MG says will add fully electric vehicles to its growing combustion-powered Australian line-up when the nation adopts EV-hungry momentum of the rest of the world.
Australia has been slow to adopt zero-emissions vehicles to date, but the Chinese-owned car maker is considering the local possibilities for MG EVs, with local interesting gradually gaining traction with every new battery-powered offering.
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Speaking at the launch of the overhauled MG3, which is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol, MG Motor Australia senior manager Danny Lenartic told WhicCar a commitment from the Australian government would trigger the flow of MG EVs.
“If there’s a thirst for it, then absolutely,” he said.
“What we need to see is increased infrastructure and support from the government as other countries have done and then the proliferation of new energy vehicles for all OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] will become a common sense business approach.”
The company is still fighting hard to build a following for its combustion-powered line-up Down Under, but an EV future for MG on red dirt might not seem as ambitious as it first appears.
While some other more widely known brands are still relatively new to battery powered vehicles, MG’s parent company, SAIC Motor, is a global leader in the technology and ‘new energy’ cars, with more than a decade of development under its belt.
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“SAIC is at the forefront of that technology and I think we have a huge competitive advantage moving forward,” said Lenartic. “New-energy vehicle technology and platforms are not new to us. We believe that we’re ahead of the game.”
The company already produces an electric version of the MG6 and ZS for the Chinese market, and their introduction locally would take little more than right-hand drive production, said MG Motor Australia product planning manager Pavel Meck.
“If and when we do choose to introduce these vehicles, we would of course have to test them for Australian conditions here first. Depending on if we believe the product is robust enough to meet the demands of the Australian market, we will introduce them,” he said.
MG is in the process of realigning public perception of the brand as a purveyor of SUVs and passengers vehicles, but Meck explained that the company had the stability to earn a reputation locally for EVs.
“Given its history with EVs, I think that’s definitely something we can help educate the public about. We’re not new to this space. The brand definitely is strong enough to introduce these vehicles”.
Ultimately, a production version of the company’s e-Motion pure EV coupe that broke cover in Beijing earlier this year is expected, and would likely join an electric MG fleet in Australia, reconnecting a sportscar bloodline to the company’s storied past and heritage.