The electric-powered version of the MG ZS SUV has been launched in Thailand at an attractive price of 1.19 million baht (RM160,384). The ZS EV – previewed at this year’s Bangkok Motor Show – joins full electric mass market options like the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona Electric in the Land of Smiles, but significantly undercuts those two.
Imported CBU from China, the MG ZS EV comes with a warranty of four years or 120,000 km, while the battery’s separate warranty is for eight years or 180,000 km. The first 1,000 buyers will get unlimited mileage battery warranty (still eight years), free one year’s insurance and a free MG Home Charger worth 45,000 baht (RM6,062), with free installation worth 20,000 baht (RM2,694).
The ZS EV is powered by a 150 PS electric motor, which will serve up 350 Nm of torque from rest. The 44.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located in the car’s floor, and range is quoted at 337 km per full charge. It is estimated that a fully charged ZS EV can do around 235 km in Bangkok conditions, which is 70% of the claimed NEDC range.
Also an important point in Thailand is that the electric SUV will wade through 400 mm of water with no issues. Three driving modes are available – Eco, Normal and Sport.
Charging it up at home with the MG Home Charger takes 6.5 hours, or 30 minutes for 80% juice via quick charge. If you can’t find the charging flap, that’s because it’s neatly hidden under the front MG emblem, which sits within a Mazda-like grille. Open it and you’ll find the DC quick charging port and a Type 2 AC one.
Hidden charging flap aside, the rest of the electric ZS is pretty much like the regular ZS, which is powered by a 1.5 litre NA petrol engine in Thailand – it’s clear that the SAIC-owned brand set out to design an inconspicuous EV. The only tell-tale signs that this isn’t a regular ZS are the unique 17-inch rims and subtle badging on the hatch. The Copenhagen Blue you see here is the EV-exclusive colour and the only choice available.
Inside, the electric ZS comes with a Jaguar Land Rover-style rotary gear selector, which is the most obvious interior difference. This being an EV, the instrument panel is also unique. Curiously, the dials are regular analog items despite China’s fascination with everything digital. The physical handbrake has been replaced by an electronic parking brake with auto hold function.
The ZS is a B-segment SUV around the size of a Honda HR-V. At 4,314 mm long and 1,809 mm wide, it’s 20 mm shorter but 37 mm wider than the popular Honda. The MG’s 2,585 mm wheelbase is 25 mm shorter.
The ZS EV is rather well equipped. Standard kit includes a panoramic glass roof, auto lights and wipers (halogen projectors), leather, powered front seats (six-way driver, four-way passenger), keyless entry and push start, electronic parking brake with auto hold, colour multi-info display, PM 2.5 air filtration system, eight-inch touchscreen and the I-SMART voice control system with Thai language recognition.
The latter comes with a smartphone app that allows the driver to lock/unlock the car, start it, turn on the air con, and check the car’s status, among other things. I-SMART has been one of the main unique selling points of the ICE-powered ZS, which has been selling well in Thailand.