We were at the Reliance Jio Pulse BP fast charger in Santa Cruz, Mumbai. They have a CCS2 fast charger. We have the Tiago.ev right here. We also saw couple of Mahindra eVeritos charging up, using the the GB/T connector. The idea is to take this Tiago.ev all the way to Pune. So, I really look forward to this trip.
The Tata Tiago.ev we have is the XZ+ Tech Lux variant. This is the topmost variant which costs ₹11,99,000. It has all these crazy features of the topmost variant.
- Contrast black roof
- Projector headlamps
- Leathered Steering
- Chrome handles
- Rain Sensing Wipers
- Cooled glove box
- Cruise control
- Push start
the cruise control feature and then the push button feature. I mean having a key in a car, in 2023 does not make sense. So I guess the topmost variant is not for me but yeah it is sneaky, the way these car companies create these variants. They ensure that you know, you always choose the higher variant!
Our 165 kilometer journey to Pune is with this Tiago.ev, which has a 24 kilowatt hour battery pack out of which 22.1 kilowatt hour is usable.
We have a crazy ghat/hill to climb and it's not a straightforward journey. The tires on the Tiago.ev are 14 inch-175 mm, so these are similar to the tires we have on the Tigor and the classic Mahindra e2o plus. I don't know if these tires have a low rolling resistance. The wheelbase is pretty interesting at 2400 mm. The wheelbase is similar to what we have in the Tigor. I mean it is slightly lesser - 50 mm lesser. But still this car is so zippy and you can breeze through traffic unlike the Tigor. It's so easy compared to the Tigor EV. I wonder why that is!
I love this car! It's super cool it has a lot of personality, it looks cute and this car really excites me you know a small capable electric car!
Once the car was fully charged to 100% State of Charge (SOC), we reset the trip meter. It's all zero, the trip A is zero, the wH/km efficiency number is zero. It was time to leave this fast charging station and get on the roads of Mumbai. The DTE or range remaining says 186 kilometers. Maybe i may charge once in Lonavala. Let's see.
Instantly after driving the Nexon EV and Tigor EV for many months, you feel the Tata Tiago.ev is so nimbler, easier to maneuver in the city. You can easily feel the difference that's for sure. After some crazy Mumbai traffic, I found an empty road now. Fantastic. The Tiago.ev and a highway trip on a small electric car! This is something, the PluginIndia team always wanted. Since the Nexon EV was launched - where are small electric cars? And at last we have one! All respect to Tata Motors. Our respect has increased you know they haven't catered to only the luxury SUV owners.
Regarding, regenerative Braking level, there's no Regen at high state of charge because the SOC is at 99%. That sucks! Once you start driving electric cars you always want Regen!
90% SOC Update - Disappointing Range Estimation and Weak Regen!
All right guys! At 90% SOC update, we were still going towards Thane in Mumbai and then going to Vashi. This range calculation was totally out of whack! I'm not going to believe it at all. The range remaining says 121 kilometers which is unrealistic. This range estimation absolutely needs work. I don't know why it keeps jumping up and down.
At 90% SOC, I can't do one pedal driving. Even in mode 3 the regen is pretty weak it's just impossible to get any sort of one pedal going. Here if I'll take my foot off the pedal, there is hardly any stopping force. I need to slam the brakes. Now, that sucks!
80% SOC Update - Regen is amazing! Still in Navi Mumbai
At 80%, I won't even mention the DTE(Range) now anymore. Just the wH/km has come down drastically to 123 wH/km, due to my light foot and big news - the regen has kicked in! So at 90% SOC, I was not happy as there was no regen at all. It was very weak. Regen kicked in after 89 percent. Level 3 Regen is pretty strong and I can easily do one pedal driving with no issues. So far, I'm loving the drive - except this crazy Mumbai. By the time you get out of Mumbai, all the excitement and everything goes for a toss. It's such a buzz kill. I wish we had an expressway from western expressway to eastern expressway in Navi Mumbai. That would be great. Getting out of Mumbai took two hours! That is the the sad part about this journey. 165 kilometers seems very easy but yeah this Mumbai killer and then the upcoming ghat/hill makes it pretty painful.
I have lots to say about this car and Tata Motors, the software and all of that I will talk about later. Let me get out of this Mumbai and get to the highway.
