MG India looking to start local battery assembly of MG ZS EV

With the intention of localizing more of the ZS EV, MG Motor India is considering assembling the battery pack of its first electric car. The battery pack is the costliest component of an electric vehicle and is imported from China, with the Hyundai Kona Electric possibly the only exception in the Indian market. Localising the battery would take the ZS EV closer to realizing the status as a ‘Make in India’ product.

As a part of the preparation, the company would have to put up a battery assembly plant. The obvious benefit of localizing the battery is a reduction in the price of the car, but that is not an assurance of it getting passed on immediately to customers.

In an interview with financialexpress.com in September, Rajeev Chaba, President, MG (India), was talking about the localisation levels of MG cars in India. On the MG ZS EV, Chaba said that the company is discussing how it can assemble its battery pack locally “as soon as possible.” Speaking to Zee Business (via zee5.com) the same month, he disclosed that the company has a backlog of around 700 orders and is getting almost 100 orders per month for the ZS EV.

As of September, 1,000 units of the MG Electric car have rolled off the assembly line at the company’s Halol plant following the launch in January 2020. The MG ZS EV joins the Tata Nexon EV in hitting this milestone, which coincidentally was also launched in January this year, and brought up the milestone in August.

MG ZS EV front view - Auto Expo 2020
The MG ZS EV is available in two variants – Excite and Exclusive.

In Q1 FY2021, the Nexon & Tigor EV combined had an enviable 62 per cent market share in the Indian electric car space, however, MG has upped its efforts with the ZS EV. The company launched the ZS EV in 10 new cities last month and anticipates demand to improve in the second half of the financial year.

In addition to Mumbai, Delhi/NCR, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Surat, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Chennai, Pune and Cochin, the MG ZS EV is available in Lucknow, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Agra, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Vizag and Indore now. In all, there are 21 cities in India where a new MG ZS EV is available for booking.

In August, the MG Reassure program was launched, which lets customers buy used MG ZS EV electric cars that undergo 160+ quality checks. Apart from carrying out any repairs if required, the Reassure program also offers customers 3 years/unlimited km warranty, 3 years roadside assistance and 3 free services.

The MG ZS EV is spec’d with a 44.5 kWh battery pack with a front-mounted electric motor. Delivering 140 hp and 353 Nm of torque, the electric SUV accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 140 km/h. MG claims 340 km of range on a single charge, and has installed 50 kW fast chargers at dealerships through which 80 per cent charge is achievable in just 50 minutes.

MG ZS EV rear three quarter view 2- Auto Expo 2020
The MG Reassure program offers customers the choice of pre-owned MG ZS EV units.

The MG ZS EV is available in two variants: Excite and Exclusive. The former is priced at INR 20.88 lakhs while the latter costs INR 23.58 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi. Both variants offer six airbags, ABS, ESC, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, rear parking camera and sensors. The Exclusive variant adds a panoramic glass roof, PM 2.5 filter, power adjustable driver’s seat and rain sensing wipers.

Those waiting for a better product, in 2022 MG Motor India will introduce a premium 500 km range variant of the MG ZS EV.

The main rival of the MG ZS EV is the Hyundai Kona EV, which is priced at INR 23.75 lakhs, ex-Showroom, and is available in a single variant. The Kona EV uses a 39.2 kWh battery pack delivering a range of 452 km; it too can be fast charged to 80 percent using a DC 50kW charger in 57 minutes, or conventionally charged using a 3-phase 10.5kW AC charger in 4 hours and 50 minutes. The Kona EV facelift (which is yet to be revealed internationally) is expected to launch in India in mid-2021, along with 6 other hotly anticipated electric SUV cars.

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