The electric ZS is another example of the engineering rationalisation that’s sweeping through the industry, as belts collectively get tightened and cost savings found. The Chinese-built platform is shared with the combustion-powered models in the range, having been designed from the outset to accommodate electrification.
In this case, that electrification comes in the form of a 44.5kWh lithium ion battery pack (watercooled to better regulate temperature and sustain driving range, with a usable ‘net’ capacity of 42kWh) housed along the floor pan. It drives a 141bhp synchronous electric motor positioned where you would normally find the car’s engine, making this the most powerful ZS that MG currently offers.
As a small crossover designed in the same mould as the Nissan Juke and Hyundai Kona, it should come as no surprise that four-wheel drive is also off the menu. This is the case whichever ZS you opt for, though the electric version does at least get three driving modes with varying levels of regenerative braking. Elsewhere, the architecture is recognisable for the segment and lacks any real innovation, electric or otherwise. There is electrically assisted power steering and MacPherson strut suspension at the front with a torsion beam at the back, above which sits a steel monocoque body.
By the standards of electric SUVs, which are saddled with sizeable battery packs, the ZS does weigh relatively little. MG claimed 1534kg at the kerb, which our test car weighed in very close to.
Equally, the car would benefit from a larger power source, perhaps at the expense of kerb weight and some additional cost. Driving range is rated at 163 miles on the WLTP combined test cycle – a figure surpassed by every rival in this segment, and comfortably so by the likes of the Kia e-Niro, which manages nearly 300 miles by the same measure.
Meanwhile, the car’s charging attributes are merely adequate in 2019, with both CCS and Type 2 charging ports housed within the grille. It means the ZS EV can charge at 50kW rapid chargers and take on 100 miles of range in around 30 minutes, but the 100kW speeds enjoyed by Kia e-Niro owners are unavailable.