70% SOC Update
Hell yeah! I'm crossing 80 kmph and then you get the speed limit warning like just like the Nexon EV. Highway driving is awesome absolutely stable. Torque is a great. Power is no issue at all. I crossed 90 kmph and I don't feel anything! Stability is amazing! The feel is great, handling is fantastic. I'm not listening to any wind noise, there is a little bit of road noise but then it's so quiet inside. In the city, it's like it's like your own personal space. Very quiet. In the highway the wH/km has gone to 112 wH/km. I think what happened was after 89 percent the Regen got stronger and that improved efficiency a lot so the wH/km has drastically reduced.
So I want to talk about a couple of things, one is the Battery Management System (BMS) of the Tata electric cars - the Nexon EV, Tigor EV and Tiago.ev. What I learned is that there's no active balancing in the BMS. That means, when you charge up to 100%, that is when all the cells voltages will be balanced. If you don't charge properly, it can cause issues. So I'm sure many of you who have booked the Tiago.ev, this may be your first electric car so what you need to really understand is to ensure that you have develop a very disciplined charging habit. Because this car is not like a BYD which has a sophisticated BMS. You have to charge the Tiago.ev, once a week. You have to get it to 100%. You have to do it. You have to get the discipline. These are lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries cells so they have no issues charging up to 100%. So don't don't listen to western articles and western videos talking about western electric cars where most of them use NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) batteries. They advise EV owners to charge upto 80% SOC. Also if you do a couple of fast charging sessions ensure that you slow charge up to 100 percent. This gives an opportunity for the cells to get balanced.
Charging habits and charging discipline is very important in Tata electric cars and especially in the Tiago.ev. We we were testing the BYD e6 and my god the BMS is so sophisticated. We were driving for more than a week. We were driving at 20 percent SOC and then went down to 6% SOC, Charge up to 20%, go down to 5% for many weeks. Nothing happened! So if I do a same on the Nexon or even my old e2o, it will stall. Because even if one cell goes below three volts or below the threshold voltage, 2.9V or whatever it is, the car will stall.
Chat on Battery Pack Issues
What I've learned from the Nexon EV community, is that you know in some cases if you don't charge your Tata electric car properly and take care of your charging habits or if you don't drive everyday, the cells in the battery pack can get weak or you might have a faulty battery pack. That has happened before in the Nexon EV community.
You may also have a faulty battery pack, cells can go weak. So what Tata does is that, your battery pack will go to Tata AutoComp systems who manufactures the battery pack for Nexon and the Tata cars. They will find the faulty cells and they will change the module. Each battery pack has a set of modules and each module has 100 cylindrical cells. They might replace the module refurbish it, I
mean repair it and then give it back to you. So something like that can happen in a worst case scenario. It has happened to some owners. What I have observed is that - many people in the community have got these modules replaced and then there are no battery issues after that.
If you're the unfortunate person who's bought the Tiago.ev and something like that happens, don't worry get this to your dealership and get the battery checked. Ensure that the modules are changed and you get your battery back again. I did that when I had my e2o electric car, after seventh year, some cells got weak and I had to change a couple of cells. so at that time I had to go to the Mahindra dealership and drive to 10% SOC find out myself which cells are weak and then ask the dealer to get a new cell. I've done that before my e2o and something similar may happen with you guys too. So it might seem daunting and you know very scary but uh don't worry most most battery packs are built very well and most people in the Nexon community don't have these issues. I just wanted to have a a fair discussion on you know what can go wrong.
Climbing the Ghat
Okay so the ghat is just starting 57% SOC, and by the time we reach the Lonavala charger, let's see what is the percentage drop that happens. As I climb the Mumbai Pune Expressway ghat, we encounter a lot of slow-moving traffic. You have to dodge through them. We just have to keep a light foot and go ahead. The Tiago is doing awesome, it climbs the ghat effortlessly. It's just so comfortable driving this car and yeah, I set the regen back to level 3, because you'll have to slow down because of slow moving traffic, you can't just keep going at a constant speed. Cruise control is out of the question.
Expressway on a Friday evening is very bad idea. You're stuck climbing up and you're stuck.
But with an Electric car, you have the following advantages
- One pedal driving.
- Regen level three.
- Not touching the brakes.
- Stress free
- No vibrations
- No clutch.
- No gear.
