For markets outside of China, the MG Mulan has dropped its warrior christening in favour of a more western-friendly MG4 Electric nomenclature but will be the very same compact, full-electric hatchback that’s the first MG based on the intelligent new MSP (Modular Scalable Platform) developed by parent company SAIC Motor.
The MG4 Electric is currently undergoing the final phase of European testing that comprises 120,000 km of endurance testing in lieu of its expected European launch in the fourth quarter of 2022.
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It’ll be a key player for MG in the highly competitive European C-segment, especially given the region’s shift towards electrified vehicles. Given Europe’s particular affinity for crips handling, the MG4 Electric should make a solid argument for itself with rear-wheel drive and a balanced 50:50 weight distribution; courtesy of the battery, to allow for better handling, more direct steering movements and fast cornering.
That sleek design and sloping roof is made possible by the aforementioned particularly flat battery; the flattest battery developed by SAIC Motor at just 110 mm tall. Two capacities of 51 kWh and 64 kWh will give the hatch a range between 350 - 450 km according to the WLTP cycle.
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Down the road, more variants will be added, including an all-wheel drive version. For now though, the MG4 Electric packs quite a punch with the 64 kWh sending 150 kW of power to the rear wheels while the 51 kWh variant delivers 125 kW. All that’s good for a century sprint time of under 8.0 seconds and a top speed of 160 kph on the dot.
Dubbed the “One Pack,” the battery represents a substantial increase in space utilisation. The further redesign of the cooling system has given it three major advantages; ultra-high integration, ultra-long life and “zero thermal runaway” safety protection.
“In the “One Pack” battery system developed by SAIC Motor, the projection area of all batteries on the Modular Scalable Platform is the same; the connectors related to other components are also the same,” said Zhu Jun, Deputy Chief Engineer of SAIC Motor.
Theoretically, the design of the battery allows for batteries ranging from 40 kWh to 150 kWh to be easily achieved and meet the energy requirements of the A0 to D class models. Users can even a model with a smaller battery first and then replace or upgrade to a larger capacity when a longer range is needed.
While the MG4 Electric is the first model riding on the MSP, it won’t be the last. The modular architecture allows plenty of configurations in terms of flexibility, use of space and weight savings. Furthermore, the scalable design is suitable for wheelbases between 2,650 - 3,100 mm; allowing for a myriad of body styles up to even vans.
The MSP architecture and related components were also designed for the implementation of advanced technology. For example, the system voltage of the highly efficient electronic drive unit, which includes 8-layer hairpin technology and special oil cooling, can be upgraded from 400V to 800V to charge the battery even faster in the future.
Lastly, the powertrain is able to support future BaaS (Battery as a Service) battery swap systems. The integrated service-oriented architecture (SOA) enables vehicles to receive over-the-air (OTA) updates throughout their lifecycle. And last but by no means least: the platform is equipped for autonomous driving down the road as well.