MG ZS EV SUV Experience, Features, Detailed review - eNidhi India Travel Blog

MG ZS EV SUV Experience, Features, Detailed review

MG ZS is a premium electric SUV that you can buy in India. MG ZS EV costs approx 23 lakhs on road (27 lakhs for expensive "exclusive" variant) and has a certified range of 340+ kms on a single charge.

While I have only driven a Reva e2O in the past, I got an opportunity to experience MG ZS EV for the first time, thanks to MG Motors Bengaluru. In this post I am detailing all the details about this unique electric vehicle and help you decide if it is worth buying.

Let us get cracking. 

How does MG ZS EV look?
MG ZS EV has a distinct look compared to MG Hector or other SUV siblings in the market. The green number plates, an "electric" badge on the side and no exhaust pipes on the back are the only signs anyone can identify this as an electric vehicle. MG ZS EV also comes in an exclusive Copenhagen Blue colour in its Exclusive variant (Current Red and Ferris white are other two colours). No blue lines or accents across the body like nexon or tigor EVs.
I shared this top view on facebook and twitter and asked friends to guess the car- no one got it right. The panoramic sunroof and tail lamp can help fans identify it as MG ZS EV

Door looks standard while alloy wheel design is unique to MG ZS EV. The windmill inspired alloy wheels get disc brakes on all 4 wheels.

MG ZS EV is a 5 seater SUV and competes with other EVs such as Nexon EV and Hyundai Kona.

How driving an MG ZS EV different from driving normal car/SUVs?
1. No Sound: Electric vehicles do not have a combustion engine hence they don't make any noise. Sound of the music system, sound of a horn are the only sound you can hear inside the cabin. You have to look at the instrument cluster to understand if engine has started. My friends were astonished by the silence of MG ZS EV.
2. Lots of torque: Electric motors offer much higher torque than petrol or diesel engines. Thus acceleration is a lot faster.

Below is how engine bay looks like- you can't make out much from this. The battery was made in China.

3. Range and charging process: Unlike filling up the tank within few minutes, electric vehicle owners need to keep an eye on remaining range and figure out where to charge the car next. MG ZS EV has about 340 kms range if used in ECO mode, 310-315 kms if used in normal mode and about 250 kms if used in sport mode. This range is adequate for city usage but if planning out of city long drives some planning is required. I will write about this in detail in a separate post.

4. Extremely low per km expense: While a petrol/diesel SUV can easily cost close to 10 Rs per km, EV costs about 1 or 1.5 Rs per km only. Hence you can drive around without having to worry about fuel cost. This gives a lot of peace. I will detail this as well in a separate post.

5. Less tax: EV costs only about 2500 in registration cost whereas other 20-22 lakh petrol SUVs cost 1.5-2 lakh rupees in registration charges. You get some subsidy in some states giving you some incentive over slightly extra you've to spend on an EV upfront compared to petrol SUV

What I did with MG ZS EV?
I got to collect the car from MG Bengaluru JP Nagar showroom at about 1 PM and I was asked to return it next day same time. I couldn't go long distance out of city both due to weekend closing, range limits as well as instruction from company. I picked up a friend in Whitefield area, met another friend in Vidyaranyapuram and we headed to Hesaraghatta grasslands. Earlier Hesagaghatta grassland was open area free for entry, now there is lots of fencing and only a limited vehicle access remains. We drove around for a while, took a few photos, dropped friends and returned to city.

When I took the car it had about 92% charge and 290 kms range. Evening when I reached Banashankari it had 56% charge with about 150+ kms range left. I decided to charge the car fully at a BESCOM EV charging station- read the entire experience, process and cost here.

Once fully charged I visited a relative's house and stayed overnight there. Next day morning met Karthik Kannan, we headed to Thottikallu falls, Gulakamale lake and Prani the pet sanctuary. Back to city, had some food and it was almost time to return the car.

Some of my noteworthy experiences:
1. Charge your EV at TATA showrooms: As I was waiting for my friend near Tata Showroom at Sarakki signal morning 6.30 AM, security guard identified that I had an EV and asked if I need to charge. I had about 90% charge so there was no need to charge, but it was kind of them. He said we can charge for 100 Rs or 200 Rs as much as we wish.

2. No facility to charge at apartments: I checked with two of friends if their apartment has provision to charge EVs. Both said No. Apparently apartment resident associations haven't figured out the commercial aspect of EV charging station- whom to bill, how much etc, so they are not providing any charging facilities. Recently an Ather owner taking the scooter to his 5th floor kitchen has gone viral as is apartment didn't allow him to set up a charger in parking lot. With EVs becoming popular and more and more people buying, I am sure resident welfare associations will be forced to put in a policy and facility to charge EVs- both for residents as well as their guests. They can possibly tie up with vendor who is helping BESCOM manage their EV charging stations.

3. Ather Grid can't charge cars? I wanted to visit an Ather Grid and check if I can charge MG ZS EV there. A friend told it won't be possible as the charger type is different. I couldn't check in person though.

4. Parking Brake: MG ZS EV comes with two parking brakes, both electronic. If you miss to engage them in correct manner at times vehicle may refuse to start. This needs some getting used to.

