The story actually started in Dec 2020, when we took our Nexon EV to Longewala, Near Jaisalmer, a town on the Indo-Pak border. There is an entire video series we did (watch if you’re interested in the background of this innovation):
So the story continued since our Jaisalmer trip; we realized that to really make the car go far, the “EV style of driving” needs to be adopted. Once you drive the car like that, the car gives much more predictability on range, and suddenly becomes highway worthy.
That said, although we could get great range on highways, but this EV style quickly becomes terribly painful, as I realized during my jaisalmer trip. And not everyone can or will take the pains to do that.
So, what essentially happened was, with my background in electronics and programming, I realized that this “EV style of driving” can actually be automated, and a system can be made which can make the wonderful reliability of range with highway driving accessible to everyone.
Cruise control is the most fundamental piece of puzzle to this reliability. We developed an initial system and posted a video, and got phenomenal response encouragement from the EV community.
Here’s the video:
Further, we did a few more tests and posted videos on the same. We also collected ideas and feedback on what the community really needs.
Turns out everyone wants to take the car on the highway. And they have a clear idea of how they want the car to behave, more or less. It tallies with my own needs too, as an EV user.
Here are few more videos, in sequence of posting:Testing the cruise control system for power consumption on various cruising speeds:
I tried to explain how regen works in simple terms (not sure how successfully, though!):
And here’s when I decided let’s see if people will like to join the effort as early adopters:
We got phenomenal response, and picked ten early adopters of the system. Here’s the video:
Meanwhile, the system was given the name “NexCruise” by the Nexon EV community.
A member from the NexonEV owners community, Mr. Rakesh, drove the NexCruise in my car. Here are his first reactions:
Further, we formed a team with these ten members, named it “NEAT” (NexCruise Early Adopters Team) and took on the mandate of running the system for 21000 kms collectively over the next few weeks. Plus, many aspects of the system behaviour will be specified by the NEAT members. We’re also collecting data on the system’s impact on the highway-worthiness of the Nexon EV.
Here’s when I took NexCruise on an approx 600 kms trip to Kota with my family, to capture more data and observe the reliability. It worked wonderfully well and delivered a comfortable 310+ km range with full load :
TATA Motors have been facing much flak by users because of claiming a range of 312 kms, but most of the owners never getting it. They even got sued by a few users for this, and this led to a very public scene, and imo TATA could have handled it better. The fun part though is, the car is capable of the claimed range! And repeatedly so. From what it looked from where I stand, the real problem was the users’ own driving patterns resulting in lesser range.
What has happened since is, TATA Motors have gone on a backfoot, and stopped claiming in their advertisements, that the Nexon EV can do 312 kms for a single charge. And this is unfortunate. Aha NexCruise can easily automate the driving of the Nexon EV, and take out all the ambiguity. It can help everyone achieve that range.
Two of the ten early adopters got the systems installed in their cars. Mr. Rakesh was one of them. Here’s a video on this:
All the members are going to be regularly posting their notes and views on the Pan India Nexon EV owners Group on telegram. Casual discussions keep happening around the system in this group. Anyone owning a Nexon EV can join and directly interact with the NEAT members, and with me, and can be a part of the product’s evolution.
On Saturday, 7th August, the remaining NEAT members got the NexCruise installed on their cars:
With this, the early adopters round was officially closed. This video summarizes the chapter:
Further, as the next round of product evolution, we processed all the feedback received by the community, and are in the process of defining the next features:
With the NEAT program coming to an end, here is a compilation of all the notes and remarks from the NEAT members on the Aha NexCruise:
And this video speaks about the delivery timelines for the Early adopters. We’re targetting a delivery on or before Diwali 2021, that is, the 4th of November!
This is how far the evolution of NexCruise has come, at the time of this writing. Will update this page soon. Meanwhile, please stay connected via my YT channel – youtube.com/aakashece!