The total time spent for charging was to the tune of 6 hours.

BHPian DarthVeda recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Foreword:

This is not going to be a regular travelogue but a “chargelogue”, on how a journey from Bengaluru to Pune and back was done in the span for 3 days and the charging stops we made along the way. Hopefully, this will be a guide for anyone planning on doing the same trip in an EV.

Prelude

Having been an early owner of the Nexon EV, I have been a participant of community to help accelerate the EV adoption and working to resolve the initial problems we faced with the car with Tata Motors. During one of those interactions, Mr. Anand Kulkarni had invited us for a plant visit for select few. This was two years ago and during COVID pandemic.

The plant visit bore fruition recently, and a date was set for the meet up at Pune. Folks from all over India were invited. I was one of the few from Bengaluru. Initially, I planned to fly to Pune the day before the even and fly back. A quick look at MakeMyTrip, showed the journey costing me anywhere between 15k to 20k for flight tickets itself.

A fellow EV user had dropped the Idea of travelling to the even in our EV, and that kept ringing in my head. I told the idea to others who were confirmed for the plant visit and few days later, the plan was set.

Off We go

The event was on June 11, and we decided to leave on the evening of June 9th and to travel as much as possible during the night and continue the journey in the morning after a quick rest. The onward journey was with two others (Arun and Jana) and in the return another member (Saumitra) would join.

I joined Arun and Jana at Goragunte Palya at 19:15, and off we went. Our first stop was at Hotel Nanjundeshwara, just before the Exit toll at Tumakuru. This hotel has a ZEON charging station (25kw ABB). We reached the hotel by 20:00 and started charging and went for early dinner. Unfortunately, there was a power cut!! Even though the facility has DG backup, the charging wouldn’t initiate, we were not worried as we had enough juice to go to the next charging station. We had charged 2.1 Units costing us 50 rupees. Next stop was at TML Dakshin Motors, Hiriyuru.

TML Hiriyuru: 17.4 Units:313 Rs: 53 Mins

The charging station is at CV service centre of TML. There are no amenities here (yet). I had pretty bad experience last time I was here, when the network went off and I couldn’t charge, and had to resort to slow charging for two hours. However, this time around, everything worked well. Those issues have been resolved.

We charged for 45 minutes for 17 units and topped 60% SOC. During our session, another MG ZS pulled in, this was 2022 model, and we had a chit chat with the owner. Turned out, he is an acoustic engineer and travels a lot. The “Travels a lot” turned out to be an understatement. He had done 6000km in 14 days in his MG ZS EV. He was wishing that we had more of 50kwh chargers so that the idle time could be less and warned us of very slow charging at Davanagere. He also told of his future of travelling to Haryana and Rajasthan from Karnataka in his MG ZS. And here we were thinking that this road trip is a long one for an EV ��

We bid adieu to this intense EV user and left for Davanagere. Jana took over the wheels from me for this section.

TML Davanagere: 14.3 Units: 258 Rs: 91 Mins

The distance to the next charging station is just 105km, and we covered this in 90 minutes or so and consuming 50%. We reached at 01:20 in the night and started the charging at 40% SOC. Myself and Arun slept off, while Jana was keeping watch. I woke up at around 0300 in morning and was surprised to see that we are still charging!

There was another Nexon EV, in front, and Jana was chatting with him. Only then did we realize, what was happening and the warning from the MG ZS owner came back to us. The charger at Davanagere is really slow, it charges at 10kwh while normal charging rate for Nexon EV, should be 21kwh. This was the same problem the other Nexon EV user, who frequently travels to Sirsi, informed us.

Cursing the slow charger, we left Davanagere at 93% SOC and at 03:15 in morning. Next stop was Hubbali.

TML Hubbali: 24.3 Units:510 Rs: 78 Mins

We reached Hubbali at 0500 in the morning and didn’t take the bypass road as the charger is located at the exit of Hubbali towards Dharwada. There are two FCs in Hubbali, one of MG Motors and the other at TML. The one at TML Manickbag was showing offline and the one at MG Motors Bellad was showing online. We went past Manickbag and after 8kms reached MG showroom to charge, the security guard said that it is not working, we thought the usual line that is not working, they are not willing to allow, etc. However, it turned out that the charger, even though it shows ONLINE, has never worked. It doesn’t accept any command from the app to start the charging. With that, we encountered the first real hiccup in our journey. The only option was now to head to TML Manickbag and try resolving that issue or slow charge there.

We went back to Manickbag and security guard opened the gate, we went and saw that someone had pulled the EMERGENCY button and caused it to go offline. We simply reset it and lo and behold, it was back. We charged here for an hour and freshened up as well. We left Hubbali at 0730 and our next stop was at Belagavi, and the charging station hub that is Gogte Plaza.

