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MG ZS EV long-range Australian release under study, hot climate a factor

John Law

“Under study” is the official line on the ZS EV long range, with MG still evaluating whether its 68.3kWh battery pack is suitable for hot Australian conditions

The facelifted MG ZS EV made its Australian debut this week boasting 320km of WLTP range from a 49kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

In the United Kingdom, MG sells a long-range version of the refreshed ZS EV that promises 440km range (WLTP) – a 37 percent boost.

MG ZS EV Long Range 2023-4
In the UK MG sells a long range MG ZS with 440km WLTP range

The 120km extra range comes courtesy of a 39 percent larger battery pack, measuring 68.3kWh. When pressed about its potential for Australian release, MG sales director for Australia and New Zealand Giles Belcher said the variant is “under study” for our market.

Mr Belcher went on to clarify that the larger battery is not confirmed for Australia, in part due to how the larger battery would deal with our hot climate.

MG’s strategy differs to new-on-the-block rival BYD which has just released its Atto 3 rival in both short and range variants, with very similar WLTP range claims to the ZS EV.

MG ZS EV Long Range 2023-1
The Long Range ZS EV isn’t ruled out for Aus, but it’s far from confirmed

The ZS EV Excite is still Australia’s cheapest new EV at $44,990 driveaway, so if MG’s tune on the long-range ZS EV changes, it could be a very affordable option.

In the UK, the long-range battery costs an extra £2000 which equates to approximately AU$3500. That would see a 440km capable ZS EV start from potentially as low as $47,490 driveaway.

Why would extra heat impact usability?

There is a misconception that electric vehicles don’t need cooling, especially as more designs eschew traditional radiator grilles in favour of unadorned fascias, however this isn’t the case.

MG ZS EV Long Range 2023-2
The MG ZS EV is still Australia’s most affordable EV

Some earlier BEVs – the Nissan Leaf for example – used air-cooled batteries. This can lead to overheating and power loss, especially after back-to-back rapid-charging.

Contemporary electric vehicles almost all use liquid cooled batteries, but the way each manufacturer goes about this differs. And even liquid cooling requires a certain amount of air to remain efficient. 

The way MG solves this issue in long range variants of the new MG4 hatch is an active air flap that is said to improve range by up to 10 percent by balancing air flow with aerodynamic efficiency for optimal battery performance. 

MG MG4 EV driven wheel demo
The MG4 sits on dedicated EV underpinnings unlike the ZS EV

Long range MG ZS EVs in the UK do not have this system implemented, and potentially that could affect the larger battery’s longevity in hot climates such as Australia. 

Additionally, the MG4 – due in Australia H1 next year – sits on the brand’s ‘MSP’ dedicated EV platform that may very well have better cooling potential than the ZS’s converted ICE underpinnings.

MG ZS 2023: prices in Australia

All prices listed are before on-road costs.

  • ZS 1.5T Excite: $21,990 ($22,990 driveaway)
  • ZS EV Excite: $43,990 ($44,990 driveaway)
  • ZS EV Essence: $47,990 ($48,990 driveaway)