Cool features of MG ZS EV:
1. Panoramic sunroof: Offers a refreshing view as you drive
2. Connected car features: MG ZS EV is a smart car. It has a sim card inside, comes with 60+ connected car features including find my car, voice commands, Gana premium music account, weather, list of charging stations, vehicle health monitoring etc. I didn't have enough time to experience all of them. Tried a few voice commands and it responded perfectly.
3. MG ZS EV comes with 5 years unlimited kms warranty, labour free service for 5 years, roadside assistance etc. The battery has 8 year warranty I am told- if any damage is noticed specific cell can be replaced, no need to change entire battery.

The car I drove was 2020 manufactured. I read about MG improving ZS EV even further in 2021. So if you buy now it might be even better. MG ZS got over 700 bookings in August 2021 alone as per a tweet by Rajeev Chaba, President and MD, MG India. Clearly there is increased faith and demand for electric SUVs now in India compared to previous years.

Here are some FAQs:
Q1: If I buy an MG ZS EV where all can I charge them?
1. At home: Each MG ZS EV comes with a home charger unit and portable charger. You can charge at home overnight. 6 to 8 hours for full charging (slow charging)
2. At select MG Showrooms: Two MG showrooms in Bengaluru have DC Fast chargers. You can charge up to 80% in 50 minutes. This is chargeable at 1200 Rs for full charge. (approx 4 Rs per km)
3. BESCOM charging stations in Bengaluru (details here)
4. Many Tata Motors showrooms allow you to charge your EV, even if they are not from Tata motors
5. At your friend's/relative's home if they live in ground or first floor and can provide a 15 amp socket reachable by portable charger. If their apartment complex is not objecting to few charging points for EV use you can take advantage of that as well.
6. Charge MOD: A new company is working to make EV charging more convenient- check their twitter handle for details
7. More options opening up: Many Govt offices, shopping malls, private office complexes may start providing EV charging facility soon. Because they have to pay commercial rates for electricity, cost viability remains to be seen.

Q2: Is it worth spending 5-6 lakhs more on an EV SUV compared to petrol driven SUV with similar features/specs?
I am working out the calculations in a separate post. Pleasr standby.

Q3: What is the onroad price of MG ZS EV?
The cheaper Excite variant has ex-showroom price of 21 lakhs and after including registration, fast tag, insurance etc on road is 22.4 lakhs
The more luxurious Exclusive variant costs 24.5 ex showroom and 26.1 lakhs on road, Bengaluru

Q4: What do we get extra in Exclusive variant for the extra 3.7 lakhs?
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • iSmart EV connected car features
  • PM 2.5 filter
  • 6 way electrically adjustable driver seat
  • Rain sensing front wipers
  • Silver finish roof rails
  • Leather seats
  • Seatback pockets
  • Power foldable & heated ORVM
  • Two extra speakers
Q5: What is the range we can expect in reality?
Range is a function of multiple factors:
  • Mode (Sport, Normal, Eco)
  • Load on the car (number of people, bags etc)
  • Road condition (highway, hill, city, bad roads etc)
  • Driving style (spirited, sedate etc)
  • Other electric features used- sunroof, power seats, AC, headlight, wiper, music all these need electricity and will have some impact on total range.
With these disclaimers out, below are the expected range from MG ZS EV:
  • In Eco Mode: 340 kms in full charge
  • In Normal Mode: 310-315 kms 
  • In Sport mode: 240 kms.
Using AC and other features: Minus 5-10%
Uphill drive: Another 10%
Full load: Another 5%
Buffer: About 5-10% (don't plan to drive till the last km, keep some buffer in case charging station is closed or you've to go somewhere else urgently or computer calculation is wrong etc)

This means worst case scenario range comes to about 150 kms (drive in sports mode with 4-5 people, with AC, uphill drive), but if you are running out of range you can switch to eco mode and get another 50+ kms extra. Conclusion: 200 to 300 kms practical range depending on situation.
A few possible improvements I could think of in MG ZS EV:
1. The interior doesn't feel very premium for 26 lakh car. I drove a 2020 make demo car so customer owned car may have better feel though. Modern cars in this price range come with lots of premium features- 360 degree camera, wooden inserts, paddle shifters, window blinds etc. MG can think of adding a few of these for upcoming ZS EV. 
2. Parking brake usage needs bit more visual warnings. Like give a beep to engage drive mode to parking if car is getting locked etc. This will avoid future issues

3. Engine sound: MG can think of introducing a mild artificial engine sound from music system- lots of owners would love to hear some noise to feel that engine has started and ready. Of course those who don't like it can turn it off.

4. TPMS was not accurate. At morning 6 AM it showed me front right tyre is low on pressure (21.5 PS while other tyres have 31.5 PS). I stopped at a petrol station and added air to reach 32 PS. But till 12 noon when I returned the car, TPMS was still showing low tyre pressure on front right wheel. It needs to sense updated pressure a bit faster else users will stop trusting it.

If you have any specific questions about MG ZS EV feel free to ask. Of course you can walk in to your nearest MG showroom and test drive it yourself.

Below: MG ZS EV keyfob
Stay tuned for more. Visit official website https://www.mgmotor.co.in/

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