I reach Lonavala at 40% SOC. There was a spot on assessment by Nexon EV group members. 40% SOC at this ABB charger. Some Nexon EV owners told me that the Nexon EV also arrives here at 40% SOC from Mumbai. As soon as i arrived at the Lonavala charger, i used the Statiq app and put the Tiago.ev on DC fast charging. After few minutes the Tiago.ev started charging at 18 kilowatts (kW). It charges upto 45% rapidly. In like five minutes, it's gone from 40% to 45%.
This wax Museum charger has a 25 kilowatt ABB charger here. There's another electric car here, a Nexon EV owner and a Ather 450X here, who's charger looks pretty cool.
So after 15 mins charging the Tiago.ev, the SOC was 60%! We managed to recharge the car from 40% to 60% in 15 minutes! This only consumed five units of electricity!
Fantastic! The efficiency and the frugality of this car is amazing! That's the beauty of an electric car with a small battery. If you are a Tiago.ev owner don't clog up these fast chargers and keep charging up to 100%. It is not needed. If you have 70 kilometers to go then top up for like 20 minutes and get going. Again. This charging session only consumed five units of electricity!
Don't laugh at 18 kW DC 'Fast' Charging!
15 minutes. I'm topped up and I'm ready to go. 25 kilowatt DC fast chargers are perfect for Indian electric cars! So throughout the session it charged at around 18 kilowatts (kW), so many of you might laugh at 18 kW and say that - "this is not fast charging". We just saw that Kia EV6 was charging at 240 kW. So yeah, you might laugh at and say 18 kW is ridiculous. Are you kidding me?!
But then you have to understand, that this car has a small battery pack with only 22 kilowatt hour usable. So at 0.8 C rate charging at 18 kilowatts is totally okay.
I mean it's very practical because all you need is a quick top-up right?
I wanted to talk to you about software. When it comes to Tata electric cars software, there's a lot of scope for improvements. I spoke to the people at Tata Motors and they said that the Tiago.ev has
four software systems just like the Nexon EV.
- You have have the Battery Management System (BMS)
- You have the VCU (Vehicle Control Unit)
- Telematic system and
- The infotainment system
you to always go to the dealership and get the version checked and ensure that you have the latest software update so it's very important.
Chat on the Harman Infotainment System
Second thing is I want to discuss is that the Tata electric cars have this Harman system. I'm sorry, this totally sucks! I mean it's useful, as it has Apple carplay, Android auto. Great right? But then it's a
third party unit by Harman it has nothing to do with Tata Motors or an electric car. So there's no integration between your electric car drivetrain and then what is shown here.
If you see even the Reva e2o which was created by Chetan Maini and his team back in 2012 there was integration between the screen here and the drivetrain. You had efficiency graphs, leaderboards and there was a gamification system called eco points. Everything was right here and you could see you know how much energy is flowing into the battery how much energy is gaining when there is regen braking applied.
The cluster of the Tiago.ev has basic information here. But the Harman screen is not an EV screen. Tata Motors should stop getting a third party Harman system which has nothing to do with the EV. They are a third party company. I mean I spoke to you about the e2o which had an amazing integration here on the screen. Even the new cars, like the Hyundai Kona, BYD e6 gives me a lot of information.
The cluster of the Tiago.ev has some readouts but there is no real estate to show more information.
- I would like to know how many kilowatts is being consumed as I'm driving
- How much energy is going back to the battery during Regen
- What percentage of the energy is being consumed by the traction battery?
- What percentage of energy is being consumed by climate control?
Another benefit of having this integration is eliminating the need for adding more and more physical buttons whenever Tata Motor's releases a new software feature. For example if Tata releases an eco mode for the Tiago.ev, will they look to add a physical button for this new eco mode feature? What if there are 5 more software features added as an update? Will they keep adding physical buttons and spoil the aesthetics of the car?
Many Nexon EV owners, they have not seen the Reva e2o and the e2o was fairly ahead of its time. I used to love those efficiency graphs here and compare with others. Loved it!
Tata Motors regarding software have a long way to go and need to invest in software capability.
Final Update at Pune
This trip was just awesome final update when I reach home the SOC was 37% with 77 kilometers remaining. I did not need to charge at Lonavala, i could have reached Pune with around 17% remaining. But it was fun charging at the Lonavala Wax Museum.
If you're a new Tiago.ev owner congratulations and you guys have made a great choice!