Electric Car Journey in India
6000+ kilometres. 70 days on the MG ZS EV along the Golden Quadrilateral route
This document is a daily summary of the journey which will be updated constantly.
Flag-off day from E-Mobility India Forum
Day 1–300 kilometres Delhi-Gurugram-Delhi-Agra
After a brief stop in Gurugram to interact with the students at VIBGYOR Group of Schools, Rajendra and me headed to Delhi to meet Awadhesh Kumar Jha and the Fortum India team at the E-Mobility India Forum, from where we had the flag-off ceremony. Later, we headed off towards Agra with a brief 27 minute stop at the DC 25 kW charging stop at Greater Noida inside the India Exposition Mart. Incidentally, we also met Udit Hooda who graciously accepted to host us at Ekaa Hotels in Agra. Once we had enough juice to cover the remaining kilometres, we zoomed on the Yamuna Expressway and reached Agra with ease.
Day 2 — Rest stop in Agra
At the sustainability themed Ekaa Hotel in Agra, we had a provision of slow charging the MG ZS EV using a 15 Amp socket. EV travel opens up opportunities for hospitality businesses with EV charging station provisions. Franchise models like the one with Fortum Charge & Drive India is a huge investment opportunity to push EV adoption. Samradh Singh Chauhan from CEEW joined the journey from this day. CEEW’s reports are comprehensive and well researched. Their E-mobility dashboard is particularly interesting.
Day 3 — Agra to Kanpur via the Agra Lucknow Expressway. 330 kilometres.
We had to charge the car with an additional 25 kWh to be able to reach Kanpur without range anxiety. Fast chargers were easy to spot in Agra and on the way to Kanpur on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. There is only one DC25kW fast charger at the Indian Oil Petrol Pump in a rest stop about 100 kilometres from Agra. We reached IIT Kanpur where we were hosted in the guest house.
Day 4 — Rest Day in IIT Kanpur
Thanks to the Department of Sustainable Energy, especially Deepika Jhajhria, we got an opportunity to share our journey experiences with an interesting quiz from Samradh Singh Chauhan. IITK has ongoing research in V2G(Vehicle to Grid) and time-of-charge tariff for EVs. A community EV charging system is installed inside the campus for research purposes in association with Siemens and DoE(Department of Energy) via USAID. A free charge inside the campus using a 50kW DC charger got us a full battery for the next day. Once the battery SoC reached 80%, the rate of charging decreased exponentially.
Day 5 — Kanpur to Lucknow
A relatively shorter day of 120 kilometres till IIM Lucknow. Samradh took the wheel and we reach IIM Lucknow by lunchtime. We had 100% SoC in Kanpur and we reached with 60% SoC to the IIML campus. Thanks to the student council, we were hosted in the Chanakya Guest house. It is a beautiful campus nestled in the outskirts of Lucknow. Students ensured that the MG ZS EV is put to charge in a tea shop on campus using a 15 Amp socket. It started raining and we decided to take some rest. The next day, we had a student interaction and test drives for some campus residents. The common feedback of the people who drove the electric car for the first time was quicker acceleration and quieter passenger cabin.
Day 7— Lucknow to Varanasi
This day by far made us the most range anxious. We started this day from IIM Lucknow campus with 97% SoC and decided to make it to Varanasi in one full charge, also because there are no fast chargers on this direct route. The distance showed 330 kilometres on the google map but the range on the dashboard showed 340 kilometres with a predictive SoC of 2% when we would reach Varanasi. Rajendra Bhaskar was at the wheel and he experimented with different driving styles like drafting behind a bus to reduce wind resistance and maintaining an average speed of 50 kmph in the second half of the journey. Lower speeds reduce air resistance and rolling resistance, thus increasing the range significantly. The first half of the journey was on the newly inaugurated Purvanchal Expressway till Sultanpur. It was a tight journey in the end and we reached with 1% SoC to the Sunbeam School Varuna campus in Varanasi where we were hosted.
Day 8 — Rest Day in Varanasi
Shazib Siddiqui reached out to me while I was planning this journey and offered to help in Varanasi. He kept his word and organised a student interaction at Sunbeam School Varuna and Bhagwanpur Campuses. A short presentation was followed by a quiz, Q&A and a demo of the electric car. The students were very curious to know about the range, charging and cost aspects of the EV. Thanks to people like Shazib who came forward and offered to help with outreach, such interactions are always a source of feedback and motivation.
