3000 km road trip in MG ZS EV to visit the Statue of Unity & Equality

I wouldn’t have been this confident in undertaking such a long drive in the past year, but now it’s just a matter of a bit of planning.

BHPian speedmiester recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A last-minute confirmation of work meetings in Pune and Mumbai set in motion the above drive from Bangalore. I had planned to drive to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia, Gujarat since its opening, but hadn’t got a chance due to work and personal commitments. I had postponed this drive multiple times this year, but everything fell into place this time around. Since I had already planned it before, I did not have to prepare much. The car was back from its 30000 km service two days before, so everything was set.

I was joined by my father who loves long drives. He is 84, diabetic and a cardiac patient. So, his comfort was of utmost importance. I stopped regularly for 10-15mins for my dad to stretch his legs and I did not book any hotels beforehand just in case he wanted to take a break and rest for the day. Like me, he likes the drive more than sightseeing.

We started from Bangalore at 11:30PM Sep 9th and returned home at 11:10PM Sep 15th.

Below is the route I took on this drive.

Bangalore – Pune – Mumbai – Kevadia – Pune – Hyderabad- Bangalore.

Day 1:

  • Bangalore-Pune
  • Kms Driven: 868 Kms

Started with a full charge at 11:30PM from my residence. The first charging stop was at the Jio BP fuel station near Ranebennur, which is about 300Kms from my place. I had used the same charger in our previous drive to Goa, so no brainer in opting for it for the first charging stop.

Traffic was moderate to heavy till we crossed Tumkur and became sparse post that. I was maintaining speeds of 80-90KMPH with occasional bursts to a ton for quick overtaking. I stopped two times in between for 5-10mins to stretch the legs.

We reached the charging station at 4:30AM and charged to 95% which took 45 minutes.

We had breakfast at Ganesh Hotel just before Hubli, there is a Zeon charger there. Since it was free and I had unused balance in Zeon wallet, I plugged in. By the time we were done with breakfast, the charging had stopped.

Next stop was right at the Karnataka/Maharashtra border. There are two DC fast charging options within 500meters of each other. Plugged in at E-fill charger and went to grab a bite to eat. Charged upto 85% in about 35mins here. This was sufficient till our overnight stay in Pune.

The drive post Belgaum is marred with deviations which slows you down quite a bit. This continues until Satara. Also, we encountered a terrible traffic jam in Karad due to an overturned lorry which cost us more than 30mins. Stopped for lunch post Karad for 40mins. The rest of the drive to Pune was uneventful and we reached our hotel in Pune at 4:30PM. The hotel I chose has both DC and AC charging options from Tata Power. I finished my meetings and I put the car for an overnight charge using an AC charger, the car topped up to 100% in about 5.5hours.

Road conditions:

  • Bangalore – Tumkur: 6 lanes till Nelamangala which reduces to 4 lane post that. Good roads with moderate to heavy traffic
  • Tumkur – Hubli: 6 lane, excellent roads with light traffic
  • Hubli – Dharwad bypass: This is a two-lane highway with slow moving trucks. I was in sports mode throughout for quick overtakes.
  • Dharwad – Belgaum: Mix of 6 and 4 lane highway, excellent roads with light to moderate traffic
  • Belgaum – Satara: 4 lane highway, good roads with a lot of deviations. We encountered moderate to heavy traffic.
  • Satara – Pune: 6 lane highway, good road condition with moderate to heavy traffic.

Charging stops: 4

Jio BP Pulse near Ranebennur

  • 60KW dual gun charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: There is a veg hotel on the premises, but not a great one. Decent restrooms

Zeon Charger at Ganesh Hotel before Hubli

  • 50KW, 24KW DC Charger and a 43KW AC charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: A good veg hotel with clean restrooms

E-fill charger right at Karnataka/Maharashtra Border

  • 60KW Dual gun charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: Multiple food options with clean restrooms

Tata Power at Hotel Sayaji on Bangalore-Pune highway

  • 2x30KW DC charger and 2×7.4KW AC Chargers
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: Stay, dining and clean restrooms

Day 2

  • Pune-Navi Mumbai
  • Kms driven: 110 Kms

This was a short day in terms of driving. With the battery topped up, headed out to Navi Mumbai from Pune at 6:45AM. This was another uneventful drive early in the morning and with moderate traffic, I was at our hotel by 8:15AM.

