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MG ZS EV ownership review after driving 5,000 km in 3 months

I believe it is the right time to shift to an electric vehicle if you are planning to change your car, provided you are not running more than 300-320 km at a stretch.

Thanks to Vishnu Vinayakumar for sending this in. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing it with other enthusiasts via this Team-BHP share page!

August 20, 2021: I got my first electric car. MG ZS EV. Today after 3 months and 4 days on November 24, 2021, I have completed 5000 km and I am in a position to give a genuine review of the vehicle. My intention as an early adopter of EV through this article is to clear all the apprehensions associated with buying one.

Why EV?

Climate change is for real. Though predicted right from our primary school days, never thought I will have to witness them. We have started experiencing the aftermath of what our forefathers have been doing since the industrial revolution. For us and our future generations, we have to do our small part as soon as possible to bring down pollution to the least. EV is one thing that can ensure that. I have also ensured my buy is as green as possible by installing solar panels in my house. To know the difference between ICE cars and EVs in pollution, check out the link.

What are the other advantages of EVs?

  1. EVs are definitely the future. Countries like Norway have more than 70% of vehicles as electric vehicles and many more countries have pledged to stop ICE car production by 2030. Even in India, I am sure the EV market will increase exponentially in the coming years with improvements in charging infrastructure. Tata Nexon Diesel sales have already been surpassed by Tata Nexon EV.
  2. Regenerative braking and Kinetic energy recovery system not only ensures that energy wastage during deceleration is minimized but also charges the battery while going downslope.
  3. Instantaneous torque provided by the automatic transmission of electric vehicles makes driving fun.
  4. The running cost of Electric vehicles at present is less than Re 1/km.
  5. Less moving parts and lack of gearbox makes the service cost of EVs very cheap.

What are the limitations of EVs?

  1. The battery pack has got a lifespan. The company has given a warranty of 8 years and 1,50,000 km after which replacement of battery pack if needed will be costly at the present rate. The cost of lithium batteries has declined by 97% in the last three decades. Hopefully, the battery-pack costs will fall further in 10 years.
  2. Charging time taken is 16 to 18 hours with a portable charger, 6-8 hours with MG installed home AC charger and 50 minutes for DC charger.
  3. The initial cost of EVs is about 5 to 6 lakhs more than their petrol counterpart.

Why MG ZS EV?

I chose MG ZS EV because of the following reasons:

  • The promised range of 300-400 km with an ICAT rating of 419 km ensured that I reach Trivandrum without charging in between.
  • I wanted a mid-size SUV of the likes of Creta and Seltos. In my family, we always used to retain a car for more than 10 years. So I did not want to be outdated by buying an ICE car right now. Hence, Creta was ruled out and ZS EV was in.
  • The power of 142 PS and torque of 353 Nm is delivered (comparable to that of Innova Crysta 2.4 L diesel). 0-100 km/h is achieved in 8.5 s. This ensured that I can drive a performance vehicle without worrying about the mileage.
  • 44.5 kWh is its battery capacity which is the largest for any affordable EV in India at present ensures that even with battery degradation there will be considerable range left.
  • Safety features such as electric parking break with auto-hold, ABS, EBD, Brake assist, rear disc brake, TPMS, Hill-hold assist and Hill descent control with a 5-star rating at Euro NCAP crash test.
  • MG ZS EV was a global product launched in 2018 in Europe and Australia with good reviews.

Though this 5000 km were niggle free, there were a few negatives that could not be ignored. Of course, I knew them beforehand but I had to ignore them or I will have to wait one more year for a more mature product.

  • The car provided only Halogen headlamps when its petrol counterpart Astor provided LED headlights. Hence the visibility at night was not that good.
  • The 6 speaker system (4 speakers and 2 tweeter systems) of MG ZS EV was not at par with MG Hector which was priced less than MG ZS EV.
  • A lot of features such as a 360-degree camera, ADAS, ventilated seats, wireless charging, auto-dimming IRVM, heads up display was missing.
  • These missing features have been sorted in the facelift version of MG ZS EV introduced last month in Europe. It may be available next year-end in India but at a much higher price point. So I don't have any regrets about the buy.

I had my first long drive from Thrissur to Trivandrum on 14.11.21. I started with a 93% charge at 12 pm after returning from work at Thrissur Medical College (MGKavu- 25 km). My plan was to top up a little bit at Kochi MG because I thought the family will b able to relax at the lounge while charging. The plan was toppled because one of the tata power chargers there was non-functional and the other was being used by a Nexon EV. The MG executive there tried to help me by making the damaged charger functional but in vain. I wasted around 30 mins there. The journey was particularly exhaustive due to bumper to bumper heavy traffic and heavy rains with bad roads (though we are paying Rs 120 at tolls). It was my first long journey of around 300 km and range anxiety was picking up. I went in to charge at Chavara because I missed the Cherthala charging due to heavy rains. Chavara charging was working well. But just before I started charging, there was a power failure and I could not charge my car. Since it was in the same compound as the restaurant 'Take a break' I could charge myself with dinner though my car remained hungry. I did not try the Kollam charging station as I will have to detour from the bypass for that. There was one diversion in the way due to spillage from Tanker lorry which further increased the distance I had to travel. Please charge immediately msg was coming up after 30, 20 and 10 per cent charge fall. But still, Ac was functioning properly which I had to use to defog. Finally reached my destination at poojapura with an 8 per cent charge and an estimated distance of 28 km remaining at 10 pm. I covered a total of 308 km under the most adverse conditions with 4 adult passengers and a boot full of luggage. On the return journey, I was more cautious to ensure I had a 100 per cent charge when I started itself. For that, I had my car charged from the 15 A power plug at home there. The return journey was smooth except for a traffic block of 30 to 45 min in the Kalamassery area due to road repair work. I reached back home at Thrissur with 19 per cent charge and an estimated distance of 62 km remaining. From these journeys, I could conclude that the range of around 350 km is obtained in my MG ZS EV by driving with AC on at around 60-80 km/ hr.

Conclusion

I believe it is the right time to shift to an electric vehicle if you are planning to change your car, provided you are not running more than 300-320 km at a stretch. Though more and more charging stations are getting installed day by day by KSEB and Zeon charging (a new startup), the charging infrastructure is not good enough to mitigate the range anxiety. But only if more people adopt EVs will there be more charging stations. For that, there should be more models introduced by all car manufacturers. This process was halted by COVID 19 which had brought about the semiconductor shortage. So, I am sure in the coming years there will be a boom in the EV market in India once the global semiconductor shortage is settled.

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