Tata Motors, the brand synonymous with the electric revolution in India and a brand known to have brought electric vehicles to the masses, has launched the 2022 Tata Nexon EV MAX. While the Nexon EV saw a substantial number of sales figures, many customers did complain about one in particular, which was its range and wished it offered a bigger capacity battery. Tata Motors has resolved all those issues with the new launch by providing a bigger 40.5kWh battery pack that delivers an ARAI certified range of 437 kilometres. During my road test, I will try and deplete as much of the battery as I can in one day and report back on the battery percentage and range left by the time I end this review!
Exterior Design of the Nexon EV MAX
Before we dive into the details, let me talk about the changes made on the outside of the Nexon EV MAX. Before you write to us saying we have used pictures of the Nexon EV and not the MAX, let me clarify that there are no visible exterior changes between the two models, and there isn’t even a MAX badge on the outside. A game of Where’s Waldo might seem easier than differentiating between the Nexon EV and Nexon EV MAX. Although, upon closer inspection, the design on the 16-inch alloys looks tweaked compared to the standard variant of the Nexon EV. Tata has also introduced a new colour called Intensi-Teal.
Interiors of the Nexon EV MAX
While the exteriors see no changes, some things on the inside make things evident that this is the Nexon EV MAX. Yes, while the overall dashboard layout of the car remains untouched, what has been added is a nice jewelled rotary driver selector knob with a display inside that helps select the gears.
Furthermore, you now get a button to control your multi-regen braking, an electronic parking brake with auto hold and most importantly, you now have front ventilated seats which are a boon in the Indian summers! But, that’s not all; Tata has brimmed the Nexon EV MAX with comfort features such as a wireless charger and an air quality monitoring system built into the 7-inch Harman touch-screen infotainment system.
Battery and Motor of the Nexon EV MAX
The most significant change on the Tata Nexon EV MAX is the 40.5kWh battery pack sending power via a permanent magnet synchronous AC motor, which offers an ARAI certified range of 437 kilometres. In reality, the actual range you might be able to get would differ between 350-380 kilometres which depends on your driving conditions and overall road conditions. Nonetheless, thanks to the bigger battery pack, it now produces 140bhp and 250Nm of torque, which means that the Nexon EV MAX can do the 0 to 100 km/h stint in just under 9 seconds (as claimed by Tata).
The Nexon EV MAX allows the driver to switch between three driving modes – Normal, Sport and ECO. Now, if you ask me, for the most part, you are going to be comfortable driving in normal as it offers the perfect balance of quick acceleration and also better range. Sport, on the other hand, does make the acceleration a lot more lethal and fun, but the downside is you are going to notice the battery percentage and range deplete drastically. Eco mode is something I would recommend using only in emergency cases when you are low on charge and need to extract the most juice you can from the battery; in this mode, the AC goes into eco mode to save power, and the acceleration also dulls down making the vehicle feel very sluggish.
Acceleration and Handling
Moreover, just like all-electric vehicles, the acceleration is instantaneous with all of the 250Nm available at the touch of the throttle. So from 0 to 40 km/h and even 40 to 90km/h feels pretty swift. Only when the speed climbs further is when you start to feel the vehicle’s acceleration feel dulled down but for use in the city and those quick overtakes, the vehicle’s response is spot on. Just to let you know, the top speed of the Nexon EV MAX is now 140 km/h, which might feel slow compared to ICE motor vehicles, but in truthfulness, where do you go beyond 100-120 km/h?
Let’s move on to the suspension on the Nexon EV MAX, while it uses the same independent MacPherson strut with coil spring on the front and twist beam with dual path strut in the rear as the Nexon EV. What they do have to work with is a weight increase of 100 kilograms, but that hasn’t affected the riding and handling of the Nexon EV MAX at all. It feels incredibly supple and handles bumps and undulations on the road well, and only when the roads are terrible is when you hear an occasional thud of the suspension bottoming out. Moreover, the stiffness of the suspension makes it quite a joy to drive around corners, and the power actually lets you enjoy cornering in the Nexon EV MAX, but the downside of this is that the ride can feel quite harsh over bad city roads. Owing to the larger battery pack, the ground clearance of the Nexon EV MAX has been reduced by 10mm, but it still boasts of being IP67 water resistant, meaning that even wading through the waterlogged streets of Mumbai won’t affect the battery.
Braking and Safety
Braking is yet another interesting aspect of the Nexon EV MAX; it offers three levels of regenerative braking, but it now also provides disc brakes on all four wheels. As a result, stopping the Nexon EV MAX is now effortless, and it can honestly brake on a dime if required. The regenerative braking on its highest setting also makes life a lot easier. The vehicle can essentially be driven only with one pedal, making in situations of start-stop traffic or slow moving traffic. But I personally felt that the regenerative braking didn’t feel as strong as some of the other electric vehicles I have driven.
Tata Motors is really known for safety, and they haven’t skimmed out on the safety tech offered on the Nexon EV MAX. They really nail the bullseye every time with regards to safety. Like the standard Nexon EV, you have all the safety features such as ABS, EBD, Traction control, ESP, i-TPMS and dual airbags. But now, Hill Ascend and Hill Descend assist are also fitted to the Nexon EV MAX.
Charging of the Nexon EV MAX
Previously, with the Nexon EV, you only had an option of a 3.3kW AC wall mounted home/office charger, which took 8.5 hours to charge from 0 to 90%. Now, customers can opt for a 7.5kW AC wall mounted charger, which charges up the 40.5kW battery in just 6.5 hours, bringing the time down by nearly two hours. Furthermore, using a 50kW DC fast charger, the Nexon EV MAX can recharge its batteries from 0 to 80% in just 56 minutes compared to the 60+ minutes required by the Nexon EV.
After spending an entire day with the Nexon EV MAX, I understand why Tata Motors has managed to sell nearly 15,000 units of the Nexon EV. This certainly is the right choice for anyone looking to step into electric mobility, and now with its extended range, the Nexon EV MAX is only going to appeal more to the masses. Furthermore, with a price tag ranging from Rs 17.74 lakhs and 18.74 lakhs for the two variants available, it does seem like a pricy affair compared to its regular petrol-powered sibling. But pair it up against the newly launched MG ZS EV and the ageing Hyundai Kona EV; it suddenly becomes quite a good package for any customer to opt for.
Potential customers who were earlier hesitant to purchase the Nexon EV simply due to range anxiety can now tackle that fear of theirs with the Nexon EV MAX since it offers all the features that one would enjoy, but moreover, it provides the real world range that most people and owners would really appreciate. As I mentioned at the start of the review that, I would report back with the range left when I returned the vehicle, and I am happy to report that after driving for around 120-130 kilometres, I still had 56 per cent of battery left, meaning I could easily have covered 320 kilometres on a single charge with the aircon running on full! Seems pretty impressive if you ask me.
Engine – Permanent magnet synchronous AC motor
Power – 140bhp
Torque – 250Nm
Range – 437 kilometres (ARAI certified)
0 to 100 km/h – 9 seconds (Claimed)