MG Motor India has announced plans to launch an electric SUV in the Indian market. This model, its second for India, will follow the brand’s first SUV that will roll out in the first half of 2019.
The news confirms what Autocar Professional's report of March 29, 2018, that SAIC, which has earmarked $3 billion for investment in new energy vehicles over the next few years, was plotting some moves for India too.
The MG ZS-based electric SUV for India could likely be powered by a 48kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The company claims the electric motor develops 115hp and 255Nm of peak torque, and will help the electric SUV to travel 425km on a single charge.
MG is likely to bring the electric ZS as a CKD product and locally assemble it in order to keep costs in check. Importantly, the brand may even assemble the battery for the EV in India. While the battery cell will be imported from China, parent company SAIC Motor Corp has joined hands with one of the world’s largest makers of lithium-ion batteries – Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Limited (CATL) – which will help assemble the battery module in India.
There is no confirmation yet on a launch date, but expect the all-electric ZS SUV (likely to be called the ZSe or the eZS) to go on sale around late 2019.
“MG will launch a globally-competitive pure-electric SUV in India, to make our contribution to India’s energy and environmental strategies. The pure electric SUV will be a breakthrough chapter in the EV space in India, being one of its kind in the market. This is in addition to the first SUV which we plan to launch in the second quarter of next year,” said Michael Yang, executive director of International Business, SAIC Motor and president of SAIC Motor International Company.
The MG brand is looking to ride on the ongoing disruptions in the global automotive industry. “With cars getting transformed with internet, artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing, MG can take advantage of this transformation and will use it as its key differentiator, enabling it to stand out from the crowd,” Yang added.
MG ramping up pre-launch programme
MG Motor India is in the process of finalising around 45 dealer partners to begin its sales next year, with around 100 touchpoints across India in the first phase. The carmaker will hire close to 1,500 employees by the end of 2019, compared with 300 employees at present.
(L-R) Louis M Sanches, Chief Digital Designer, MG Global; P Balendran, executive director, MG Motor India; Michael Yang, executive director - International Business, SAIC Motor and President, SAIC Motor International Company; Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India and Ying Lu, Senior Designer, MG Global.
“As part of our commitment to this market, we are fast ramping up all our pre-launch activities, beginning with product roadshows for consumers in India next month. This will be followed by various brand-awareness initiatives to get closer to our prospective customers. All our products will be designed and engineered in UK and China with the support of Indian engineers. These vehicles will be heavily localised, built at our plant in Halol by our engineers conforming to global quality standards and validated and customised for India to suit the Indian road and driving conditions,” said Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India.
The current capacity at its Halol manufacturing facility stands at 80,000 units per annum; which will be expanded to 200,000 units going forward depending upon the requirement.
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