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Car review: New MG ZS EV

Car review: New MG ZS EV
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Car review: New MG ZS EV

Car review: New MG ZS EV

09 Moto lede 6

Very few personal car users drive more than 100 km per day, within city limits. There’s mathematics to support the case. Suppose you live in Gurgaon, and even if you drive across a state, to your office in Noida, the return journey would be about 80 km. Throw in a meeting in Delhi and a dinner, and what you will occasionally drive is about 100 km.In an electric car that travels 461 km on a full charge, a week’s driving is more or less taken care of on a single charge, at least theoretically.But the above is an extreme example. According to the 2019 CEEW report ‘How Urban India Moves’, the median round-trip commute distance by car in India is about 20 km per day.

Let’s assume you drive twice as much, and yet you will need to charge your car only once a week—that’s what we discovered driving the new MG ZS EV in and around Gurgaon.

What is the ZS EV?
It looks like any other compact SUV—similar in size to Hyundai Creta. Under its body is a 50.3 kWh battery pack (bigger than Hyundai Kona’s 39.5 kWh and Tata Nexon EV’s 30.2 kWh). The electric motor produces 176 PS power (far more than the most powerful Creta at 140 PS) and acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes just 8.5 seconds.It was first launched in 2020 with a 44.5 kWh battery pack and 340 km range; the new ZS EV (50.3 kWh) has a 461 km of claimed driving range.

How is the cabin?
Leather-layered dashboard, central armrest and dual-pane panoramic sunroof stand out. Cabin space is decent, and rear seats are comfortable—there is a centre headrest, centre armrest with cup-holders and rear AC vents.

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Is it loaded with tech?

It has a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging, five USB ports (including two Type C charging ports), PM 2.5 filter, as the i-SMART system with a claimed 75-plus connected car features—like tracking your car’s location or starting the AC using the phone app, and operating in-car features with voice commands such as ‘Open the sunroof’ or ‘Take me to the nearest charging station’.

The map on the touchscreen displays nearby charging points and the trip computer shows you the tentative distance the car can cover and the battery capacity in real time.

What is the real-world range?
When I got the review car, it showed 95% battery charge and 262 km driving range (far lower than the claimed 461 km). But as I started driving (mostly at moderate speeds, without unnecessary acceleration and braking) the battery capacity dropped and yet driving range increased. That’s the beauty of electric cars. It was showing 262 km range because the person before me could have driven it in an inefficient manner, but when the car studied my efficient driving style, it increased the range to about 350 km.

Driven in an efficient way, driving range of about 400 km on a single charge is possible, and even if you drive it inefficiently, about 275 km seems safe.

How can you charge it?

When battery capacity drops, the map starts showing you nearest charging points with navigation support. While the company installs a 7.4 kW AC charger at either your home or office when you buy the car—it can charge the car in six hours—at MG dealerships 50 kW DC fast chargers have been set up (80% charge in 50 minutes) and these can be accessed 24×7. The car can also be charged using the conventional three-pin socket, but that takes 16-18 hours.Good news here is that ZS EV customers can also charge their car free of cost at any public EV charging points run by Fortum till the end of June. Fortum has stations in Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Mohali, Pune and Surat, and is opening in newer cities.

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Is there room for improvement?

One, under the front hood, a storage space can be created to make it look neat (right now there is a lot of wiring set-up that looks clumsy).Two, when accelerating hard, the driving range appears to drop far faster than in some other electric cars. So, it’s not really a car for the highway, but more for city driving, where the electric motor can regenerate enough to provide you good range.

How much is it priced?

The new ZS EV (Rs 21.99-25.88 lakh) comes across as a far better EV than Hyundai Kona EV (Rs 23.79 lakh), but close to Tata Nexon EV in terms of overall ownership experience (Nexon EV has lesser range but is priced lower too).

Specifications

Battery: 50.3 kWh | Range: 461 km | Power: 176 PS0-100 km/h: 8.5 seconds | Price (Excite): Rs 21.99 lakh | Price (Exclusive): Rs 25.88 lakh(Prices are ex-showroom; Excite variant will be available July onwards)

Competitors:
Hyundai Kona Electric

Rs 23.79 lakh | 39.5 kWh battery | 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds | 452 km driving range (as per ARAI)

Tata Nexon EV

Rs 14.54 lakh | 30.2 kWh battery | 0-100 km/h in 9.9 seconds | Over 300 km driving range (claimed)

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