MG Motor India plots major EV play, starting with the ZS SUV

by Sumantra B Barooah 05 Dec 2019


Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India, and Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer, MG Motor India at the unveiling of the MG ZS EV in New Delhi.

The status of the Indian electric passenger vehicle market can at best be said as fledgling. However, that's perhaps being seen as an opportunity rather than a hurdle by MG Motor India, a fully owned subsidiary of China's largest auto maker SAIC.

In less than six months of starting business operations in India, MG Motor India has unveiled its first electric vehicle (EV), the ZS SUV, today in New Delhi.  The electric SUV, to be commercially launched in January, will be the first in a "series of other EVs". 

Talking about the ZS, Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India says that the SUV has been tested for 100,000 kilometres in India, and it will have a running cost of only 10 percent of an equal-size vehicle with a petrol internal combustion engine. He also announced that the ZS will initially be available only in 5 cities – Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad.

India is the fourth market for the ZS. China, Thailand and the UK are the other markets. Along with starting its EV business, MG Motor is focusing on addressing issues like battery charging network and disposal of EV batteries. The ZS comes with an on-board charging cable. MG Motor India offers setting up AC fast chargers at customers' office/home. There will be DC super-fast chargers available for customers 24X7 at select  dealerships, and charging stations in select satellite towns too. A 'charge-on- the-go' roadside charging service will also be offered to ZS customers. MG will extend most of these offerings in alliance with other companies.

ZS EV - fast charging feature

The ZS EV is MG’s first pure electric internet SUV with a clean and fast powertrain. The all-new, advanced 44.5 kWh, liquid-cooled NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) battery from CATL, one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers, gives the car a range of 340 kilometers on full charge. It delivers 353 Nm of instant torque and 143 PS power, accomplishing 100 kmph from a standstill in 8.5 seconds.

MG Motor India has partnered with various global and local players in the EV field for its multi-step charging ecosystem. Each ZS EV comes with an on-board cable to charge anywhere and an AC fast charger for charging at homes/offices. The carmaker is also setting up a DC Super-Fast charging network at select MG showrooms and plans to create an extended charging network across MG dealerships in select satellite cities along key routes. 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 will take around 6 - 8 hours for a full charge.

Additionally, the car comes with a unique breathable glow logo that shows the vehicle charging status and has an inbuilt PM 2.5 filter to help MG customers breathe pure air. The carbon-dioxide saver feature also displays how much CO2 customers have saved. MG’s positioning of the battery pack underneath the car ensures no compromise in cabin or storage space and achieves a low centre of gravity that makes the ZS EV agile and dynamic at corners. The ZS EV also features three driving modes and three levels of regenerative braking can be tailored to suit individual driver preferences, making it the perfect companion for everyday driving.

The ZS EV features exclusive and updated iSMART EV 2.0, powered by an all-new 6-core processor that promises a seamless user experience. It has inbuilt embedded SIM providing internet onboard and can also be connected to an external Wi-Fi connection. 

Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motor India said, “the ZS EV has already registered significant success in more than 10 international markets such as the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. It has also been extensively tested for India-specific requirements. We’re hopeful that it will recreate its success in India. We will evaluate opportunities to further expand this ecosystem to more markets across India, based on customer response.”

The ZS is expected to sport a price tag of a little over Rs 20 lakh. It will compete with the Hyundai Kona, the only other electric SUV in India. The premium price tag would mean niche volumes, most of which could come from early adopters who are also more environment conscious. For critical volumes, MG would need more affordable EVs. They could be part of the "series of other EVs". 

Also read: MG Motor wants to "define and lead" the EV space in India, to offer charging stations too