Shashank has been a speed junkie most of his life. Starting with a Suzuki Swift, he has owned an array of four wheels. The car that he remembers most is not his Mercedes GLS, but the Volvo XC90 – and that too because he thinks it had the best music system in town. But off late, as he grows older, his tastes in cars have also mellowed. He got into the EV bandwagon by purchasing a Nexon, one of the first customers in Nasik. He ended up facing a lot of niggling troubles in charging – and so upgraded to a MG ZS EV. Most of his cars also do service as tax saving tools – so his P and L requires him to change them every two or three years. Though Shashank has been waiting for a Tesla for long, he realised that Elon bhai is too busy tweeting around to get the cars into India. So when the Kia folks informed him about the EV6, he signed on. He believes that the biggest advantage of being a first mover is that you get a good price – and a CBU.
Shashank was in town for his first 1000 km service at Crystal Kia. Team PII went down to meet with him and experience the car. The car is definitely in the Tesla league. It has a lovely rear – with tall lamps that do not occupy too much real estate. The small projector headlights on the front continue with the same design language. We drove the car at night – and found the lights to be very good. The 80 kWh battery pack gives a realistic 400 km of range. The 320 HP motors on both front and rear wheels – pump enough torque to take on an F16 fighter jet on the runway. 0 to 100 kmph time is 4 seconds.
The EV6 comes loaded with electronics. It has an interesting gizmo where the 800 V DC gets converted to 230 V AC – and can be accessed via a normal 15 A plug. Kamlesh charged his Ola with this contraption with 0.7 kWh of juice. The EV6 has acres of screens on the dashboard – but I personally found that to be quite distracting. Another thing that bugged me was the army of sensors which would go into orchestra mode in traffic jams. But what I did love was the self driving features. Shashank switched on the ADAS and put the cruise control on and we went for a 20 km spin in high traffic on the Bangalore bypass. Hands were off the wheel and feet were off the pedals during the demo. The car would brake and accelerate with an uncanny human ability. Shashank tells me that he is on cruise control most of the time. I only worry about white trucks crossing the road on a sunny day – and the software not recognizing the truck against the sky. Hopefully, by the time I get a self driving car, the algos would have improved considerably.
Another wow factor was charging. Was told that sulphur has been added in the NMC chemistry to enable higher C rates. As we ended the ride we went to the Kia showroom on the Bangalore bypass to do a quick charge. The Kia folks have installed a 150 kW Tata Power charger in the basement. It was awesome to see the car go from 35 to 80 percent in just 15 minutes. I am told that it can do a DC charge at 240 kW! Also did some small energy math as the car charged. For the first 3 minutes, the SoC climbs at the rate of 2 % a minute. And later on settles into a 3 to 4 % SoC per minute band. The energy pumped into the battery was 36 kWh ( 0.45 * 80), but the Tata Power invoice was for 39.5 kWh. The difference, 39.5 – 36 = 3.5 kWh was the energy that went into taking the battery through some quick pre-cooling before the fast charge started.
As the Waghs left the charging station for their ride home to Nasik, I wondered whether I would buy such a speed monster ever. The good news is that the 2 ton beast in normal driving delivers around 6 tp 7 km per kWh, which is about 150 to 160 wh per km. This is Nexon territory – and sounds good to me. But the electronics scares me. I would be happy with just the self driving feature. And would pay a few lakhs just to have that on my Tigor. But if you are a gadget loving freak, who earns a crore plus a year, you should just walk into the Kia showroom with your Rs. 65 lakh cheque – and join the line of 600 folks who have paid up and are waiting to see their car join the 200 EV6s that are already sprinting on our desi roads.