Tested: China’s breakthrough electric car
Claiming a range of more than 300km, the MG eZS will join Australia's all-electric car party next year.
Based on the ZS compact SUV, the brand's bestseller in Australia, the eZS will compete with the just-launched Hyundai Kona Electric that is priced from $59,990 and claims range of 449km. Nissan will soon unleash the Leaf from $49,990, with 270km range.
If the Chinese-built eZS can be brought in nearer $40,000, MG has a shot at cornering the bargain-hunting early adopter market.
Short exposure to the new MG showed it has the key electric vehicle hallmarks covered.
The eZS is responsive, easy to drive and typically rapid off the mark, the maker nominating 3.1 seconds for the unusual split time of 0-50km/h.
Unlike many EVs, its regenerative braking is not overtly intrusive. When the driver lifts off the accelerator, it feels more like the trailing throttle of a conventional car - in the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace and Hyundai Ioniq or Kona, doing so feels as if you have also applied the brakes.
The eZS enables the driver to vary the degree of regenerative braking but no setting feels overbearing.
Vehicles on loan after the Shanghai motor show were earmarked for the Chinese market. the spongy suspension set-up floated and bounced over undulations and in corners. Australian models will get a firmer European setting.
Charging via a plug behind the grille takes 30 minutes using a fast charger and a domestic power point can get the job done in six hours.
MG's official documentation has a theoretical range of 428km but 335km is the real-world estimate from the 110kW/350Nm motor with a 45.5 kWh battery.
Inside, the eZS shows its market positioning with liberal use of hard plastics. There are some luxuries, including an eight-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satnav, digital radio and 17-inch alloys. Higher grades have leather trim, push-button start, heated front seats and panoramic sunroof.
Dimensions are identical to the petrol-powered ZS. Boot space remains a useful 359L, extended by the flat-folding rear seats.
The new electric MG faces some tough opposition from more accomplished rivals but price and warranty cover could set apart.
Price: $40,000-plus (est)
Motor: 110kW/350Nm, 45.5kWh battery
Safety: Untested, 7 airbags, AEB, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning