MG Public has announced the upcoming European market launch of a new compact electric hatchback called the MG4 Electric, the first model to be built on the modular and scalable platform developed by parent company SAIC Group. While many associate the MG name with elegant British two-seat sports convertibles such as the MGB, since its acquisition by Nanjing Automotive Group (which merged with SAIC in 2007), the brand has focused primarily on producing hatchbacks and SUVs, in addition to launching its first electric crossover in 2019.
But while the EZS is essentially an electric version of an existing combustion engine model, the MG4 EV is a new design based on the parent company’s Modular Scalable Platform – known as the Nebula platform in China – that is said to offer advantages in terms of flexibility, space utilization, safety, driving experience, weight reduction and advanced technology.
The platform is scalable and can support wheelbases from 2,650 to 3,100 mm, meaning vehicles from hatchbacks to saloons and SUVs to vans may be in view.
It also features the One Pack battery solution with battery arrangements ranging from 40 kWh to 150 kWh and a pack height of just 110 mm, the flattest battery SAIC has ever developed and reportedly the thinnest in its class.
“In the One Pack battery system developed by SAIC, the projected area of all cells on the modular scalable platform is the same; so are the connectors associated with the other components,” said SAIC’s Zhu Jun. “With this design concept, it is theoretically possible to easily realize batteries from 40 kWh to 150 kWh. It can meet the energy needs of A0 to D-class models and provide users with flexible and diverse options. Users can buy a small battery up front, then replace and upgrade when they need longer range.”
MG says the MSP architecture is also somewhat future-proof in that it already allows for OTA updates, and possibly future upgrades include fast charging from 400-V to 800-V, building a platform for battery swap services and equipping for autonomous driving.
For the five-door MG4 EV, all this means that the car will dominate the European C-segment with a length of 4287 mm, a width of 1836 mm and a height of 1504 mm. There are two battery capacities available at launch – a 51 kWh pack with a WLTP range of 350 km per charge and a 64 kWh version that extends the range to 450 km, but other models may be added later.
The lower capacity One Pack is paired with a 125 kW motor, while the larger battery pack is combined with a 150 kW motor. Either way, the rear-wheel-drive hatchback is said to be capable of a 100-kilometer sprint in under eight seconds and a top speed of 160 km/h, while the 50:50 weight distribution allows for better handling, more direct steering action and faster cornering.
The outgoing electric hatch features somewhat aggressive styling with its rather large vertical side air intakes under squinty headlights up front, sculpted creases on the doors, shapely two-tone wheels and a split rear spoiler with a large skid plate and a taillight at the rear end of a crossover-like vehicle that spans the entire width of the vehicle except for the badge.
Inside, a tablet-like digital dashboard and central infotainment screen can be found, with tilting button controls below. The top and bottom edges of the steering wheel are flat, and the floating center console has a driving mode dial and storage for the parking brake and some smartphones.
MG says the MG4 EV is currently undergoing final durability testing and is expected to go on sale in Europe in the fourth quarter, with the right-hand drive model confirmed for the UK in September. Additional information, including pricing, will be provided closer to launch.