetrain apart, it’s got everything that the regular Nexon has offering similar levels of value. But that’s also its biggest weakness. Our range test has shown where the actual range stands as compared to a claimed range by Tata. It’s a glimpse then into the future where charging stations will exist on the scale of today’s petrol pumps and charging times will reduce to a time similar to what it takes to tank up an ICE car today.

    Left Side View

    Prices currently range from Rs 14.80 lakh to Rs 17.12 lakh (on-road Delhi). What’s more, because this an EV, you get income tax benefits as well as individual subsidies like reimbursement of road tax and registration depending on the state.

    Tail Light/Tail Lamp

    Finally, you can also lease a Nexon EV directly from Tata with monthly subscriptions in the range of Rs 29,000 to Rs 34,000 depending on the city. This is currently operational only in six cities but should expand to more as the year progresses.

    Photos: Kapil Angane & Kaustubh Gandhi

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