MG has revealed that UK prices for launch editions of its first fully electric model, the ZS EV, will be significantly less than both the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, thanks to £7000 (Rs 597,477) discount on offer.
MG will match the government's £3500 (Rs 299,035) plug-in car grant for the first 1000 ZS EV buyers in the UK, bringing the entry-level 'Excite' variant's list price down to £21,495 (Rs 18 lakh). The same offer also applies to more luxurious 'Exclusive' trim, which costs £23,495 (Rs 20 lakh).
Owners of these early models will receive a free home charging point, which will be installed at no extra charge by MG.
Once the first 1000 examples have been sold, the ZS EV will be available from £24,995 (Rs 21 lakh), including the government grant. Although largely unrivalled in its position as a value electric compact SUV, the ZS EV represents a much more affordable alternative to the Kia e-Niro, which starts from £32,995 (Rs 28 lakh) after grant.
The ZS EV's chief rival, Hyundai's Kona Electric, is priced slightly higher at £27,250 (Rs 23 lakh), but is currently off-sale in the UK, with prospective buyers encouraged to join a waiting list. Like Hyundai and Kia, MG is applying a seven-year warranty to all ZS models sold in the UK.
The discounted price for the first 1000 models puts the ZS EV among the cheapest electric cars available in the UK. The ageing Citroen C-Zero is the only mainstream EV available for less, at £17,020 (Rs 14 lakh) including the grant.
The ZS EV was first revealed at the Guangzhou motor show in China last year, and will be sold alongside the existing petrol versions of the ZS.
The UK-bound ZS EV makes use of a front-mounted electric motor, producing 141bhp and 260lb ft. The car's water-cooled 44.5kWh lithium ion battery is good for a 163-mile (262km) range on the WLTP test cycle, and is capable of rapid charging from flat to around 80 per cent capacity in half an hour.
Styling changes over the conventionally fuelled model are minimal, and limited to the integration of a charging point in its blanked off grille, and the addition of a newly designed set of 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, standard equipment includes an 8-inch touchscreen, satnav, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth and DAB radio. The ZS prioritises interior space and practicality, with a split-level boot and several hidden storage areas maximising load capacity.
“We’re delighted to be entering the electric car market at such an exciting time," said Daniel Gregorious, MG's head of sales and marketing. "With MG’s trademark value-for-money approach, we’re confident that we can help more and more new car buyers to go electric.”
UK sales of the EV weren't confirmed at the its global debut last year, but now come as part of the steady growth of the MG brand worldwide and its transition to being a maker of SUVs.
MG is enjoying sales success in China, under the ownership of SAIC. Last year, it sold 134,786 cars, a significant increase over the 80,389 sold in 2016. That success accelerated in 2018; MG had already surpassed its 2017 total by the end of August, having sold 179,109 cars.
China is the world’s largest market for electric cars, and ranges in excess of 250 miles are now the norm there, rather than the exception.
The ZS EV first made its debut alongside the new HS SUV, which is understood to be lined up to replace the GS in MG’s UK range later this year.