We reached Gogte Plaza charging station, which is right next to Fairfield Marriot, the entrance to this on service road was all blocked up and we had to head to the exit road and take a deviation of few hundred meters to reach the plaza. We reached at 0915. The plaza has a Tellus charger with 2 CCS2 guns, capable of charging at 60kwh. It also has a regular delta charger of 25kwh charger along with a AC charging gun for 7.2kwh charging. The plaza has extensive solar charge panels and few windmills in the background. I am not sure if these directly power the charger or it’s from the grid and these renewable sources balancing it out. Either way, this is a great initiative to have such facilities.

We also figured out as to why we had to take such a long deviation to access this charger, the charging plaza has a café and a pub. As it is right next to the highway, and after that supreme court ruling banning alcohol being served/sold within vicinity of the highway, they created this long route to the facility to circumnavigate that ruling. For me, they might as well open it back up, as that ruling was withdrawn and there are numerous bars operating right next to highway itself.

We charged for thirty minutes and left with 95% SOC and left at 10:00 Our next charging stop was at Sangam hotel in Karad, which had good reviews for a lunch stop. Before reaching Karad, we also need to make a non-charging pit stop for breakfast as well.

Sangam hotel: 22 Units: 400 Rs: 69 Mins

We reached Sangam hotel in Karad around 13:00, and stopped for charging the car and for us to have lunch as well. There is a dedicated parking place meant for EV charger and security cleared the space for us. We started the charging and charged ourselves in an hour. We left the premise at 14:00 and next stop was Pune itself. On the way to Pune, there are numerous chargers available in Maharashtra, there is no dearth for charging infrastructure on this stretch.

Our progress to Pune was a bit slow due to heavy thunder storms in patches at in and around Satara and entering Pune itself. We reached Pune at 1630 and our we need a small top up before we hit our destination for the day at WE HOTELS, Chinchwad.

Mahati Industries, Pune: 15 Units: 264 Rs: 44 Mins

Due to the down pour in Pune, there were many roads leading to this charger in Swargate, flooded. This was not a problem for our EV, as we easily waded through foot deep water on the roads.
This charger has to be the most hidden charger, we encountered in the journey, while the charger at Gogte plaza had a detour to overcome certain law, I am not sure what was the thought process for keeping this charger deep within a complex with no directions whatsoever. On top of that, there is construction happening as well.

We finally located the charging point and started the charging whilst raining, we charged for 45 minutes and left for Chinchwad, passing through the heart of city and peak traffic on a Friday evening.
We finally reached the hotel at 1900, roughly 24 hours after we started the journey. We were happy to see many familiar faces (names) at the hotel, as folks from all over the country had arrived.

What followed was a nice Friday dinner and discussions and plans for the next day.

Summary of the Journey:

  • Total distance travelled: ~900km
  • Total Power consumed: 106 Units
  • Total Cost for Charging: ~2000 Rs
  • Total Toll Fee: 980
  • Total Time spent charging: 7 hours 45 minutes
  • Total Time only spent for Charging Car: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Additional Time spent for charging: 1 hour 30 minutes

TML Plant Chinchwad

Morning at WE hotel, turned into a time to catch for the events ahead and photo session of all the Nexon EV, which made it to the visit.

After few minutes of photo session, we got a call from Tata representative that they are waiting and off we went to the plant just few kilometres down the road.

After a brief security check, where our phone cameras were sealed and we were informed not to take any photos or record any videos, we were let in and parked the cars at basketball court.

We were shown to a conference centre, and introduction done. Breakfast was ready, and consisted of poha, dose and tea/coffee.

After a keynote speech from TML spokesperson (I forgot the name), Mr. Anand Kulkarni, talked about the journey of EV from Tata. How they started, where they are now, and where they will be in the next few years. All the information he disclosed is already out on public space, this includes 10 EV by 2024.

We were then told that we would be given a tour of the plant, which included:

  • A trip to the test track, incline and water wading test facility
  • Suspension test lab
  • Temperature test facility, both hot (50C) and cold (4C)
  • NVH test lab
  • Tour of their commercial vehicles manufacturing
  • Their die casting, punching plants
  • Crash Testing Lab

The ride in the test track in the Nexon EV Max, was one-of-a-kind experience, the acceleration all the way up to 140kph, and the senior person, just give a quick twist of the wheel at that speed, which nearly gave us a heart attack. We were not given the chance to drive the vehicle on test track, as it requires a special license (or so we have been told).

After the 2-hour long tour, we assembled back at the conference room for a feedback session and lunch session. We then informed TML about the pain points of EV users, and it mainly consisted of:

1. Service centres and their lack of knowledge about EV

2. Charging infrastructure, and the unreliability of the network

3. D2N issues

We suggested them to open up experience centres in metros, which is where folks can enjoy the EV and get specialised advice rather than reading of service manual and could be a specialised service centre as well. This point was taken for consideration by TML and they promised to work on all the inputs which were given.

