Towards the end of April 2024, I drove my Nexon EV Max from Mahura, Bhubaneswar, Odisha to Kalimpong, West Bengal, about 1100 km. The passengers were my dog and me, and a lot of luggage, including camping gear. I’d say the weight of the passengers and luggage in the car was about 135 kilos. This is a trip report sharing my overall experience driving an electric vehicle over a long distance and hilly roads.

The purpose? To escape the sweltering heat of Bhubaneswar, and ride the summers out in the hills of West Bengal and Sikkim. I’m fortunate to have a remote job that allows me this flexibility.

The car packed and ready to leave

Key events

Route: Bhubaneswar, Odisha to Kalimpong, West Bengal
Route: Bhubaneswar, Odisha to Kalimpong, West Bengal. Highlighted chargers did not work
Elevation profile: Bhubaneswar, Odisha to Kalimpong, West Bengal

26th April, 2024

  1. (0 km – 100%) Started from my house near CV Raman College in Bhubaneswar at 0500.
  2. (159 km – 100% ⟶ 60%) Made a stop before Balasore after driving for a couple of hours. Took a short break, and let my dog stretch his legs.
  3. (211 km – 60% ⟶ 44% ⟶ 100%) Reached Premier Tata Motors at Balasore – Tata Power (211 km) at around 0900. I waited for 15 minutes to let another car complete charging. Charged till 100%. There are no restaurants nearby, but you can use the facilities at the showroom. The last few %’s of charge took quite some time. Completed charge at around 1050. I had to wait 15 minutes more since I was boxed in by other cars. Started from there at 1110
  4. (366 km – 100% ⟶ 54%) Made several stops due to the heat before reaching Adani FC Rio Dhaba at Dhamtore (155 km) around 1430. A car was parked at the charging spot, so waited a few minutes for them to empty the space. Downloaded the Adani app, and added 500/- Rs to the wallet. Charging started only after restarting the charger. After a minute, the power cut out, and the charging stopped. I believe the meter tripped, and I couldn’t start the charging again. I started from there at around 1510, 40 minutes after I had stopped. 40 minutes completely wasted without getting any charge or food.
  5. (427 km – 54% ⟶ 36%) Reached Orbid Garden, Uluberia – Tata Power (61 km) at 1620. The charger is on the opposite side of the road so had to backtrack a few kilometers. Unfortunately, this charger was also out of order. The charger was off, maybe due to a power cut? The shops around the place did have power though. I was happy that I had been driving sedately and conserving battery, otherwise it would have been a bit worrisome.
  6. (446 km – 36% ⟶ 30% ⟶ 95%) Next, I stopped at Maya Tyres Pvt Ltd – Tata Power (19 km) at 1710. I found the charger through the TATA Power app. Luckily, the charger here worked on the first attempt. This is a good stop if you wish to do a quick top-up and be on your way, but it lacks toilet and drinking facilities. The area around is also rather dirty. Irrespective of all that, I was just glad that the charging worked. I charged here till 95% and started again at around 1830.
  7. (480 km – 95% ⟶ 84%) I halted overnight at an Airbnb near Chinar Park (34 km). I chose this location because of its proximity to the NH. There was no charging facility at the place but they allowed pets. I reached the homestay at 2000 after battling Kolkata traffic.

27th April, 2024

  1. (480 km – 84%) Started the next morning at 0445, in the hope that I’d be able to beat the traffic but I wasn’t that fortunate. It’s a 4-lane road out of Kolkata towards Siliguri but a truck breakdown meant I was delayed by over 40 minutes. The highway also turns into a 2-lane road without a divider for certain stretches and is a nightmare to drive on.
  2. (588 km – 84% ⟶ 56% ⟶ 95%) Reached Hotel Nilachal at 0705. I had a very smooth charging experience. The cool weather meant that the car charged at full 30 KW. I was at 95% within 45 minutes. Had my breakfast, walked my dog and refilled all the water bottles for the journey. I wish all charging sessions were this smooth.
  3. (702 km – 95% ⟶ 62%) I made a quick stop at Lucky Hotel & Guest House, around 1040, where supposedly, an Adani EV charging station is located. I couldn’t find the charger, and none of the hotel staff I asked knew anything about it. Charging here wasn’t critical as I still had enough charge but I wanted to use the money in the Adani EV app wallet.
  4. (808 km – 62% ⟶ 32%) My next stop was Golden Park Hotel & Resort. I reached the hotel at 1300. The hotel staff told me that there was no electricity, but that it would be back in 15 minutes. I hadn’t brushed, did that, and then took my dog around. After 35 minutes, I asked the hotel staff again about the electricity. They called the electricity board who told them it would take time to restore the power supply. Essentially, I ended up wasting 45 minutes for no charge, and now I’d have to drive back to a charging station that I passed 15 km before.
  5. (822 km – 32% ⟶ 27% ⟶ 86%) I drove back to Mayaban Resort, Kamalabari, reaching the place at around 1415. Luckily I was able to initiate charging here. I had my lunch, got food for my dog, and walked him around. Charging was slow in the hot sun and it took an hour and 20 minutes to charge 59% to 86% on the 30 kW charger. I started from the resort at 1545. In the last 2 hrs 45 minutes, I had driven back 15 km and charged the vehicle 54%. Oh, the joys of owning an EV in India!
  6. (1050 km – 86% ⟶ 13%) I did my night halt at Miramar Resort, Bidhannagar. I reached the resort at 2100. It took me a while to get here as the condition of the roads wasn’t great. There was a 7.2 kW slow charger at the hotel, but it was charging atrociously slow. I left it on the slow charger overnight.