Day 9 — Rest Day in Varanasi
Shazib again organised a school interaction JD Public school in the outskirts of Varanasi. Thanks to Amrinder Singh and his family who run this school for the underprivileged kids, me and Rajendra got an opportunity to speak to some students. In the evening, we took some rest, visited the renowned Assi Ghat and the IIT BHU Campus.
Day 10 — Varanasi to Obra Bihar. 180 kilometres
After a full overnight charge at the Sunbeam School in Varanasi, we started heading towards Obra, Bihar. In 2019, Sudheer, Pallavi, Ruthvik and myself had embarked on a similar journey on a solar powered electric auto rickshaw. We had stopped by the LOKA School and met Sanat Kumar, one of the co-founders of this school. I got a message again from Sanat to visit the school and meet the students. We decided to spend our time at the school again, this time on the electric car. To my surprise, some of the students still remembered the solar auto rickshaw from 3 years ago! The ethos of LOKA School is to empower kids from the village and make them self confident and self reliant via alternative skill based education. We also gave some test drives to the kids who were excited to know how electric vehicles work. Sanat ensured our hospitality was memorable. The Bihari dish of Litti Chokha was tasty!
Day 11-Obra, Bihar to Dhanbad, Jharkhand. 260 kilometres
We could not get a full charge overnight at the LOKA School for the electric car due to intermittent power supply challenges in Obra town. We had 75% SoC when we began the journey. There is a 25kW DC Fast Charger about 70 kilometres from Obra. We stopped at this charger for a topup charge for 40 minutes(added an extra 20 kWh) in the afternoon to have enough battery to reach Dhanbad. Another smooth journey and an amazing highway in Jharkhand got us to our destination without range anxiety.
Day 12 — Rest Day in Dhanbad, Jharkhand
We were hosted by the Wedlock Greens Hotel in Dhanbad (thank you Chandan Das) where we could also charge the car using a 15 Amp slow charger at the hotel parking. It is good to see hotels such as Wedlock Greens to support sustainability outreach initiatives — leading by example, there was rain water harvesting and a solar powered cafe at the hotel. This day, we also visited the IIT ISM Campus in Dhanbad and interacted with the students.
Day 13 — Dhanbad, Jharkhand to Durgapur, West Bengal. 105 kilometres
With a full charge, we left the Wedlock Greens Hotel early around 8 am. We reached our destination, National Power Training Institute, in Durgapur. The Director Shri SK Srivastava Sir hosted us at the guest house inside the campus where we also put the car to slow charge overnight. The Director, staff and some students got an opportunity to test drive the MG ZS EV inside the campus. We also shared some journey experience insights via a presentation
Day 14 — Durgapur to Kolkata, West Bengal. 180 kilometres
After a few test drives on the NPTI campus, we started heading towards Kolkata. We had a full charge in the MG ZS EV and a relatively shorter distance of 180 kilometres meant that we need not stop at a DC Fast Charger for a top-up charge. We encountered traffic as we entered the city via Howrah and the yellow ambassador cabs started to make their appearance. Meghdut and Pauline hosted us at Offbeat CCU. We also got the opportunity to witness the launch event of the CCU Festival which also has sustainability as one of the themes. Thanks to the Y-East team, we met some students at Techno India University to share our journey experience, Q&A and the demo of the electric car.
Day 15 and Day 16 — Rest Days in Kolkata
Day 17 — Kolkata to Kharagpur. 140 kilometres
While planning this 6000 km EV journey, I had posted about my plan in a community Telegram Group — PlugInIndia — where EV owners and enthusiasts discuss and share their experiences amongst themselves. As a resource, there are very good community online groups of EV owners who help each other today. Professor CS Kumar from IIT Kharagpur Mechanical Department, from this telegram group, wrote to me regarding the possibility of staying at IIT KGP campus and student interactions. He was our main point of contact which enabled my stay on campus overnight. We got to meet the Team Kart student group and the Autonomous Vehicle Research Group. We still had a 200 kilometre range remaining in the electric car so we decided not to plug it in overnight on campus.
