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MG 4 Electric: Exports of ‘Global’ Chinese EV hatch commence

Exports of the VW Golf-sized MG 4 Electric hatchback have commenced from Shanghai in earnest – starting with Europe from October but set for Australia before mid-2023.

The MG 4 Electric, detailed a few weeks ago, is billed as one of the first Chinese-branded cars created for worldwide sale from the start of its life.

MG’s sales target for its “Global Car” is 150,000 vehicles in the first full year.

This week saw the first 1000 units board a ship at Shanghai Haitong Wharf and cross the ocean in what MG proclaimed was a “rush to attack” the European market – bold language in a geopolitical context…

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Early builds have also been undergoing 120,000km worth of final endurance testing across Europe, MG’s parent company SAIC says.

Beyond Europe, MG explicitly cites Australia as a “key regional market” for the vehicle, and has confirmed arrivals are slated to commence by the mid-way point of next year.

MG was the second-biggest seller of EVs here last year with its popular ZS second only to the Tesla Model 3. An updated version of this car is about to arrive priced at $46,990 drive-away, establishing a platform for the more sophisticated MG 4 Electric to build on.

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Background

Unlike the ZS which also comes as a petrol, the MG4 Electric is based on a ground-up and EV-only platform designed to be scalable for other applications – wheelbases of between 2650mm and 3100mm.

MG suggests applications will include “hatchbacks, notchback saloons, to SUVs and vans”. Its flat floor also frees up interior space.

Two 400V battery pack options will be offered in the MG4 Electric, with capacities of either 51kWh or 64kWh, with a maximum target range of 450km on the European WLTP cycle and a peak charge rate of 100kW on a DC charger.

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While it doesn’t explicitly say as much, MG’s claim that the battery will avoid any potential for thermal runaway suggests its chemistry will be lithium iron phosphate – a cheaper type of battery also used in Australian-market Tesla Model 3 and Model Y EVs, and the BYD Atto 3.

The smaller battery drives a 125kW rear electric motor, while the 64kWh versions offer 150kW of power instead – and a claimed zero to 100km/h time of 8.0 seconds.

MG says it’ll offer 50:50 weight distribution and use rear-wheel drive. Its PR spiel talks about “better handling, more direct steering movements and fast cornering”.

The MG4 Electric will also be designed to handle regular over-the-air software updates.

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Australia

The MG4 Electric will hit MG dealers by June 2023 under present plans. We don’t know what the goal is in terms of pricing, but a starting point around $45,000 would seem about right.

It’ll have some competition by then: the existing Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro all come to mind, ditto the (also Chinese) BYD Atto 3 due in quarter three of this year.

Then there’s the Ora Cat (from a GWM sub brand, also from China) and new-to-market Cupra Born – both due in early 2023 at present.

MG Australia’s dealers are well-placed to sell EVs, with the company providing buyers with its own in-house Type 2 wallbox chargers, priced from $1990.

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MORE: All the EVs coming to Australia: Launch calendar, what’s here already?MORE: Australia’s best-selling EVs in the first half of 2022MORE: What electric car buyer incentives are offered across Australia?

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