The new MG ZS EV will take the fight to the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric with a 170-mile range
MG’s first all-electric car will be launched in the UK on 1 September – and the British brand is promising that the new arrival won’t be limited by the supply issues which have hampered early sales of some of its rivals.
The first offering in a wave of new products that will expand the marque’s line-up over the next two years, the ZS EV will aim to undercut the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro on price.
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MG’s new car has already been revealed in China; it features a single electric motor driving the front wheels, producing 148bhp and 350Nm of torque. That’s enough to take the Nissan Juke-rivalling ZS from 0-31mph in 3.1 seconds. The vehicle will retain those power and performance figures in the UK, but tougher testing under WLTP regulations is likely to cut its official range down to around 170 miles. That’s less than the likes of the Kona Electric and e-Niro, but a match for the current Nissan Leaf.
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MG’s sales and marketing boss in the UK, Daniel Gregorious, told us the firm is aiming to sell the ZS EV as a powertrain, alongside the two existing petrol versions of the car.
“We’re taking a different approach on it to some manufacturers,” Gregorious said, “so whereas in the past you’d have chosen between petrol and diesel, now you’ll choose between petrol and electric. So it’ll be in the higher couple of trim levels in the ZS range [Excite and Exclusive].
“With ZS EV we’ve got a car that’s really practical,” he added. “It doesn’t lose any space in the interior or in the boot, because of where the batteries are installed. It seats five people, with room for luggage.”
If the ZS’s boot remains unchanged, at 483 litres, it will have a slightly larger capacity than the e-Niro.
Kia and Hyundai have had supply issues with their EVs, with delivery times stretching beyond nine months. But MG is confident it will have volume supply from launch.
“We have a real advantage there with our parent company [Chinese giant SAIC],” said Gregorious. “MG and Roewe sold 140,000 electric vehicles in China alone last year, so the manufacturing infrastructure is really there. We get the benefit of that capacity.”
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There’s no word yet on pricing, but MG is likely to pitch the car significantly lower than the two Korean EVs. That could mean a price of as little as £24,000 after the Government grant is applied. “The ZS is already a good-value proposition and we want the EV to continue that,” said Matthew Stevens, MG’s product and planning manager.
The ZS EV will soon be followed by other new models in the MG line-up. The current flagship, the GS, will be replaced at the end of the year and its successor will get a plug-in hybrid variant by next summer.
MG also plans to launch a further EV in 2020. Gregorious declined to give any details on that model, but it could well be a version of the larger Marvel X SUV that’s already sold by sister firm Roewe in China.
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