The now Chinese owned car marque MG officially launched its first electric vehicle in Australia in Sydney on Tuesday, dropping a bombshell pricing for the ZS EV of just $40,990 before on-road costs, and $43,990 drive-away, making it the cheapest electric vehicle now on the Australian market.
The pricing is a around $6,000 below the initial pre-order pricing announced previously by SAIC-owned MG.
Speaking at the launch event, MG Australia and New Zealand CEO Peter Ciao confirmed that pre-order customers would also receive the on-sale pricing.
“Today we are proud to launch our first electric vehicle,” said Ciao.
Ciao said while some car makers have put prices up as Covid-19 and a falling dollar took effect in 2020, MG has done just the opposite. “It’s terrible for customers, especially during Covid-19, people need a good car with a good price,” he said.
“Electric vehicles have incredible driving performance, that’s the future. Everyone should have the chance to drive it.”
The MG ZS EV will be the first of several electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles MG has planned for Australia. Ciao said the next electrified vehicle to reach Australian shores will be the MG HS plug-in hybrid in early 2021.
But for now, Australian drivers can choose not only the first electric vehicle under $45,000 drive away, but also the first electric SUV available for under $50,000.
With a 45kWh battery, it is rated to offer up to 263km in combined driving (WLTP) but Ciao says in the city it can drive up to 370km in stop-start traffic.
But he says it is not just the generous range at an affordable price that the ZS EV will offer. It will, he says, also be able to reach 60km/hr from a standing start in just 3.2 seconds, and 100km/hr in 8.2 seconds thanks to 105kW power from the motor and 353Nm instant torque.
“It steps smartly off mark to meeet the demands of urban driving,” he says.
Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council, says that it is the ZS EV pricing that shows the growing confidence in the Australian electric vehicle market.
“Having that price is really quite good …. it shows a lot of confidence – the ability to squash down prices and squash profits because the car maker is confident it can move electric vehicles,” he tells The Driven.
Jafari says the pricing shows that MG is taking a long term view, especially since the car maker plans to bring more electric vehicles within the next five years.
“They’re saying we can reduce our profit margins, and help market grow,” he says. “The MG ZS EV will help to reshape market for next line of products to come.”
“They want to turn [the Australian EV market] into healthy market place.”
Important note on economics of selling EVs (my opinion, not MGs). The more confident you can be of higher sales, the lower price you can set. Essentially you’re more comfortable shrinking margins knowing you can make back ROI from greater volume.
— Behyad Jafari ⚡🚘 (@BJafari) November 9, 2020
Danny Lenartic, marketing and product director for MG in Australia/New Zealand, said that key to reducing the price for the MG ZS EV is the fact that SAIC has developed its own battery supply chain to help reduce costs.
“On the new energy front SAIC has made considerable investment on battery technology, and has its own supply chain,” Lenartic said.
“It does make sense, we’ve seen OEMs entering into long term arangements with all sectors of the supply chain,” says Jafari.
“This is the new reality …. everywhere they can improve efficiency that will result in lower prices for consumers – it’s this type of thinking by SAIC, it’s this type of work by companies that will bring prices down.”
Within five years, MG says it will introduce electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in all car segments.
In the meantime, the ZS EV will act as vanguard to an entire electrified stable, representing MG/SAIC’s approach to introduce 5G-enabled, zero and low emissions vehicles with a focus on technology, safety and accessible pricing.
“We’re going to spark consumers into action,” said Lenartic.
“We’ll fast track EV adoption by making a range of EVs available for everybody – we are proud to introduce our first but definitely not our last zero emissions vehicle.”
In the back, despite the ZS EV’s modest size there is plenty of cargo space on offer, up to 1,166 litres with the back seats folded down.
The MG ZS EV offers three driving modes as well as three levels fo regenerative braking, and can charge to 80% in 45 minutes at a max charge rate of 85kW, says Ciao.
At home, it can be charged overnight in under seven hours from 0% to 100% at a charge rate of 7.2kW.
With safety a top priority, the ZS EV has a range of active and passive features, including lane keeping, rear cross traffic alerts, and intelligent speed assist that helps the driver keep to the speed limit and follow the car in front.
For the tech-lovers, be assured that the MG ZS EV will come an 8” colour touchscreen, integrated Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six-speaker surround sound audio, satellite navigation, and keyless entry with as standard.
A panoramic “Stargazer” sunroof covering 90 per cent of the roof means it has one of the largest in the segment, says MG.
The MG ZS EV will be available in the same colours as its petrol stablemate, with an additional “clipper blue” that will be exclusive to the electric powertrain.
It will come with the same 5 year vehicle and 8 year battery warranty in both Australia and New Zealand, the first such warranty shared across the pond for any car company, Ciao says.
(Note: The Driven will report on its “first impressions” of the electric MG after a test drive later this week).
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.