Competition is gradually heating up in the electric vehicle segment. First came Hyundai Kona, then MG ZS and the latest entrant in the segment is Tata Nexon EV. If Kona was introduced as India's first electric SUV, MG Motors' ZS was launched as the first electric internet SUV. Tata's Nexon, however, has the advantage of being the first sub-four-metre electric SUV of the country. With its compact size and a good range, can Nexon EV work wonders for Tata? Here's the test drive report.
Test track in Pune
Will it be able to climb up an incline easily? Can it be driven through water? These are some of the queries that come to an average customer's mind about electric vehicles. The test drive planned at the Tata plant was aimed at dispelling these doubts. To test hill descent and hill assist, Tata had set up a gradient of up to 12% to 30%. Besides, to demonstrate what would happen if the car is driven through water, the car was taken through routes that had about 300 mm of water (the vehicle's ground clearance is 205 mm).
Small electric SUV
At first sight, the Nexon EV looks like a beautiful small SUV. The revised grille finished in piano black sports the Tata logo and a blue strip runs below it. The projector headlamps come with day-time running lights. Fog lights have been fixed on the bumper, while the area below the bumper gets silver and black inserts. From the front, the Nexon EV looks much more sportier than the first generation Nexon.
On the sides, the muscular wheel arches are difficult to miss. The wheel arches and the body get black cladding. The lower window area features a blue strip. The 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels are new. Unlike the other two electric SUVs, Nexon has its charging point at place of the fuel lid. The taillamp features the tri-arrow design concept; the design can be seen almost all across the car. The rear bumper also has the black-silver combination.
In the inside, the Nexon EV sports excellent fit and finish. The interiors feature a black, piano black and ivory finish. There are blue highlights around the AC vents too. The steering wheel is sourced from premium hatchback Altroz; it is flat-bottom and sports switches for media and cruise controls. The seven-inch TFT display meter console provides information such as the distance range, battery life and all other details regarding the vehicle. The seven-inch touchscreen music system from Harman has four speakers and four tweeters. The seats are comfortable. The rear seat could accommodate three passengers. The cabin also gets a rear AC vent.
The ZConnect app provides all the information regarding the vehicle on the mobile phone. Besides providing information like distance range and charge level monitoring, the car owner can also switch on the AC, lock and unlock the car, and control the headlamp. It will also provide safety alerts, show the vehicle's current location and a lot more.
More power, more range
The vehicle is powered by a 30.2 kWh lithium ion battery and the electric motor generates 129 ps power and 245 Nm torque. A single full charge will provide a range of 312 km. The car takes only 9.9 seconds to reach 100 km from standstill. The battery can be charged up to 80% in 60 minutes using a fast charger, while in normal charge mode it will take eight hours for full charge. Tata claims that the battery can withstand any adverse conditions.
Nexon is the first car to get a five-star safety rating in a crash test. However, the safety features have in fact gone up in the electric variant. Other than passengers, the battery too gets safety cover. The pack conforms with the IP 67 standard in water and dust resistance. The battery pack is placed underneath the vehicle body between the front and rear wheels and gets protection from possible body hits. Tata is also offering an eight-year or 1,60,000 km warranty on the battery pack.
A drive through hairpin bends, bad roads and on highway helped understand the Nexon EV better. The car offers excellent driving experience. It picks up speed fast. Driving modes can be chosen using knobs. Similar to automatic cars, the transmission in Nexon EV includes drive, neutral and reverse modes. For enthusiasts, the 'Sport' mode provides more aggressive power delivery. The Nexon EV is equipped with regenerative braking technology that charges the battery every time you press the brake pedal.
Positioned in the sub-four-metre category and sporting a butch look, the Nexon EV is one of the best vehicles in the segment. The car is expected to provide new energy to the Indian auto industry.