mumbai, Science

Driving to Pune from Mumbai on e2o

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.

mumbai, Science

E2O in Mumbai

Last week, I bought an E2O, a made in India electric car. Before getting into a user review. Let me discuss the buying process. Buying the car has two key hurdles.

First, stiff resistance from family and friends.  Many car lovers challenge the idea of electric car. They will declare that this car is not for them or anyone because electric car comes with distance limitation. Some claim the car is not green, at the end of the day it will be less green then a patrol car, and economics also does not work. Some say your car is a coal driven car, because most of the electricity in India comes from coal. Some experienced car users call it “dibba”, it does not work, and It is too expensive. Some worry if this car has enough “power” to do all the heavy lifting they need.

Second, charging facility even at your own parking space, if you are lucky enough to have a dedicated parking space in Mumbai. I live in a government colony inhabited by enlightened people. I had to make a special request for a parking spot with charging station. Initially, my request was taken with pleasant and shocking surprise. However, I received the permission with in two months. Since the parking space is in semi-open area, installing a safe and secure changing station was a problem that I had to solve it myself.

Buying the car from a dealer was also not trivial. I had to call various showrooms in order to get in touch with the sales person who deals with and knows about E2O. After then process was smooth, I liked the test drive and booked the car. After the booking, I received the car in less than 2 weeks.

User Review

Little disclaimer: This is my first car. I have no reference to compare it with. I am also a new driver.

Looks: Interior and build of the car seems to be of reasonable quality. External panels are made of plastic, due to weight saving reasons.

Drivablity: Car is automatic with power steering, it is very easy to drive. Press the on button, forward gear, and you go. 50-55Km/h is a comfortable speed to drive. Max speed is 85 as promised. Sometimes pick up feels slow. But there is a boost mode in the car, which I have not tested long enough to report my experience. After a single full charge, I have driven 80km with AC on in light traffic conditions. In the trip, I went to Navi mumbai from South mumbai and back. After 80km, the charge dropped from 100% to 37% and car was saying that it can still go for 35km. It seems car can deliver 120KM as promised. I do not feel like testing to the limit. 🙂

Cost: Car costs  6.2 lakhs(T2 version) + 1.8Lakhs(5 year battery insurance). The 1.8 lakhs to be paid out in 3k installments per month. In total the car costs, 8 lakhs. Why this 1.8lakhs? The company forces you to buy this “battery insurance”. This insurance says that if battery goes bad before 5 years then they will replace it. Essentially, they are forcing you to buy two batteries. I hope my battery goes bad before 5 years but not in 5 years and 1 day. 🙂

Running cost: I can not comment yet on maintenance. That is yet to be seen. What about millage? I am experiencing 8KM/unit, that means, I can drive 7.5KM with 1 kwh of electricity. In terms of money, Rs. 1 /km (electricity rate : Rs 7/unit). A petrol car costs 5-6 rs/km. For another comparison, a typical AC probably consumes 4-5 units over night. Probably, the car will not add a massive cost in my electric bill. It seems the electronics of the car is not well optimized. In stand by, the car loses 2-3% charge overnight. This can be a significant overhead if the car is not used regularly.

I will extend this post after more experience with the car. Please post comments if you want me to report on some specific aspects of the car.

Is E2O green?

I have no idea. It depends on two factors. How green is the battery? And, how green is the electricity of India? I will write more as I will gather more information.

Economics of E2O

I think economics of the car does not work. In the long run, the car will be more expensive than a petrol car.  Probably there is no second hand market. I hope one day it will be cheaper.