I have a 2015 2-door e2o, which has been driven about 15,000 kms. I live in Colaba, Mumbai. I decided last weekend to drive the vehicle to Hinjewadi, Pune. The drive is about 159 kms long. My car only goes about 120 kms in a single charge and I trust it only for 90kms. I would need to charge the car somewhere. Thanks to plugin India community! They have mapped out the location of places that allow public charging. They are supported by the manufacturer, community members, and private businesses.
I chose two charging spots for my trip G3 moters, Navi mumbai and Trinetra Petrol pump, Lonavala. Both are conveniently located close to the Mumbai Pune highway. G3 Moters has free charging for e2o and Trinetra charges Rs 75 per hour. The first occurs after 37kms, the second occurs after 67kms, and the last segment was about 55 kms.
I was very much afraid of running out of charge. I drove conservatively without AC. In most of the drive, I maintained “2 bars of efficiency (a measure on e2o display)” and about 60 km/hr. I started at 8:30am and reached G3 Moters by 9:30am with 70% charge. I had to wait for 1.5 hours to charge my car to get back to 100%, since e2o charges 20% per hour. But I lost patience after 92% of charge and left.
The next leg was the hard part. The first 45 kms is almost flat road and the last 20 kms is uphill, known as Ghats. I managed to reach to the start of Ghats with above 65% charge. During climbing of the Ghats, the car slowed down to 40 km/hr if I maintained the efficiency level. However, I had to maintain the speed of 60kmph to keep up with the traffic around me. Therefore, not efficient driving. By the time I reached to Trinetra petrol pump, it was 12 o’clock and only 45% charge was left.
For the next leg, I only needed the charge for 55 kms. But, I was not sure about the rest of the terrain. I decided to charge the car for 2:30 hours. I had lunch in a near by food mart, which was a bit difficult to reach by foot. I walked back about half an hour later and still 2 hours to kill. The owner of the patrol pump got interested in the car and kept asking me about feasibility of electric cars. The conversation lasted 1 hour and for rest of the time I waited in the car. I started driving again at 14:30 with 80% charge. Thankfully, the rest of drive is almost flat or somewhat downhill. I reached my destination by 15:40. The drive took me 7 hours, which usually takes 3+ hours.
I was visiting a company (not sure if they would like to be named). I reached to their campus and had requested for a charging point beforehand. They were more than happy to help and allowed me to charge my car there. I visited them for 3 days and charged at their place everyday. On the last day of the visit to Pune, I was visiting a research institute. They seemed to be baffled by the electric car. For a while no one was sure, if they should allow me to charge. The matter went to their head of engineering. He raised the issue of cost of charging the car, which is about Rs. 25. 🙂 We finally went to their head of operations (Registrar). He seemed to annoyed by me and said go charge anywhere if you can connect your car. Just do not ask for permissions. We finally found a charging point in a laundry room close to a road. I managed to charge the car.
Next day, I drove back to Mumbai. Now I knew the road and started at 7am. The plan was to charge at same two locations. The first 55kms was happily done and reached to Trinetra petrol pump with 59% charge. I had breakfast at the same food mart and charged the car upto 80% in an hour. I started going downhill on the Ghats and realized that I am spending no energy in driving. In fact, the car was charging due to the regenerative charging. I used only 2% charge in crossing the 20km-long Ghat segment. The rest of 47km also went smoothly and reached G3 Moters by 10:30 with 50% charge and 37kms more to go. I charged the car for 30mins and started driving in the thick traffic of Mumbai. I reached home by 12:30. It took me 5+ hours to complete the drive.
In short, it is feasible to do outstation drive on electric cars, but one needs to have patience to wait for 1hour per 30kms driven. The new version of e2o allows fast charging. It may be charged about 5 times faster using a special charger. It my reduce waiting time/driving time significantly. However, no such chargers are yet installed on the highways in India. My personal opinion is that if a car can be driven about 250kms per charge with AC, and recharged within 30-40mins. It is perfect for outstation use.