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The arrival of the BYD Atto 3 in Australia is causing quite a stir, with the Chinese newcomer introducing a truly affordable model in the small electric SUV category - something consumers have been calling out for.
Up until now, the entry-point to the EV market has been dominated by the MG ZS EV, which was one of the top-selling EVs in Australia last year. A new version with improved specs and updated styling is set to arrive later in the year.
With interest in EVs at all-time highs, now seems like the perfect time to compare these two incoming players on the numbers, to see which one might be right for you.
The BYD Atto 3 can be ordered now (exclusively online) in just one Superior trim level, but deliveries are currently estimated for August 2022. Meanwhile, the updated MG ZS EV is set to arrive in July 2022 and will be delivered via MG’s more traditional bricks-and-mortar dealership operation.
The BYD Atto 3 is currently only available in one trim level and costs from $44,381 before on-roads for the 50.1kWh 320km range version, or $47,381 for the 60.4kWh 420km range version.
The new MG ZS EV will be available in two variants, an entry-level Excite, which starts from $46,990 drive-away, or a top-spec Essence at $49,990 drive-away. Unlike the Atto 3 though, it is only offered with one battery regardless of variant, a 51kWh pack offering 320km of range (up from 263km on the outgoing car).
It is notable that MG deals in drive-away pricing, giving you a bit more certainty of cost compared to the BYD which will change depending on where it is being delivered. It is a shame though, that the ZS EV won’t be available in Australia with the 70kWh long-range variant (440km) available overseas, at least initially.
The BYD Atto 3 is set to feature 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a massive 12.8-inch touchscreen which can rotate for either portrait or landscape orientation, a 5.0-inch digital dash, a panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charger, electric tailgate, 360-degree parking camera, synthetic leather interior trim, keyless entry and ignition, and power adjust for the front seats. BYD says Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity will be available by the time it launches in Australia.
The MG ZS EV in its base Excite form features 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7.0-inch digital dash, LED headlights, a 360-degree parking camera, synthetic leather interior trim, as well as keyless entry and push-start ignition.
The upper spec Essence scores an increase in standard safety equipment (the rear-facing blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert), a panoramic sunroof, premium audio system, power folding mirrors, wireless phone charging, heated front seats, and six-way power adjust for the driver.
The BYD Atto 3 has a single electric motor on its front axle producing a maximum of 150kW/310Nm. It will accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed seven seconds.
MG has yet to confirm local motor specs, but in the UK the ZS EV’s front-mounted electric motor produces 115kW/280Nm and will sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 8.2 seconds.
The BYD Atto 3’s biggest calling card is its cobalt-free ‘Blade Battery’ technology, which is claimed to be more sustainable, space efficient, safer, and affordable than the usual lithium-ion chemistry, with the cost being energy density. How much difference this actually makes to consumers is questionable.
When it comes to charging, the Atto 3 will charge on a fast DC unit at a maximum rate of 80kW allowing a charge time of 45 minutes from 20-80 per cent. On a slower AC charger, the Atto 3 is capable of a maximum charge rate of 7kW, for a charge time (from 10 per cent) of about six hours.
Importantly, the Atto 3 is capable of outputting charge via its European-standard CCS2 port, too, meaning you can power external household devices if you wish. The maximum output is 2.2kW.
The MG ZS EV is decidedly more traditional, using lithium-ion batteries, and missing out on the bi-directional charging feature. It charges at a faster rate than the Atto 3 on DC, at a max speed of 100kW, allowing a 10-80 per cent charge time of 36 minutes. On the AC standard, the ZS EV will charge at a rate of 7kW, charging to 100 per cent in eight hours.
While there’s no bi-directional charging for the ZS, MG offers its own home charging system to be paired with its EV models, costing $1990 for a 7kW charger or $2090 for an 11kW unit.
The BYD Atto 3 scores auto emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and a reverse auto braking function. It also scores adaptive cruise control and seven airbags.
The MG ZS EV scores auto emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, but you’ll have to splash from the top Essence variant to get blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. The ZS EV has six airbags.
The BYD Atto 3 has a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with a seven-year/160,000km promise for its battery pack.
The Atto 3 needs servicing once every 12 months or 15,000km via MyCar service centres, but pricing is yet to be revealed
The MG ZS EV also has a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for both the car and the battery. Service intervals and pricing is yet to be revealed.
The BYD Atto 3 is potentially cheaper, packs more standard features, is more powerful, and offers a long driving range for its top variant at a very reasonable price.
Then again, MG has an established track record in Australia already. It can be experienced and purchased through a traditional dealer channel, the current ZS has proved popular and this new one is also capable of charging faster than its rival.
It looks set to be a serious battle for buyers later this year. We can’t wait to bring you a real-world comparison test.
|BYD Atto 3||MG ZS EV|
|Price||From $44,381.35 (MSRP)||From $46,990 (driver-away)|
|Charging speed DC||80kW||100kW|
|Charging speed AC||7kW||7kW|
|Warranty||Seven-years/unlimited kilometres||Seven-years/unlimited kilometres|