New 2019 MG ZS EV makes London Motor Show debut

The new MG ZS EV will arrive with a 170-mile range in September, and will cost less than the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric

MG’s first all-electric car made its UK debut at this year’s London Motor and Tech Show, ahead of its planned launch on 1 September. The MG ZS EV will be the first offering in a wave of new products which will expand the marque’s line-up over the next few years, aiming to undercut the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro on price.

The British brand is promising that its new arrival won’t be limited by the supply issues which have hampered early sales of some of its rivals. Over the past few years, the brand’s parent company, SAIC Motor, has spent around $7billion (approximately £5.48bn) on research and development, most of which was invested in its all-electric platform.

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Official pricing information has yet to be announced. However, when quizzed about the issue, MG’s UK head of sales and marketing, Daniel Gregorious, stated the firm’s aim to pitch its EV below the Kona and the e-Niro, giving a baseline figure of around £24,000 once the £3,500 Government grant has been applied.

The ZS EV is powered by a water-cooled 44.5kWh battery pack, which MG claims will charge from empty to 80 per cent capacity in 43 minutes when plugged into a fast-charger. If charged using a domestic 7kW unit, charging to 100 per cent capacity will take six-and-a-half hours.

A single electric motor drives the front wheels, producing 148bhp and 350Nm of torque, which is enough to take the Nissan Juke-rivalling ZS from 0-31mph in 3.1 seconds. The newcomer will retain those power and performance figures in the UK, but more stringent WLTP regulations are likely to reduce its official range to around 170 miles.

That means it won’t travel as far on a single charge as the likes of the Kona Electric and e-Niro, but will be a match for the current Nissan Leaf. Instead, the ZS will aim to beat its rivals on practicality, with MG claiming an unchanged boot capacity of 483 litres; 32 litres more than the Kia. For range-anxious buyers, MG will also sell two petrol variants of the ZS alongside the all-electric model.

“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.” 

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 Motor],” 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.”

Over the next three years, the ZS EV will be followed by a range of new models. Gregorious confirmed the first, a C-segment SUV called the HS, will reach the UK by the end of 2019 in petrol-powered form, with a plug-in-hybrid variant following next year.

MG also plans to launch a further D-segment SUV in 2020, to rival the Skoda Kodiaq. It will be based on the same platform as the Chinese-built Roewe Marvel X, and Gregorious confirmed that the new model will be all-electric and four-wheel drive, while a seven-seat variant could be possible.

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