MG4 Excite 51 2023 – Australian electric car owner real world experience review

The following is a discussion with West Australian electric vehicle (EV) owner Ronald about their purchase of a MG4 2023 Excite 51 and experience driving, servicing, charging etc.

EDITOR: I’m publishing a regular series of articles with the views of Australian EV owners about their EV ownership experience.

This will help fill an information gap as the majority of electric car news articles are about new car launches and there’s relatively little published about the longer term Australian ownership experience after you’ve paid for your electric car. Hopefully this shared information helps other Aussies make their own EV purchase decision. 

If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.

Was your electric car bought or leased?

Bought new.

Please describe your purchasing / lease process experience … Easy, Mediocre, Frustrating..?

Was waiting on the Excite 51 to be announced with LFP battery as MG’s initial announcement was only for the Excite 64, Essence 64 and 77.

My MG dealership John Hughes Victoria Park was not aware of any other variation at that stage.

Once the base model Excite 51 was announced, I immediately place a deposit subjected to test driving.

On my initial contract form, the dealership put the price as that of the Excite 64, so I added a clause to say that it should be 5k cheaper. Everything works out in the end.

What has the regular servicing / dealership experience been like?

Only did the complimentary 1500km servicing. Seems like this varies between dealership to dealership, most offer 1000km, some none.

There was a scratch underneath one of the wiper blades on the glass which the dealership sorted out I think by buffing it out.

I also told them about the Left star button on sticking at times so they updated some of the software, didn’t entirely sort out the Left star button issue but the software update changes the ACC increments and cruise speed doesn’t slow down now when driving through bends.

The dealership being one of the larger ones has a rather nice workshop with snack and free drinks.

They also offer free shuttle bus to Perth city or Carousel Shopping Centre.

As we arrived after their shuttle bus had left, they paid for an Uber to bring us to Carousel Shopping Centre with instructions on where to wait for their shuttle bus on the way back.

EDITOR: From what Ronald has described, MG John Hughes Victoria Park provides excellent post purchase service and should be the first place Perth based readers should go to when thinking of buying an MG electric car.

How do you regularly charge your car for day to day usage?

  • plug in to standard PowerPoint at home (scheduled for cheaper grid power time of day)
  • plug in to specially installed faster EV charger at home (set to use solar power or grid, whatever’s available)

We opted for a faster portable EV charger rather than a fixed wall charger as it’s a cheaper option with other benefits.

What has your day to day normal charging experience been like?

As we are retired and lived outside metropolitan Perth, we often drive out towards Perth at least twice a week. Each round trip varies between 130 to 180km.

Based on Perth’s tariff and our solar system, we switched to Time of Use when we got our EV and only charges between 9am and 3pm unless we have consecutive days of driving and may not have enough to return for the next day which is rare.

The fallback charging for that would be between 11pm and 6am where we are charged 18.2 cents per kWh from the grid compared to between free and 8.2 cents per kWh between 9am and 3pm.

I try to adjust my charging output to keep it below solar production if I am not in a hurry.

My 20A 3 phase outlet allows me to charge at up to 20A (4.2kW) which is often sufficient to bring the car up to 100% from 40% in 6 hours.

How do you charge your car for longer road trips on the weekend or during holidays? Do you prefer any particular brand of public fast charger during road trips eg Evie, Tesla, Chargefox and why?

We tried an extended trip to Margaret River after we got our MG last October just to test out DC fast charging and what it’s like travelling on holidays in an EV.

In WA, Chargefox seems to be the dominant charging network and one of those with the best rates.

We only needed to stop once on the way to our destination and once on the way back.

As we got our insurance through RAC, we were given a complimentary membership which gives us a 20% discount for charging at RAC Chargefox Electric Highway sites which was nice.

Most of the chargers installed in WA by RAC Chargefox Electric Highway only has 1 CCS2 charger and 1 Chademo. I have never seen the Chademo plug used.

What’s the farthest road trip you’ve done in your EV and what did you learn from this experience that would be useful for others to know?

One single trip to Margaret River was the longest.

We intentionally booked an accommodation with faster charger available 7kW but even though they advertised it as such, the Charger didn’t work because it couldn’t get communication.

The RFID card reader didn’t work as well. This is a private Charger on the Chargefox app owned by the accommodation.

The owner of the accommodation did not let on about their comms issue even when we communicate about charging before our trip.

We ended up charging at the accommodation using their 10A outdoor power point and our portable charger.

If you’ve done a long road trip and would like to share your experience of it please share. Detailed EV trip diaries give readers the confidence to do the same themselves.

When planning for my trip, I find that ABRP wasn’t reliable when using the app to plan the charge stop for you.

They will often suggest an out of service charger or charge up too much when you can charge at your accommodation.

I would suggest only to use ABRP for suggestion but double check with people’s recent comments on Plugshare to ensure that the charger is working before your trip.

Also don’t depend on apps to do all the charge stops calculations for you.

Calculate using your EV consumption with a 20% safety margin and you’ll be fine.

Does your EV have any special features like V2L reverse charging from the car to your portable/home appliances? If yes please share your experience using this special feature

The MG4 has V2L, bought one from AliExpress and used it to power my freezer located in our garage overnight during our last major power blackout which last for 37 hours.

Prior to the event, I’ve tested out the V2L device by using a cheap kettle on it to ensure that it would work.

The rest of our house is backup by our solar PV with batteries.

From my calculations, charging my MG4 at the lowest rate 8A may work during blackout situation with my 5kW solar inverter, I was planning to test it out on the second day of power outage but power was restored the second night.

Otherwise I may look for a charger capable of dialing down to 6A which I know are available and get an electrician to install a 10A powerpoint off my critical load circuit for such an instance.

If you have roadside assist included with the car purchase/lease and have had to use it, which company provided the service and what was that experience like?

We have included roadside assist but so far have not use it apart from calling them to update some details.

If you have had issues with your car and asked for these to be fixed under warranty, did the car brand do the right thing and fix it without causing you stress?

No major issues so far apart from minor software issues like LKA and Emergency braking.

My dealer did courtesy call me 1-2 months after my 1500km complimentary service to check if I am happy with my car which I think was nice.

I did mention it to her and she did ask if I would like to book the car in for them to see but as it was minor, I told her that I’ll wait till my next scheduled servicing.

Main reason was the workshop is in Perth and would involved an entire day for us based on where we stay and us being a one car family.

What are the 3 strongest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?

The car handling is the best of any car that I’ve ever owned.

The 125kW motor has plenty of power even with 4 passengers climbing up a hill.

The MG4 looks modern and sporty.

What are the 3 weakest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?

The price for the scheduled servicing, especially for the 80000 (4 years) service is rather high.

I didn’t compare them with the other 2 EV at the same price point but LKA and Emergency braking could have been adjusted/designed better.

As I often buy car at the lower price point, there are no other negatives I can think for the price I paid.

What is your view on car software updates? Some people prefer it be done by dealers, some don’t want updates, others want them regularly over the air?

OTA updates with owner control, ie accept/reject would be good to keep the car more up to date.

Also different software modules versions should be displayed or made available to owners, currently we are in a don’t know what you don’t know situation, and that includes some dealer workshops.

What questions would ask your car manufacturer HQ if you could?

Ability for owners to check their car’s software modules version and battery State of Health.

Would you buy or lease this brand of electric car again and recommend it to others?

Yes, one of my daughters is interested in one.

Do you have any other comments about your electric car brand, experience etc?

My experience with my MG dealer was generally good. I think the follow up call about our ownership experience was unexpected and nice.

If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.


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