Mumbai: Morris Garages (MG) Motor India Pvt. Ltd, the local unit of the iconic British car maker that is now owned by China’s SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd, is testing two electric vehicles (EVs) in the Halol area of Gujarat to determine their range in Indian climatic and driving conditions, a person familiar with the development said.

The range of an EV is the distance it can cover on a single charge.

The two EVs are the fully electric Roewe eRX5 SUV (sport utility vehicle) and the SAIC E100 mini car, the person said on condition of anonymity. Roewe is a luxury brand introduced by SAIC in 2006. The vehicles being tested have a range of 425km and 155km, respectively, are left-hand drives, and have been imported from China.

MG Motors India confirmed the development in an e-mail response to Mint queries, without divulging further details. “We have started testing some EV options in some regions of western India to gauge the range and suitability of the vehicles in different driving and climatic conditions," said Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director of the firm.

“We may try it in different parts of the country as well, based on the present outcome of testing," Chaba added.

The E100, considered a highly suitable choice for daily urban commutes in China because of its compact structure, is powered by a single motor that produces 110 Nm of torque and 29 kW of motoring power. With a maximum speed of 100 km/h, the E100 can be fully charged in 7.5 hours.

The Roewe eRX5 has a top speed of 135 km/hr and can charge as much as 80% in 40 minutes.

MG’s foray into India is SAIC’s attempt to gain a foothold in the burgeoning auto market here, after General Motors Corp., SAIC’s joint venture partner in China, exited India in May 2017. SAIC is one of the largest EV makers in China and the world, and is expected to be “as involved as possible" in MG’s India operations, Chaba had said in a March interview.

Having spent more than $3 billion on the development of dense batteries, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles and battery EVs, SAIC will share its technical know-how with MG, according to Chaba.

“We are choosing the most relevant platforms available with SAIC to provide the right car at the right price. This will be true for all our launches here. Then, we would have to make lots of changes to those platforms to suit Indian conditions, tastes and regulations," Chaba said.

With an investment of more than Rs5,000 crore over the next six years in India, MG plans to build its entire portfolio of vehicles, including EVs, at its Halol plant in Gujarat, under its own badging, with the aim of sourcing 80% of components locally.

MG Motors is “keenly looking forward to work with all relevant stakeholders to set up a suitable ecosystem for EVs", as it is prepared on the technical front, however, cites the importance of having a “comprehensive EV policy and related infrastructure,"said Chaba.

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