Took a cab to Mumbai to complete my work as I didn’t want to drive in Mumbai traffic. I topped up the car using the on-site AC charger at the hotel for the next day’s drive.

Road conditions:

Pune- Navi Mumbai: 6/8 lane expressway, excellent roads with moderate traffic

Charging stop: 1

Tata Power at The Park, Navi Mumbai

  • 30KW DC charger and 7.4KW AC charger
  • Plugshare rating: 8.6
  • Facilities: Stay, dining and clean restrooms

Day 3

  • Navi Mumbai – Kevadia
  • Kms driven: 424 Kms

Left our hotel early in the day to have a quick exit out of Mumbai. Stopped for breakfast once we entered the highway. The traffic was sparse post Manor until the Gujarat border. I charged at Jio BP chargers just after entering Gujarat. Though this charger is rated at 60KW, it’s throttled to 30KW. This added to the charging time. I charged to 85% here which took about 40mins, this was sufficient for our overnight stay at Kevadia.

Post Vapi, the traffic picked up with trucks hogging two to three lanes. Progress was steady with multiple quick overtakes. This continued until the turn off at Bharuch. Luckily we didn’t encounter any traffic jams, we did see long jams on the other side. The traffic eased after the turn off at Bharuch towards Rajpipla, here the road condition deteriorated. Vehicles were driven on the wrong side as the road condition on the opposite lane was far worse. Drove cautiously and I was able to reach our overnight stay by around 3:30PM.

Freshened up and took an e-auto to visit the Statue of Unity.

I put the car for overnight charging at one of the AC chargers within the premises of the hotel where we stayed.

The majestic statue

View of the dam

At the Resort

Road conditions:

  • Navi Mumbai – Vapi: 6 lane highway, good roads. We encountered light to moderate traffic
  • Vapi – Bharuch: 6 lane highway, Good roads with heavy traffic.
  • Bharuch-Rajpipla: 2/4 lane state highways, bad roads with light traffic, lot of potholes and speed breakers. Wrong side driving is rampant.
  • Rajpipla-Kevadia: 4 lane roads, good roads with light traffic.

Charging Stops: 2

Jio BP Pulse at Maharashtra/Gujarat Border

  • There are two fuel stations on both sides of the highway and both have DC charging stations. Though they are advertised as 60KW chargers, both are throttled to 30KW.
  • Plugshare rating: 6.4
  • Facilities: Restrooms (decent). There is a restaurant 100meters from the charging station

Tata Power at Fern Resort, Kevadia

  • 2x30KW DC fastcharger and 2×7.4KW AC Charger
  • Plugshare rating: 9
  • Facilities: Stay, dining and clean restrooms

Day 4

  • Kevadia – Pune
  • Kms: driven: 544Kms

Though we initially planned to stay an extra day in Kevadia, we decided against it and checked out post breakfast and headed towards Pune. This time, I decided to take the alternate route through Nashik rather than use the traffic-infested route via Thane and Navi Mumbai.

We left Kevadia at 8:30AM and took the NH56 towards Nashik. This is a two-lane highway and except for a 10-12km stretch of potholed section, it is in good condition. More importantly the stretch is scenic with many streams and greenery, I would recommend this route any day over the NH48. This route also leads through Saputara, a hill station in Gujarat. It was a pleasant drive and reached Nashik by 3:50PM with multiple breaks. We had a late lunch while the car charged for the drive to Pune.

Rest of the drive to reach Pune from Nashik was uneventful. I was unable to get a hotel booking which had the charger onsite, so got the hotel next to it which is a short 200meters away.


Road Conditions:

  • Kevadia-Nashik: Two lanes to a large extent. Excellent to good roads except for a patch of 10-12kms. Good greenery all around. Light traffic.
  • Nashik – Pune: Four laned good roads with moderate traffic.

Charging stops: 2

Chargezone charging station at Carmall, Nashik

  • 30KW Dual gun charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: Dining, clean restrooms

Tata Power at Four Points, Pune

  • 25KW DC fast charger and a 7.4KW AC charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: Stay, dining and clean restrooms

Day 5

  • Pune – Hyderabad
  • Kms Driven: 542Kms

I had always kept two options on reaching Pune for the return leg. Trace back the road travelled on day 1 or visit the Statue of Equality at Hyderabad and then head back to Bangalore. Since we had come so far, decided to take the longer route via Hyderabad.

