EVs have come a long way in a very short time, and the best out there right now are making a compelling case for themselves. They are just as good to drive as fossil fuel cars, but much more relaxing to drive and easier on the wallet when it comes to running costs. I know our future holds visions of zero emissions, noise-free EVs zooming around and with car companies like Tata and MG bringing in affordable models with a decent range, we have good things to look forward to. This year we’ve also driven many premium EVs, all of which offer performance and efficiency on a completely different tangent. Here’s a countdown of our top six EVs we’ve tested so far in 2022.
Kia EV6 – Abhishek Nigam
It’s hard to imagine an electric car being in my top 5 favorite cars this year, but the Kia EV6 is one of those electric cars that blew my mind completely. It looks fantastic, in fact it looks like nothing else on the road and so will make quite a few heads turn, it has an excellent interior although a bit too tacky, a long list of equipment with augmented reality HUD, suede vegan leather seats, sunroof, wireless charging, adaptive high beam, power tailgate, vehicle-to-charge function that allows you to power other things with the car’s battery, double-curved display, heated and ventilated seats, meridian sound system with 14 speakers and more. But aside from the features, it’s the performance that really impressed me.
The all-wheel drive electric motor (also a two-wheel drive variant) delivers an impressive 320.5 hp and 605 Nm of torque, taking the EV6 to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds and to a top speed of 192 km/h . This is serious sports car performance. And then we come to the range. Kia says the EV6 can go 528 km on a full charge, but that falls under the international WLTP cycle and Kia thinks it will be more or less the same once the ARAI figures come out. But even if the EV6 gets anything between 400 and 450 miles, it will be an excellent figure and that will allow for even long stints on an EV. Fast, economical and beautiful, the EV6 has something for everyone.
MG ZS EV – Ninad Ambre
India’s EV market is expanding and much is being done to ease range fears among buyers. An example of this is the new MG ZS EV. In its latest iteration, it gets a little pinch and tuck. Most importantly, however, comes in the form of an increased claimed range of 461km compared to the outgoing model. MG has used a larger 50.3 kWh battery pack instead of the 44.5 kWh battery pack in the previous model. As a result, according to ICAT, the improved range is slightly more than the claimed 419 km range of the previous battery pack. Interestingly, it is now more powerful at 33 horsepower. You’ll love how it sprints forward in sport mode at the touch of a pedal.
Apart from the fun, we also tried it in real conditions and 340 km is very practical not only for owners in everyday conditions, but also for an intercity trip. And since the infotainment screen shows the estimated range along with navigation details, calculating and managing your trips with the remaining charge becomes stress-free. Either way, MG has you covered with all kinds of charging options, be it a regular 15A outlet, a 7.2kW charger or even a 50kW DC fast charger! It is quite an attractive product, despite the asking price.
Audi e-tron sportback – Sagar Bhanushali
I think I’m in the minority when it comes to EVs and how they look. I’d much rather see them look like today’s cars and that’s why the Audi e-tron Sportback works for me. Also the fact that it is faster than most SUVs and that it feels and drives like a conventional luxury vehicle is probably the most impressive thing about it. Now I prefer the Sportback version over the stock e-tron because firstly it costs just two lakh rupees more and looks millions better.
The e-tron Sportback has a theoretical driving range of more than 400 km on a full charge. This of course depends on several factors such as driving style and traffic conditions. In our range test, where the car was driven through Navi Mumbai and on the Mumbai Pune highway under various traffic conditions, we were able to cover 370 km, with the battery percentage dropping to 7 percent on a full charge. It is therefore possible to reach a comfortable range of 380 km on a full battery and that is not a bad thing at all.
BMW i4 – Vikrant Singh
I like that electric BMWs are still so emotional. Whether it’s the Mini or the monstrous iX, or the i4 for that matter, these electronics remain a joy to drive. Yes, they don’t sound great, but in terms of dynamics and driver connection, these are right at the top. Now, while the iX is inexplicably fast, and the Mini is just pure pleasure given its torque-to-size ratio, for me the i4 is a good mix of luxury and performance and everyday usability. Not to mention, it’s pretty well priced for a CBU.
The i4 may not feel as special or unique as the in-cab iX accessories reminiscent of the regular 3 Series; a hangover from a custom ICE platform if you will. But the fact that it is more regular improves the usability factor I had mentioned. You can comfortably sit four; there is enough space in the trunk; one does not need to re-develop one’s thought process to start the car. Then, of course, there’s the balance struck between delivering a comprehensive range with compelling performance that seals the deal in our book.
Volvo XC40 Charging – Ninad Ambre
Another electric vehicle in this list, and this time – the Volvo XC40 Recharge. Well, not just for the thrill with the instant acceleration it offers, but also for the good range it offers. Then there is the goodness of the features of the XC40 of which it is the electrified version. The meat of the matter – driving range. Well, a WLTP-certified 418km range is enough to take the stress out of recharging again and again. And before you worry about the exhausted load, Volvo has made sure you have over 400 horses and 660 Nm of torque to have fun. It is indeed entertaining to sprint this compact SUV with such a burst of torque and yet be very seamless in its delivery.
It gets pretty predictable and the light controls along with a compact footprint make the XC40 quite effortless to drive. Even the one-pedal setup is intriguing and once you get the hang of it, there’s no turning back. It has quite aggressive regenerative braking, which is good for recovering energy and increasing range. Well, all this funny technology packed into a product like the XC40. The latter was loved for its design, quality, space, features and more. The XC40 Recharge just carries it forward and makes itself more endearing.
Tata Nexon EV Max – Venkat Desirazu
My journey with the Tata Nexon EV started when I had the chance to drive it for the first time in January 2020 and then test it extensively in 2021. When the Nexon EV max was launched, I had to turn it into a hat trick. As a car, the Nexon EV offered everything the regular car had, but with longer range and better features like a tire pressure monitoring system, ventilated seats, and changeable rain modes. As a car, the Nexon EV Max didn’t feel any different from the regular car in terms of look and feel, after all, it’s the same vehicle, just with a longer range. Where the gloves came out and the Max showed its true colors was in the driving experience.
It sprinted from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.29 seconds compared to 9.19 seconds for the standard car, indicating a performance improvement. Despite the extra weight, the Nexon EV has lost none of its addictive performance that we loved in the stock car. Braking power is also improved thanks to the presence of disc brakes at the rear. It also shone in the ride quality department, where it glided over anything our roads threw at it without much effort, although it was quite audible and this combined with wind and tire noise made it quite a loud affair.
Photos by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi