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Mahindra and Mahindra e2O Plus
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This Car Has Been Discontinued.
Customer Rating
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Expert Rating
: 7/10
Warranty
: 3 years 60000 km (Whichever is earlier)
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Strong Areas

  • Practical demeanour
  • High safety features
  • Zero pollution 
  • Excellent handling  

Weak Areas

  • Average space
  • Spartan interiors
  • Firm ride quality 
  •  Mediocre boot capacity
     
Mahindra and Mahindra e2O Plus
 
 

Driving the Green Way in e20 Plus

Mahindra has launched the e20 Plus and this is an improved iteration of the previous model thanks to a bigger size, the added rear doors and an enhanced driving range. Read on for ecarldr’s detailed review. 


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

The way it has been constantly experimenting with variety in vehicles, it seems that Mahindra is eager to reinforce its position in the market. We heard about its partnerships with tech-mobility start-ups and the plans to optimise farm equipment with self-driving technology. Six years ago it took over the electric car company Reva but did not continue using the brand name for long.


                 Mahindra E2O
 

The electric vehicle division of Mahindra is now a separate entity called Mahindra Electric.  And it sells three cars namely the e20, the eVerito sedan and a commercial van called eSupro. Out of these only the e20 is a fully electric car designed from the ground-up. The other two are in essence electric versions of fossil-fuelled models. 

In the festive season, Mahindra e20 got launched in its upgraded iteration called e20 Plus. Available with a 72 volt battery for the top spec and 48 volt battery for the lower three variants, the e20 Plus is also aimed at international market as the sales of electric vehicles in India are still dismal. 

While Mahindra has the capacity to take production to 2500 units a month, it is not in recent plans due to poor sales. They will however export this new car to the UK where the previous model is already selling well. Thanks to better subsidies by the government and superior infrastructure the electric cars find more buyers in European markets.

And what is new in the Mahindra e20 Plus? How is it an improvement over its predecessor? 
 

The External Impression

The e20 was a small, 2-door car hatchback and this newly launched model gets a couple of extra doors for added practicality.  To fit in these 2 extra doors, Mahindra has increased the length by substantial 310 mm. This length extension is majorly in terms of increased wheelbase. That will make the cabin more spacious and it’s admirable as the older e20 too had a satisfactory rear cabin room. Furthermore, it is wider by 61 mm and taller by 25 mm.
          
Yes, the appearance of short front gets affected by this increase of wheelbase and there are rear overhangs too – all of which gives the e20 Plus a tucked-in look. Nevertheless, from the sides it does look more planted than its predecessor. 

Like the 2-door version, the e2oPlus is also supported by a steel tubular space frame. And the structure has been extended to accommodate the 2 new doors. As you would expect, these dimensional add-ons have made the e20 Plus bulkier by 109 kg. To minimise the weight-gain, Mahindra claims that it optimised the weight of various parts – used lighter high-strength steel for some components of the tubular frame.

The hitherto oversized front grille of this car has become smaller and it looks more like a conventional hatchback now. Its nose slopes downwards and there are big headlights wrap around the corners. The headlamp housing also has the indicator light. Fog lamps are not provided on the Indian version and the space just has black filling. 
 
It is in the profile view that the e20 plus looks markedly different from its predecessor. The eccentricity of the 2-door model has been replaced by a proper 4-door structure. The window line now slopes down with at a sharp angle just after the B-pillar to maximize the glass area of rear window. And it ends by the time it touches the C-pillar. The rear door handles are positioned as in Mahindra KUV100. 
 
At the rear, e20 Plus looks pretty clean and elegant. It gets vertically positioned tail lamps that add to the tall boy stance of this hatchback. The number plate housing has been shifted up to the hatch door over which there is a black plastic panel flanked by the tail lights. The design for broad rear bumper is minimalist. The e20 Plus also has a parking camera and there is a black skid plate to reduce the visual bulk of the bumper. 

The fit and finish of the external design was somewhat below expectations. There were noticeable panel gaps at door edges, front fender and bumper. But Mahindra stated that this was only an issue with the test car as it was painted at a third party shop and the final production version to reach the showrooms will be free of such flaws.


The Cabin Conspectus 
 
If you have seen the interiors of the e20, the cabin of this revised model will be a familiar place. There are some cosmetic updates. Beige plastic has taken over some parts that were in black in the older car. The upholstery too has a new pattern. Also, instead of the piano black wood design trims, you will now find a glossy black carbon fibre pattern.


                
 

The 3-spoke steering wheel feels right to hold on to and because it does not have mounted controls, the horn pad is big. This steering unit and cannot be adjusted for rake or reach. 

Ahead of the steering wheel, the instrument cluster is completely digital and with blue backlight. It comprises Speedometer, Odometer and displays information for Status of Charge, and Distance to Empty. There is a digital rpm gauge. The cluster also tells you about the 'gear' that you are using - Reverse, Neutral, Forward or Boost. You can also check the efficiency of your driving here including the moment when regenerative braking (E-gen) occurs.

 
                

 

The sturdy indicator and wiper stalks have been taken from the older, 2-door model. As for the air conditioner, its circular vents too got attention for detailing in the form of a plastic silver ring on the outside. This AC is also sufficiently powerful to keep the cabin cool on an average day. 

The entertainment system in the e2o Plus comprises a new Android head-unit from Blaupunkt. It is compatible with Bluetooth and has slots for USB, Aux and micro-SD inputs. This in-car entertainment also has navigation, Wi-Fi and some exclusive e2o-specific features for checking the level of charge, initiating 'revive', and reading the car's manual.
 
There is beige treatment for the door pads now in place of the dark grey. The plastic doorpads have a good design and come with fabric insert in the middle and a contrast black trim for the armrest. The front doors have cubby hole for a 1 litre bottle and there is an elastic band to prevent it from falling out.


                 
 

The front seats in e20 Plus are similar to the ones seen in its predecessor. Their cushioning is on firm side and they offer good back support. Headrests are adjustable and of proper size. The battery packs have been housed under the driver and front passenger’s seats. Interestingly, although the makers have added 2 more doors for access to rear part of the cabin, they have retained the front seat-attached levers that were used to fold & slide the seat and get onto the rear cabin seat.

Driving seat provides a good view of the front. In the footwell there is a huge dead pedal but the accelerator pedal is placed further than usual towards the left. The ORVMs are adequately tall but could have been wider. The internal rear view mirror (IRVM) is better in width and gives the view of the full rear windscreen. There is a reversing camera too. The only bummer is that the C-pillars are thick and the blind spots in the rear corners appear larger because of the mounting of rear door handles.

 
                 

 

Now for the rear side of the cabin! The rear doors open in a two-stage manner. They are smaller in size as compared to the front ones and do not have any door pockets. The bench seat is high positioned and it is convenient to access by senior people. Being a small hatchback, the e20 Plus has capacity for seating only 2 adults on the rear seat. Official spec sheet of the car also mentions the total seating capacity as four. 

The backrest angle of the rear seat is good and it comes with comfortable cushioning. There is plenty of legroom, only you cannot thrust your feet below the seat in front because of the battery housing there. There is also a major floor hump in this electric car which seems odd as there is no transmission tunnel here. May be it is for safe wiring of the battery in the front and the motor at the rear. But the good part is that it does not obstruct the leg room as two people can easily sit near the windows. The windows area is also big enough to let in enough light.

 
              

 

Behind the rear seat, Mahindra makes space of 135 litres in the boot. This is enough considering the fact that you will not really take the e20 Plus on long highway trips. The lower loading lip and wider mouth make it easy to stuff in the luggage. Yes, the rear seat can be flipped down to create more space if you wish to take your furry friend for a comfortable ride around the town. 

A look at the Battery Specs 

The Mahindra e2oPlus comes in 4 trims - P2, P4, P6 and P8. The first three trims have a 48 Volts battery pack with 110 km of range, and the top-end P8 variant has a 72 Volts battery with range of 140 km on a full charge. Both the battery packs have a rating of 210 Ah (ampere-hour). Both of them have revised chemistry of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP). 

The smaller battery takes about 6 hours to charge with the 16 Amp charger (single phase) and 1 hour 15 minutes to reach its 95% charged marked with the 32 Amp Fast Charger (3-phase) The bigger battery pack of the P8 version takes 9 hours to charge with the 16 Amp charger, and 90 minutes for the 95% mark with the 32 Amp Fast Charger.

The motor that was used in the 2 door e20 also does duty in the new P2, P4 and P6 variants of e20 Plus. It gives an output of 19 kW that is equivalent to 25.5 bhp. The torque output is 70 Nm instead of the 53 Nm that the same motor gave on the 2-door e2o.

On the top-of-the-line P8 variant you get a more powerful motor that develops 30 kW (equivalent to 40 bhp). It has a torque of 91 Nm. The best part is that, thanks to the electric motor's flat torque curve, all of it is available right from the time you press the accelerator. In simple words, it implies that e20 Plus is better suited than its predecessor for the stop-and-go city traffic.


Driving Experience 

On pressing the engine start button, the car gets power for its different parts – the instrument cluster gets illuminated and so the switches and knobs on the centre console. Then the blue instrument cluster screen shows up an 'authenticate' message.

To start the electric motor, you have to hold the key fob at the start button for a moment. This was tad cumbersome in e20 but the key fob of e20 Plus has an arrow pointing towards the side that has to touch the start button. Thanks to this, the key acknowledgement takes less time. Upon this, the instrument cluster displays a 'welcome' message. 

When you press the accelerator, this electric vehicle can pull easily from standstill to reach adequate speed for driving in the city. The acceleration is smooth and at speed up to 50 km/hour (which is high for a small EV), there is no nervousness felt. The e20 Plus can go from 0 to 60 km/hour in 9.5 seconds. The maximum speed that the motor can sustain is limited to 85 km/hour. 

There is also a creep function in the e20 Plus and that works in reverse too. This adds to the ability of the car to safely move in bumper to bumper traffic. You only have to lift your foot off the brake pedal and it begins to creep forward slowly. The speed at this time is only 4 km/hour. The creep function can also work when you start off a mild gradient.

You also get a Boost mode in the e20 Plus. It is devised to help in overtaking attempts, on steep inclines and for sudden dashes. To engage it, slot the gear lever a position down from Forward (F) to Boost (B). The change in power that comes with a tap in boost mode is noticeable as the acceleration becomes more urgent. Actually, the full torque output of the e20 Plus comes into play only when the car is in its Boost mode. Also, the change from Forward to Boost is very smooth and there are no jerks felt in the cabin. 

A mild whine from the e20 Plus gets more audible on accelerating the car. This was also an issue with the e20’s 2-door model. If you take your foot off the throttle, this whine becomes softer but it does not disappear.  In addition to this, there are quite a few other sounds in the e20 Plus. It is not silent as you will imagine an electric vehicle to be. For instance, an enthusiastic driving of about 10 minutes will switch on the cooling fan that is below the rear seat. It is heard even on the front seats and at times vibrations are felt in the left side of the rear seat.

There are many sounds from the dashboard too even when the car is at standstill. But in the noisy environment of the city, where you will usually drive this vehicle, the sounds will not feel so audible. Also remember that there is no internal combustion engine sound.  Even the road & wind noise are not an issue here due to limited speed of the car.


Ride and Handling 

The electrically-assisted steering wheel of the e20 Plus gets well-weighted with speed, and it’s easy to use at parking speed too. It may not be feather light but can be used effortlessly for parking. It also returns to its position after being rotated for turns. The turning radius is 4.35 meters.

The suspension comprises MacPherson strut type independent set-up with coaxial springs at the front and twin pivot trailing arm with coaxial spring dampers at the rear. Due to the tall-boy stance, there is noticeable body roll at sharp turns, but not so much that it will unsettle the car's stance.

Mahindra e20 Plus has 14 inch wheels with 165/60 section tyres that offer enough grip for its drive. The ride quality feels firm in the front part of cabin. Overall it is not plush and the bumps are felt inside the cabin. It is worse at the back but the suspension has been improved as compare to the old e20. 

There is some plastic sound coming from the boot when the car goes over uneven patches. On the whole the ride is flat and you will like to drive this car on smoother tarmac.

This EV has disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear. Although there is no ABS, the brakes do a good job of stopping the car at a safe distance and wheels don’t lock under mildly aggressive braking. The e20 Plus is any how meant for sedate driving and you don’t have to test its upper speed limits on any kind of road. There was an issue of sudden brake bite in the e20 model and that has been resolved in this new version.


Verdict 

You can now weigh these negatives and positives to make a decision:
What goes against it?
• Priced between Rs 5.46 lakhs and 8.46 lakhs after the government subsidy and FAME incentive, the e20 Plus still feels expensive. 
• It is only a 4 seater car and some hatchbacks in its range can accommodate 5 people.
• Bumpy ride quality is a let-down. 
• Fit and finish could be better. 
• You will need a fast charging point near your place. 
What is good about it?
• It became more practical than the older model thanks to the 2 extra doors. 
• The range of 110 and 140 km is good enough for daily commuting in city. 
• Power steering and small size of the car also make it easy to drive in crowded cities. The ability to crawl in slow moving traffic is good.
• The legroom at rear is admirable. 
• You can drive the nature-friendly way with zero tail pipe emissions and lesser carbon foot print. 
• Body panels are less prone to nicks.
 If you are keen for an eco-friendly car and will like to make some tax savings, this can be a good choice. The warranty is for 3 years/ 60,000 kms and Mahindra also claims that battery is “maintenance-free” for 3 years!

Comfort: 3/5

Refinement: 3.5/5

Safety: 3/5

Ride: 2.5/5

Handling: 3.5/5

Value for Money: 3/5

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