Day 18 — Kharagpur, West Bengal to Balasore, Odisha. 160 kilometres
Continuing on NH60, we left IIT Kharagpur in the morning and reached Pradeep Science and Engineering College in Balasore which is about 130 kilometres away. Chandan Das from Wedlock Greens Hotel team in Dhanbad studied at this college and connected me with the college in-charge to explore an opportunity to stop-by. We decided to stop by for a couple of hours and gave a demo of the MG ZS EV and shared how better electric cars are as compared to the petrol and diesel cars. After the session, we traveled 30 more kilometres on the highway to reach Modern Hotel. Narendra Nayak, the owner of Modern Hotel agreed to host and enable overnight slow charging of the car. Reached 80% SoC till morning with a 15 Amp Slow Charger. He was curious to know more about the possibilities to offer EV Charging as an additional service to customers. Fortum Charge and Drive has EV Charging Franchise Business opportunities
Day 19 —Balasore to Bhubaneshwar. 200 kilometres
With an 80% SoC, we started from Modern Hotel in Soro, Balasore in the morning and headed towards the capital of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar. A lot of construction on the highway meant quite a lot of gravel diversions. It took longer time than expected due to city traffic and road work but we finally made it to the beautiful IIT Bhubaneshwar campus on the outskirts of the city. The Dean of Alumni Affairs and the Gymkhana Secretary gave us the opportunity to talk to the students on campus. We charged the MG ZS EV using a slow charger on the campus overnight.
Day 20 — Rest day in Bhubaneswar
We visited the Odisha University of Technology and Research (previously known as CET University). Saswat Panda, an active member of the Odisha clean energy group has always been helpful to connect with relevant people in Odisha to push the clean energy and mobility narrative. Other university visits included IIIT Bhubaneswar and Kalinga Institute of Technology in Bhubaneshwar
Day 21 to 28 Diwali Break
Day 29— Bhubaneshwar to Gopalpur. 170 kilometres
A short drive from Bhubaneswar to Gopalpur beach on the east coast. Thanks to Suvendu, we found accommodation at the IPS Mess Accommodation adjacent to the Gopalpur Beach. We had to take the car to the nearby hotel to charge it using the 16 Amp plugpoint overnight since there was no provision of the 16 Amp plugpoint at the IPS Mess. One of the days where it took some time to find an extension cord since the 3 metre cable length of the AC Charging adapter was insufficient — a key learning from the journey. Got a topup of 30% battery in about 6 hours of plugging in — enough to reach the next destination, Vizag without range anxiety.
Day 30— Gopalpur to Vizag. 290 kilometres
Started with an SoC of 80% from Gopalpur. An easy drive on the NH16 as we crossed the Odisha border to enter Andhra Pradesh. Much better road condition of the NH16 as we entered AP. We had to switch off the AC for a few kilometres to make it to our destination without range anxiety. We had a meeting with the team at Best Western Hotel Tejvivaan in Vizag to share some of our journey experiences. EV Charging in hotels is a great opportunity and franchise opportunities by our charging partner, Fortum Charge and Drive, allow anyone to start a EV Charging business. The MG ZS EV was put to charge in the parking lot using a 16 Amp socket.
Day 31— Break day in Vizag. 160 kilometres
Avishma Matta, an IITB alumnus and a sustainability enthusiast, planned the AP leg of the journey and joined the team for the next 6 days. GITAM University in Vizag hosted a student interaction where I could present some journey case studies with the demo of the electric car. Thank you to Venture Development Centre for organizing the session!
Day 32— Vizag to Kakinada
Avishma took the wheel of the EV from today. After the event at GITAM University, we started driving towards Kakinada with an SoC of 80%. Aditya Group of Institutions was our destination for the day where there was an event planned. It was good to see electric golf carts inside the campus to ferry students and staff. There was a dedicated hub for these golf carts to get charged using 16 Amp sockets. We plugged the MG ZS EV at this parking hub overnight.
Day 33 — Kakinada to Vijayawada. 240 kilometres
After the morning event at Aditya Educational Institutions, we started driving towards Vijayawada with an SoC of 80%. The relatively new SRM University AP campus is situated in Amravathi. Udayan Bakshi, CEO Hatchlab Research Centre & Associate Director Innovation & Entrepreneurship at SRM University, organised a student interaction event. We also got the opportunity to meet the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Manoj K Arora who is encouraging the hands-on learning approach for students. The campus is also being expanded currently to accommodate more facilities.
