Nexon EV is the second electric car from Tata Motors and packs a plethora of features that make it peppy and comfortable to drive; Expected price range Rs 15-17 lakhs
After supplying various fleet units of Tigor EV to different stakeholders including multiple governments and closely watching various developments in the EV space for sometime, Tata Motors unveiled its Nexon in an electric avatar late last year. The second electric car from Tata Motors’ fort, the Nexon EV comes packed with its Ziptron technology that enables the car to offer up to 312 km range (ARAI claimed) and is expected to be priced in a bracket of Rs. 15-17 lakhs. Auto Tech Review recently got the hands-on experience of the upcoming Tata Nexon EV in Pune and delve deeper into how the company sees the electric vehicle space evolving globally as well as in the Indian market.
The demand for compact SUVs is seeing a constant uptick and the engineering team at Tata Motors worked on the Nexon EV project for close to 16 months to make it robust for Indian market. The supplying of Tigor EVs gave the company confidence and learnings that it claims enabled them to get into the private electric vehicle space with the Nexon EV. Tata Motors wanted to break the barriers in the adoption of electric vehicles – the range anxiety, charging convenience as well as performance with the latest electric vehicle. Thus, keeping such things so high priority, the company conceptualised the vehicle and opted for Nexon to strike the right balance and make the product accessible for the mainstream users.
The Nexon electric vehicle spans 3,994 mm x 1,811 mm x 1,607 mm in length, breath and height respectively. The Nexon electric SUV will be available in three colour options – Signature Teal Blue, Moonlit Silver and Glacier White and across three variants – XZ+ LUX, XZ+ (in two tone) and XM (in single tone). The electric SUV has a distinct, aggressive front with a new grille design, a more squarish bonnet as well as new headlamps for a bold appeal. One can clearly understand the presence of Nexon in an electric avatar on road as the company has placed EV badge on all four sides of the vehicle. In line with the Nexon ICE, the EV Nexon also rides 215/60 R16 tyres rolled on new alloy wheel design that enable the car with a massive ground clearance of 205 mm. At the rear, the Nexon EV gets signature tail lamps and same design bumpers that already offers a significantly different appearance.
Tata Nexon EV will come equipped with a 30.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, which is much smaller than close competitions of Hyundai Kona (with 44.2 kWh battery) and MG ZS EV (39.2 kWh battery), both of which are offered at a higher price point as compared to the expected price of the Nexon EV. The battery is placed between the front and rear wheels that enable a 40 mm lower centre of gravity for the vehicle, thus bringing better stability. In order to make it more robust, the battery has been tested for AIS 048 standard both at a module level as well as the cell level for safety. Various tests such as nail penetration, crush test, fire pond test, shock protection, short protection as well as overcharge protection have been conducted on the Nexon EV battery pack.
The front wheel driven Nexon electric SUV is designed to deliver 129 Ps power with a maximum torque of 245 Nm riding a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM). This motor is mated to a noiseless single speed gear box that allows the vehicle to sprint from 0-100 kmph in 9.9 seconds flat. The Nexon EV gets two modes – 'D' drive mode and 'S' sports mode for which has a significant difference of 60 % torque among the two.
According to company sources, EVs offer freedom of the full torque available upfront even at static conditions, because of the electric motor, which is ample to offer aspirational performance even in a climate of -5° to 45° range. A dedicated on-board charger, power distribution unit, and integrated motor controller make sure that the power distribution remains seamless. As the electric vehicle would also be expected to perform at par across diversified geographical conditions, Tata Motors has deployed the Nexon EV with efficient liquid cooled power electronics for extracting maximum on-board power by staying between 25°-35°C. The motor complies with IP 67 standards for ingress protection and wade through water as well.
Tata motors will also introduce the ZConnect app with the launch of Nexon EV. The app will offer as many as 35 advanced connected car features to ensure a seamless connection with the electric SUV. The app offers a plethora of features such as nearest charging stations among others, remote monitoring of the current charge levels, charging history as well as available range. ZConnect app will also enable users to take control of multiple aspects of vehicle remotely that includes pre-cooling of car, remote lock/unlock, remote horn activation, intrusion alert, remote lamp control and can also keep the user informed about critical vehicle health as well as safety parameters.
With battery and motor being the most expensive item in the electric vehicle, Tata Motors has decided to offer eight years or 1.6 lakh kms warranty to offer peace of mind to the customers. For simplicity of charging, the Nexon EV can be charged with both with normal as well as fast charger. The electric SUV supports CCS 2 charging standard, where the normal charger takes eight hours from 20 % to 100 % from a 15 A plug point, it will take just an hour to charge the car from 0-80% using the fast charger in Nexon EV.
The car comes to life with a push start button and not even an iota of sound is noted, sans the artificially induced sounds to indicate vehicle is switched on. Put it into a D mode and it already feels that it is eager to move faster with your nod. The vehicle sprints well and the full torque availability does appear from the very start itself. Good speeds are attainable without much effort, but once you roll into the Sports mode, the vehicle is different game altogether. You can feel more punch available as well as better stability and vehicle control. The Nexon EV is designed for 34% gradeability as well as gets hill ascend assist as well as hill descend assist for better vehicle control in hilly terrain. It also gets smart regenerative braking for battery recharging, thus making it a good companion for stop and go traffic situation. In order to avoid any kind of complete battery drainage, the Nexon EV has been designed with various visual as well as sound alerts. The car battery visual on dashboard screen changes colour from blue to amber to alert the driver about low battery once the range falls below 25 %. Beyond this, the vehicle tries to make the drive optimised by keeping the vehicle in D mode, even if the driver continuously opts for Sports mode before turning the battery display colour to red to sound emergency situation.
The sales of electric vehicles globally is claimed to cross two million in last two years. The continuous reduction in various EV components costs has offered a bigger scale for vehicle electrification as well reducing dependence on the fossil fuel to reduce pollution. As far as the OEMs are concerned, they gradually understand that the transition to electromobility is inevitable and thus needs action from their end as well as the charging infrastructure providers. Tata Motors is also working closely with sister company Tata Power that has confirmed to install 250-300 chargers across top five Indian cities in FY20. Over the next three years, the government of India is also focussing on which are the sub-systems that need to be localised whcih is also expected to offer clarity to suppliers as well. So, the government is trying to develop the environment, the ecosystem has also started responding and it is now wait and watch before we can experience the electric vehicle criss-crossing the length & breadth of the country.