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Thee Go e8: Reinventing urban mobility

As the world grapples with climate change, the race is on for more eco-friendly vehicles. And car manufacturers are rushing to put out a killer electric vehicle (EV). While there are EVs available in the market, they are still priced like their gas counterparts which put them out of range for most people. So when we heard about a new electric vehicle from Thee Go that cost less than Rs 2,000,000, our first reaction was ‘How much?!’. It is still only February but the Thee Go e8 could be one of the most game-changing vehicles to launch in Nepal. The company promises the car to be a reinvention of urban mobility. So we took the car out onto the busy and narrow streets of Kathmandu to see if it stands up to the hype.

Exterior

At first glance, it looks like a typical hatchback. From the front, the car has a simple yet modern look. The front fascia looks striking with its large headlamps and bold grille design. You also get fog lamps that provide additional illumination while driving at night. The car gets ORVMs with integrated turn signals as well. The e8 sits on a set of 13-inch, diamond-cut alloy wheels which we feel could be a bit bigger. At the rear, you get a muscular-looking bumper as well as LED tail lights. 

Interior and Features

As soon as you get inside the car, you will notice the beautiful 7-inch touch screen infotainment system. It was surprising to see one, considering that pricier cars skimp on this to cut costs. The touch screen is easy to use but misses out on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can still connect your smartphone via Bluetooth though.  

Faux wood accents run along the centre console and even the steering wheel to provide a touch of luxury. The company also went the extra mile to include a Porsche inspired automatic transmission gear lever. Despite being priced very aggressively, the Thee Go e8 puts other more expensive cars to shame with its attention to detail. 

Right in front of the steering wheel lies the digital speedometer, transmission indicator, RPM reader, trip meter and an odometer. And instead of a digital readout of the range remaining, the e8 gets a colour coded state of charge indicator — green (40 to 100 percent), orange (30 percent) and red (up to 20 percent). You also get a USB port on the front to charge your devices but we would have liked to see a 12V power socket as well.

If you are like me who likes to listen to music while driving, you will be pleased to know that the stock speakers on the e8 are pretty decent. Combined with no engine sound inside the cabin, I could hear Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ clearly.

The Thee Go e8 also comes with a rear parking camera, a helpful feature that helps alleviate the rear blind spot. If you are wondering where the spare wheel is, it is neatly integrated into the boot of the car and you can access it by lifting the cover. The Thee Go e8 also has a neat party trick where you can open the tailgate with a press of a button located on the right of the steering wheel. 

Battery and Powertrain

The Thee Go e8 is powered by a 3 phase asynchronous motor coupled with a 14.8 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery. According to the company, the electric motor in the e8 produces an impressive 180 Nm of torque and 20.1 hp of maximum power, all sent to the front wheels. The company has stated that the e8 has a max range of 200km and you can comfortably get 150km under normal driving conditions. The car takes less than 5 hours to charge with the supplied 3KW charger. The charging time is comparatively less than other electric cars. Like all other electric motors, the one on the e8 delivers peak torque as soon as you put your foot down. The e8 is easy to manoeuvre around the city thanks to its strong torque and narrow profile. You can choose between two driving modes — Sports and Eco — for speed and range respectively. With a driver and two passengers on board, we managed to hit 70kmph (speedo indicated) on a rolling start. While the car won’t win any races you can be assured that you will stop cleanly with the front disc brakes doing an admirable job. If you are parked on a slope, you don’t have to worry about the car rolling back, thanks to its hill assist control. Engaging it is as simple as putting your foot on the accelerator. 

Comfort and Handling

The e8 performed admirably on the harsh Kathmandu roads with the McPherson Independent suspension soaking up all the bumps. Unlike other electric vehicles available in the market, it also has a decent ground clearance (160mm) so you don’t have to worry about the car scraping the bottom on humps. Steering the car was very easy thanks to its small wheelbase and you can also go around tight corners with confidence.

Speaking about the interior space, for the front passenger and driver, the seats feel comfortable with plenty of adjustments though it lacks a control to adjust the seat height.At the rear, you can easily fit two passengers but it’s a squeeze for three. Headspace will be adequate for the majority of people. While it misses out on armrests, the company offers it as an optional accessory.

A major advantage of driving an electric vehicle is the automatic gear which is perfect for city commutes. You don’t have to mess about with constant gear changes and there is no risk of an automatic car stalling at low speeds.

Verdict 

Though the Thee Go e8 is not the most exciting EV to drive, it is one of the most affordable electric vehicles in the market with a price tag of Rs 1,895,000. It has a practical interior and features that rival its more expensive counterparts. For those looking for a eco-friendly first car, the Thee Go e8 fits the bill perfectly. The company is also committed to providing excellent after sales service. It could be a tad bit better, with more power and larger wheels, but the current iteration is excellent as a city commuter.

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