I recently drove 2005km in a MG ZS EV 2022 Excite model electric car including a road trip from Sydney to Melbourne and back, just before and after Christmas day.
At the time of writing the ZS EV 2022 Excite model is Australia’s most affordable electric car, priced at $46,709 driveaway in my state of NSW in the default paint of York White.
Disclosure: While the car was loaned by MG’s public relations company for 2 weeks to review in the city and on motorways, I met all the associated costs e.g. all charging was organised and paid for by me with my accounts at Evie, Chargefox etc.
These are my top 3 likes and dislikes based on my driving experience during the loan period:
What I Liked
Easy to Charge – electric cars have no standardisation about where the charging port is located, different brands and models have theirs at the front, left side or right side. I found the front facing port of the ZS EV (hidden behind a flap) very convenient, especially when using heavy cumbersome 350kW charging cables.
Lots of inclusions – Both the entry level Excite and higher level Essence variants of the ZS EV 2022 have a lot of tech and features built-in, including V2L (reverse charging from your car) that more expensive cars like Tesla and Polestar don’t offer yet.
Some of the tech inclusions are: a 10.1” colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 7” digital instrument cluster directly in your field of vision, keyless entry and sat nav, MG iSMART app to check the vehicle status & monitor charging etc, 6 SRS airbags, MG Pilot driver assistance, 360 camera, intelligent headlights and more.
7 Year Warranty unlimited km – on the battery and vehicle from date of registration. This is the equal longest unlimited km warranty any car manufacturer offers in Australia and should provide peace of mind to purchasers.
What I Disliked
Short Highway Range at 110km/hr – The ZS EV 2022 Excite is Australia’s cheapest electric car and a great city car with about 320km urban range WLTP.
In my experience driving across Sydney several times between Marrickville and Liverpool the ZS EV Excite can be quite economical for busy city driving. You can see an example of driving stats (one way) for that trip below.
However the ZS EV 2022 does have a weakness of relatively short range at highway speed.
I knew about this already but MG’s public relations team reminded me before I did my road trip that
“the vehicle’s mileage will drop from the 320km range with long freeway driving. I’d be planning stints around 200-250km between charges. As I’m sure you’re aware, things like using the air conditioning will decrease the vehicle’s range.”
Therefore I definitely wouldn’t recommend the ZS EV 2022 for the majority of Aussies to drive any road trip longer than Sydney to Canberra.
That’s because the average Australian long road-trip driver goes at or over the 110/km highway limit, with AC on and their car is often laden with family members, lots of luggage in the boot and or on roof racks, all of which combined will reduce the highway range significantly.
On the other hand the minority of Aussies — which you’ll want to join, if you’re doing long distance EV driving — with lots of patience, who are willing to plan charging points carefully and sometimes drive at 95-100km/hr on motorways to extend the range can successfully do long road trips and daily commutes with the MG ZS EV 2022 models.
I know because I met them at various charging stops along my journey and they’d done tens of thousands of km in both the 2021 and 2022 model ZS EV. I even met one guy who had driven from South Australia to Sydney.
You get what you pay for. If you want to drive an electric car and not stop so often to recharge during highway driving, the reality is you have to spend:
- a minimum of $5,403 extra which gets you an extended range BYD Atto 3 for $52,112.92 driveway in NSW, or
- close to $70,000 driveaway for a more refined driving experience in a Polestar 2 or Tesla (which both have a better warranty than BYD offers).
Forgetfulness – There are 3 Regenerative Braking/KERS modes (setting 1 is weak, 2 is medium and 3 is strongest) and 3 Driving Modes (Eco, Normal, Sport).
The annoying thing about the Driving Modes is if Eco or Sport are your preferred option you have to set them manually *every single time you turn on the car* because it resets to Normal each time.
This is especially annoying on a long road trip because this isn’t a long range car and if you don’t notice it has reset to Normal, you won’t get as far as you planned to before the battery gets low.
Forced upgrade to higher model to get full list of safety features – MG is not the only manufacturer that does this.
I don’t like that customers who purchase a ZS EV 2022 have to pay $3000 more for the Essence model to get 2 very important extra MG Pilot features: Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. These are bundled with Essence features not everyone will want or need eg: a sunroof, pleather seats and roof rails.
My view is that car manufacturers should include all available safety features in the base model and the more expensive model should be for customers who want deluxe features like more speakers, luxury seat fabrics, sunroof, heated seats etc.
Most of the MG ZS EV owners I met at charging stations were happy with the driving experience and value for money. They did note that some MG dealers are better to deal with than others, unfortunately variable dealer quality is quite common in the car industry.
If you’re interested in buying an Australian ZS EV 2022 I hope my likes and dislikes have helped you decide whether you want to go ahead with the purchase.