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MG ZS EV: India’s Best Electric Car

A decade ago if someone told that me could drive an electric car in India for a range of 300 km, I wouldn’t believe it. But, that’s what technology is all about. Delivering what seems to be impossible. Moving forward to 2019, we have a new entrant into the electric vehicle space which promises to deliver phenomenal performance while being relatively lighter to the environment.

My 2 cents on the fully electric MG ZS ev:

Pros: +

The best electric vehicle you can buy in India. Period.
+ Rapid charging option of 80% in just 50 min (availability of this charger is scarce, will have a dedicated post for charging options/infra)
+ Phenomenal performance. The sprint to 100 kmph in 8.5s with the winning noise of the motor is addictive
+ Looks stunning from every angle, at least 10x more proportionate than the Hector
+ Healthy claimed range of 350 km, Expect 300 km in the city realistically
+ Offers Space, space and more space. Negligible floor hump in the Rear makes it a good contender for 5 seater and not a pseudo
+ That m-a-s-s-i-v-e panoramic sunroof covers 90% of the roof. Haven’t seen a bigger one in my life
+ Built quality and interior quality on par with the europeans, if not Germans. Lot of interior switches/knobs borrowed from VW (MG has a partnership with VW in China).
+ Euro NCAP safety rating of 5 🌟 Massive Respect
+ ‘Relatively’ environment friendly. Will explain the usage of ‘Relatively’ in another post. Unfortunately, Instagram has word limit

Cons:

– I can live with the absence of electric boot release, auto dimming IRVM, automatic climate control and even the absence of Fog lamps but absence of Rear A/C vents is a concern in the scorching summers of our Country where Mercury levels reach 48 °C
– Currently availability in 5 cities only – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Doing some basic math, its just 5% of our Population. Cities like Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata & Guwahati are an opportunity missed
– Poor under thigh support spoils the rear seat party, long distance travel is a concern
– Steering is light on parking speeds and heavier as it gains speed but the weight feels slightly artificial and not very direct
– Plastic quality is inconsistent. kind-of soft touch on the dash but hard plastic on the doors.

Exterior

I would love to call the ZS EV a crossover more than a SUV. Its not as fierce and menacing as the Hector. I really love the way MG has got it spot-on with the design. MG scores some extra brownie points for actually retaining the grill in spite of this being an EV. First glance at the grille and you would mistake it for a Mercedes A class with those studdings all around. However, unlike the A class this grille opens up to reveal the charging port. MG claims that the ZS EV can be driven for a 372 km in the city on a full charge which is phenomenal considering the current EV space. Open the bonnet and You can see a plethora of wires running around like a marathon. The ZS EV is powered by a 44.5 kWh battery producing 143 PS of power and 353 nm of Torque. The bigger question is how long does it take to charge battery completely?

You have 3 options to  choose from:

Connect it to the conventional 3-point home socket and it would take 12 hrs

Fast charger would take about 7 hrs for a full charge

You would also have the rapid charger which would need just 40 min to charge it to a good 80%.

Interior

As soon as you step inside the ZS EV you are greeted by this large panoramic sunroof which makes the cabin feel extremely airy. The interiors feel very premium especially with double stitches running across the dash. Plastics have a soft touch feel and feel very sturdy and soft at the same time, the brushed aluminium ascents complement the premium feel of this car. MG has decided to play it safe this time with the ZS EV unlike the unconventional instrument cluster of Hector which takes some time to get used to. You also get an Air filter, which will be very useful if you are living in one of the polluted cities. While the grille seems to be lifted off the A class, the AC vents seem to be borrowed from the Audi A3.

The infotainment system helps you in determining the charge left with the approximate range. There are 3 Driving Modes to choose from, Eco, Comfort and Sport. While the ECO Mode focuses on maximising the efficiency and range, the sport mode takes the behaviour of the car to a whole new level. KERS is used to regenerate the energy that you have stored while braking Gear knob and shutter for the cup holders reminds you of the Jaguar family. The visibility from the drivers seat is pretty good from a crossover’s point of view. The rear seat feels really spacious especially when you pitch it against the chief competitor, the Kona. It offers good comfort with enough legroom and headroom. However, one thing that I sorely miss is the rear a/c vents. This should have been present in a car of this size. This is a concern in the hot and humid summer of our country. With a boot space of 470 litres, be assured that your trips to airport are not at all a problem. Because, I doubt if you would be doing your dream road trip to Ladakh in this crossover.

Drive

So, let’s see how it feels to drive an electric motor which promises to be on par with the fossil fuels. There is one particular area where the electric vehicles beat the conventional vehicles hands down, that’s the instantaneous power delivery. The peak power and torque are achieved from the word Go! You do not have to wait for a particular power band to extract all the juice from the electric motor. The ZS EV sprints to 100 in just 8.5 seconds. The ZS EV can eat most of the small sized potholes and speed breakers for breakfast, but things get a little complicated when the you push the car into bigger potholes, that’s when it shakes you off from the drivers seat. The ZS EV loves to be pushed around corners. The steering feels heavy but slightly artificial at the same time. The car feels planted on the road when you are doing high speed corners. While the interiors do feel a great place to live in, the ZS however is short lived by the amount of noise that enters into the cabin through the whining of the electric engine at higher rpms, A pillar and tyres. Inside an electric car you expect absolute silence.

Verdict

Is the ZS EV the answer for electric revolution India has been waiting for? It ticks most of the boxes right, the style, the performance, range, the quality to top it all. However, just like any other car in the World, it does suffer from some shortcomings. For example, the top speed is limited to 140 kmph this paired with the fact that the rapid charging option is currently available in select cities which means you would have to spend at least 8 hours to recharge. All this, coupled with the fact that you would have to shell out a lot of premium for the EV tag, is something that would only grow with time.

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