With petrol prices in India soaring faster than the heart-rate during a cardio session, the buzz (pun intended) around electric vehicles is slowly picking up pace too. Almost on cue, Tata Motors has launched the Tigor EV.
In a time when companies are still evaluating their strategies on launching an electric car, Tata Motors is leading the charge (pun unintended again!) by launching its second mainstream EV. We spent a day driving the Tata Tigor EV, and here’s our review.
The Tigor EV looks largely the same as the ICE version, but subtle differences announce your eco credentials. It starts with the Signature Teal Blue paint scheme that grabs the eyeballs on the road. During our day out, the number of times people whipped out their phones to click a photo of the car made us feel like a celeb being caught by one of Viral Bhayani’s photographers.
In addition to the standout paint, it is also the light blue colour touches that scream electric vehicle. Elements like the grille, wheel arch and bumper all sport these light blue touches. The detailing is carried over to the interiors as well, where you’ll see it on the instrument panel, AC vents, and even the seat fabric.
The overall look of the interiors however remains the same as the ICE variant, with the one glaring omission being the gear lever. In its place is a drive selector knob reminiscent of the drive mode selector we have seen on other Tata cars like the Nexon, and Safari. But on the EV, it lets you choose between neutral, drive, reverse, and sport – more on that later. But surprisingly, the lack of a transmission tunnel hasn’t translated into any extra space. The EV has the same number of cupholders and cubby holes as the ICE Tigor.
The Tigor EV is fairly feature-packed with all the basics taken care of. The moment you sit in the driver’s seat and press the engine start button, the fully digital instrument cluster lights up to tell you that the car has woken up from its slumber.
The panel is big and bright enough to easily read without having to squint. The bars on the left light up to give you a sense of speed, while the ones on the right show the battery gauge and regeneration level. The centre of the panel shows the exact speed, battery percentage, and driving mode in large-ish font.
The dashboard houses a 7in Harman infotainment system with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. While that’s the basics taken care of, you do miss wireless support, which means you will have to carry a USB cable. There’s no wireless charging option either. The Harman sound system with four speakers and four tweeters sounds great, with a balanced output that can be modified based on one’s preference. The inherently low NVH levels of the car also amplifies the sound output, making it feel louder than its ICE counterpart.
There’s support for over 30 connected car features, which can be accessed via the Tata Motors Z Connect app. You get to remotely access certain features like the car’s horn, headlights, hazard lights, and fan. You can set a geofence for the car, and also toggle valet mode. It also helps to find the nearest charging station and service centre on the map, which we found to be quite useful during our test.
Green, but not mean
If the Nexon EV is that boisterous guy at a party who catches everyone’s attention, the Tigor EV is the one at the corner quietly sipping on a mocktail.
Behind the wheels the Tigor does feel like an EV with nary a sound and the ease with which you can drive. But what’s missing is the electrifying experience usually associated with EVs. The 75bhp power feels inadequate, and the 170Nm of torque won’t cause any funny feeling in your pants.
The instant torque is missing, and the acceleration feels flat and sedated, especially in the normal drive mode. This makes it ideal for the stop-start driving scenarios in cities, but boring otherwise. In sport mode, the car does come to life, but just by a tad bit. It is almost as if Tata has deliberately kept things sober to help first time users easily switch from an ICE to an EV.
The drive selector knob is easy to operate, but a bit slow to respond. Especially when switching from neutral or reverse or drive. The short lag feels like eons when trying to make a three-point turn in the middle of a street.
Even the braking feels laid back, and the retardation isn’t as aggressive as some of the other EVs. You won’t feel like you’ve hit an invisible wall every time you brake or lift your feet off the pedal, and the overall feeling is quite similar to regular ICE cars. While there’s energy recuperation during braking, it isn’t a lot, and there’s no way to adjust the intensity either.
The Tigor EV’s battery capacity stands at 26kWh, which Tata claims is good enough to offer over 300km range. But in reality, the number is closer to the 250 mark. You can maximise the range by being in the normal drive mode, but you will have aged a bit by the time you reach your destination. Switching to sport mode will make you reach a tad earlier, but takes a toll on the range.
The battery can be charged in two ways. Using a standard 15A plug will take close to nine hours to fully charge the battery, so it is better suited for overnight halts or a really long pit stop. For a quick top-up, the 25kW DC charger can juice up the battery from 0-80% in just about an hour. The difference is similar to what we experience while using a standard smartphone charger as opposed to a 65W OnePlus Warp Charger.
The Tata Power EZ Charge app will guide you to the nearest charging stations, and will also tell you where you can find the fast top-up option. Just like you would at a gas station, you can choose how much to fill up. Only instead of telling an attendant, you can put it on the app, and use the in-app wallet to pay for it. The entire process doesn’t come with a steep learning curve, and one will get used to it in no time.
The Tigor EV is like the person who works a 9-to-5 job for five days a week, and unwinds on weekends by taking the family out on a drive and lunch at a restaurant. It’s best described as sober, but who knows how to have a bit of fun once in a while.
It may not sound all that exciting, but it doesn’t need to. The Tigor’s job is to get the basics right, be easy to live with, and convince those on the fence to move to EVs. Those looking for excitement, can opt for the Nexon EV that is available for about ₹1-2 lakhs more.