In a world grappling with the daunting reality of climate change, the industry is accelerating towards a more sustainable future with electric vehicles (EVs) at the forefront of this green revolution. Climate change, driven primarily by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, has unleashed a cascade of environmental challenges. From rising temperatures and extreme weather events to the melting of polar ice caps and the destruction of ecosystems. To conquer these we need innovative solutions for renewable energy sources and this time on World EV Day, we take you to the enchanting hills of Wayanad with the equally captivating Mahindra XUV400 EV now updated with more features!
With a distance of 300Kms to cover, we had to start from our base at 6am from our base in Bengaluru. An early start meant a sneaky start so as to not disturb the neighbours and the XUV400 with its absolute silence due to the lack of an engine made this super easy! Soon, we hit the recently-opened Mysore Expressway which is nothing short of fabulous! With the fantastic tarmac, the highway stability of our companion was tested which it passed with flying colours. Post this blissful part of our drive, it was time to top up the batteries and we made a stop at a fast charging station and thanks to the superfast 50kW charging speed of the XUV, we were back on the road in no time.
The roads after Mysore soon turned smaller and eventually, we hit the western ghats. We must say, the lush green trees lined the roads through the Bandipur Forest and the soothing tea estates in Kerala were very refreshing to us concrete jungle creatures. Sadly, these are under threat with increasing climate change worsening the conditions.
The first attraction of today is an insane hybrid wind and solar powerplant. This initiative has been taken by ANERT along with the Kerala State Electricity Board. These have been setup at individual houses in a remote hamlet called Velappankandi belonging to a tribe of the same name. It is unimaginable that these houses did not even have access to electricity until 2 years back when the power plants were set up! The road into this beautiful village is only a narrow dirt path but that did not pose an issue with the generous 200mm ground clearance and the excellent ride quality made sure it was a piece of cake.
Taking an early start to the day, we started towards our next attraction- the Banasura Sagar Dam. Early morning in the hills mean lots of fog. This was promptly countered with the fog lamps now available with the updated XUV400. A short drive later, we came across this magnificent structure- the largest earthen dam in India and the second largest in Asia. In addition to providing clean, non-polluting hydropower derived energy, it is also a critical to the irrigation and drinking water needs of this region.
Another first is the floating solar panel project which produces enough electricity to power more than 2,000 homes! Why floating you ask? The answer is three folds- it saves land which could be used for other uses. Secondly, they also prevent water from evaporating and thirdly, the water makes sure the panels are always cool and at the peak of their performance.
All these innovations have transformed the way of life for the locals staying in this region and did it with sustainable methods! Just like our XUV400 which has zero-tailpipe emissions and does not contribute to the air pollution so rampant these days.
With two hectic days over, it was time to head back. The massive 456Km claimed range meant we could drive back non-stop! The 376L boot gobbled up all our luggage easily and the new cruise control made life super easy on the highways. Entering Bangalore in the evening is a nightmare! But our car took that into stride as well with a noiseless drive and one-pedal driving made it even easier. Lastly, with the reckless high beam menace on our roads, an Auto-dimming IRVM is a must. Thankfully, Mahindra has thought of that as well and equipped the updated XUV400 with it!
Now that the trip comes to an end, it is tough to say good-bye to this fantastic EV. The capabilities of this car truly stood to break the stereotype that EVs are not suited for road-trips. If anything, the XUV400 makes them comfortable, hassle free and most importantly- pollution free!
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