The radical two-door vehicle aimed at millennials is likely to make its debut at the Auto Expo in January 2023.
MG Motor India is readying an entry-level electric vehicle for the Indian market based on sister brand Wuling’s Air EV (Code: E230) that was recently unveiled at an event in Indonesia. The E230 is the latest model to be built on the company’s Global Small Electric Vehicles (GSEV) platform which already has multiple body styles.
- Likely to be priced from Rs 10 lakh
- To be packed with latest on-board tech
- Expected to go on sale mid-2023
MG to tweak Air EV for India
While much remains the same as on other GSEV platform-based vehicles, including the two-door body style, expect MG to substantially tweak specs and equipment for India. Company sources say that the E230 will be modified and adapted for Indian conditions. In particular, the air con and battery thermal management system will be beefed up. Also, the Air EV will wear an MG badge and receive a new name for India.
The Air EV has the same funky, boxy character of the Hongguang Mini EV, but the detailing is more futuristic. The nose has a full-width light bar connected via chrome strips that flow right into the door-mounted wing mirrors. Underneath this light bar sits the charging port door, which will carry the MG logo. Squarish headlamps sit just above an angular-styled front bumper, which houses slim fog lamps and a body coloured panel at the bottom edge.
The Air EV’s doors are a tad longer than other GSEV cars in order to facilitate easy ingress-egress to the second row. A vertically oriented large window sits behind the front doors and should allow some amount of airiness inside. Wheels are 12-inch steel rims with plastic hub caps. It’s likely that alloys will be introduced for the Indian market.
The rear style is very clean, with a curved windscreen and small tail-light units that, in a way, mimic the style of the headlights. Below the windscreen sits a neat horizontal light bar that stretches right across the number plate housing set in the bumper.
MG EV for India to be shorter than the Alto
While official details are yet to be revealed, we understand the India-bound MG EV will have a 2,010mm wheelbase and will only stretch the tape to around 2.9 metres in length, making the EV about 400mm shorter than the Maruti Alto. MG India sees this small footprint as a virtue, especially in crowded cities where it is difficult to manoeuvre and park. The car will have a battery pack capacity of around 20kWh to 25kWh, which should offer a real world driving range of 150km. Power output would stand at 40hp.
MG EV for India will be feature rich
Selling a small two-door hatchback in India may seem risky, however, the company is positioning the car as an urban runabout rather than a full-fledged family car. The runaway success of Hongguang’s range of micro EVs in China, which is traditionally a big car market, has made MG India hopeful of a similar trend in India. MG India is also targeting affluent households in big cities where the E230 could be the third or even fourth car, while in smaller towns it could be the primary means of transport.
Priced at around Rs 10 lakh, the E230 is no doubt pricey compared to an ICE equivalent, but to add value, MG India plans to equip it to the hilt. Among other bits of kit, it most certainly gets a giant touchscreen, a digital instrument cluster and a host of connectivity features to appeal to the young and trendy urban buyer.
MG EV for India: to get locally sourced battery pack
MG Motor India will source the battery pack locally from Tata AutoComp, which has entered into a joint venture with Chinese battery supplier Gotion for the design, manufacture, supply and service of Li-ion battery packs for electric vehicles in India. The E230 will use LFP cylindrical cells, similar to the Tata Nexon EV, as they are more cost effective, better suited to Indian conditions and reliable. LFP cells, however, are low in energy density and this could impact real-world range. However, MG India does not envisage customers driving more than 50km a day, so range should not be an issue.
MG EV for India: launch timeline and expected pricing
Launching a two-door EV at around Rs 10 lakh is a bold and even risky move, but with customer preferences and habits changing rapidly, this radical-looking EV might just click with those looking for a very compact, cool and ultra-efficient city runabout.
MG is expected to unveil the Indian iteration of the E230 at the Auto Expo in January 2023, with a market launch soon after.
This news was published in the June 2022 issue of the Autocar India magazine. Click here to buy this month’s issue for more.