We all know the Mahindra e2o, India’s first electric car that looked quirky with two doors and sold mostly in Bangalore, where it is manufactured and the only city to have a charging network. Now, Mahindra Electric has chosen to launch a bigger, powerful version of the car and has christened it Mahindra e2o Plus. The “Plus” denotes more doors, more power, more range and more space. Could this be the ‘Perfect City Car’ that we need?
The e2o was a car with good intentions but it lacked practicality. With just two doors, which we Indians haven’t understood yet, not-easy-to-access rear seats and not-so-good range, the e2o was just not offering enough reasons to buy the car. Mahindra has accepted the shortcomings and the e2o Plus is their solution. The e2o Plus is longer and has four doors, offering better rear seat accessibility and space. In fact, space-wise the e2o Plus can rival with the likes of Hyundai i10 in terms of leg room. The car has grown by 310 mm in length, 61 mm in width and 25 mm in height, with an increased wheelbase of 300 mm. The car can now seat four people comfortably, with adequate legroom and under thigh support.
The design of the e2o Plus is similar to its two-door brother till the B-pillar and then the obvious difference comes into play. Though the e2o Plus gets the same projector headlamps from the e2o, the front grille is an all-new unit that reflects the family language of other Mahindra cars. Other new features of the exterior include 14-inch alloy wheels, vertical LED tail lamps, roof-mounted spoiler, black contrast roof and quarter-glass mounted rear handles.
Inside, the dashboard is similar to that of e2o with the same digital display but now gets a new Android-based touch screen infotainment system. The e2o Plus has some great features such as keyless entry, engine start/stop system, electric ORVMs and power windows. But the placement of switches for the electric ORVMs and the power windows are uncomfortable to use.
But what we didn’t like is the build quality and uneven panel gaps that are frequent throughout the car. Though the materials don’t look cheap, the way they are put together leaves a lot to be desired. The driver seat is placed higher than normal and at first you will feel odd. Once you get used to it, then the position helps you to see more outside and ahead. The foot well is deep but the oddly placed accelerator and brake pedals will also take some time to adjust to. Another important credit to be given is the AC unit, which is quite capable of cooling the cabin even when the outside temperature is more than 43 degree Celsius.
The top-end variant, P8, gets a more powerful 72V battery pack compared to the 48V unit of the other variants. The 72V battery makes a maximum power of 40 hp at 3,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 91 Nm at 2,000 rpm. The range is 140 km (110 km for the 48V unit) is enough for city driving. Charging the battery to its full capacity takes 9 hours and there’s also an option to get a fast charger, which charges 90 per cent of the battery in just 90 minutes. The automatic transmission gets four modes—Reverse, Neutral, Forward and Boost.
The drive is smooth and silent, as expected of an electric car. Response is quick enough for city driving and the ride is well settled. The steering lacks the necessary feel for spirited driving but then, the e2o Plus is not meant to be one. 140km range will certainly reflect to around 100 to 120km in real driving conditions. And if you are in the danger of your battery being dead in the middle of nowhere, there is the REVive option, which allows Mahindra Electric’s support centre to remotely access the car to relieve a reserve charge of around 10km to get you somewhere safe.
The Mahindra e2o Plus is a great city car without a doubt. It has good range for our daily commuting duties, is spacious and has great features, too. But where it will not appeal is its price tag. At Rs 10.05 lakh ex-showroom Delhi (after the FAME incentive and state subsidy), it’s fairly costlier. While we can’t blame Mahindra for this, the e2o Plus will appeal to those who want to do something for the environment.