Electric MG ZS EV makes UK debut

The pure-electric MG ZS EV has made its UK debut, with sales set to start on 1 September

An orderbank for the MG ZS EV – an electric version of the ZS compact SUV – has been opened ahead of sales starting on 1 September.

The Chinese-owned brand has confirmed that the ZS EV will feature a 44.5kWh, water-cooled battery, with a 0-80% rapid charge said to take just 43 minutes.

Meanwhile, a full charge from a 7kW home wallbox is expected to take six-and-a-half hours.

Official range will be confirmed later in the year, but it's thought the ZS EV will return around 170 miles on a single charge.

The car uses a single 148bhp electric motor to power the front wheels, with a claimed 0-31mph figure of 3.1 seconds.

MG is staying coy on pricing for now, although the company's UK head of sales and marketing, Daniel Gregorious, has previously said the carmaker is aiming for a base price of £24,000.

This figure would include the Government's plug-in car grant discount of £3,500, undercutting key rivals like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro.

“We're taking a different approach on it to some, so whereas in the past you'd have chosen between petrol and diesel, now you'll choose between petrol and electric," Gregorious explained.

"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. It doesn't lose any space in the interior or in the boot, because of where the batteries are installed. It fits five, with room for luggage."

MG believes it is well placed to avoid the supply problems that have held up deliveries of the Kona Electric and e-Niro, with customers of those waiting until the end of 2019 at earliest for the next allocation of cars.

"We have good supply, too," said Greagorious. "We have a real advantage there with our parent company [SAIC]. MG and Roewe sold 140,000 EVs in China alone last year, so the manufacturing infrastructure is really there. We get the benefit of that capacity."

MG is already gearing up for electric vehicle sales, Gregorious confirmed. "We've been talking to our dealerships already and spent much of the past five months working with them not only on the sales side of EVs but also the aftersales – servicing. From the network side, they've been investing in MG-branded charging points at dealerships."

The company has confirmed that each of its 92 UK dealerships will eventually be fitted with at least two charging points; a 7kW wallbox in its workshops with a faster 22kW charger outside.

Those driving electric cars made by other brands will also be welcome to use the chargers, in order to "support the wider uptake of these environmentally friendly vehicles," said MG's network development manager, Mark Hallam.

Meanwhile, sales staff have undergone training to help customers find the information they need when considering the switch to electric motoring.

The MG ZS EV will arrive with a heavy focus on safety equipment: adaptive cruise control, automatic low-speed steering, blind-spot detection and autonomous emergency braking are all set to be standard features.

A panoramic, sliding roof, keyless entry, sat nav, DAB radio and smartphone connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be included, too.

Also on the way from MG is a replacement for the larger GS SUV, which will be offered in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) form from 2020. In addition, a production version of the sporty 'e-motion' concept car seen at the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show could join the range in the UK from 2021.

Gregorious told us: "That's a really exciting, emotional product - and one that does tap into our brand's heritage as a sports car manufacturer. Really exciting tech. Two motors, very quick. There's nothing quite like it, and for us, with our heritage, it'll be a great halo car."