MG Motor UK chose last weekend’s MG Car Club-promoted MG90 event at Silverstone to introduce two significant new concept vehicles to the wider British public for the first time – the MG CS SUV Concept and the MG EV Concept both give an interesting glimpse of the direction which the storied MG marque will be taking during the next phase of the company’s business plan.
The MG CS SUV Concept
The MG CS SUV Concept, which was originally, unveiled in China at Auto Shanghai 2013, has been designed and developed by SAIC Design’s UK Team led by UK Design Director, Martin Uhlarik. MG Motor UK describes the car as an ‘Urban Sports SUV Concept’ and says that a production version will be one of four new MG models included in the Future Product Programme for launch between now and 2020.
The Design Team at SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre (SMTC UK) see the CS SUV Concept as a progressive extension of the MG brand’s design language and key features include exterior surfacing with a full body section which demonstrates classic British volume, colour accents, bold forms and graphics which reflect MG’s sporting DNA and a strong sense of British identity as evinced by the deconstructed Union Jack graphic on the front wings. The wraparound screen, floating roof graphic and kick up-featuring C-pillar are a continuation of a theme begun with the MG ZERO Concept, MG3 and MG Icon Concept. The frontal graphic is a clear evolution of the MG Front Face graphic with strong feature lines around the MG badge.
The production version of the CS SUV Concept will slot into the compact C-segment SUV sector – one of the fastest growing areas of the global automotive market – and will therefore compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and, in terms of size, if not price, the Range Rover Evoque. However, while the production version seems likely to be the next new model to reach MG showrooms here and in China, MG Motor UK has not, as yet, disclosed any information about final specifications, the pricing structure or a definitive launch date.
The MG EV Concept
MG Motor UK also took the Roewe E50-based MG EV Concept to Silverstone for MG90. The EV Concept was originally unveiled at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT’s) London headquarters in April but this was the A/B-segment straddling car’s first exposure to a wider British audience.
SMTC UK has developed the EV Concept in order to test public reaction and points to the fact that combined UK sales of A-segment and B-segment EVs are growing – B-segment EV sales alone have grown from a year-ending May, 2012 figure of 1615 units to a year-ending May, 2014 total of 9379. Government incentives and low total ownership costs are attracting early adopters.
MG Motor UK cites the UK National Travel Survey, 2012 in explanation of the increase in EV sales – according to the latter, the average annual mileage for a private car in the UK is 7800 miles while the average annual commuting mileage is just 2500 miles so, for most, that means an average of around 10 miles a day. The company therefore believes that a small, lightweight EV is ideal for such journeys.
The MG EV Concept has an under floor Lithium Ion Phosphate (LFP) battery with a capacity of 18kWh, a front-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM), front-wheel drive and a CVT transmission. The PMSM produces 70bhp at 8000rpm and 114lb ft of torque while, with a kerb weight of 1080kg, the EV Concept has a top speed of 81mph and will go from 0-62mph in 14.6 seconds. The car’s range is realistically 50 to 70 miles and CO2 emissions are 0g/km. Standard charging (220V – 240V) takes six hours while a rapid charge (380V – 400V) takes 30 minutes for an 80 per cent charge.
A number of the MG enthusiasts who attended MG90 last Saturday were invited by MG Motor UK to an exclusive preview of the MG EV Concept during an hour-long MG Experience presentation which was hosted in the Pit Complex on Silverstone’s Stowe circuit. AROnline therefore took the opportunity to ask one such MG owner for his thoughts on the car. Simon Davies, who hails from the Wirral, owns not only an MG6 Magnette 1.8 TSE and an MG TF 85th Anniversary but also a Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid CVT Trend, which he uses for his work – in short, MG Motor UK would probably target any production version of the MG EV Concept at someone with Mr. Davies’ profile.
Mr. Davies, who describes himself as a stocky 6ft 1in, found the EV Concept’s driving position to be very comfortable and remarked on the very clear instrumentation. He reckoned that the car would be easy to drive and would be ideal for his job which involves a lot of short, stop-start journeys. However, the range of 50 to 70 miles quoted by MG Motor UK (when using, for instance, the wipers and heater etc. normally) was a little too low for his average pattern of daily usage. Mr. Davies thought that any production version of the EV Concept might need to be fitted with some form of Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in order to extend the range – that said, if the range was extended to, say, 120 miles, he would buy one. The launch of the EV Concept was, in any event, certainly taking the MG marque in a positive direction.
MG Motor UK is reportedly waiting for a European consensus on a universal charging socket design to be reached before making any decision about turning the EV Concept into a production reality. However, if and when that happens, there must be a good chance that the production version will be price-competitive with the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-up! because much of the development costs will have already be borne by the Roewe E50 – a car that is, of course, already on sale in SAIC Motor’s home city of Shanghai.
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