We at CarToq are experimenting with how it would be to live in the future – a future where you would be driving electric cars once fossil fuels become highly unviable. On Day One of driving a Mahindra e20 electric car around Delhi, we found the car does pack in quite a few little surprises and is not as impractical as you would think. Read more: Living with a Mahindra e20: Day-1 report, full of little surprises
At the dawn of Day Two, we decided we’ll get a little lazy with the car charging business. In the sense, rigging up the charging point on Day One was a bit of a task, and since at the end of Day One, I had nearly 64% charge left on the Lithium-ion battery pack in the Mahindra e20, I would let it be.
I figured that Day Two was going to be much shorter distances, but in heavy traffic and crowded markets. Since the car showed me an effective range of 62 km, I decided I would charge it only at the end of the day, as my Saturday usage would not exceed that mileage.
AC working overtime
Now Saturday happened to be an exceptionally hot day in Delhi. Ambient temperature displayed on the e20’s instrument panel showed temperature was about 41 degrees. Which means, the e20’s little electric compressor was going to have to work overtime in cooling the passenger cabin. We set off from Vasant Kunj to Greater Kailash II M-Block market. The round trip was to be about 30 km. Before that, there were a few stopovers in the Vasant Kunj area such as at a grocery store and an ATM. With a passenger sitting in the e20, the AC was left on in the stationary car for about 10 minutes.
By the time we got out of the Vasant Kunj area, the battery was down to 60%, while cabin temperature had dropped to about 31 degree centigrade — comfortable, but still needed more cooling. Thankfully, the six-speed fan on the Mahindra e20’s blower is mighty effective. On reaching Greater Kailash II market, the range had dropped to 46%. And by the time we returned to Vasant Kunj, it was down to 28%. (Full-time AC use tends to consume a bit more battery).
Range anxiety hadn’t yet set in. Post noon, I ventured out again to give a greenthumb a quick soundbyte in the Vasant Kunj area and then had to go to Shahpur Jat, New Delhi for another meet. The Mahindra e20 was down to 22% battery by then and the phone app told me, I could do the trip to Shahpur Jat and back without having to charge the battery – as it was only a 16 km round trip.
However, the weather can really eat into your range. I had set out for Shahpur Jat and reached the Africa Avenue junction, a distance of about 5 km from where I started out, by then the range was down to 17% and the Mahindra e20 went into “E-mode” – where the car begins to save battery. Although this didn’t really affect the pick-up or speed in normal traffic, it began to play on my mind. Would I make it?
Now the Mahindra e20 features a “Revive” app, which would give you about 8-9 km extra range if you do run out of charge. However, this can be used only about THREE times in the life of the battery (and I was told by the Mahindra representative, that it had already been used on this car). So I didn’t want to risk getting stranded and headed back home to swap my clean, green drive for the day for a fossil-fuel burning SUV! So much for a clean drive! I was left with 11% battery at the end of it.
Later at night I rigged up the charger and let it charge. It took exactly four hours (8.15 pm to 12.15 am) to fully charge. I noted the electricity consumption, and found it took up about 9 units of electricity in that time (of course, this included lights, fans and microwave oven use in the house as well). Now that is SERIOUSLY low cost!
Total range achieved
Calculating the range that I got against the tripmeter readings on the Mahindra e20, I found that with full AC usage (including some of it in a stationary car) and normal Delhi-style driving, including boost mode, the car gave me 88 km on a full charge, against the achievable range of 100 km. Had I driven it a little more efficiently, it could have gone the entire range. But this is what real-world usage is likely to be. ALSO READ: Living with a Mahindra e20, Day-3 report, The Urban Runabout
Also see: Mahindra e20 VIDEO REVIEW