At SRM University AP, we got a chance to visit Amara Raja facility. I am extremely gald to have Amara Raja Group to support this EV outreach journey across India. As a leader in the automative battery and power storage space, they are uniquely placed to lead the electrical vehicle transformation. They are one of the leaders in India in this R&D and charging solutions development.
Day 34— Vijayawada to Ongole. 160 kilometres
After the event at SRM University in the morning, we started driving towards Ongole. Prakasam Engineering College in Ongole was a refreshing change as an overnight halt. Nestled in a quiet rural town on the outskirts of Ongole, Prakasam Engineering College has a majority of female students which was a welcome change. We presented our experiences and made a demo of the electric car to multiple batches of students. We ended up spending more time with the students than expected —a thoroughly fulfilling experience!
Day 35— Ongole to Nellore. 120 kilometres
A short drive from Prakasam Engineering College to Narayana Engineering College in Nellore. We met some students and called it a night
Day 36 — Nellore to Chennai. 170 kilometres
In the morning, we had an interaction with the students at Narayana Engineering College in Nellore before heading out towards Chennai. One of the supporting organisations of this journey is the company, Illumine-I. After a swift drive to reach the office of Illumine-I in Chennai, we met the founders, Nithish Sairam, Sudarshan and Rahul. After a brief presentation and Q&A, we were invited for dinner by the Illumine-I team. Post dinner after a long day, we checked in to Hyatt Regency Chennai hotel. The team at Hyatt Regency were keen to learn more about the EV charging methods and the possibility of installing a dedicated EV charging station at the hotel.
Day 37— Break day in Chennai
IIT Chennai organized a student interaction in the morning and later in the afternoon, there was an EV rally organised by the IIT Madras Research Park as a part of their event, Envision. We got an opportunity to interact with the IITMRP team who gave a tour of the various interesting initiatives being undertaken on campus, especially in the domain of electric vehicles and energy storage.
Day 38 — Chennai to Vellore. 130 kilometres
Avishma and me met Nithish for the one last time again for lunch in Chennai before I moved onwards to Vellore. Avishma’s time as a volunteer ended in Chennai. Thanks to Suvendu and his contact, I was hosted at the VIT Guest house overnight.
Day 39— Vellore to Bengaluru. 130 kilometres
From VIT, we entered AP again in Chittoor and then directed towards the AP-Bengaluru highway. We took a short 35 minute stop at the DC Fast Charger on the highway to get an extra 80 kilometre range in the EV. In the evening, JW Marriott Golfshire hotel organised a 5 kilometre bicycle rally with 15 riders from their team as a part of sustainable mobility outreach. I got to meet the team who were also a part of the panel discussion on sustainability in hospitality.
Day 40— Bengaluru City
Aakarsh Shamanur joins in Bengaluru today as a volunteer to help locally. We got to visit Texas Instruments’ TI in AutomoTIve Day! It was so inspiring to meet TI India’s MD, Mr. Santhosh Kumar and interact with TI engineers to learn how their various futuristic semiconductor innovations are enabling many EV journeys to be safe, reliable and always on the move. Thanks to the TI India team for the opportunity to share our journey experiences! Lords eco Inn hosted us overnight and also enabled overnight charging of the MG ZS EV using a 16 amp plugpoint
Day 41 — Bengaluru City
We visited the VIBGYOR School to have an hour interaction in the morning with the students.
At Nexus Malls ShantiNiketan in Bengaluru, our charging partner Fortum India Fortum Charge & Drive India has installed 46 charging points (a mix of DC fast and AC slow chargers) in the mall parking area. These EV chargers are placed in a strategic location to also enable EV fleet operators to make use of them as a charging hub. The mall amenities are always available for a short food/restroom break while the EV is charging. Aakarsh Shamanur and myself got an opportunity to meet Gaurav Goel and Akshay Galagali from the Fortum C&D team alongwith the Nexus mall team.
We used one of the 60kW DC Fast Chargers to get a quick top-up charge in the MG ZS EV. The experience of using the Fortum C&D India mobile application was straightforward and seamless after the network was established. QR code or RFID based technology is used to get the process started and the steps to follow are easy to understand once the connector-car handshake is done. The payment is done digitally via UPI or wallet.