At the end of the meeting, we were all given a memento and a thank you, there were few photo sessions and off we went.

During our visit, we had requested TML to charge our car to 100% as we had a long way to Bengaluru, and Arun forgot to take off his 3rd party cruise control device. The engineers at TML, while they tried upgrading the software on the car. We got a friendly advice not to use such 3rd party devices in future as they might show errors and can cause the vehicle to hit D2N. Other than that we got no other warning, nothing about warranty void or anything of that sort.

Return Journey

After packing up, and few hiccups at the checkout, followed by a visit to a friend, we left Pune City at 1730. Saumitra had joined for this journey, so we were now four, which meant less stress for the night journey. There was a jam at Katraj ghat as one of the city buses had broken down, and caused huge queue on both sides, aggravated by folks trying to jump the queue. We got out of by 1830 and onto the highway 48. A quick drive through the rainstorm at outskirts of Pune and we were on our way for our first pitstop at Amarai Hotels & Resorts, Satara.

At Khandala ghat, the EV comes on its own, with the quick acceleration and the stability at corners, Arun had a field day, driving the vehicle in S mode, while making us feel pukish. It’s an experience like no other, in an EV. However, I still prefer a 2W in ghats than a car. Nothing like moving your body in sync with the vehicle.

Amarai Hotels & Resorts – 20 Units – 360 Rs.

When we reached the resort, we found another Nexon EV charging, this was headed towards Pune and had another 20 minutes to go. We plugged our car to the 7.2kw AC charger so that it can juice up while we wait for the Fast Charger to get free. After initial hiccup of getting the charger to start, we succeeded, and topped up for 10 minutes before we got the FC freed up. We put the charge on FC and went for an early dinner.
The service was slow, and we ordered minimum, to ensure no food related problems for the night journey.

After an hour (21:40), we packed up and headed towards our next charging destination, Kolhapur.

MG Unique Automobiles, Kolhapur – 14 Units – 260

We reached Kolhapur at 23:15 and drove to MG Unique Automobiles show room, to use the Tata Power charger. The security guard opened the gate with no fuss, and we had nothing else to do to kill the time while we charged. There was no refreshment facility available here. After a 50-minute, walking, chatting session, we topped our car and left the facility at 00:15. I took over the wheels from Jana. Our plan was to check if we can drive non-stop to Hubbali, skipping past Gogte Plaza at Belagavi.

When we reached Belagavi, our SOC was at 40% and it was going to be close to reach Hubbali, so decided to stop and take a quick top-up.

Gogte Plaza, Belagavi – 10 units – 180 rupees

We reached the plaza at 01:30. We started the charging on the Tellus charger, the pub nearby was still up but were cleaning up, as the time was beyond normal working hours, and due to elections next day, it was a dry day as it is. What followed was a quick stop of 30 minutes and we left for Hubbali. Arun took over the wheel for the drive to Hubbali. And time for me to snooze in the back seat.

TML Manickbhag, Hubbali – 17 Units – 300 rupees

We reached the service center at 04:00 in the morning, the security guard opened up the gates and we started the charging session. We had to top up to full here, as the next station was the dreaded Davanagere one, and we didn’t to top up to max over there.

After a 50 minute charging session, we left for Davanagere, with Jana at the wheel to ensure maximum efficiency to Davanagere.

TML Adishakti Davanagere – 13 units – 230 rupees

When we reached Davanagere, it was 07:00 in the morning, once we started the session, we knew it was going to be a long one, a quick freshen up and we headed to the city for having early breakfast at the famous Sagar Benne Dose hotel. We had to hire the auto for this one, as there was no soul at the outskirts at early morning on a Sunday.

After breakfast session, we returned back to the showroom in the same auto, which was modified heavily for entertainment ��

Satisfied with the SOC of the vehicle after 50 minutes, we left Davanagere towards Hiriyuru.

TML Dakshin Motors, Hiriyuru – 22 units – 400 rupees

Our final charging stop for the day, we reached Hiriyuru at 10:00 and started the charging immediately, since it was Sunday, there was no crowd or vehicles at the service station, what followed was a chat session with the owner of the service center and then a quick trip to the neighbouring tea joint to have Tandoori Tea. I didn’t notice anything “Tandoori” about this tea, must be a new gimmick to woo the customers.
After an hour, and 20 minutes, we left the charging station and towards Bengaluru. We reached Bengaluru outskirts at 13:00 and the car still had enough juice to reach Arun’s home. I bid goodbye to my friends and alighted at Goragunte Palya, and took the bus home. Thus, finishing one MEGA EV journey.

Summary of the return Journey:

  • Total distance travelled: ~900km
  • Total Power consumed: 97 Units
  • Total Cost for Charging: ~2000 Rs
  • Total Toll Fee: 1005
  • Total Time spent charging: 6 hours
  • Total Time only spent for Charging Car: 6 hours
  • Additional time spent for charging: 10 minutes

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