The day started early with us hitting the road by 6:45AM, this helped us get out of Pune before the traffic increased. We had breakfast at a hotel about 90Kms from Pune and hit the road again at 9:30AM. I had planned to charge midway at Solapur and most of the chargers on this route are 25/30KW chargers which meant a longer charging stop. I decided to do one longer stop rather than two stops. I charged at the BPCL charger just after Solapur, spent 55mins here topping up to 80% which sufficed till our overnight stay in Hyderabad.
Roads from Solapur to the Karnataka border were not in good shape and with construction in full swing, there were lot of deviations as well. The road conditions improved once we entered Karnataka and remained good till Hyderabad.

Though there was a charger at the hotel we stayed in Hyderabad, a good friend of mine offered to charge my car for free at his office premises using the AC charger. (I am sure he would not have offered a full tank of Petrol/Diesel, that’s an advantage with EVs.)

Road conditions:

  • Pune – Solapur: Excellent 4 lane roads, with light to moderate traffic
  • Solapur – Karnataka/Maharashtra Border: 4 lane highway with bad sections with a lot of deviations. We encountered light traffic on this stretch
  • Karnataka/Maharashtra Border – Hyderabad: Excellent 4 lane highway. Light traffic until the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Charging stops: 2

BPCL Charger near Solapur

  • 29KW DC fast charger
  • Plugshare rating: 9
  • Facilities: Restrooms
  • Private Charger: 7.2KW AC Charger

Day 6

  • Hyderabad – Bangalore
  • Kms Driven: 583KMS

My friend’s driver dropped off the fully charged to our hotel in the morning.

Started the day a little late as planned to visit the Statue of Equality on the outskirts of Hyderabad. It helped that the statue is located very close to NH44, enroute to Bangalore.

We reached the premises at 11:30AM and spent about an hour there before hitting the road at 12:45PM for the final leg of the drive. Enroute we stopped at Food Pyramid for lunch. Since there was a charger available here, I decided to top up while we had lunch.

With the car topped up to 95%, headed towards Bangalore with one final charging stop near Anantapur. A quick 30 mins topup later which included an early dinner, we hit the road and reached Bangalore outskirts by 9:30PM.

The Odo ticked to 33333kms right on Hebbal flyover and I was lucky to get a pic of it before it turned over. The last 25kms from Hebbal flyover to my residence took more than an hour.

Statue of Equality

Road conditions:

Hyderabad – Bangalore: Excellent 4 lane highways with light to moderate traffic.

Charging stops:

Electric Fuel Charger at Food Pyramid

  • 2x30KW DC Fast Charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: Dining, clean Restrooms

Chargezone charger at Mahindra Showroom, Anantapur

  • 60KW dual gun DC Charger
  • Plugshare rating: 10
  • Facilities: nearby Dining, decent Restrooms

Final stats from the drive:

  • Total Kms driven: 3070Kms
  • Driving time: 54hrs 30mins (this includes about 75-80mins of idling with AC)
  • Efficiency: 7.9KM/KW
  • Total charging sessions: 13 (8 fast charging and 5 slow AC charging)
  • Total cost of charging: Rs. 7678.08/-
  • Cost per KM: ~Rs.2.5/KM
  • Time spent for charging (Fast charging): ~5hrs 20mins.

Charging infrastructure:

The fast-charging infrastructure has grown quite a bit since I bought the car. I wouldn’t have been this confident in undertaking such a long drive in the past year, but now it’s just a matter of a bit of planning. There are many players in the market now and this means good healthy competition. Most of the chargers used were well-maintained and I was able to initiate charging quickly. I didn’t have to wait for charging anywhere during this drive. I opted for hotels with onsite slow chargers which helped in balancing fast and slow charging cycles. With better infrastructure and longer-range EVs, moving to an all-EV garage is not going to be an issue. The likes of Ioniq 5, C40 Recharge, EV6, ix4 and others can easily do these distances with less charging stops.

Parting shot

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Source: Read Full Article