A fresh new era in the Indian electric car domain, courtesy of Tata Motors. Following the triumphant stride of the Nexon in the market, Tata Motors has now unveiled its latest electric vehicle marvel – the Punch EV. This compact yet formidable electric SUV has stirred up excitement and anticipation. Positioned as one of the most budget-friendly electric cars in India, the Punch EV is poised to make a significant impact in a market where Tata Motors already stands tall with an impressive 80 per cent market share. As we embark on this electric odyssey, the Punch EV promises not just a drive but a tech-infused experience that could potentially reshape the landscape of electric vehicles in the country.
Touching down in India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore, we eagerly stepped into the realm of electric innovation to test drive Tata Motors‘ latest tech-packed offering – the Punch EV. Our anticipation heightened with the recent revelation of its price range, starting at Rs 10.99 lakh and reaching Rs 15.49 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top-spec variant equipped with a sunroof and a 7.2kW AC fast charger. Armed with the knowledge of its competitive pricing, we hit the roads on the outskirts of Bangalore, ready to experience firsthand how Tata‘s Punch EV would navigate the city’s vibrant streets and beyond.
When it comes to the driving experience, what immediately stood out was the remarkable improvement in ride and handling, compared to the regular internal combustion engine Punch. The Punch EV exhibits a newfound sense of stability and planted composure even at higher speeds, instilling confidence while navigating corners. Notably, its performance shines when tackling off-road terrain, effortlessly harnessing the instant torque delivery of the electric motor. Beyond the dynamic handling, the ride quality is commendable, adeptly absorbing potholes and road undulations, ensuring a smooth and comfortable journey.
The Punch EV is a born electric vehicle based on a brand new all-electric platform, the Acti.EV. This also makes the Punch EV the most affordable EV SUV in the market. In terms of performance, the Tata Punch EV delivers a compelling punch for your investment. Under the hood, it features a single-motor setup complemented by two battery pack options – a 25kWh unit and a 35kWh unit. The standard-range version is equipped with the 25kWh unit, generating 80 bhp and 11.62 kgm of torque, boasting an impressive range of 315km. On the other hand, the long-range trims house the 35kWh unit, which cranks out 122 bhp and 19.37 kgm, providing an extended claimed range of 421km. This blend of power and range ensures a dynamic and efficient performance for the Punch EV.
The electric drivetrain of the Tata Punch EV showcased a refined and polished performance throughout our test drive, affirming its status as a finished product. Behind the wheel of the long-range Punch EV, covering approximately 150 kilometres on a varied test route blending city traffic and highway stretches, the seamless power delivery caught our attention. Shifting between Eco, City, and Sport modes demonstrated a consistent and linear response, with the real-time range display proving accurate. The convenience of Regen braking levels, accessible through paddle shifters with four levels of adjustment, added a practical touch to the driving experience. After our spirited drive, the remaining range was an impressive 220 km, showcasing the efficiency and longevity of the Punch EV‘s electric drive.
When it comes to charging, the Tata Punch EV offers versatility and efficiency. During our test drive, we located a Shell Petrol pump with a new fast charger, where we plugged in the Punch EV for a quick charge. For those charging at home, the standard model can achieve a full charge from 10% to 100% in approximately 9.4 hours using a 3.3kW AC home wall box charger or a 15A plug point. Opting for a faster 7.2kW AC home wall box charger significantly reduces this time to just 3.6 hours. On the go, a 50kW DC fast charger can efficiently boost the battery from 10% to 80% in a swift 56 minutes.
The Long Range model mirrors these characteristics, with a full charge taking 13.5 hours via the 3.3kW charger or 15A plug point, and only 5 hours with the 7.2kW charger. Notably, both models share the same fast charging capability. To ensure durability and resilience, both the motor and battery pack are IP67-rated, safeguarding against dust and water ingress. Tata Motors further reinforces confidence with an impressive eight-year or 1,60,000km warranty (whichever comes first) on the motor and battery pack.
While the Tata Punch EV was charging, we delved into exploring the impressive features within its cabin. The Punch EV is equipped with a Harman-powered 12.23-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system boasting a resolution of 1920 x 720. This system provides access to various OTT platforms like Hotstar, Prime Video, and YouTube, offering an entertainment haven when stationary. Notably, the infotainment system includes a failsafe that turns off the screen when the vehicle surpasses 5 kph, ensuring safe driving practices. The former also comes with multiple voice assistants and wireless connectivity options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The driver’s console is all-digital, offering three layout options with multiple information like the vehicle’s range. The top trim of the Punch continues to be equipped with a six-speaker music system including two tweeters.
In addition, the Punch EV boasts features including an AQI reader, wireless phone charging, an air purifier, a 360-degree camera, and a blind spot monitor. The Punch also features a newly designed steering wheel with a jewelled driving mode dial and paddle shifters for various regen modes. Ambient lighting and an electric sunroof with voice assistance are available. Further enhancing the tech-savvy interior, the Punch EV supports four voice assistant options—Alexa, Siri, Google, and Tata. We discovered that the Punch EV goes beyond the conventional with a built-in web browser, and we couldn’t resist loading up the www.motoringworld.in website, providing an intriguing experience of surfing the web from the car’s screen.
In terms of space, the Punch EV offers ample room, with rear seat comfort being adequate, though there’s room for improvement. The overall interior quality appears to be a step up, and the addition of ventilated cool seats for the front passengers is a significant plus. Additionally, the compact EV surprises with a generous boot space of 366 litres, adding to its practicality. Also, Tata has offered a frunk for the first time with a 14-litre capacity upfront.
In terms of design, the Tata Punch EV distinguishes itself from its internal combustion counterpart with a sleek and futuristic aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from the Nexon EV, the Punch EV features a distinctive LED DRL that runs below the bonnet lid. The design is further enhanced by a vertical stacked split headlamp configuration with cornering lights embedded in fog lamps. To facilitate battery cooling, the compact EV SUV incorporates a new bumper with vertical air vents. The top-tier variant showcases stylish 16-inch alloy wheels, adding to its contemporary look. Notably, the Punch EV is designed with a front charging port integrated into the fascia, a strategic choice by Tata Motors for improved accessibility at charging stations.
Tata Motors has once again delivered a standout performer with the Punch EV, marking a significant addition to its electric vehicle lineup. With limited competition in its segment, primarily facing off against the Citroen eC3, the Tata Punch EV outshines its rival in both features and performance. What truly sets the Punch EV apart is its exceptional ride and handling, coupled with an impressive level of refinement. At its price point, the Tata Punch EV offers an outstanding package, making it a compelling choice for those entering the electric vehicle market. Tata Motors continues to solidify its position as a leader in the EV space, and the Punch EV is another testament to their commitment to innovation.
AUTODATATata Punch EV
35 kWh, Lithium-ion
F/R: 195/60 R16
Rs 15.49 lakh (ex-showroom)