After reading our blog on Pune-Mumbai electric car journeys, Mr Sudharshan Gophane, who lives in Ahmednagar, invited the Pune EV community to electrify the Pune-Ahmednagar and Ahmednagar-Shirdi route. Mr Gophane had offered to help with charge points. Also Mr Jaykumar Munhot, a businessman who owns an electric car in Ahmednagar was also willing to help us setup community charging stations.
Sagar drove his red Helios to my apartment in Kalyani Nagar on a Friday night. We charged both Helios and Eva upto 100% SOC and left Pune at 6:10 AM on Saturday morning.
- Plan was to check out the Mahindra Dealership at Shikrapur, around 40 km from Pune.
- Meet a contact provided by Mr Jay Munhot at Shirur, who owns a business on the highway and discuss about creating a charge point.
- Charge the cars at L&T House at Ahmednagar
- Head to Shirdi, speak to few hotels in installing some charge points. Stay overnight.
- Head back to Ahmednagar, Visit Mr Jay Munhot's factories at MIDC area of Ahmednagar and use the charging station there.
- Head back to Pune. Travel a distance of around 450 km and setup 5 community charging stations.
60 km from Pune. Mr Sachin clearly planned for our arrival, he instructed his employees to create three 15 Amp sockets for us.
The permanent points will be wall mounted. Mr Sachin, deals with TMT steel bars, treated us to a great breakfast of Missal Pav at a nearby hotel and is too hospitable! Sagar did not charge as his was a 120 km model and he wanted to try reaching Ahmednagar without charging. Eva got charged for 30 mins just to be safe.
We then head to Ahmednagar. We checked out few petrol pumps on the way for additional points, but all of them seem to have voltage issues. Looks like petrol pumps dont make good points. Anyway we proceed to meet Mr Sudharshan at Ahmednagar. We reached at 10:00 AM. Again, incredible hospitality and help for us. Both the cars were charging in the apartment parking lot. We had a nice Maharashtrian lunch at Mr Sudharshan's home and also strolled in the nearby garden.
Also the building is powered by a Solar powered system, donated by L&T Ahmednagar.
Dr Rajendra spoke to us about how there are only about 4-5 hospitals for mentally ill persons in entire state of Maharashtra and its just not enough. Inspired by the work being done by Dr. Rajendra, there was a donation made recently - 3 acres land. Where Dr.Rajendra plans to build - Mangav which will be a township (Life Long Care Home) for poorest of poor. This will be a unique life long care home for orphan, family less ,mentally and physically ill women. There will be intake capacity of 500.
We really were speechless at the selflessness of the doctor who ran the clinic. Truly an amazing soul. These exploratory drives becomes really worthwhile, especially when we meet people like Dr. Rajendra. Hats off to them, they are the real heroes of the world. I encourage all our readers to spread the word.
Our drive to shirdi was uneventful. Flat roads with good quality. We reached Shirdi at around 6:30 PM and stopped at a shop to discuss potential for a charge point. As soon as we parked the car, we were hounded by many men asking us questions about the car etc. We spent close to an hour talking about electric mobility and how it will change the world! Many of them are waiting for e-bikes and the promise of Rs 10 for Rs 75 km (assuming our next generation e-bikes like Ather, would use 2 units of electricity and provide a range of 75 km). I think small town India is ready for the EV invasion!
We reached a hotel - Hotel Govind Park, which is very near to the famous Hotel Sun 'N' Sands. They have promised to help any EV owner to charge the cars here. We used a point which had a 32Amp output. Having a dual box extension chord with 4 Sq mm wire , we could easily charge 2 cars from a single point.
Next morning (Sunday), we spoke to the manager of St Laurn a 5 star hotel nearby, about setting up a charge point. He agreed.
We visited the basement and found a 15 Amp socket. We got the contact details and we left Shirdi after visiting and soaking in the spiritual vibrations at the the Sai Baba mandir.
We left Shirdi at 8 AM, reached Ahmednagar MIDC (Maharashtra industrial development corporation) area at around 10 AM to visit Mr Jaykumar Munhot, owner of an electric car at his factory. Immediately the cars were set to charge, while we met Mr Jaykumar and were fed very well made poha and gulab jamuns. Mr Jaykumar has offered free community charging at his factory at the MIDC area. We complete a factory tour, where we see impressive machines cutting metal into parts needed by industry.
We also visit the L&T green campus, where we see more impressive manufacturing machines and processes.
The Ahmednagar MIDC area has top class manufacturing companies. "Make in India" in action here.
After a hearty Maharashtrian lunch of Bhakri and veggies, we head back to Pune.
Now going to Mumbai or outside Pune to the mountains is a routine thing. You can even do a Mumbai-Shirdi electric car road trip with these stations. Or you can visit themountains of Mahabaleshwar with these stations.
What is needed is similar exploratory drives in other cities.
If you own or dont own an EV and are willing to contact local businesses around your city and setup community charging stations, do get in touch with us and will list them here.
We would like to thank Mr Sudarshan Gophane for organizing the charging points and helping us be comfortable.
And also a big thank you for Mr Jaykumar Munhot, for opening up his factory to the EV community.
Managing these stations will get easier for an EV owner. Community developed iOS and Android apps will be launched next week! Will give an update soon!