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MG Motor charges in with its electric SUV

S Ronendra Singh | Updated on December 26, 2019 Published on December 26, 2019

The HD touchscreen is powered by the i-SMART EV 2.0 and shows the battery strength too, just like a mobile phone

The ZS EV promises a range of 340 km and a balanced performance. Will buyers plug into this newbie?

The electric vehicle revolution is here, and many companies, which have showcased their strengths in international markets, are ready to roll out their EVs in the Indian market, too. British brand MG Motor, currently owned by Chinese car major SAIC Motor, is among the frontrunners, launching its ZS EV next month.

We experienced it firsthand, driving on the highway between Gurugram and Noida.

Close on the heels of the successful launch of its first product in India — the Hector — MG India has brought in the EV as well. Many may view this as a step too early, especially when the Indian car market is going through a downturn, but the company thinks otherwise. For MG India, it is the right time to launch an EV as the country has already prepared the roadmap for environment-friendly vehicles, or ‘green mobility’, for the future.

 

 

Through Super-Fast DC chargers (50 kW), the ZS EV will reach 80% battery capacity within 50 minutes while AC fast chargers installed at homes take 6-8 hours for a full charge

 

 

The exterior

The MG ZS EV’s design is quite compelling. Be it the size, the seating or the space, the vehicle looks big. Design wise, it is inspired by things that we see and experience everyday. For instance, the headlamps draw inspiration from the majestic London Eye, making it stand out in the crowd. The grille is inspired by the magnetic fields between celestial bodies; the deep conclave grille is chrome. At the rear, the tail-lights depict the Plough, also called the Big Dipper — inspired by the seven bright stars of the constellation Ursa Major. The side design depicts the Phantom that flies through the corners, and the alloy wheels design are inspired by classic Dutch windmills.

The interiors

Step inside and you settle into the warmth of the leather seats; the steering wheel complements with a leather-wrapping. The cabin does not confuse users with multiple function buttons or knobs — these are kept to a minimum. There is an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that takes care of most functions. The HD touchscreen is powered by the i-SMART EV 2.0 and shows the battery strength too, just as in a mobile phone. Akin to the Hector, the ZS EV has the ‘Internet Inside’ feature and voice command capability. With ‘Hello MG’, the voice tool can handle several commands, from locating charging stations to checking the battery status. The electronic gear-shift knob, too, has a ‘simple look’. In front are three buttons — one to choose the drive mode, the second for the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), and the third for checking the status of the battery. KERS helps recharge the battery every time the brake is applied, giving some relief to your range anxiety.

The panoramic skyroof that covers 90 per cent of the roof of the MG ZS EV also gives that plush feel from inside. The model comes equipped with an inbuilt PM 2.5 air filter. Even if the PM 2.5 measurement outside is 200 or 300, the level inside the car will be less than 30 AQI, in under five minutes.

Taking forward the M2M (machine-to-machine) features from the Hector, the ZS EV is embedded with a 5G-ready SIM with Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6). And, through its mobile app, the vehicle can be set for a geo-fence (outwards or inwards) up to 100 km and receive notification if the car leaves the preset safe perimeter.

Performance

The heart of the ZS EV is a battery with a capacity of 44.5 kWh, which is more powerful than batteries in other EVs in the market now. The company is promising a range of 340 km in real road conditions, which could be significant if achievable. The ZS EV also delivers power comparable to most internal combustion engine vehicles. It is rated to deliver a maximum torque of 353 Nm and maximum power of 142.7 PS. Performance wise, the environment-friendly SUV from MG throttles from 0 to 100 in 8.5 seconds.

The three drive modes — Normal (balancing range and driving performance), Eco (to maximise the range) and Sport (for a more engaging driving experience) — are similar to those of an ICE vehicle and you may well forget you are driving an EV (except for the lack of engine sound).

Bottomline

At an expected starting price of ₹22-23 lakh, the MG ZS EV has the potential to reel in EV buyers. Initially it is being launched in only five cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It will be available in two trims — Excite and Exclusive.

The ZS EV already has a Five-Star Euro NCAP rating. The front and rear seatbelt reminder, heated ORVM (Outer Rear View Mirror), tyre pressure monitoring system, rear disc brakes, electric parking brake, and six airbags are some of the standard safety features available.

MG Motor India is setting up a five-step charging ecosystem that is aimed at fulfilling the needs of EV customers. The ZS EV will come with an on-board cable to charge at any 15 Amp socket. MG India is also setting up a DC Super-Fast charging network at select MG showrooms that will be available 24x7, and plans to create an extended charging network across dealerships in select satellite cities along key routes to provide charge-on-the-go with RSA (road side assistance). Through Super-Fast DC chargers (50 kW), the ZS EV will reach 80 per cent battery capacity within 50 minutes. At home, AC fast chargers typically take 6-8 hours for a full charge.

To be launched in mid-January, MG India has already set an ambitious target of selling a few thousand units of the EV in its first year. Let’s wait to see whether it can indeed charge up buyers.

 

 

Published on December 26, 2019
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