MG India to launch its Tata Nexon EV rival next year

After studying the EV market in India and testing it with the imported (CKD) MG ZS EV for a year, MG Motor India has concluded there is potential for releasing a locally manufactured electric SUV. The company plans to launch an affordable electric SUV in India next year, as per a report from The Economic Times.

The Tata Nexon EV became the best-selling electric car in India last year with over 2,600 units sold, and obviously, MG’s product planners would have been influenced by its popularity. Rajeev Chaba, President and Managing Director, MG (India), told the business publication recently that it is working on releasing “an electric vehicle priced lower than INR 20 lakh” before the end of 2022. This model would rival the Mahindra eXUV300 as well, which could go on sale as early as late this year.

MG ZS EV NHforEV2020 Tech Trial Run
The assembly plant would bring down the cost of the vehicle considerably as the battery is the single most expensive component of an electric vehicle. Image Source: MG

To price its upcoming EV attractively, MG would need to locally produce its battery pack. While there is no scope for cell manufacturing in the country right now, battery pack production is possible and MG does plan on that. Chaba said that the company would finalise the details of the battery facility assembly facility this year and that operations would begin next year.

MG will invest (over and above the INR 4,000 crore already pumped into the Indian operations) to set up a battery assembly facility in India. Meanwhile, work on offering an EV with a 500 km range is also making progress. The company has scheduled the launch of this product, possibly the new MG ZS EV facelift, in the next 18 months. It is testing the battery pack of this model across various terrains and climatic conditions.

Sub-10 lakh rupee MG electric car also planned

MG will eventually release a sub-INR 10 lakh electric car, which could be its third big EV launch in the country. The company will introduce a mass market electric vehicle within a few years and hopes to get the leadership position in India’s electric vehicle market segment. Talking to last year, MG Motor’s Chief Commercial Officer, Gaurav Gupta, provided some guidance on the project. He said MG Motor is currently determining the demand for electric vehicle and electric vehicle battery manufacturing in India.

“A cost-efficient EV, especially in the sub-INR 10 lakh bracket, is the next logical move. However, relevant decisions will be made at a later stage after reviewing the market demand,” he told the website, in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Gupta told EVW at Auto Expo 2020 (Feb 2020) that even current electric vehicles from the SAIC portfolio could be launched in the country. These include the Baojun E200 and the Baojun E300 electric cars. MG could either bring out a right-hand drive version or design a new top hat on a platform taking all Indian considerations to achieve an aggressive price.

Baojun E100
The Baojun E100, we learn, is not the affordable MG electric car that is lined up for India. The E100 was imported to clock test miles and gather performance data in Indian conditions.

Parent company SAIC has a wide range of electric vehicles on sale in China from the shoe-size Baojun E100 to cars, SUVs and vans from Roewe, MG and LDV brands, some of which were presented at Auto Expo 2020. However, we believe the affordable vehicle the company has in mind for India would be picked from the next generation family with rear doors, a must-have feature for a vehicle to succeed in India as every electric vehicle, due to the higher savings from mileage, is appealing to the cab or fleet operators where rear seat use is frequent.

The Baojun E100 was spotted testing around the MG manufacturing plant in Gujarat to gather data. MG had also displayed the pure electric Roewe eRX5 at the MOVE Summit in New Delhi in 2018, and also presented the MG E200 at Auto Expo 2020. The company had said that the MG E200 was under consideration for the India previously.