–– EV DIARY ––
Suttie’s seven days
Alisdair Suttie has spent a week getting to know the ins and outs of the MG ZS EV. Here’s what he found out…
If it weren’t for the different front grille, I might have been a little disappointed at the arrival of this MG this morning. Having driven the ZS in petrol form a while back, it was less than inspiring, but the ZS EV promises a more interesting prospect for fleet drivers. Not only is it one of the most affordable EVs on the market, it also offers a decent range and quick charge times.
Yesterday’s enthusiasm for the MG ZS EV has not been misplaced if this morning’s drive is anything to go by. This car has the larger 72kWh battery, so it has a potential range of up to 273 miles on a full charge, which it just about has as I set off for Perth. That means about 20 miles of dual carriageway, which can often drain batteries more quickly, but the MG is still showing a decent charge when I arrive and proves accurate by the time I return home.
What have we here? A touch of Formula 1 tech in the MG? Well, it does have KERS button on the centre console, which offers three stages of regenerative braking. In its most modest setting, it feels like any other EV, while the two stronger modes of retardation mean you don’t have to bother with the brake pedal much. It’s not quite on the one-pedal level of the Nissan Leaf, but not far off and adds a bit of life to the battery while driving in town.
It’s been nagging me for a couple of days now and I thought it would improve with use, but the driver’s seat belt is just too dang slow. When you pull it out to fasten the belt, there’s a fair bit of resistance that makes you have to stop and wait for an operation that’s usually all but unconscious. When you unbuckle, it takes an age to retract, risking the belt being trapped in the door as you step out and close it. Annoying.
A few hours in the MG today for various client visits and together we cover the whole range of roads and traffic conditions. A bit more acceleration from the ZS EV would be good, especially when pulling out of junctions on to faster roads, but the supple ride is a welcome change from the usually too-firm set-up of most EVs. It also handles well and offers good refinement, attributes that are welcome on A-roads.
Taking my son to his weekly football match is always a good barometer of how well a car goes down with the masses – or other parents, as they are also known. Several are very keen to know more about the ZS EV and one even says he’s considering this model as his next company car. He says he covers about 25,000 miles a year and reckons the ZS with the bigger battery fits the bill perfectly thanks to home and office charging points.
By the end of a week with the MG ZS in petrol form, I was glad to see the back of it. This EV model is a very different machine and far better in almost every respect. It’s better to drive, more comfortable, has greater refinement, and its running costs are low enough to make a sound business case. It’s not the most handsome or stylish EV or SUV, but that’s easy to get past when you study the pounds and pence savings.