20200905

A trio of EV crossovers have started India's electric car revolution

It might take years (or even decades!) before electric cars push over their internal combustion engine counterparts in India but the foundation for that to happen is well and truly set. And a trio of electric crossovers - or SUVs, as some call them - are driving this change.

Tata's Nexon EV, MG's ZS EV and Hyundai's Kona Electric have managed what Mahindra Electric - despite it's 10-year head-start - couldn't. Yes, Mahindra took over the erstwhile Reva Electric Car Company in 2010! Reva, lest you forget, has been around for even longer with Chetan Maini launching his pint-sized toy-ish electric car way back in 2001. What a lead this, to be squandered!

Let's get back to this trio. Their success hinged on their ability to garner the attention of the car-buying public by legitimately staking claim as 'no-compromise' urban run-abouts. That they managed to do it overcoming monumental challenges like lack of charging infrastructure, limited awareness and range anxiety is remarkable.

Look at their spec sheets and you'll know why I called them 'no-compromise' offerings.

The Nexon EV is the most-affordable and consequently the top-seller of this bunch with Tata recently celebrating the roll-out of 1000th Nexon EV. Priced between INR 13.99 - 15.99 Lakhs, the Nexon EV has a 30.2 kWh battery with an ARAI-certified range of 312 km on a single charge. Plugged into a regular 15A socket, the Nexon EV would bump it's battery up from 10 to 90% in 8.5 hours. With CCS2 fast charging, it would take just an hour for the battery to go from 0 to 80%. Even assuming an usable real-world range of just over 200 km, the Nexon EV has hit a sweet spot in the price-range equation. That, along with it's funky looks, class-leading safety and solid build, enhances the Nexon EV's appeal.

The other two are more closely matched and a cut above the Tata, both in terms of pricing and specifications. Surprisingly, it's MG that won against Hyundai's might.

Hot on the heels of Hector's success, MG launched the ZS EV in India with ex-showroom prices ranging between INR 19.88 - 23.58 Lakhs. Equipped with a bigger 44.5 kWh battery and an ARAI-certified range of 340 km, the ZS EV gets multiple charging options. The portable charger that comes along with the car can be plugged into any 15A socket and takes 16-18 hours to juice up the battery from 0 to 80%. The same can be done in 6-8 hours by opting for AC fast chargers and just 50 minutes with DC fast chargers installed in MG dealerships. Road Site Assistance facility for mobile charging support is also available in case of an emergency. The ZS EV's appeal lies in it's all-round capability. Good-looking? Check. Feature-loaded? Double check. Panoramic sunroof? Hell yeah!

That brings us to the Kona Electric, India's first EV crossover and the first-ever EV in the country that offered range in excess of 100 km when it was launched just over a year ago. With a pan-India ex-showroom price of INR 25.30 Lakhs, the Kona Electric has a 39.2 kWh battery with an ARAI-certified range of 452 km. In real-world conditions, that could drop to a little over 300 km, still a mighty impressive number. Time taken to recharge the battery to 100% is a little over 6 hours with an AC charger. Just like MG, Hyundai provides fast-charging DC charges and emergency mobile charging support. It's quirky styling and relatively higher pricing apart, there's nothing quite to fault with the car. The Kona Electric would have sold in higher numbers if MG had not stolen the limelight from the Hyundai within months of it's launch. That the Kona Electric is in high demand globally doesn't help either with allocation to Hyundai India apparently hard to come by.

With all three tasting success, it's clear Indians aren't averse to owning electric cars. Give us an EV that isn't a compromise and were prepared to put our money on it. Hyundai, MG and Tata have effectively ensured other car-makers don't have to think twice to launch their EVs in India. So, who's next then?

1 comment:

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