28th April, 2024

  1. (1050 km – 41% ⟶ 100%) In the morning around 0530, the car had only charged 41%, so I shifted to charging on the faster 25 kW charger. It took an hour and 20 minutes to charge to 100%. Started from the resort at around 0800.
  2. (1161 km – 100% ⟶ 52%) I made it to the homestay at 1230. The drive was challenging for me as I’m not accustomed to driving in hilly regions. During the drive, I gained about 1250 m in elevation and stopped multiple times to admire the view. Before reaching the ghats, the roads were in good condition; however, the ghat roads were bumpy, with sections completely broken due to landslides.

Here’s the trip timeline with all the charging spots plotted:

Other drives on the trip

Kalimpong to Yuksom, Sikkim

The drive to Yuksom, Sikkim from Kalimpong, West Bengal was a tough one. The roads were extremely narrow and in bad condition. Local cabs driving on the road are experts and don’t like slowing down. Since there is a lot of elevation gain, I had to drive sedately. Whenever I noticed a few cars behind me, I moved aside and let them through. I started from Kalimpong with 100% charge, and reached Yuksom, Sikkim with 34% SoC left, covering a distance of 132 km. It took us 11 hours to complete the trip, with multiple stops to have food, hike some trails, and admire the views.

When climbing certain hills the car was consuming close to 2% for every km it covered. To prevent the SoC from dropping below 15% and risking HV critical errors, I maximized regenerative braking while going downhill.

Fun fact: According to the locals, ours was the first EV car that drove up-to Yuksom, Sikkim.

Many people at Yuksom was interested in the car, and I got multiple requests to open the hood and show them what was inside.

I slow- charged at Yuksom till 92% and was able to make it back to Kalimpong with around 52% SoC left.

Kalimpong to Bhubaneswar

We started from Kalimpong at around 0530, on Saturday, 15th Jun from Kalimpong. NH10 was blocked because of flooding at Teesta. So we took a longer route back via Lava. We got stuck in traffic for 2.5 hours about 200 km before Kolkata due to Eid celebrations. I drove through the night, and we made it back to Bhubaneswar at around 1800 on 16th Jun. I used the following charging stations:

  1. Hotel Locknowee, NH31, Bidhan Nagar, West Bengal
  2. Mayaban resort, Kamalabari, West Bengal
  3. Adani Parbati House, NH12, Khidirpur, Bethuadahari, West Bengal
  4. Hotel Greenland Tower, AH46, Rupnarayanpur, West Bengal
  5. BPCL Mankahani, NH5, Bahanaga, Baleshwar, Odisha

All the charging stations that I planned to go to, worked. At Mayaban Resort, I had to wait 30 minutes for another car to finish charging. Since I had my wife traveling with me this time, we coordinated and made sure that the chargers were online 20 km before the location.

Other than the traffic jam, the drive back was a much more enjoyable experience.


  1. On the way to Kolkata from Bhubaneswar, I had to drive through the afternoon when the temperature was around 44C. I have never driven my car at such high temperatures before. Other than the slight increase in wh / km, the performance of the car and the AC was adequate.
  2. On the hills, I was glad I was driving an automatic with zero transmission lag. Driving a geared vehicle on the narrow mountainous road would have been very difficult for me. I have a new appreciation for cab and bus drivers who have to ply these routes regularly.
  3. It took me 2 and a half days to reach Kalimpong. The two charging sessions in the morning, when the temperature was below 30 °C, took the least amount of time and used the least amount of “extra” electricity. During the afternoon when the temperature was above or close to 40 °C, a few additional units of electricity were used to keep the battery pack. Even when fast charging, I’d recommend doing it in the morning or night when the temperatures are low.
  4. I use Plugshare as my primary app to find places to charge the car, and to verify if the charger is reliable. One of the mistakes that I made was to not check the respective charging provider app. In my case, I went to a very reliable TATA Power fast charging point based on Plugshare reviews, but when I reached there, there was no power, and I ended up wasting a lot of time. If I had checked the TATA Power app, I’d be able to see that the charger is offline. So depending on the charger, please check the respective charging provider’s app before heading there.
  5. During my trip, I used 3 different charging vendors: TATA Power, Adani EV, and BPCL. Out of the three, I found TATA Power Chargers to be the most well-suited for the TATA Nexon EV Max. With Adani EV, it did not feel like proper cell balancing happened when the car was charging from 98% to 100%. With BPCL chargers, quite a few users have faced HV critical errors. So if you have the privilege of choosing from these chargers, I’d recommend sticking to TATA Power chargers.
  6. TATA Nexon EV has wide a-pillars. On the plains, this is not a major issue, but on the hills with a lot of curves, it is. I had to move my upper body back and forth to ensure I had complete visibility before making turns.
  7. The TATA Nexon EV Max does not retain settings across restarts, which is inconvenient, especially when stopping frequently to admire the view. Each time I start the vehicle, I have to reset the regen level, select the drive mode, turn the ventilated seats back on, and turn off the radio if it was previously off. This can be frustrating and potentially unsafe, as it can be disconcerting if you expect a specific regen level to be set, but it’s reverted to the default.
  8. I drive with regeneration set to level 3. I’m able to mimic level 0 regeneration by being light on the acceleration pedal. I do most of my braking using regeneration, so when the car battery is full, and regen is cut off, it can be a bit difficult for me to drive. I find the brakes on the Nexon EV Max, without regen, to be inadequate.
  9. While driving to Kalimpong, there were a couple of instances where a charger I was navigating to did not work. At such moments, I was glad I drove the car sedately and had enough charge to drive back to a different charger. With EVs and the charging infrastructure in India, you have to expect the unexpected and plan accordingly.

Here’s the final trip reading taken the next morning :

Overall trip distance, and energy consumption