Day 42— Bengaluru to Davangere. 260 kilometres
From Bengaluru, we started driving towards Davangere on NH48. Leaving Bengaluru with a full charge(99% SoC) and early morning was a good idea to have lesser city traffic till the outskirts. At our hotel Lords Inn in Bengaluru, we used the 16 Amp socket to slow charge it overnight. We made a stop at Bapuji College in Davangere to interact with some students and share our journey experiences. At Davangere, accommodation was organised by Aakarsh Shamanur. We again used a 16 Amp socket to get the MG ZS EV charged overnight in the parking area.
Day 43 — Davangere to Belagavi. 250 kilometres
From Davangere with a full battery, we started driving towards Belagavi on NH48. We had a quick pitstop for lunch and student interactions at IIT Dharwad. Later in the evening, we reached Lords Hotel in Belagavi and put the car to charge in the basement parking lot using the 16 Amp plugpoint.
Day 44— Rest Day in Belagavi
Day 45 — Belagavi to Kolhapur. 120 kilometres
We continued on the NH48 crossing the Karnataka-Maharashtra border. In Kolhapur on the NH48 highway, we came across a McD outlet on the highway with solar panels and an EV Charger. We got an opportunity to meet the team to know more about the energy efficient initiatives taken by the McD team. It was interesting to note that the solar panels gave shade to the car parking area and provided 180–260 units of electricity to the store. More such efforts are needed for the sustainability transition in energy and mobility. This was an example worth noting!
Day 46 — Kolhapur to Pune. 240 kilometres
We did not charge the car overnight in Kolhapur since we had enough charge to reach Pune for the day. In the morning, we visited VIBGYOR Kolhapur school and interacted with the students. Post lunch, we started our journey via Satara and reached Pune late evening. We were hosted by India Energy Storage Alliance — thank you Dr. Rahul Walawalkar and team!
Day 47 — Pune city
The pleasant weather of Pune after hot sunny days was a welcome change. In the morning, we visited the MG Motor showroom and service centre in Wakad, Pune to get a quick check-up of the MG ZS EV. Our Charging Partner, Fortum Charge and Drive has setup a 60 kW DC Fast Charger(with 2 charging connectors) near the showroom itself. I got a quick top-up charge at this Fortum DC Fast Charger before leaving the MG Motor Showroom.
In the afternoon, I had an opportunity to visit the IESA office in Wakad to have a discussion about my journey experiences with the team over lunch.
In the evening, we met the team of Illumine-I in Pune
Day 48— Pune city
We had two VIBGYOR School interactions, one at NIBM and other at Balewadi.
Day 49— Pune city
A fellow IITB alumnus and a friend based in Pune, Anuj Karkare, has been supporting The SunPedal Ride project since its inception. Anuj is the Director of ENPRO Industries. He gave me an opportunity to share my experiences with the team and also inaugurate the 2-wheeler EV chargers at the corporate office for its employees.
In the afternoon, we got an opportunity to visit Savitribai Phule Pune University and do a Q&A with the students. Thank you IESA Academy, Aditi Pathak, for organising the student interaction.
Day 50— Pune to Mumbai. 160 kilometres
After a full overnight charge in Pune, we started driving towards Mumbai. The Pune-Mumbai Expressway experience on the MG ZS EV was a smooth one. The ghat downhill section meant the regenration kicked in and overall, lesser energy was consumed since it was a net downhill drive.
Day 51— Mumbai city
The Mumbai city traffic caught up with us. The metro work construction did consume a lot of time in the traffic within the city. Priyans Murarka, an active MG ZS EV owner and community member, agreed to join in the student interaction at VIBGYOR Malad West. He shared his thoughts on e-mobility and engaged with the students. Thank you Priyans for joining!
Day 52 — Mumbai city
In the morning, I visited the MG Motor Showroom in Prabhadevi, South Bombay which is very near to the inconic Siddhivinayak Temple. Our Charging Partner, Fortum Charge and Drive has installed a DC Fast Charger at the MG Motor Showroom. We also gave a few test drives to the people there.
Energy Club, IIT Bombay, organised a student interaction on campus. It was good to be back on campus and spend time with the students on the topic of e-mobility. An afternoon well spent.
