PluginIndia: Hello Akhil. How long have you owned the Kona Electric Car now?
Akhil: I have been owning the Hyundai Kona Electric SUV for the past 6 months.
Akhil: I started at 5.30AM from Bengaluru, and reached Coimbatore (Kovaipudur) at 12.40PM with 2 breaks of 30 minutes each in Krishnagiri and Vaigundam. The range displayed on the car at the end was 16km, having done 389km on the tripmeter. Maintained the speeds between 70-90 kph, and had the AC on for the last 40-50% of the drive, remaining on just the blower.
Akhil: Yes, the Kona is quite comfortable even at high speeds. Feels like there is a lot of juice in spare if you keep below 100 kmph.
PluginIndia: So, you made it to Coimbatore without charging in between. Do, tell us about charging at Coimbatore.
Akhil: I plugged the car in for charge overnight, in a regular 16A 3 pin socket, and it took 14 hours (with a 30 min power cut in between, and lower voltage of around 190-200V throughout the night) to recharge from 2% to 100%. I have a slightly faster charger that I bought separately, and the OE Hyundai charger would have taken around 3 hours more. If the voltage had been within the normal 220-230V, the charge would've been done an hour faster.
Akhil: Return leg was going to be close in terms of range because of the elevation gain, the efficiency would be lesser. Luckily I found a Volvo B9R doing a steady 90-100kph and followed him for almost 130km. I sat in his wake and let him push the air so the energy drain wasn't much.. This helped the efficiency in a big way, despite the altitude gain, and was able to make it back safely without any need to charge anywhere. Started at 5.40pm, and reached Bangalore at 1.45AM again with 2 breaks of around 1 hour and 45 min total. The car showed a DTE of 12km in the end.
PluginIndia: We are sure, you saved a lot of money by driving an electric car compared to a pollution causing oil guzzler?
Akhil: Although it took a bit longer than it would have in my Ford Endeavour, it cost me less than 10% of the fuel cost. I'd have spent around Rs.5500 in diesel in my Endeavour 3.2L, and here I spent Rs. 500 in total towards electricity for recharge. It is actually cheaper than that for me, because I recharge at home off my rooftop solar grid.
Akhil: Yes for now 7.2kW AC chargers are coming up, installed privately. Tata is installing 25kW CCS chargers at 3 points along this route, roughly 150km away from each other. At 25kW, a full charge on the Kona would take about 90 min. I feel, even if the Tata chargers come in, there may not be a great variation in the overall journey time. Because the stoppage time would negate any time saved by higher speeds. But it would definitely extend the range for sure. Instead of doing 350km in a day, one can do 500km with the DC chargers.
PluginIndia: Fantastic even simple 7.2 kw chargers will make things better. DC Chargers will be game changer !
Akhil: Yes and since AC chargers are much cheaper, location owners don't mind at all
PluginIndia: We are so happy to listen to your Real Life EV Story! Thank you so much for documenting the trip. We hope your story inspires more people to go electric.
Akhil: No problems!!