This will be the first-ever EV from MG stables to target urban commuters only – India launch by June 2023
MG Motor has seen some success in India with Hector, Hector Plus, ZS EV, Gloster and newly launched Astor. But now MG is taking a different direction and testing a product that no one in India makes anymore, the micro EV segment. Manufacturers like Mahindra have tried to capture this segment with two vehicles, e2O and e2O Plus, but have failed.
Maybe it was the market back then that wasn’t ready to accept EVs as the next big thing. Mahindra’s products were not very desirable, to begin with. Now that EVs are a thing and mainstream manufacturers are digging it, maybe it is time for micro EVs to return?
New MG electric car – Small EV
MG has had a strong EV background in India. They had the ZS EV and now the facelifted model. Now, a new MG electric car is getting ready for launch in India. It only has two doors and is smaller in size than an Alto. Since MG has sourced every single car they sell in India from its Chinese parent company SAIC Motor and its subsidiaries, we knew where to look.
This micro EV by MG, codenamed E230, is actually a Wuling Air EV manufactured by joint venture SAIC-GM-Wuling based on their GSEV (Global Small Electric Vehicle) platform. It was unveiled in Indonesia in June, and has now been officially launched. MG is toying with the idea of launching it in India too. Interestingly, MG Hector on sale in India is a rebadged Wuling Almaz. It is likely that MG will be using the same tried and tested method to launch this new small electric car in India.
Another thing to note is that MG will go with as much localization as possible. It will source its EV components from Tata AutoComp and Gotion which use LFP battery cells like we see on Nexon EV. Wuling Air EV has 2 variants, a SWB (Standard Wheel Base) measuring 2599 mm in length and a LWB (Long Wheel Base) measuring 2974 mm in length.
Both of them are 1505 mm wide and are 1631 mm tall. The SWB has two seats only and the LWB has 4 seats. The model sold in Indonesia and China gets 12” steel wheels. Wuling Air EV will also get two powertrain options, a 30kW and a 50 kW power motor and two range options varying from 200km to 300km on a single charge. Former is priced at IDR 250 million (Rs 13.2 lakh) and the latter is priced at IDR 300 million (Rs 15.9 lakh).
Interior & Launch
MG has a tough job on their hands if they do launch it in India. Product positioning will be key here. If they market it for the mainstream buyers like Mahindra did, it is likely to take the same route of failure. But if somehow they market it as a third or fourth vehicle in one’s garage that is loaded with features to the gills, we can see a product like that sell in India.
Indonesian Wuling Air EV gets a minimal interior with two 10.2″ screens for the infotainment and instrumentation. Whereas, three rotary dials with integrated circular displays will form the climate control panel. It gets a 2-spoke steering wheel with audio controls too. The central console is detached from the dashboard and it gets a rotary knob for gear selection, power window controls and an electronic parking brake.