Day 53 — Mumbai to Vapi. 180 kilometres
After a full overnight charge in Mumbai at home using an extension cord, we started driving towards Vapi. Barbara Vermeire and Bram Biemans from Europe joined in as volunteers in the electric car. Mirik Gogri, my batchmate from IITB, also joined in the car till Vapi on this day. Mirik organised an event with the employees of the company, Aarti Industries in Vapi once we reached.
Krunal Tailor, a sustainable mobility enthusiast, was part of the support team in 2016 during The SunPedal Ride on the solar powered ebike. Krunal and his family graciously hosted us in Vapi at this home with some local Gujarati sumptuous meals. Thank you Krunal for the warm hospitality as always!
Day 54 — Vapi to Surat. 120 kilometres
We did not charge the car overnight in Vapi since we had enough juice to make it till Surat for the day. Krunal test drove the EV before we left Vapi in the morning. We reached Vapi around lunch time and we had a student interaction at SVNIT, Surat in the evening. Thank you Dave Sir for organising! Barbara and Bram turned quiz masters for the day.
Day 55— Surat to Baroda. 160 kilometres
At SVNIT Guest House, we charged the car overnight with the 16 Amp plugpoint and the extension cord. In the morning, we had a VIBGYOR School interaction event in Surat before leaving towards Baroda on the NH48. We reached Baroda in the evening that day, checked in to Lords Hotel next to Sayaji Garden.
Day 56— Baroda City
In the morning, we visited the VIBGYOR School in Baroda and interacted with a group of 150+ students followed by the demo of the charging port and cable.
In the evening, we interacted with some employees of Aarti Industries corporate office, again, thanks to Mirik for organising!
Day 57— Baroda to Ahmedabad. 120 kilometres
One of the best expressway driving experiences! After charging the EV overnight at Lords Hotel in Baroda, we left towards Ahmedabad. We met the MG Motor team in Ahmedabad and also saw the Fortum Charge and Drive 50 kW Charger at the showroom. It was good to see the mention of tips, steps and Do’s and Don’ts on the EV Charging Station.
Day 58 — Ahmedabad City
In Ahmedabad, we shared some of our journey experiences with Anand Parikh Vaibhav Vinay Toshniwal Aditi Gupta Jainam Shah Dhairya shah. Thank you for taking time out to meet and support the initiative!
We were hosted by Lords Hotels & Resorts in Ahmedabad, thanks to Vikas Suri and team
Day 59 — Ahmedabad to Udaipur. 260 kilometres
Utkarsh Rastogi volunteered to join this stretch of the journey in the electric car. This was one of the longer stretches of driving. Aravalli hills made the terrain a little challenging with an uphill drive. We had to stop at a DC fast charger YoCharge for a quick top-up charge of 30 minutes at a food court midway on the highway. Thank you Jaideep! We made it to Udaipur with 15% battery left.
The temperature got chillier in the evening as we entered Rajasthan from Gujarat.
Day 60— Udaipur City
In Udaipur, we visited Techno NJR College of Engineering and the College of Technology and Engineering to have some student interactions. An IITB Alumnus, Sikandar Singh helped with the organisation of these student interactions and accommodation at the Airbnb.
Day 61— Udaipur Break Day
Day 62 — Udaipur to Jodhpur. 250 kilometres
We got a full charge at Udaipur in Bamboo Saa Resort where there was a 7.2 kW AC charger by YoCharge. A long day of driving on back roads via Pali later, we reached Jodhpur. Thanks to Sumeet Meharda, we got accommodated at Anveshan Bhavan Police guest house in Jodhpur and got a good rest.
Day 63 — Jodhpur City
We got an opportunity to interact with the enthusiastic students at Euro International School, Jodhpur about our journey. Thank you Vikram Ahuja for organising it.
Day 64 — Jodhpur to Ajmer. 220 kilometres
We got a full slow charge at Anveshan Bhavan via the 16 Amp plugpoint and the extension cord. Highway 25 is a newly built road and it was a pleasant drive all the way till Ajmer. Again at Ajmer, we were hosted by Ajmer Police at Anveshan Bhavan.
Day 65 — Ajmer to Jaipur. 130 kilometres
We did not charge the car overnight since this was again a short day of driving till Jaipur.